In the Newman Brothers’ collection, there are six different trade catalogues dating from the early years of the factory to the 1960s. These give us a good idea of what the company sold, although not everything in the catalogues was made at the factory. Likewise, there are some Newman Brothers’ products that don’t feature in the surviving catalogues. The catalogues were aimed almost exclusively at funeral directors.
The 1960s onwards
By the 1960s, Newman Brothers had significantly reduced their product range so that it contained just over 60 products, compared with over 200 at their height before the First World War. The most significant change is the introduction of plastic furniture. This ties in with the purchase of a second-hand vacuum coating machine, which applied the metallic finishes to the plastic handles.
Their range of cast furniture had also dramatically reduced, featuring on just one page of the 1960s catalogue. As their casting shops had been demolished by this point, it seems likely that they were still having a limited amount produced off site. By 1957, they had outsourced work to GEO. Gale (Die Casters) LTD. Read more about the Newman Brothers’ Casting Shop here
Newman Brothers do not appear to have introduced any new products after the 1960s, and continued to use this catalogue up until they closed in 1998. It comprises their most popular products during their time in business, and the oldest product to feature is the cast brass Gothic handle, which features in their earliest catalogue dating from the 1890s. This is the handle that they are perhaps best known for because it is the handle that has been used on the coffins of royalty and Winston Churchill.
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