Saturday, March 31, 2012

Benham & Sons Ltd.

John Lee Benham established an ironmongery business at Portman Square, London in 1817. The company's main interests were in gas light fittings and the production of various types of baths. In 1824, Benhams expanded by establishing a showroom and factory in Wigmore Street. Gradually the business became more focused on cooking equipment and less on baths and light fittings.

In 1872, Benham's sons—William, James and Frederick—joined the company, which took the name Benham & Sons Ltd. Shortly afterwards, a second factory was established in Manchester. The company participated in the International Exhibition of London 1851 and 1871, Paris 1867, and Vienna 1873, exhibiting a range of cooking apparatus for residential and commercial applications. In the 1880s, the firm had commissions for the furnishing and fitting of globe lighting and stoves for large institutions such as workhouses and infirmaries, as well as the refreshment rooms at Middlesbrough railway station.

Benham & Sons Ltd. expanded further in the early part of the 20th century with the acquisition of several premises in Wandsworth, London. During the Second World War, the company manufactured a variety of gun and munition parts.

Benham & Sons Ltd. was managed by five successive generations of the Benham family until it joined the Glover & Main Group in 1960. Glover & Main became part of Thorn EMI in 1965. In 1979, Benhams merged with James Scott & Co. Ltd. of Oldham. As Scott Benham Ltd., the company was taken over by the Swedish company, Electrolux in 1987.

From 1851 London Exhibition Official Catalogue

by Mark Matlach

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