ABSTRACT

Lead manufacturing brought conspicuous consumption, in varying degrees, to the leaders of all the major firms in the nineteenth century and it is noticeable that none of them went out of business in that period. In lead, as with the other major non-ferrous metals required by industrialisation, tin and copper, Britain was largely self-sufficient until about 1850. Despite some expansion, home output of lead ore was growing insufficiently rapidly to meet rising demand for the metal at home and to continue to supply export markets. The output of white lead is the best documented area and, since from the early-nineteenth century its manufacture was beginning to be dominated by large firms, it offers fewest problems. The Tyneside industry had developed on the basis of local supplies of raw materials and the attractions of manufacturing to increase the value of the final product to be shipped.