The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

John Abraham of Birmingham

John Abraham of Birmingham

A carte-de-visite portrait of John Abraham of Birmingham.

A brass plate at the centre of the machine is engraved ‘John Abraham / Patentee / Birmingham’ so presumably the man is John Abraham and this is his invention. The machine appears to be a die cast press of some kind, and sure enough, on 21 April 1864 a patent was filed by John Abraham of Birmingham for ‘Improvements in machinery for coining.’ However, I’ve had a look at the patent in the British Library and the accompanying technical drawing does not match the machine in this photograph.

John Abraham did file several other patents. The first, in 1854, was for ‘Draining’. In 1856 he filed one for ‘New or improved machinery for the manufacture of percussion caps and for cutting out and raising articles in metal generally’ and the following year he filed one for ‘A new or improved gauge for gauging wire and sheet metal’. In 1861 he filed one for ‘Brass nails to be used in sheathing ships’ and in 1862 one for ‘Presses for Raising or Shaping Metal’. In 1864 came the one already mentioned for coining, then in 1866 one for the ‘Manufacture of central-fire cartridges for breech-loading fire-arms’. A similar one followed in 1868, then in 1870 one for ‘Improvements in cartridges for central-fire breech-loading fire-arms and in percussion caps for said fire-arms.’ The last patent I found that he filed was in 1871, for ‘Ventilating wearing apparel.’

John Abraham appears on the 1871 census, living in Cherry Lane, Aston [today a parish entirely within Birmingham] with his wife, Charlotte, their five children, and three servants. Fifty-one years old at the time of the census, he was born in or about 1820 at Eaton Bray in Bedfordshire. He gave as his profession ‘Manufacturer of Metal and Ammunitions / employing over 200 men and boys’. By the time of the 1881 census, he was a ‘Retired Manufacturer’ living at ‘The Woodlands’, Northfield [another area of Birmingham]. He died in 1899.

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 124256
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© Paul Frecker 2018