Makers and Retailers


Maltese born Georges Marie Paul Vital Bonifacio Monbro set up his business at 215 Rue de Beauregard (passage de la Boucherie), Paris in 1801. He quickly became recognised as a very skilled cabinetmaker (ébéniste), specialising in ’Nécessaire de Voyage’ boxes, and manufacturing for some of France’s most elite clientele.

Over the next forty years Georges Monbro moved his business around Paris six times; 8 Rue Française in 1806, Rue Bourg-l’Abbé in 1810, 5 Rue du Cimetière-St.Nicolas in 1811, 44 Rue Basse-du-Rempart in 1832, 32 Rue Basse-du-Rempart, and finally 2 Rue Boudreau until his death in 1841.

His son, Georges Alphonse Bonifacio Monbro, took over the business in 1838 continuing the great reputation associated with the surname. Shortly after his father’s death, the business moved to 18 Rue Basse-du-Rempart. George Jr, known as Monbro Ainé (Monbro the eldest), exhibited at the Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie in 1844 and the Exposition Universelle in 1855. By this time, the business was also known as Monbro Fils Ainé, and their first international retail establishment had been opened (in 1852) at 370 Oxford Street, London. Their international success lead to the opening up of a further premises on London’s Frith Street in 1861.

By 1870, Monbro Fils Ainé were based at Rue de l’Arcade 56, Paris.

Paper Manufacturer’s Label belonging to Georges Monbro, from 1806.

Paper Manufacturer’s Label belonging to Georges Monbro, from 1806.

French Antique Jewellery Box in Cuban Mahogany, by Georges Monbro.

French Antique Jewellery Box in Cuban Mahogany, by Georges Monbro.


David Edwards established his business in 1813 at 21 King Street, Bloomsbury, London.

Gaining a great reputation for the quality of his work, David Edwards was appointed, ‘Writing and Dressing Case manufacturer to his most gracious Majesty’, soon after King William IV came to the throne in 1830. READ MORE

Wells & Lambe

John Wells was a pocket-book manufacturer based at 34 Cockspur Street. After his death in 1804, his two children, Thomas and Elizabeth Wells, having both apprenticed with him, continued the business under the name of J. Wells & Co. READ MORE

Sampson Mordan & Co

Sampson Mordan was born in 1790. After some years of apprenticeship, he established his own business in 1815, and joined forces with John Isaac Hawkins by 1822; together they filed a patent for a metal pencil with an internal lead propelling mechanism. Unlike the pencil’s popularity and longevity, their business relationship did not last  much longer, with Mordan buying out Hawkins soon-after. READ MORE


Thomas Lund established his business and warehouse at 57 Cornhill, London in 1804. Initially selling pens and quills, Thomas had expanded the business by about 1815 to include the manufacture of cutlery, writing boxes and other fancy items, taking an additional premises at 56 Cornhill. READ MORE


Taking over from Pierre-Dominique Maire, the highly respected ‘Nécessaire de Voyage’ manufacturer, the company of Aucoc was started by Jean-Baptiste Casimir Aucoc in 1821. Based at 154 Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, Casimir worked primarily a silversmith, his speciality also being in the manufacture of ‘Nécessaire de Voyage’ dressing and travelling cases. READ MORE

Index of French Makers and Retailers

Directory of French Nécessaire de Voyage and Nécessaire de Toilette manufacturers and retailers during the 18th and 19th Century. READ MORE

Index of Locksmiths

Directory of English locksmiths associated with antique dressing cases, antique vanity boxes, antique toilet boxes, antique jewellery boxes and antique writing boxes. These listings have been kept specific to the Regency, late Georgian, William IV and Victorian era’s. READ MORE

Index of Silversmiths

Directory of English silversmiths associated with antique dressing cases and vanity boxes. These listings have been kept specific to the Regency, late Georgian, William IV and Victorian era’s. READ MORE


Maison Alphonse Giroux was established in 1799 by Francois-Simon-Alphonse Giroux, an art restorer, cabinet maker and one of the official restorers for the Notre Dame Cathedral. Based at 7, Rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré in Paris, the business initially started selling artist’s supplies, as well the products of his cabinetmaking work. The nature of the business soon expanded into the manufacturing and retailing of luxury goods and artwork, attracting the keen attention of french kings and members of the royal families. READ MORE


Joseph Bramah started out by training as a cabinet maker. In 1784, after attending some lectures on lock making, he patented his first lock and in the same year set up the Bramah Locks Company at 124 Piccadilly, London. READ MORE

Houghton & Gunn

William Houghton originally established his business in 1822. By 1841, he was based at 162 Bond Street, London. It wasn’t until 1868 that he went into partnership with Charles Henry Gunn. READ MORE

Halstaff & Hannaford

William Halstaff started his business in 1825 at 68 Margaret Street, Cavendish Square, London, later moving it in 1838 to 228 Regent Street, London as Halstaff & Co. READ MORE


The company of Thornhill can be traced back to a cutler named Joseph Gibbs in 1734, based at 137 Bond Street in London. By 1772, the business was in the hands of his son, James Gibbs, and in 1800, was renamed as Gibbs & Lewis. By 1805, the business was being run by John James Thornhill and John Morley, under the name of Morley & Thornhill. They moved to 144 New Bond Street, London in 1810. READ MORE

Index of British Makers and Retailers

Directory of British antique dressing case, antique vanity box, antique toilet box, antique jewellery box and antique writing box manufacturers and retailers.  These listings have been kept specific to the Regency, late Georgian, William IV and Victorian era’s. READ MORE


The Chubb lock company was founded in 1818 by brothers, Charles and Jeremiah Chubb, at their premises on Temple Street, Wolverhampton. This was enabled by Jeremiah’s invention of the ‘Detector Lock’, winning him 100 Guineas in a government competition to create an un-pickable lock that could only be opened by its own key. READ MORE

Toulmin & Gale

The Toulmin & Gale company were originally established in 1735. By 1845, Joseph Toulmin and John Gale were in control of the company, based at 85-86 Cheapside, London. READ MORE

Howell, James & Co

The partnership of Howell and James was founded in 1819 by James Howell and Isaac James. Originally silk merchants and retail jewellers, they were based at 5, 7 and 9 Regent Street, London. READ MORE

Jenner & Knewstub

Established around 1856 by Frederick Jenner and Fabian James Knewstub, they were located at 33 St James’s Street, and then later in 1862, at 66 Jermyn Street, London. READ MORE


Having been a partner in the company of Hunt & Roskell, Charles Frederick Hancock established his own business in 1849, based at 39 Bruton Street, London. By 1862 he had expanded to 38 Bruton Street and 152 New Bond Street, London. READ MORE


Leuchars was established at 47 Piccadilly, London in 1794 by James Leuchars. In 1820, the business moved to 38 Piccadilly shortly before James Leuchars died in 1823. READ MORE


The Asprey company was originally founded as a silk printing business by William Asprey in 1781. Based from a shop in Mitcham, Surrey, William and his son Charles (I) soon started to retail luxury goods.

In 1841, Charles (I) formed a business partnership with his son-in-law, Francis Kennedy, a stationer based at 49 Bond Street, London. This partnership was to last until 1846, with Francis continuing on the business himself. By the end of 1847, Charles Asprey (I) and his son Charles (II) moved their business to 166 Bond Street, London. READ MORE

George Betjemann & Sons

In 1812 and at the age of 14, George Betjemann started apprenticing as a cabinet maker with his uncle, Gilbert Slater at his premises on Carthusian Street, London. In 1834, George then joined his father-in-law, William Merrick’s cabinet making business on Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell, London. George brought his sons, George William Betjemann (his eldest) and John Betjemann (grandfather of poet, Sir John Betjeman), to apprentice with him from 1848. READ MORE