Salts and Sons Limited Birmingham – 300 years old(image of fitting artificial limbs at Uffculme Hospital 1923)
Salts are believed to be one of the oldest family firms in the country, with a history going back well over 300 years (1715). The firm was probably started by brothers William and John Salt who trained as locksmiths in Wolverhampton in the early 18th Century. Such a training in skilled metal working would have prepared them well to develop their own business as cutlers and surgical instrument makers which was well established by 1755. A newspaper cutting from 1773 advertised the business as follows: “William Salt Cutler and Surgeons Instrument Maker”. Salts were able to meet the increasing demand for both for the new medical and surgical instruments during the late 18th & 19th centuries. Richard was believed to be the first Salt to come to Birmingham and had premises at Dale End and Coleshill Street in bout 1815. Thomas Partridge Salt (The First) ran a business in Great Brook Street in 1823 and although he died during the cholera epidemic of 1840-41, the firm went on to flourish under the direction of his son Thomas Partridge Salt (The Second). The cutlery business gained royal patronage and salts were exhibitors at the 1867 Paris Exhibition. But it was the development in surgical appliances and artificial limbs that became Salts distinctive and distinguished business. Thomas Partridge Salt was a very influential figure in Birmingham and a founder member of the Birmingham and Midland Institute. He was also at the forefront of his profession and was highly respected in scientific and medical circles. He published important books on new developments in orthopedic appliances and prosthetic. The skills of the firm were particularly needed during the two world wars, after which the firm stopped making artificial limbs. Today the firm of Salts is still based in Birmingham with the manufacturing centre in Lord Street and a shop outlet on Corporation Street. Still innovators in a highly specialised field the company today are world leaders in the development and manufacture of orthopedic, ostomy and medical textile products.
The story continues but please visit their website to follow their history to date.