The Berndoff Metal Co.—The manufacturers of nickel and other metals in Birmingham are threatened with a very severe competition on the part of the Germans as well as the French. For some years past the price of nickel has been gradually falling, and is now selling at 2s. a pound as compared with 16s. before the Germans abolished their silver currency. Within the past few months the Berndoff Metal Co., of Berndoff, near Vienna, have built imposing offices and warehouses in Birmingham for the purpose of cultivating trade with England and the British Colonies, and have met with a large amount of success. The progress of the company itself is amongst the most remarkable in the history of enterprise on the continent. The works were established in 1845 on a very small scale, and they now give employment to 2,400 work-people, manufacturing every description of sheet metal and wire, ammunition metal and nickel coinage, spoons and forks for every market in the world, also electro-plated goods. The company have agencies in Spain, Norway, Sweden, Berlin, Paris and various parts of the Austrian dominions. The Birmingham establishment which has a frontage to Frederick Street and Regent Street covers 5400 square yards of ground, and is built in the Italian style of architecture. The Berndoff Co. manufacture cooking utensils and spoons and forks from their pure patent nickel, which they claim to be the only nickel without alloy, which can be manipulated in this way. The advantage of goods made from the pure nickel is that they are of almost everlasting wear and keep their colour throughout. They are said to be greatly superior to nickel alloyed with tin, though somewhat more costly. The firm have appointed Mr. R. S. Spittle, formerly manager for the late Mr. Stephen Barker, as their Birmingham agent, and this gentleman is rapidly acquiring an important connection with electroplaters and others in Birmingham, Sheffield and other hardware centres. The demand is largely in excess of the supply, the company being so busily occupied in meeting the requirements on the continent and in other countries. The Berndoff Co. produce a special metal called oreid for sheets and wire for gilt jewellery. This metal is of a beautiful colour, resembling gold, and is to a great extent superseding aluminium. It is now in extreme request by the jewellers in Birmingham and also in the Colonies. In most classes of electroplated goods, the Berndoff Co. claim to have cut out most of the Birmingham metal manufacturers in the Paris market, where they are turning over more than 25,000l. a year. The company’s nickel and oreid are used extensively for dish covers, whip-mounts, and wire.
Source: The British Trade Journal - 1st October 1889