Thomas Samuel & W. R. Samuel, Sheffield steelmakers (1897).
“Situated to the south west of Birmingham, the town of Redditch first established a needle making reputation as early as the 17th century. Initially this was a cottage industry but during the 19th century developed into factory based production.
By the mid 1800s dozens of individual companies were engaged in the trade. Products included fish hooks, surgeons’ and sewing needles. The development of the sewing machine during this period opened a lucrative new market. To meet this need, several local companies including Joseph Perkins & Sons, Thomas Shrimpton & Sons and Samuel Thomas & Sons added machine needles to their prospectus.
Their raw material was high quality steel wire, sourced from both nearby Birmingham and more distant Sheffield, renowned as the steel making capital of Britain.
By the 1870s, Sheffield steelmakers such as William Smith, Joseph Dyson, Joseph Wordsworth and Jagger Bros. advertised their steelware to Redditch needle makers. It has been estimated that by this period the town was producing many millions of needles annually, thereby dominating the UK market.”