The firm was founded in Sheffield by James Deakin in 1866. The first mark was entered by the firm in Sheffield Assay Office on 31 January 1878. It was a "JD" over "WD" and, possibly, represented the partnership of James Deakin and his son William Pitchford Deakin. The firm was active at Sidney Works, Matilda Street, Sheffield.
In 1886, two further sons entered the partnership, John Deakin and Albert Deakin, and the firm was then known as James Deakin & Sons. Further marks were entered in London Assay Office (1888) by William and John Deakin (subsidiary offices and showrooms at 48 Holborn Viaduct, London), Chester and Birmingham. Further offices and showrooms were opened at Gardiner House, 14 Charterhouse Street, London, 34 St. Enoch Square, Glasgow and 7 Queen Street, Belfast.
After the retirement of James Deakin (1893) the business was continued by his sons William, John and Albert.
In 1897, the firm was converted into a limited liability company under the style James Deakin & Sons Ltd. The firm was the proprietor of Shaw and Fisher, Electro-plate Manufacturers (established 1835) and of Walter Latham & Son, Sterling Silver & Electro-plate manufacturers (established 1874).
To avoid any confusion with the production of another Sheffield manufacturer having the same initials JD&S (James Dixon & Sons) the firm used in its silver plate production a figural trade mark representing a "desk bell" (often interpreted as a "lamp"). Likewise, Dixon used a figural trade mark (registered in 1879) representing a "bugle". Trade marks used: AZTEC, PURITAN, REVLIS, SARBON, SHAW & FISHER, SIDNEY SILVER. The firm closed its activity c. 1940.