Personal recollections of Birmingham and Birmingham men by E[liezer] Edwards

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Excerpt: ... in which, unassisted, he could produce as many pens as twenty pairs of hands, working under the old system, could turn out. There was an enormous demand for his goods, and as he wanted help, and secrecy seemed needful, the young people married, and Mr. Gillott used to tell how, on the very morning of his marriage, he, before going to the church, made with his own hands a gross of pens, and sold them at 1s. each, realising thereby a sum of £7 4s. Continuing to live in the little house in Bread Street, the young couple worked in the garret, no one else assisting. As an illustration of the primitive condition of the steel pen trade then, it may be mentioned that at this period the pens were "blued" and varnished in a common frying-pan, over a kitchen fire. Orders flowed in so rapidly, and the goods were produced in such quantities, that the young couple made money faster than they knew what to do with it. They were afraid to invest it, as they did not wish it to ooze out that the business was so profitable. It has been stated that Mr. Gillott had several banking accounts open at this time, being afraid that, if he paid all his profits into one bank, it might excite cupidity, and so engender competition. It is also said that he actually buried money in the cellar of his house, lest his marvellously rapid accumulation of wealth should become known. At length the demand for his pens became so great that it was impossible to resist the urgent necessity for larger premises and increased labour. Mr. Gillott, accordingly, removed to Church Street, and subsequently took other premises, up the yard by Mr. Mappin's shop in Newhall Street. About the same time, he removed his family to the house at the corner of Great Charles Street, where the Institution of Mechanical Engineers had its offices until its recent removal to London. After a few years, he commenced to build the premises in Graham Street, where the business has, ever since, been carried on....

About E[liezer] Edwards

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Published October 4, 2009 by Public Domain Books. 162 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Action & Adventure, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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