Jewellery/silver and the Industrial Revolution

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Explore the historical connection between silver craftsmanship and the Industrial Revolution. Discover the regulations, assay offices, and technological advancements that shaped the jewelry industry.


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  1. Jewellery/silver and the Industrial Revolution HI3T5 week 14 Dr. Michael Bycroft

  2. https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/thinktank/highlights/smethhttps://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/thinktank/highlights/smeth wick-engine https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/birmingham-museum-and- art-gallery/virtual-tour https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/museum-of-the-jewellery- quarter/360-tour

  3. 1238 earliest attempt in England to regulate the quality of gold and silver wares 1300 Guardians of the craft assigned to assay wares at workshops 1478 Goldsmith s Hall in London becomes permanent site of assays 1757 counterfeiting hallmarks becomes a felony punishable by death 1773 Birmingham and Sheffield assay offices created by parliament 1784 duty on silver re-imposed; duty on gold imposed 1824 Birmingham Assay Office now assays gold as well as silver

  4. 1712 Newcomen steam engine invented by Thomas Newcomen, Devonshire ironmonger 1762 Mathew Boulton begins building Soho Manufactory 1765 separate condenser invented by James Watt, then an instrument- maker at Glasgow University 1773 Birmingham Assay Office created by Act of Parliament 1775 Boulton and Watt enter business partnership based on ownership of patent of Watt s engine 1781 Watt acquires patent for sun and planet gear that turns reciprocating engine into rotational one 1788 Soho Mint established to strike copper coins using steam engines 1796 Soho Foundry established by Boulton and Watt to manufacture steam engines 1797 Boulton granted license to strike British coins

  5. The task for the week, aside from reading the Tann book, is to find and consult one other primary or secondary source that adds to the early history of the Assay Office as described by Tann. Make a note of a) what your source adds to Tann's account and b) any obstacles you face in finding and consulting sources. We will talk about both in the seminar. Some clues for finding sources: the classmark of Tann's book in the library is HC 258.B57 T36, which is on floor 5 of the library - other books on that shelf may be relevant ten editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, including the first edition from the 1770s, have been digitized by National Libraries of Scotland related search terms are 'industrial revolution', 'Mathew Boulton', 'Birmingham history', 'goldsmiths' company,' etc. the Birmingham Museums website has a searchable database of images of objects in their collections

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