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2015-06-07
Businessman
This rattle was probably made by Joseph Willmore (1773-1855), a well-known silversmith from Birmingham and grandson of silversmith Thomas Willmore whose company he took over after his grandfather's death in 1816. Joseph was initially known as a maker of snuff boxes with processed lids of high quality, but expanded his assortment over the years. His workshop was located on Inge Street in Birmingham, a series of houses and workshops that became known as 'Willmore Court'.

Joseph was clearly a businessman and registered his brand in London in 1814. Most silversmiths worked with retailers who maintained contact with customers. But Willmore clearly wanted to keep the reins in his hands and opened his own showroom in Bouverie Street and later Thavies Inn in Holborn where he provided a rich London clientele with silverware.
The industrial revolution offered many possibilities, of which Willmore as an entrepreneur made his best use. He also began to produce items of copper and iron, using new technological means. For example, he and a partner were granted a patent for making nails and he also produced tools.

However, he built his reputation mainly as a silversmith, because of the high quality of his work. Willmore died at the age of 82 in 1855, ending the silversmith empire of the Willmores. His pupil, George Unite, is also known as a maker of rattles, several copies of which are included in the Keijser collection.

Go to inv. no. 0014

Sources:

http://www.vintagecorkscrewcenter.com/two-insignificant-manufacturers-17069913

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_Back_to_Backs
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