I've only recently found this forum, and I'd like to make a few observations about Thomas Prime and Son. There were three Thomas Primes connected with the firm. The first, Thomas "the founder", was baptised in Elmdon (Warwickshire) in 1796, the son of Samuel Prime (parish clerk for 42 years) and Elizabeth Burr. Thomas' older brother, John Prime, was a close plater in Birmingham (bef.1821), who appears in Trades Directories at this time. Thomas probably joined him in business in Northwood Street (the firm began in 1818).
Thomas Prime was advertising as a "plater on steel" by 1830 - when he had probably set up in business on his own. John Prime (aged 65) appears on the 1841 census, described as a "journeyman plater" in Birmingham. Thomas Prime was ambitious and when an engineer called J.S.Woolrich invented a magneto-dynamo capable of plating silver onto base metal, Prime installed a machine in his factory in 1842. This machine still exists and is on display in Birmingham Science Museum. The great Michael Faraday apparently visited Prime's factory to see his theories about electro-magnetic induction put to a practical purpose, and was most impressed by all accounts. By 1851 Prime was employing 37 people at his *Magneto Works*, producing plated and also sterling silver. Prime exhibited at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851, and at the Paris Exibition in 1856. A pattern book of his dated 1870 illustrates a variety of different types of domestic silver and plate that the firm produced. By 1871 the firm was employing 30 men, 6 boys and 11 women. Thomas Prime was active in local politics, serving on the Birmingham Council from 1843 until 1877, and he was elected Mayor from 1869 to 1870. He died in 1881, and the firm passed to his son Thomas Prime II. Thomas Prime II ran the firm in partnership with his son, Thomas Tertius Prime ("Tertius" meaning "third") until the partnership was formerly disolved in July 1891 (notice in the London Gazette). Thomas II died shortly afterwards in 1892. The firm continued with Thomas Tertius Prime at the helm until around 1900, when the Magneto-plate works ceased to trade. Incidentally, the first Thomas Prime's sister, Esther, married Jonas Bowen in 1806 Edgebaston. Their sons were George and Jonas Bowen, initially in partnership as silversmiths and electroplaters, and then with their own businesses in Birmingham by the late nineteenth century.