A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002


READ ENGINEERING CO.,  ZOAR STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON

This advertisement, from 1920, is the only evidence of this firm, who appear to have made padlocks but may have been acting as vendors for other makers.

WILLIAM READ


An advert from 1861.

 
WILLIAM REEVES, 47 MERRIDALE STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON

Known only from this statement heading, dated 1884.  From the alteration to it the firm seems to have given up making locks to specialise in keys.

The handwritten statement reads:  1 Pad Key to Lock Enclosed - 8d.  At the foot is a handwritten note:  "Sir I duly received 8 stamps in settled of small account With Thanks Yours Truly W Reeves".
 

REGAL LOCK AND ENGINEERING CO.   5 BRAY STREET,  WILLENHALL


Lock makers supplied by A. Hough from May 1947 until March 1949 when the account was written off as a bed debt.

 

REGAL MANUFACTURING CO LTD,  40 CHESTER STREET,  BIRMINGHAM

Made the Regent stainless cylinder latch 

 


Left is an advert from 1938.  

In 1948 Radiant Stainless Products Ltd. of Regent Works, Highgate Road, Birmingham 12, were producing the "Radiant" cylinder rim night latch.

In 1953 Security Locks (Birmingham) Ltd. were at Regal Works, 81 Highgate Road, Birmingham 12, and were producing SEDLEEMN and SECLOK cylinder locks, which were said to be of inferior quality.

It is not known if there was any connection between the two firms. (CLMS 4/5/1952).

 

REGENT LOCK COMPANY,  BATH ROAD INDUSTRIAL ESTATE,  CHIPPENHAM, WILTSHIRE

Started in 1961 by Mr. Ernie Daley in a small workshop at 60 Ashbrook Road, Upper Holloway, London N 19, to make wafer and radial pin locks.  In just three years the company had expanded its range to make it a leading supplier of garage door locks and handles.  They were still in London in November 1971 but by November 1972 had moved to Bath Road Industrial Estate, Chippenham, where they widened their range of locks for windows and handles for the window industry.  They specialised in the manufacture of wafer locks with die cast bodies for garage doors and filing cabinets and vending machines.

Mr. Daley retired in 1993 and John Tidman took over as general manager.  When Mr Daley died, in the early part of 1994, the family sold the business and it was taken over by Cotswold Architecture Ltd of Cheltenham (q.v.) in September 1994.  John Tidman became a director along with Y.A.Wronski, L.McDonough and I.W.Morgan.  John Tidman left June 1996.

 

REGENT SAFE & CABINET CO. LTD.  WILLENHALL

Run by Ken Rooker making safe locks, etc.  Existing in 1974.  In September 1994 was almost closed but still running up to 1999, when Ken sold the tooling for a safe lock he had made to John Worrall and Sons Ltd. (q.v.).  Ken Rooker was a cousin of Mr Sidbottom of WBS Locks Ltd. (q.v.) and helped out with that company.

 

J. E. REYNOLDS AND CO LTD,  ERA WORKS,  STRAIGHT ROAD,  SHORT HEATH,  WILLENHALL

Founded in 1838, it was just a small locksmiths when Willenhall born Ralph Morris joined in 1936. He was no stranger to the lock industry as his mother's family had been connected with the trade for 300 years.  When Mr Morris joined J..E. Reynolds the company was antiquated but he saw potential in the lock making industry.  In those days the firm was a little "upstairs - downstairs" factory in Fletchers Lane, Willenhall, employing about 12 staff and making car locks.  The company was incorporated in 1938 and during the war bought five acres of land in Straight Road, Short Heath and built a new factory.  During the war they made Bren gun spanners and did press work for jerry cans.  In 1950 Mr Morris bought out the Reynolds family.  The post war boom did not last too long, so he sold the original factory and in 1959 built a new unit on part of the same site, manufacturing pad locks and cylinder night latches.

The new works, 1959.

The new works being opened, 1959.   

The works annual outing went to Stockport in 1951.

Ralph Morris then passed on the business to his sons, David and Peter.  They were later joined by their brother in law Michael Hunt, who increased the range of products by adding mortice locks and a considerable range of window locks.

Part of the works in 1980.   

Another part of the works in 1980.

The firm was sold to the Laird Group on the 10 September 1986, with David Morris and Michael Hunt as joint managing directors.  By this time Peter had already left and set up a company making window fittings.  Some time later David Morris retired to farm and Michael Hunt later took over Terry’s of Redditch.  Martin Emm took over as MD.

The firm took over Crompton Ltd. on 30 October 1995.  At this time Reynolds changed their name to Reynolds (UK) Ltd., at which time the Short Heath plant employed over 200 and the Crompton plant at Haydock employed 130.  In December 1995 they took over Seal (UK) who were market leaders in electronic locks.  They were relocated from Stockport to Short Heath.  They employed 6 people.  In 1996 ERA introduced an electronic lock.

In July 1995 Laird acquired Cego, which makes handles and locking systems for doors and windows, for £40m.

Martin Emm left as MD May 1999.  He had held the post for 12 years.  A new MD was appointed in November 1999.  David Hill took over as Managing Director in January 2004.

On the 1st March 2000 the company name was changed to ERA Products Ltd.

Thanks to Stuart Jones for corrections, updates and photos, February 2004

 

GEORGE RICHARDS (WILLENHALL) LOCK CO. LTD.  CEMETERY ROAD SOUTH,  WILLENHALL

Brass and iron padlock makers established in 1898.  Existing in 1953.  Not existing 1970.

 

RHONSON LOCK CO.   84 ST ANNS ROAD,  WILLENHALL

Maufactured cabinet locks in the early 1960s.

Paul Sutherland tells us that, when Richard Cooper & Co (qv) folded, this company was set up by his father, Roy Sutherland, who had been a director of Cooper's, and Stan Johnson, a Willenhall man who had been foreman at Cooper's.  

The name Rhonson seems to have been developed from the names of the partners.  

 

R.  J.  LOCKS,  REGENT STREET,  WILLENHALL

In 1983, after he had sold Thomas Morgan (q.v.) to W.J. Goodwin (q.v.), Jack Morgan set up RJ Locks with his cousin, Ralph Jackson, in the original Regent Street premises of Thomas Morgan. Ralph had worked for the company since he left school and before that his father and grandfather had helped out in the Morgan family lock making business.  They made special one off locks.  Jack Morgan died in 1996 and Ralph continued the business in 1999.


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