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William Fry & Co., of Dublin

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William Fry & Co., of Dublin

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Fry and Company, established 1758 Advertisement in Harper’s Hand-book for Travellers In Europe, 1874, page 50 says William Fry & Co., established in 1758
1835--Royal Dublin Society-Irish Manufacturers and Works of Art, Large Silver Medal, to Wm. Fry & Co., 30, Dame Street, Dublin for specimens of coach lace and car coverings. Belfast News Letter (Belfast, Ireland) Issue 10,225 (Friday June 12, 1835).
,... The factory was first on Nicholas street, moved to Dame street, thence to Thevin Street and the last move to Cork street, where they are at the present time, with such a reputation that they are known all over the world, and many of the best made carriages are trimmed with Irish lace. The late novelties are the silk plush linings, silk imitation of Moroccos, silk taburets for head linings and specially fine texture carpet for fine carriages. Carriage Monthly. Vol. 24 No. 11 (February 1889). See also Chapter on Weaving.
1853-- Perhaps the most extensive and splendid display of Irish poplins is made by Messrs William Fry and Co., 31, Westmoreland-street, who have for many years stood at the head of this trade in Dublin. One of the compartments, twenty-five feet square, under the northern gallery of the great hall, has been allotted to the Messrs, Fry, and it has been hung round most tastefully with British and foreign chintzes, which have a very pleasing effect. Here the visitor will have an opportunity of seeing how the interesting manufacture of poplin is carried on. With the exception of dyeing the silk, every process in the fabrication of this beautiful material is illustrated by the machines which the Messrs. Fry have erected at no small inconvenience and expense. At one side of the apartment several girls are employed in winding the silk on the bobbins. On the other side an intelligent artizan is engaged in the process of warping, or drawing the silk off the bobbins, and preparing the warp for the weaver; and lastly, the loom may be seen at work, making an exquisite and rich’y figured poplin, similar to that worn by Mrs. Dargan at the opening of the Exhibition. The Messrs. Fry also exhibit a case containing specimens of the various descriptions of silks--Italian, Greek, Turkish, and Chinese--the latter, which is the finest description, being that which they use in the manufacture of their best articles. The chief manufacture carried on by this eminent establishment is that of coach lace, trimmings, &c., which they annually export in vast quantities to England. They keep sixty looms constantly at work, and the number of persons, including women and children, who thus obtain profitable employment, exceeds three hundred. The goods displayed by the Messrs. Fry consist of plain, corded, and watered tartan; figured and brocaded Irish poplins; Bayadere poplins, gold and silver tissues and vestings; striped tabarets and damask furniture poplins; Irish brocatelles; British printed chintzes and velvets; velvet pile and Brussels carpeting; carriage silks, laces and trimmings; rosewood ottoman sofa and chairs upholstered in amber damask poplin. The latter will be exhibited in the furniture room, which is not yet perfectly arranged. It may be interesting to our readers to know that many of the patterns of these exquisite poplins and brocatelles were drawn by pupils of the School of Design, and that the Messrs. Fry, who are amongst the best and most liberal employers in Dublin, are always most anxious to patronize and encourage native talent. Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland) Tuesday May 31, 1853.
1866--“List of Donations to the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art, from the 31st January to the 31st December 1866. 39 specimens illustrating the manufacture of poplins, tabinets, coach lace. Thirteenth Report of the Science and Art Department of the Committee of Council of Education. London : George E. Eyre &William Spottiswoode, 1866, page 255.
1873--International Exhibition...Mr. Fry of 31 Westmoreland Street, Dublin has an excellent show of coach laces and fringe silk for carriage linings....Era (London, England) Sunday May 4, 1873, issue 1806.
1873--William Fry & Co., 1873, 31 Westmoreland Street, coach lace and fringe silk for carriage linings. London International Exhibition of 1873 : Official Catalogue, London, England : J. M. Johnson & Sons, 1873, page 157.
1884--In 1884 Thomas Fry of Dublin, Ireland voiced his sentiments about tariffs and duty free goods. In his speech before the British Carriage Manufactures. ”The first axiom I will state is, if a certain trade or manufacture dies out in a country, it is almost impossible to revive it. Take, for example, the plush and black silk velvet trades. Years ago, London and Dublin were celebrated for their velvets, the manufacture of which gave large employment; now, not a single piece of black silk velvet is made in Dublin, and very little in London, the trade having entirely gone to France. The miles of Utrecht velvet, with which furniture is covered, also come from the Continent. This, I believe, has partly been caused by allowing these articles to come in duty free, and the low rate of wages paid on the Continent.
This I only regret as a manufacture lost to the country, which would be very hard to revive now. But what I do complain of is, the want of reciprocity; for example, in the very article of coach lace, or even carriages, the foreign manufacture is allowed into this country duty free, an we have to pay a very high duty when sending them to France or America, which decidedly gives the foreign manufacturer an advantage, as he can make a fair profit out of his own trade and cut his export very low, so as to do a large business. As we all know, the larger the trade is (if properly conducted), the cheaper is the rate at which we can work.
I am not a politician, and this is not the place or occasion to discuss the question of free trade. But I think it would be well for this Institute to consider the subject, and after we get the Chancellor of the Exchequer to abolish the carriage tax, we may get him to hear our voice when future commercial treaties are being negotiated. Thomas Fry, “The Manufacture of Carriage Lace and Trimming,” Papers read before the Institute of British Carriage Manufactures, Tuesday, January 15, 1884, page 40; Saddlers, Harness Makers, Carriage Builders’ Gazette. Vol. 14-15 (1884-1885), page 15.
1887--Fry and Company - carriage lace and trimming manufacturers, of Dublin, Ireland, are experiencing excellent trade, so much so that they are enlarging their premises to meet the increasing demand for their wares. The firm employ 250 hands, of whom 180, are females and these include about 60 first-class weavers. Hub. Vol. 28 No. 11 (February, 1887).

Additional Notes:
1835–specimens of Coach Lace, by Fry & Co. The Irish Farmer’s And Gardener’s Magazine and Register of Rural Affairs. Vol. II (January to December 1835), page 326.

1853–We must not, however, omit to notice a spirited and successful exception in the case of Messrs. William Fry and Co., which has only to be generally imitated to place the trade on a more satisfactory footing than it has ever yet enjoyed amongst us. They had been in the habit of producing tabarets for coach-makers and cabinet-makers; but, in 1849, when looking after contracts advertised by some of the railway companies, they found that they could not compete with the English prices, without taking any profit for themselves at all into account. Seeing, after the closest calculation, that they were unable to modify their tender, they applied to some of the English manufacturers for their scale of prices to the workmen, when they found that the London price for weaving furniture tabarets was five-pence to six-pence per yard, while here it was eight-pence; and that ten-pence to one shilling per yard was paid for coach-maker’s tabarets on the other side of the channel, while Messrs. Fry and Co. had for years been paying one shilling and eight-pence halfpenny. On receipt of this information these gentlemen called their workmen together, when it was placed before them; and they were apprised that unless the rates here were reduced to those of England the trade must vanish from the country altogether. After due deliberation a peremptory refusal was given to this very reasonable demand. But the Messrs. Fry were not to be driven from the field without an effort; and, after making the necessary arrangements, they succeeded in collecting a number of hands who were satisfied to accept the proposed terms, which rendered them independent of the general body of the trade, a position which they have since maintained. The consequence is, that they are now doing a large business in this class of goods; and through their firmness, and the judicious arrangements which they adopted, they adopted, they succeeded in preserving to the country a branch of trade which the insane system of combination had well nigh driven from it.
The collection of furniture exhibited by William Fry and Co., contained a variety of articles, all unexceptionable as to design, and some of great beauty. An ottoman attracted much attention as showing a graceful modification of an article which admits of a great variety of forms, which is not necessarily expensive, and which might be introduced to a much larger extent than it is at present. John Sproule. Resources and Manufacturing Industry of Ireland, As Illustrated By the Exhibition of 1853:... Dublin, page 284, 409. Also found published in John Sproule, Editor. Irish Industrial Exhibition of 1853: A Detailed Catalogue Of Its Contents, With Critical Dissertations, Statistical Information, .... Dublin : James McGlashan, 1854, page 284.

1862–We engrave a drawing-room Pier Table, designed and executed by Messrs, Fry & Co., Upholsters, Dublin, for Shane’s Castle, County Antrim. The carving is in limetree, gilt, having a slab of statuary marble on top, and a mirror at back, the entire standing on a carved plinth of walnut and gold. Illustration given. page 108; Messrs. William Fry & Co., of Dublin, whose Tabbinets have been long famous throughout the world, exhibit several examples of the beautiful fabric for which Ireland is still pre-eminent. This column, however, contains engravings of two of their productions in Silk Furniture Hangings, for which the firm has also established a high character. These are of good design, rich and very substantial in fabric, and in all respects creditable to the country. page 79. Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue of the International Exhibition 1862. London & New York : James S. Virtue, pages 79, 108.

1868-1869–Mr. Edward Walsh examined. The witness handed in the following statement in writing:--
730. What establishment are you connected with?–Messrs. William Fry & Co., 31, Westmoreland Street Dublin.
731. What departments of your establishment are connected with science and art?–The manufacture of silk figured fringes for upholstery purposes, Irish poplins, and cabinet furniture. The application of art design to their manufactures has enabled Messrs. Fry & Co. to compete successfully with foreign manufactures in both the English and Continental markets. Their exports are increasing yearly, and their goods find sale in the principal capitals of Europe, owing, I believe, to the excellence fo the designs and material.
732. Do you consider a technical education placed within the reach of the artizan would promote the higher branches of manufactures in Ireland?–I am of opinion that the want of technical and artistic training render it difficult for workmen to carry out a design with the precise intention and meaning of the designer. I have frequently found that workmen, through want of this training and the consequent taste derived from it, have marred the effect of the design placed in their hands. The better and more artistic the designs, and the more truthfully they are rendered, the more certain will be the demand for goods of Irish manufacture in the higher and more cultivated markets of the world. At present foreign workmen possess decided advantage in the training they receive, and the museums of art examples which are open to them to study and profit by.
733. Mr. Walsh continues on for ten more pages. Report From the Commission On the Science and Art Department of Ireland, Together With the Minutes Of Evidence, Appendix, and Index. Vol. 1.–The Report, 1869, pages 103-113.

1871–William Fry and Co. Of No. 31 Westmoreland-street, Dublin, have for about fifty years carried on the manufacture of dress poplins, and have exhibited at all the great Exhibitions that have been held in London, Paris, and Dublin. Sixteen prize medals have been awarded to them, and they hold special appointments as poplin manufacturers to her Majesty the Queen, the Princess of Wales, the Empress of the French, the Queen of Denmark, and the Irish Court.
A great stimulus was given to the Irish poplin trade by her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales wearing a poplin which was specially manufactured for her by William Fry and Co., for the occasion of her entry into London. The good effects produced by this graceful act of consideration have ever since been experienced in a very gratifying way. It is the fact that for years there has not been an Irish poplin weaver unemployed.
William Fry and Co.’s factory is in Lower-Kevin-street, and stands on about three acres of ground, where between three hundred and four hundred hands are constantly employed. They are at present erecting a large addition to their factory for weaving, as well as a new dye-house, which have become necessary through the large increase of their trade. Besides dress poplins, William fry and Co., are largely engaged in the manufacture of silk terries, which are made of silk and wool, and of all silk damasks for curtains and upholstery purposes. Both of these fabrics are capable of receiving th highest classes of artistic designs, and by producing these goods only in designs of great merit and in the various new colours which have of late years so completely superseded the old shades, they have been able to supply these goods in large quantities, not alone to all the leading upholsterers through the kingdom, but also to the principal upholsterers in France, Prussia, Belgium, Holland, America–indeed, we are informed that it would be difficult to find any upholsterer of standing who has not purchased these goods from the firm. Their show-rooms at 31 Westmoreland-street would astonish many English visitors, not only on account of their size, but also by reason of the varied and valuable collection of articles they display.
Separated from this only by a few doors is the establishment of Fry and Fielding, in No. 26 in the same thoroughfare. The facade of this house–which, we may add, is called after her Royal Highness the Princess of Walles–is one of the most tasteful and brilliant amongst the many handsome additions which have been recently made to the street architecture of Dublin. The senior member of the firm, Mr. Thomas Fry, is the eldest son of the late Alderman Fry, and was for many years engaged in the supervision of the factory of the other firm of the same name to which we have already briefly referred. Mr. Fielding was also connect with the older establishment. Though “Fry and Fielding” do not employ many looms, the poplins they manufacture are of the finest texture. Some of the most exquisite specimens of their workmanship were recently manufactured for the trousseau of her Royal Highness the Princess Louise. We may observe that the other houses we have named were also honoured with similar marks of royal appreciation. M. E. Braddon. Belgravia A London Magazine Vol. V Second Series.–Vol. XV. First Series (October 1871), pages 314-315.

1871–The Silk and Wool “figured Terries,” of which we give four examples on this page, are for curtain-hangings and other upholstery purposes. They are the manufacture of Messrs. William Fry & Co., of Dublin, who have thus introduced a new and very successful trade into Ireland–a country in which manufactures are greatly needed, but where few exist. These productions of this eminent firm (whose Poplins have so long maintained supremacy) supply the stock of all the prominent “furnishers” of England and of the Continent. They obtained medals at all recent competitions, including that of Paris, “for excellence of manufacture and superiority of design.” The material has a peculiar richness and metallic lustre, that render it superior to the “all silks” made for similar purposes,–with the advantage of being very much lower in price. 4 illustrations shown. page 10; The Irish firms, Messrs Pim, bros., and W. Fry & Co., both of Dublin, surpass all their former efforts in the production of brocaded poplins for furniture purposes. The designs are, as a whole, very elegant, and especially well adapted to the material and mode of production. page 84. Art-Journal. New Series Volume X. (1871), pages 10, 84.

1874–William Fry, Henry Fry, Thomas Joseph Fry and Thomas Fry, Junior, of the firm of Messrs. William Fry and Company, of Westmoreland Street, Dublin, manufacturers.–“The Manufacture and production of valances and draperies and similar woven materials. This invention consists of manufacturing in any woven material in two or more colors valances and draperies, the outline of which may or may not be woven in the material. Patent October 6, 1874, patent number 3411. Chronological and Descriptive Index of Patents Applied For and Patents Granted, Containing The Abridgments Of Provisional and Complete Specifications For the Year 1874. London : Bennet Woodcroft, 1875, page 733.

1874–Though last mentioned, the establishments of the Messrs. Fry are not the least important of the manufactories of poplin. There are two firms bearing names somewhat similar, namely, Messrs. Wm. Fry and Co., and Messrs. Fry and Fielding; and the heads of both firms are the sons of the late Alderman William Fry, who was one of those who assisted in establishing the poplin trade on its present basis. The Frys, as manufacturers, have been identified with the trade of Dublin for more than a century, and as both of the existing firms work on the same principles which gained for the old one its reputations, the praise awarded to the fabrics of one will equally apply to the other.
One hundred years ago the Coopers, of Markree Castle,, Sligo, had a town-house in Lower Kevin-street, which stood in the midst of grounds of about three acres in extent. All this is now covered with the works of Messrs. Wm. Fry and Co. Here, besides poplin, are made carpets, silk damask or tabourea reps, furniture trimmings and coach laces. Upwards of 400 hands are at work here every day. The trimmings which ornamented the state liveries of the present Lord Mayor of London only left the looms in Kevin-street in time to be worked up for Lord Mayor’s Day. The design of the trimming of the hammer-cloth, the rose, shamrock, and thistle, conventionally treated in shades of oak on a purely white ground, was the work of an Irish artist.
Messrs. Fry and Fielding, who were originally members of the old firm, seceded from it, and are now carrying on the same trade on their own account. Their retail house is in Westmoreland-street–the Alexandra House; and their factory in the Combe, in the midst of the weaving district. There they have turned old premises belonging to the Earl of Meath into a spacious factory, and manufacture not only poplin for dresses, but rich brocatelles for coach trimming, and elegant borders for curtains. The figured terry tissue, intended for furniture, made by both these firms, is unequal led in texture and design, as well as colour, and is so wide as to need no joining, no matter how wide in breadth the curtain is required to be. Warehousemen and Drapers’ Trade Journal and Review of the Textile Manufactures. London Vol. III, 1874, page 27.

1875–Factory and Workshop Act.–The members of the Royal Commission, who have sat for some days past in Belfast, to hear evidence upon the working of the Factory and Workshops act, with a view to its consolidation with the New Amendment Act, resumed their investigations on Monday at Dublin. Mr. George Elliott, of the firm of Messrs. Fry & Co., poplin manufacturers, denied the correctness of a statement that boys were employed to turn wheels to drive the poplin looms in small workshops. Very few women were engaged in the trade. The whole number, including girls, employed in Dublin in the poplin manufacture, would not exceed 102. So far as his firm was concerned he was not aware of any inconvenience arising from the Factories Act of 1874. Capital and Labour: A Weekly Journal of Facts and Arguments On Questions Relating To Employers and Employed. Vol. 2, 1875, page 545.

1879–Editorial by William Fry & Co., 31 Westmoreland-street, Dublin, October 29, 1879 on “Irish Poplin As A Furniture Fabric.” The Furniture Gazette: An Illustrated Weekly Journal, Treating Of All Branches Of Cabinet-work, Upholstery, and Interior Decoration. Vol. XII.–New Series. (July-December, 1879), page 325.

1879-1880–Messrs. W. Fry & Co.’s Art Productions In Irish Poplins. Few fabrics are so capable of pure artistic development in design, and in all processes of manufacture, from the first “throwing” of the raw material to the finished article as we see it hung on the walls of the more stately of the “Stately Homes of England,” as that of Irish Poplin, and it gives us extreme pleasure to call attention to the productions in this particular branch of Art-Manufacture of one of the leading houses in the trade. Messrs. William Fry & Co, of Dublin, are amongst the oldest, and assuredly most renowned, of the poplin producers of Ireland, and the examples of their fabrics which have come under our notice, are, in richness of colouring, purity and beauty of design, and perfection in all the manipulative processes, far in advance of any others we have as yet seen. Article continues on for a page and half. Llewellynn Jewitt, editor. The Reliquary, Quarterly Archæological Journal and Review. Vol. XX. (1879-1880), pages, 250-251.

1893–Fry & Co., Dublin–Silk taborets, lute-strings and poplin damasks; Carriage laces and trimmings. Moses P. Handy, Editor. Official Directory Of the World’s Columbian Exposition May 1st to October 30th, 1893. Chicago, IL : w. B. Conkey Company, 1893, page 293.

his company was started in1758.
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