HT&D (et al) history
The earliest buttons in my collection are made by the company called Hammond Turner and Dickinson (HT&D), a partnership between Samuel Hammond (died 1825), John Turner (died 1840) and John Dickinson (died 1822).
The 1781 Bailey’s Northern Directory lists Samuel Hammond, button maker, at 89 Snow Hill and the 1788 entry in the Birmingham District Traders Guide and Residents Directory reads ‘Hammond & Co., Snowhill’. Something happened between 1788 and 1793 as the Universal British Directory of Trade for 1793 listing reads ‘Hammond, Turner and Dickenson, button makers, Snow-hill’. The company must have been trading under that name by 1792, when the directory data would have been collected.
Some sources suggest that the company existed in 1717, but I have been unable to establish where that date comes from. A page torn from a company catalogue which is in my custody on a temporary basis says ‘Established 1717’. It is undated, but it must date from the early 20th century as it gives a telephone number, Birmingham 2106, for the company whose name is given as HT&S Ltd and the company became ‘Limited’ in 1903.
The date may well simply have been invented to make the company sound good! I am keen to find the origin of the oft-quoted date of 1717 as well as the actual date H&T started making buttons so, if you know, please tell me…
Whatever the legal niceties, HT&D was probably using that backmark on buttons made in Birmingham from around 1792. Following the deaths of John Dickinson and Samuel Hammond in the early 1820s the company was known as Hammond Turner and Sons (HT&S) and was run by John Turner and his two sons, William Hammond Turner and Samuel Hammond Turner. By 1851 all three of these people were dead.
At this point, the company set up a factory in Manchester (Lancashire) in partnership with someone called Bates and was known as Hammond Turner & Bates (HT&B). During the American Civil War the company made some very fine buttons, although I’m sorry that they were for the southern states (the ‘Confederacy’): despite my reservations, I have two examples of these highly collectable buttons in my collection. The name HT&B continued to be used in Yorkshire until at least the late 1880s, but not in connection with button making. (See Directories for a little more information.)
The Birmingham-based company HT&S continued trading into the early 20th century although, after the 1850s, they appear to have made fewer buttons and to have concentrated on ‘other’ metal items, such as those associated with chinaware like cake stands and biscuit barrels. They also made sugar tongs and tea strainers and, from the 1870s, had a silver hallmark (HTS) which they applied to items like belt buckles.