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Shining a Light on the Past

Shining a Light on the Past - Reclaimed Brick Company

Helen Garner |

Our range of decorative salvage comes in all shapes and sizes and is recovered from demolition sites all over the country. In this blog, we delve into the history of one particular item, looking at the site from where it was recovered and the company that produced the original item.


Tinsley Wire Industries

Sheffield has a great industrial heritage. It is a world-renowned producer of steel and cutlery but other industries have also flourished in the city over the decades.  

Tinsley Wire Industries was founded by a Belgian wiremaker, Trefileries Leon Bekaert, in the 1930s and established a base on Sheffield Road in Tinsley, Sheffield.  


Their Shepcote Lane factory was constructed in 1962 and, by 1973, the company was the third largest wire producer in the UK.  

Bekaert acquired full ownership of the company and it then became part of Betafence in 1989. The company was Sheffield’s largest private employer as recently as the 1990s.  


The Sheffield Road factory closed its doors in 2006 and is now the site of the Sheffield branch of Ikea.  The Shepcote Lane site was closed in April 2019 and, in 2022, the site was earmarked for demolition.

Amongst the fittings from the Shepcote Lane factory came a set of industrial pendant lamps.  The lamps were manufactured by AEI Lamp & Lighting Company in Hereford, UK. 


AEI Lamp & Lighting Company

Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) was established in 1928 as a result of the merger of the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company and its rival, The British Thomson-Houston Company (BTH).  

Metropolitan-Vickers supplied the first fluorescent lighting for carriages on the London underground.

BTH held the British rights to produce and sell Mazda drawn-wire lightbulbs.  During the First World War BTH produced electrical equipment for the navy.

Also included in the new group was the Edison Swan Electric Company which itself was the result of a merger in 1883 of the Swan United Electric Company and the Edison Electric Light Company. Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan were two of the leading names spearheading the race to find the most efficient design for the lightbulb with both men having patents granted.  Following the merger, the glass bulbs sold in Britain were of Swan's design, while the filaments were of Edison's.

At the time of the establishment of AEI, the group had almost 30,000 employees. At that time, the constituent companies had been trading for over fifty years, since the invention of the electric lamp itself, and were at the forefront of the lighting industry in the UK.  

The AEI Lamp & Lighting Company was set up to act as a sales and distribution arm for products previously marketed by Metropolitan-Vickers, BTH and Edison Swan.  In 1960, the decision was made to stop using the old brand names and to use the branding of AEI Lamp & Lighting Company going forward instead.

AEI was subsequently taken over by the General Electric Company (GEC) in 1967.


Own a Memento of British Industrial History

So, fast forward to today and here we have a stunning piece of classic 1950’s British design and engineering. The lamp features an impressive 16” metal enamel green shade with cast iron top construction, featuring the original manufacturer's detailing and fixtures. 

Manufactured by a leading “light” in the electrical industry and recovered from the premises of a leading name in the wire industry, this is your opportunity to own an item intrinsically linked to British industrial history.  Two pieces of heritage for the price of one!

Head over to our shop for more information.

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