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Marsh Brothers & Co.(Marshes & Shepherd).

Marsh Bros traced its history to 1631. Between 1780 and 1815 the firm traded at Park Hill, where James Marsh (1761-1841) built up the business. He brought his sons (William and John) into the company, besides a son-in-law, Thomas Shepherd (1806-1845). The firm was known as James Marsh & Co or Marshes & Shepherd. The company had several marks: it stamped cutlery and tools with a mark granted in 1713 featuring a Maltese Cross and the letter "y". 
By 1819, the firm operated at Castle Hill, but as trade grew it moved in 1822 to Porter Street.
In 1828, the company moved to Ponds Work, Forge Lane. This was close to Baker's Hill, notable for its streams, millponds, dams and goits (and is now the site of 
Ponds Forge sports center). It was a typical courtyard-style factory, with house and garden, warehouse, counting house, forge, old waterwheels, crucible steel 
furnace, rolling mill, grindstones and engine house. All that was lacking was a set of converting furnaces for blister steel. In the 1830s the firm erected those, too, 
at nearby Navigation Works. By the end of the 1840s, it also had steel making capacity at Columbia Works, which had been vacated by John Brown.
The company appears to have made (or commissioned from outworkers) almost every type of knife. Pocket knives and razors were important, especially for the American 
market which dominated the business in the 1840s and 1850s. The firm (which became Marsh Bros & Co in 1850) had permanent representatives in Philadelphia and New York,
and these were often Marsh family members. In the heyday of the American trade, Marsh Bros also had connections in New Orleans and Boston. Despite problems 
with financial fluctuations and unpaid bills, the American trade was a major factor in the firm's expansion. By 1862, Marsh Bros employed about 250 workers and its 
directors were among the wealthiest men in Sheffield, William Marsh (1790-1860); John Marsh (1791-1858).
The company displayed at the Great Exhibition (1851) and the New York Exhibition (1853). It won a medal at the International Exhibition (1862) for a "good 
assortment of tools and cutlery". However, Theophilus Marsh died in Sheffield on 21 November 1881, aged 55. The decline in the  cutlery business after the 1880s 
(caused partly by American tariffs) prompted the Marsh family directors to ponder the future direction of their business. In the 1890s, knife production (apart from 
razors) was abandoned and Marsh Bros decided to concentrate on making tools steels and engineers' tools. It continued to do so until the 1960s.

     According to the Tweedale's Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers by Geoffrey Tweedale.

24.07.2012, 22:14

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