In 1822, Isaac Babbitt opened a jewelry store in Massachusetts. Wanting to expand his jewelry business, Babbitt partnered with William Crossman and opened a britanniaware firm. Britanniaware is a metal alloy comparable to pewter. The Babbitt and Crossman firm grew over the next few years. The company produced individual pieces, like kettles and bowls.
In 1826, Babbitt and Crossman opened a new factory in Taunton, MA. The company’s strong sales record allowed for the building of a state of the art factory, which included a steam powered engine. In 1827, William West joined as a financial partner with the Babbitt and Crossman firm. The company changed its name to Babbitt, Crossman, and Co. Due to divergent business interests, Babbitt, Crossman, and West dissolved their partnership in 1829.
A new company was formed in 1830. The Taunton Britannia Manufacturing Co. was comprised of former employees of the Babbitt, Crossman, and Co. firm. During the early years, the company experienced many financial losses. The determination of the owners and the employees kept the business open and growing. During this time, Charles E. Barton worked as a solderer at the factory. Barton was the brother-in-law of William Crossman. Barton slowly worked his way up to being a managing partner of the Taunton Britannia Manufacturing Co. Because he wanted to see the company succeed, Barton partnered with Henry Good Reed, a prominent businessman of the Taunton area. Henry Reed and Charles Barton hired Benjamin Pratt as the company’s sales agent. Within one year of the partnership, the new company was well on its way to success.
In 1837, the company’s name was changed to Leonard, Reed, and Barton. Charles Leonard was taken in as a financial partner to help stabilize the firm and its finances. His share of the company was later purchased by Charles Barton and Henry Reed. Throughout the 1840’s, the “Leonard, Reed, and Barton” backstamp was faded out of production. The new backstamps simply read, “Reed and Barton.”
Throughout the next century, Reed and Barton steadily grew. The company primarily produced plated flatwares. The manufacturing of britanniaware was discontinued and the production of sterling took its place. Reed and Barton’s most popular pattern,
Francis I, was released in 1907. The company’s artists spent more than 3 years developing the
Francis I design.
In 1928, Reed and Barton purchased the Dominick and Haff Co. Later, the company acquired the Webster Co. and Sheffield Silver. Today, Reed and Barton remains a privately held company. Reed and Barton’s many patterns are immensely collectible. Be sure to browse our extensive inventory including such patterns as
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