Stephenson Blake

English type foundry

Stephenson Blake is an engineering company based in Sheffield, England. The company was active from the early 19th century as a type founder, remaining until the 1990s as the last active type foundry in Britain, since when it has diversified into specialist engineering. The type foundry began operations in July 1818 by silversmith and mechanic William Garnett and toolmaker John Stephenson, financially supported by James Blake. That November, news came that the breakaway Caslon foundry (formed when William Caslon III left the original firm and acquired Joseph Jackson Foundry in 1792§ (Caslon foundry 1716; 1764; etc. §) was put up for sale by William Caslon IV. In 1819 the deal was concluded and Blake, Garnett & Co. were suddenly in charge of one of England's most prestigious typefoundries. In 1829 Garnett left to become a farmer. The company was renamed Blake & Stephenson in 1830, but Blake died soon after. It became Stephenson, Blake & Co. in 1841-1905. John Stephenson died in 1864, the year after he handed control to his son Henry. In 1905 the firm purchased Sir Charles Reed and Sons Ltd. It was then known as Stephenson, Blake & Co., and Sir Charles Reed and Sons between 1905-1914. In 1914, without any change in proprietorship, the business was converted into a private limited liability company. The early 1900s the foundry had ventured into steel making and tool production, which would prove to be the core business of the current firm Stephenson, Blake and Co., Ltd. from until 2004 when Tom Blake (5th Generation) retired.
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