Sheffield Cutlery Flatware & Gifts

The History Of Elkington & Co. & James Dixon

Elkington & James Dixon

The Inventors Of Silver Plating

The originators of silver-plating were George Richards Elkington and Henry Elkington who began their research in times of the Industrial Revolution. By the 1830's they had patented their processes and 1840 saw the technique of electro-plating brought to perfection.

John Culme, in his Directory of Gold and Silversmiths, said that "Elkington Electroplate was soon accepted with the result that the firm allowed a number of manufacturers to use the technique under licence. Among the earliest granted were those of Christofle & Cie of France".

The firm has a worldwide reputation for hand-crafted excellence. Today, the firm is busy making bowls, jugs, trays, candlesticks, ornaments and trophies for international sporting events as well as cutlery pieces.

Royal Endorsements & Warrants

Queen Victoria

In 1868, Queen Victoria permitted much of the royal plate to be copied by Elkingtons and after that a convention was entered into by "several Princes of the reigning families of Europe" whereby they agreed mutually to assist the company in allowing copies of their own national objects for the process of art.

For its excellence in artistic quality and fine design for which the company has received the highest possible awards at the Great International Exhibitions, Elkington & Co. has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur of the French Republic and has the distinction and honour of holding Royal Warrants to their late Majesties Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, King George V, Queen Mary and King George VI, as well as the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) and H.R.H. the late Princess Christian and their late majesties the King of Spain and King of Italy.

You will also find Elkington cutlery on display in the Royal Yacht Britannia's Banqueting Room, having been used by the British Royal Family and the many distinguished guests who have spent time on the Yacht, up to the time that it was decommissioned in the late 1990's.

Silver Condiment Set

For more information on the Elkington family from one of the descendants, please see here - Elkington Family History.



Cutlery that is made in Sheffield comes with a guarantee of high quality that can immediately be seen in the design and manufacture of cutlery available with the Elkington/James Dixon/Cobb brands that are available via this web site.

Please see the technical details below, or check out our Customer Feedback to appreciate what quality you might own were you to order cutlery and flatware from this web site.

Elkington's 10 Points Of Excellence

Elkington Silver Plated Nickel Silver Cutlery:-

  1. 40 year guarantee
  2. Fully dishwasher-safe (See our FAQ on the subject of dishwashers)
  3. Showroom
  4. 100% Made in Sheffield, England
  5. 35 Microns of 99.999% pure silver organically plated
  6. Easy clean silver instructions
  7. 11% nickel silver to give extra strength to the base metal
  8. The knives come with Sheffield-made hardened Martensitic Stainless Steel blades
  9. Wooden cutlery cabinets Made in Sheffield also available
  10. Wood for cabinets comes from sustainable North American forests
  11. Elkington cutlery exceeds British Standards BS.5577*, and International Standards ISO 8442 and conforms to F.D.A. and US Public Health regulations and European Health Directives

About James Dixon & Son

This company was among one of the largest manufacturers in Sheffield, founded in 1805. They worked from a purpose-built factory by the side of the River Don (Cornish Works), moving there in 1822. Dixons made their fortune by making cutlery and household objects from Britannia Metal (an alloy of tin, antimony and copper, which looks like silver when polished and was a fraction of the cost to produce), Old Sheffield Plate and pewterware. Later they produced electroplated objects, high end silver items, and were well known for their work on sporting and commemorative trophies.

The company are based at Windsor Street in the Attercliffe area of Sheffield. They employ craftspeople with up to 50 years of experience in such areas as buffing, guilding, casting etc. They also have a large catalog of tools and dies that date back to the early 19th centrury. They have all the necessary skills under one roof.

People used to dealing with luxury can feel the difference in the finish of the items produced and also the durability and the way they are set.

The Hallmarking System For Sterling Silver Items

In 1238, King Henry II commanded six reputable craftsmen in the silversmith trade to control and regulate standards. This was to stop greedy and unscrupulous manufacturers defrauding the public by substituting white base metal for the prized and much sought after precious metal silver. Thus was created the British Hallmarking System which is probably the earliest recorded piece of Consumer Protection, and over 775 years later, is unquestionably the most enduring.

A hallmark gives the purchaser a visible guarantee of quality. Before any piece of Silver can be hallmarked, it is individually tested at the Assay Office to determine its purity and, if found to be of the required standard, laid down by statute, then, and only then is it hallmarked.

Elkington's Sterling Silver cutlery is hallmarked at the Sheffield Assay Office. To learn more about what this means you may visit the Assay Office Web Site.

British Silverware donated 350 place settings of 10 pieces each to the Cutlers' Company in Sheffield for banquets and feasts. It also cleans and stores them between events.

See our pages on Stainless Steel, Silver Plate & Sterling Silver Cutlery & Gifts for more details of the high quality pieces available for purchase from this site.

When Will My Items Be Dispatched?

For sets supplied by Elkington or James Dixon they currently have a time-to-completion of an estimated 12 weeks for the manufacturing process. Sterling silver items need to be hallmarked which involves the goods spending some time at the Assay Office in Sheffield. This can add a week or so onto the time-to-completion period.

Patterns Available

The Elkington cutlery patterns on display on this site are a culmination of craftsmanship covering a period of elegant refined classical designs from the early 1600's to the present day. Click here to view the current range of patterns on our Patterns Selector page. Elkington cutlery is available in Aegean | Bead | Continental Thread | Dubarry | Grecian (Athenian) | Kings | Lily | Louis XIV | Old English | Rattail | Reed & Ribbon | Strathmore | Venetian.

Elkington / James Dixon Cutlery Is Available In The Following Ranges And Patterns
Help Click To Reveal Patterns

Elkington - Bringing Elegance To Your Dining Table