Traditional family values drive everything Arthur Price does and this means truly caring about quality and service. Four generations of the Price family have so far ‘been in to bat’ for the company, and while cricket remains one of Simon’s true loves, he has no qualms about maintaining tradition and captaining the side at Arthur Price.
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Just as Sheffield was home Sheffield to knife and blade manufacturing in the UK, at the turn of the century Birmingham was the home of spoon and fork making. The two trades used different materials and processes and it wasn’t until after WWII that the two elements came together.
In the later part of the 19th century current owner Simon Price’s great grandfather Arthur spent 20 years working for flatware companies in the Birmingham area before setting up for his own business. During this time he mastered every skill required for the flatware trade and slowly accumulated second hand machinery to start his own enterprise. A dedicated, ambitious man he made his own tools and dies at home once he’d finished his 12 hour factory shifts. The Price family’s front room became Arthur’s workshop.
His very first factory was at 16 ½ Gem Street in the Aston area of Birmingham. He employed 12 people including his eldest daughter, Maud, who was company secretary from 1905 until the outbreak of the Great War. The factory had no electricity and used a small gas engine to cast the nickel silver ingots used for making the cutlery.
Competition was stiff with 20 other flatware companies operating in Birmingham, however Arthur’s business acumen and hard work paid off and he was soon able to acquire a series of larger premises to house his new equipment. By 1911 the business was prospering with all the products produced were being exported overseas. Arthur Price Ltd was the first company to make spoons and forks of chromium plate, the forerunner of stainless steel. Arthur Price has always been committed to innovation.
And though survival may have meant that Arthur’s son, Frederick had to adapt to market forces in times of crisis, the overriding aim to produce the finest quality cutlery paid off, making them the largest manufacturer of stainless steel cutlery in the country by the 1950s.
Though for a short time during World War II the company survived under Frederick by making munitions, Arthur Price went from strength to strength in the second half of the 20th century.
Simon’s father John, who had succeeded as Chief Executive in 1947, began to highlight the company’s expertise as quality English craftsmen and it achieved true recognition in 1976 when it was commissioned to design and produce the cutlery for Concorde.
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