THOMAS PRIME & THOMAS PRIME & SON
According to an ancient advertisement, the firm was founded in 1818.
Three Thomas Prime (father, son and grandson) were involved in the silverplate business: Thomas Prime Snr (1797-1881), Thomas Prime Jnr (1825-1892), and Thomas Tertius Prime (1856-?) [Tertius means "the third"].
In 1840 Thomas Prime Snr was active as close-plater at Northwood Street, Birmingham.
Prime developed a method of plating called Magnetic Plate and in 1844, to the plans of John Stephen Woolrich, was built a special machine to deposit silver, gold or copper (one of these machines was used also by Elkington).
In 1849 the firm advertised that "...Electro Deposition of Silver, Gold, &c. by the Agency of Magnetic Machinery was brought to practical perfection by him..." on White Metal, on Steel and in Superior German Silver. The firm was active at the Patent Magneto Plate Works, 18 and 19 Northwood Street, Birmingham with other premises at 49 Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London.
The great Victorian scientist, Sir Michael Faraday, visited the factory to see the practical application of his electrical experiments. This early electroplating machine still exists, and is currently in the Birmingham Science Museum.
The firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851, the Paris Exhibition of 1855, and the International Exhibition in South Kensington in 1862.
Thomas Prime was Mayor of Birmingham in 1869.
In 1851 Thomas Prime Snr was joined in partnership by his son Thomas Prime Jnr trading as Thomas Prime & Son.
When Thomas Prime Snr died in Jan 1881 the business was for a short time run as a sole-trader by Thomas Prime Jnr. Then in that year, after the 31 Mar 1881 census, he admitted his son Thomas Tertius Prime, as a partner.
Once more Thomas Prime & Son had both a Thomas Prime (Thomas Prime Jnr) and a son (Thomas Tertius Prime). This was the partnership that was dissolved in 1891. The business was then again run for a short time as a sole-trader by Thomas Prime Jnr, until his death in May 1892. The child-less grandson, Thomas Tertius Prime, who had until 1891 been in partnership with his father Thomas Prime Jnr, then ran the business from May 1892 until the factory was closed in about 1900.
In 1890 the firm was active as "silversmiths and electroplaters" at 107 Ryland Street, Birmingham and in London Showrooms at 5 Charterhouse Street.
Thomas Prime participated to the London Great Exhibition of 1851, to Paris Exhibition of 1855 and to International Exhibition (London) 1862.