This page contains a chronological history of the firm through the early years (1900 to 1930)

Ø   1879 - Albert Edward Jones is born in Worcestershire. His father was a blacksmith, wheelwright and trap maker.

Ø   A.E. Jones was apprenticed to Woodwards, a silversmiths based in Paradise Street, Birmingham. He later moved to the ecclesiastical metalworkers, Hardman Powell.  During his apprenticeship A.E. Jones would have been taught by Edward Webb.

Ø   At around the turn of the century A.E. Jones came into contact with Arthur Dixon and the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. He also took evening classes at the Birmingham Central School of Art and won several awards for his work. 

Ø   1901 - A.E. Jones is recorded as Guildsman (member of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft). A.E Jones would have come into contact with other well known Arts and Crafts designers and makers such as Edward R Taylor (Head of Birmingham School of Art), Arthur Gaskin and Bernard Cuzner. It is also likely that he met Thomas Birkett at this time who had been a Guildsman since 1896.

Ø  1901-1902 - Around this time A.E. Jones began making bronze ware at his father's premises in 51, Hurst Street, Birmingham.

Ø   1902 - A.E. Jones moves to start up his own premises at 21 Holloway Head, Birmingham. The early work used copper as was very much in the style of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. A.E. Jones made his own tools and all pieces were hand made to provide a distinctive light hammered finish. Later silver pieces used the earlier copper designs and A.E. Jones registered his mark at the Birmingham Assay Office in December 1902. At this time the firm had two employees, F Leonard Temple and Edward Colstan Harris.

Ø   1903 - A.E. Jones exhibits several pieces at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society's exhibition of 1903. These included pieces made by himself and Harris plus two collaborative pieces made with Bernard Cuzner, a flower bowl and rose bowl.

Ø   Around this time, E.R. Taylor was a visitor to the Hollway Head premises along with his son, Howson Taylor. Howson Taylor ran the Ruskin Pottery firm and his small pottery roundels, typically blue-green in colour, can be found in many pieces by A.E. Jones Ltd.

 

Ø   A.E. Jones was also making commissioned pieces for Arthur Gaskin and the respected Jeweller, W. T. Blackband.

Ø   Spencer Pumphrey, a master craftsman and well respected repoussé work specialist, is known to have worked with A.E. Jones in a freelance capacity around this time. One of his designs was "a jewel box, the lid decorated with four repoussé roses and a Shakespearian quotation Gather Ye Roses While Ye May Old Time is Still A-Flying" Reference 2.

Ø   1904 - Harold Hawes, A.E. Jones's first cousin joined the firm at the age of 16. He eventually became Works Manager but was tragically killed in an air raid in 1941.

Ø   1905 - A.E. Jones Ltd moves to larger premises in Windmill Street, Birmingham. A.E. Jones adds Jewellery to the line up of products and employs the Jeweller, William Gilbert.

Ø   1905 - A.E. Jones Ltd acquires certain designs and articles of metalwork from Jesson Birkett & Company Ltd. This includes the St Dunstan trade mark which depicts a monk hand raising a bowl. The trade mark originally belonged to the well known designer and metalworker, Llewellyn Rathbone and came in the possession of the Faulkner Bronze company Ltd, later Jesson, Birkett & Co when they took over the business of Llewellyn Rathbone in 1902. A.E. Jones also purchased the copper colouring process developed by F. W. Salthouse when he worked for Llewellyn Rathbone. Colours could be controlled to achieve shades of yellow, brown, bronze, black or even green or blue. At this time, several Jesson, Birkett & Co employees joined A. E. Jones Ltd - Salthouse, Oliver Cox and Warwick Bagley.

Ø   1905 - A.E. Jones starts to use some of the designs of Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd. Of particular note are the designers Bert Harvey and Anne Grisdale Stubbs. Anne Stubbs who later married Thomas Birkett had been a gold medallist at the Birmingham School of Art and was a very talented designer. Some of the designs of Anne G Stubbs were definitely made by A.E. Jones Ltd around 1905. These include boxes "characterised by sheet copper bodies riveted with metal strips at every edge, the strips sometimes relieved with an applied decorative roundel in silver of by Ruskin pottery roundels, with hinged lids protruding beyond the corners of the box, the surface lightly hammered. Strong green or turquoise enamel often contrasted with the patinated copper" Reference 2.

      Anne Stubbs also created some designs that were neo-classical in style with strips of applied silver in swags or used to outline symmetrical shapes on box lids. These can be seen in many of the firm's designs.

      Around this time the drawing style in the Jesson, Birkett & Co Ltd pattern books, previously neat, controlled pen drawings, become far less confident and sketchy. This is probably the transition between Jesson Birkett and A.E. Jones Ltd designs and corresponds to design number 2439.

Ø   1906 - A.E. Jones showed designs by E.C. Harris, Bernard Cuzner and W. Gilbert at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in January 1906.

Ø   1906 -  William Jones retires from the Blacksmith's and Wheelwright's business to join A.E. Jones Ltd to make special tools for his son.

Ø   1913 - A.E. Jones Ltd moves to 111 Livery Street, Birmingham to be closer to the heart of the Jewellery quarter.

Ø   1915 - Business impacted by the First World War. The company made aluminium parts for aircraft with the few staff that remained in the workshops.

Ø   1917 - Premises next door in Livery Street had a disastrous fire and the works were badly damaged. Fortunately most of the patter books and tools were saved. A.E. Jones Ltd subsequently moved to Pemberton Street, Birmingham.

Ø   1919 - 1923 - Post War business was good and the company's books from 1919 to 1923 show large orders from firms such as Connell's of London, Payne & Son of Oxford, The Birmingham Guild Ltd and Simplex Conduits who provided their own designs to be made up. "A. E. Jones made many special pieces of silverware but, unfortunately, they did not always bear the hallmark of AEJ, but those of clients or retailers" Reference 4.

Ø   1930 - A.E. Jones invited to review the work of the Birmingham Central School of art. 

The firm continued in business well up to the 1980's but I'll end the story hear for now as for me, this marks the end of the period when the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau Movements were at their peak.