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Thomas Boulsover

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Title: Thomas Boulsover  
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Subject: Economy of Sheffield, Industrial Revolution, Plated ware, Sheffield plate, Pauper apprentice
Collection: 1705 Births, 1788 Deaths, Ecclesfield, English Inventors, History of Sheffield, People from Sheffield
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Thomas Boulsover

Thomas Boulsover
Memorial to Thomas Boulsover

Thomas Boulsover (1705 – 9 September 1788), Sheffield cutler and the inventor of Sheffield Plate, was born in what is now the Ecclesfield district of the city and died at his home at Whiteley Wood Hall, on the River Porter.

Boulsover completed his apprenticeship as a cutler in 1726 and, around 1740 set up his own workshop on the corner of Tudor Street and Surrey Street in Sheffield's city centre. It was at these premises that, in 1743, he discovered (by accident it is said, while repairing the handle of a knife) that silver could be relatively easily fused onto copper and that the resulting "sandwich" could be fabricated effectively, by hammering and rolling, as one material while maintaining the outer appearance of pure silver. This material became known as Sheffield Plate and Boulsover, in partnership with fellow Sheffielder Joseph Wilson, began to manufacture buttons, buckles, spurs and small boxes of the material. The business was funded by Strelley Pegge of Beauchief who later sold Boulsover Whiteley Wood Hall in 1757. [1]

Josiah Hancock, one of Boulsover's apprentices, subsequently also began to make artistic pieces, especialmente dishes and trays and holloware such as coffee-pots.

Thomas' wife Hannah died in 1772 and was buried in St Paul's Church Sheffield.

Thomas died on Tuesday 9 September 1788 and was buried alongside his wife. [2]

There are two monuments in Sheffield erected in memory of Thomas Boulsover, one in Whiteley Woods on the hillside between Wire Mill Dam and Porter Brook, and the other in Tudor Square, in the city centre.

External links

  • Biography at the Tilthammer site
  • Sheffield Hallam University's "Public Art in Sheffield"


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