Matthew Bolton Georgian style and the industrial revolution.
Matthew Bolton, English industrialist in furniture and Josiah Wedgwood in ceramics.
Bolton was the son of a Birmingham maker of small hardware: buckles, buttons, cane heads; which at the time were called “toys”.
By the age of thirty, Bolton managed to create his own business for the manufacture of silverware, gilded bronze and other decorative and applied arts. In partnership with John Fothergill, he built a manufactory in Soho near Birmingham, where he introduced the latest technologies into production.
In the 1770s, the factory employed about 800 workers. For wealthy customers, the manufactory produced products from sterling silver, and for the middle class – from silver-plated copper, the so-called Sheffield silver. The Sheffield silver technique, developed in 1742, involved the process of rolling silver onto one or both sides of a copper plate.
Ormolu production declined after 1772–1773 due to the high cost of raw materials and production. After that, Bolton directed his resources to the manufacture of silverware. In many cases, the same molds were used for both silver and silver-plated items.
Bolton founded the Mint in Soho. He received a contract in 1797 to mint British copper coins. The first batch of coins included large copper British pennies, which continued to be minted until decimalization in 1971. Bolton applied modern coinage techniques, producing millions of coins and medals for Britain and other countries.
Bolton retired in 1800, although he continued to run his mint, he died in 1809. His portrait, along with that of James Watt, appears on the 50-pound note of the Bank of England.