It is a common mistake to assume our forefathers were less smart or creative than we are today.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Dan, you would soon realise this could not possibly be true.
Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666.
The English Civil War begins.
During this time a mould of a spoon
was found inside the bottom of a well,
Leading to its name the “Well Spoon”.
The product is still in production
by A.E. Williams today using
the same mould.
The Great Fire of London
destroys the records of the Pewter
manufacturers in England
when the fire consumed the
Worshipful Company of
Pewterers third livery
A shaker much like this was among the first ever products produced by A.E. Williams
Thomas Williams starts a
new business from his home
on the Welsh border
With a reduction in taxes,
tea consumption booms and
starts to be known as our national
drink. Thomas Williams begins
to produce pewter tea
Oliver Cromwell, by Samuel Cooper. Cromwell played important role in the defeat of the royalist forces.
Richard Williams joins his
father as an apprentice in
Lord Nelson used a combined knife and fork, given to him after he lost his arm.
During the Napoleonic Wars, pewter
becomes highly sought after for
making buttons. With up to 250,000
soldiers in the army, Britain
needed plenty of
Thomas passes away and
Richard takes over the
A.E. Williams produced the famous Oliver Twist bowl, seen here.
Charles Dickens publishes
Oliver Twist. 170 years later, the
BBC miniseries uses A.E. Williams pewter
for the bowl in the famous “Please sir,
can I have some more?”
11 year old Ernest Williams
follows his father’s footsteps and
joins the company as an
Moving an entire business in 1840 wasn’t an easy task, and would have required a long journey by horse and cart.
Demand for pewter encourages
Ernest to move the business to
Birmingham, whilst Richard stays
at home, continuing to provide
plates and dishes
A beer mug produced by A.E. Williams.
Ernest spends most of his time making
beer mugs and small bellied measures without
a maker’s mark for other companies - such as
Yates and Birch, a renowned pewter company
of the era. The company, known as
Williams Pewter, starts to grow
and take on apprentices.
Richard passes away and
Ernest becomes the sole family
member running Williams
Albert Williams, pictured here in 1942.
Albert Williams joins his father in the
workshop at the rather late age (in
comparison!) of 32. He and his father work
alongside each other until 1900, when
Richard passes away.
Ernest Williams passes away
and son Albert takes over the
business in partnership
with Harry Day
World War I almost ground A.E. Williams to a complete halt.
RMS Titanic sets off on her maiden
voyage from Southampton to New York carrying
2224 passengers. On 15th April the ship hits an
iceberg and sinks, claiming more than 1500
lives. The pewter cutlery on board is
reproduced by A.E. Williams in
2010 to commemorate
A.E. Williams produced cutlery for a museum based on the original Titanic cutlery, donated by a private collector.
The Ritz Hotel in London
is opened. A.E. Wlliams has the
honour of producing pewter tea
sets including teapots,
tea trays and sugar
sets for the
With the outbreak of the Great
War, pewter manufacture at the
A.E. Williams factory slows as
young men are called
to the Front.
A.E. Williams produced various props for the Pirates of the Caribbean series, including this jug.
The Walt Disney Company releases
Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse is
introduced to the world. Today Disney
use A.E. Williams props and products
for films such as the Pirates
of the Caribbean
Albert’s son Thomas joins
A.E. Williams at the tender
age of 10.
Statue of Walt Disney produced by A.E. Williams
The British Broadcasting
Corporation is founded. BBC worldwide
are currently a customer of A.E. Williams,
providing them with not only props
for many period BBC productions
but also a range of giftware
for BBC’s own
Thomas Williams packing Georgian Style Tankards.
World War II erupts and
Thomas and Dorothy Williams go to
work, respectively at an Airfield and
Munitions factory to support the war effort.
Dorothy assists Thomas to keep A.E.
Williams going by working
during the nights from
Dorothy Williams, pictured here soldering tankard handles to bodies in 1986.
Harry Day splits off from the
company and Thomas takes control
of the business with younger
brother Albert working
Dorothy Williams, pictured here soldering feet to the bottom of a bowl in 1979.
Thomas’ wife Dorothy officially
joins the company as a solderer, a
skill she’d picked up whilst
working making ammunition
boxes during the war.
Barry Johnson – turning a measure circa 1986.
Barry Johnson, Thomas’ son-
in-law joins the company to help
Thomas and Albert with the
increasing level of work.
His specialism is in
A charger mould from 1762 still in use today.
Thomas’ son David joins the
family firm, learning how to fettle
handles for tankards before
moving on to polishing
items on a
Pamela Johnson, pictured here hand buffing Windsor tankards prior to despatch circa 1994.
A.E. Williams purchases the
moulds and tools owned by
retired former partner
David Williams – Polishing a Tankard body in 1982.
Pamela Johnson, Barry’s Wife,
Joined the company taking care of
the company accounts and admin due to
the expansion of the company, a role
which was never required
A mould from 1729 that A.E. Willaims still uses to this day.
All of the Pearson Page – Jewsbury
(Peerage) Pewter moulds are purchased
by A.E. Williams. Pearson Page were a
prolific copper and brassware
producer in the 20th
Stephen Johnson, shown here at a lathe with a linishing belt.
Stephen Johnson joins the
family firm, starting out linishing
handles ready for soldering
before moving on to learning
how to make
Portrait of "Cosette" by Emile Bayard, from the original edition of Les Misérables (1862).
Cameron Mackintosh’s version of the
musical Les Miserablés opens on the West End.
A.E. Williams become a trusted provider
for Cameron Mackintosh, providing
pewter props for this production
and others, including
A.E. Williams produced the candlestick used in the Blackadder christmas special, pictured here.
Thomas Williams takes up
semi-retirement, leaving the day-to-
day operation of the business to
his son David and son-
The Blackadder one off special
parody of A Christmas Carol by Charles
Dickens uses a number of A.E. Williams
props - particularly the Chamber
Candlestick, which is still in
Thomas Williams – Gravity Casting a Tobacco jar in 1994.
A.E. Williams purchases the
James Yates moulds from The Britannia
Collection. A.E. Williams now owns
over 1500 antique bronze moulds,
some over 500 years old, which
are still used today.
Stephen Johnson, pictured here making a mould ready for casting around 1991
Stephen joins his father and
uncle as a partner in
14" wide rim plate, as used in the film Gladiator.
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is released.
The movie uses pewter props by A.E.
Williams, and is the first of many Russell
Crowe films we supply for, including
Master and Commander, Robin
Hood, and Cameron
A.E. Williams partner Sam Williams
David’s son Sam joins the
company. A.E. Williams are now
a well established producer of
giftware. Sam goes on to
become a partner in
the firm 2012.
The tudor moulds are among our oldest moulds.
A.E. Williams supply the Historic
Royal Palaces with Pewter pieces from
the original Tudor moulds to celebrate
500 years since Henry VIII
ascended the throne.
The recreation of the Henry VIII Wine Fountain at Hampton Court Palace.
Recreation of the Henry VIII
Wine Fountain at Hampton Court
Palace unveiled. A.E. Williams are the only
company, besides the Royal Mint, to
make coinage for the Crown in over
500 years. Visitors use the coins
to pay for a goblet of wine
from the fountain.
Rebecca Johnson, the 8th generation working for A.E. Williams
Barry Johnson retires
from the company.
Barry Johnson retired in 2011 after a long career.
Stephen Johnson’s daughter
Rebecca joins A.E. Williams as the
8th generation of family working
for the business.