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The Birmingham Mint, a coining mint, originally known as Heaton's Mint or Ralph Heaton & Sons, in Birmingham, England started producing tokens and coins in 1850 as a private enterprise, separate from, but in cooperation with the Royal Mint. Its factory was situated in Icknield Street (grid reference SP057877), on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter. It was created by Ralph Heaton II, using second-hand coin presses bought from the estate of Matthew Boulton
Ralph Heaton II
Ralph Heaton II (1794-October 1862) was the son of Ralph Heaton I, an engineer, inventor and businessman in Slaney Street, and later Shadwell Street. Ralph Heaton II was a die sinker operating in Shadwell Street independently of his father. On 2 December 1817 Ralph I conveyed to his son land and buildings at 71 Bath Street to enable him to develop a separate company. Ralph II engaged in brass founding, stamping and piercing. Brass chandeliers were made for the newly invented gas lighting and a "bats wing" burner patented.
On 1 April 1850 the auction was announced of equipment from the defunct Soho Mint, created by Matthew Boulton around 1788. At the auction on 29 April Ralph Heaton II bought the four steam-powered screw presses and six planchet presses for making blanks from strip metal. These were installed at the Bath Street works, and in that year trade tokens were struck for use in Australia. In 1851 coins were struck for Chile using the letter H as a mintmark. The same year copper planchets were made for the Royal Mint to make into pennies, halfpennies, farthings, half-farthings and quarter-farthings. In 1852 the Mint won a contract to produce a new series of coins for France. In this the Mint pioneered the minting of bronze. Ralph Heaton III (son of Ralph II) took key workers to Marseilles to equip and operate the French mint there, staying to fulfil the contract, and producing 750 tons of Napoleon III bronze coins from 1853-7.
In 1853 the Royal Mint was overwhelmed with producing silver and gold coins. The Birmingham Mint won its first contract to strike finished coins for Britain – 500 tons of copper, struck between August 1853 and August 1855, with another contract to follow in 1856. These coins had no mint mark to identify them as from Birmingham. During the peak of operation the four original Boulton screw presses were striking about 110,000 coins per day.
As overseas orders increased, particularly for India, the Mint added a new lever press and further equipment, filling the Bath Street premises. In 1860 the firm bought a 1-acre (4,000 m2) plot on Icknield Street (the current site, since enlarged) and constructed a three storey red brick factory. Completed in 1862 it employed 300 staff. It was at this time the largest private mint in the world. In 1861 a contract for bronze coins for the newly unified Italy was signed, the Mint sending blanks and equipment to Milan to be struck into finished coins by their staff in Milan.
Ralph Heaton III
On the death of Ralph II in 1862, Ralph III (1827-10 November 1891) took over the running of Ralph Heaton & Sons. He added eleven lever presses, made on site, retiring the last of Boulton's screw presses in 1882. In addition to the production of coins and blanks the firm manufactured metal parts for ammunition, gas fittings, medals, ornaments, plumbing fittings, rolled and strip metal, tube and wire.
In 1871 the first order for silver coinage was for Canada, and in 1874 the first gold was struck - Burgersponds for the new South African Republic – 837 pieces.
Following parliamentary approval in 1881 to upgrade the Royal Mint, the firm provided ten lever presses and a cutting-out press, effectively depriving itself of coining contracts from the Royal Mint for some time.
Shortly before his death, Ralph III converted the family business into a public limited liability company, passing control on 22 March 1889 to the new company named The Mint, Birmingham, Limited. The agreement paid £110,000 to Heaton with £10,000 worth of copper. In addition £2,000 annual rent for the Mint property would be paid, and his son, Ralph IV would be general manager, his other sons Gerald and Walter would have senior positions, and he, Ralph III, would remain as a director. He died two years later.
Ralph Heaton IV
Almost immediately his son, Ralph IV, was elected Managing Director by the board. Between 1896 and 1898 the Mint struck all of Russia's copper coins (over 110,000,000 coins per year).
During the First World War the Mint produced strip brass and copper tubing for munitions.
Orders for colonial coins, blanks and bar metal were a steady source of business until, in 1912, an order for 16.8 million bronze coins for Britain, and in 1918 and 1919, further orders for 7.1 million pence saw the mint striking coins for the home market. British penny coins minted by Heaton and dated 1912 can be identified by a very small upper case letter 'H' appearing alongside the date: many of these coins were removed from circulation by collectors during or before the decade preceding February 1971. However, also in 1912, the Mint saw its first competition as the Kings Norton Metal Company was also contracted to supply bronze blanks to the Royal Mint, and in 1914 struck coins for the colonies. Kings Norton became part of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1926 and was reorganised as part of Imperial Metal Industries Limited (IMI) in 1962.
Ralph IV retired in 1920. His successor was his brother in law, W. E. Bromet. Heaton's son Ralph V joined the firm in 1922 on the commercial part of the business, eventually rising to the position of company secretary.
In 1923 the almost monopoly position of the Mint as supplier to foreign (non-empire) countries was lost as the Royal Mint was given permission to supply to the world market, although the Mint continued to supply the Royal Mint. During The Depression profits were minute and after shareholder revolt the Mint was taken out of the hands of the Heaton family in May 1935. From this time the production of coins became a small part of the overall business of non-ferrous metal sheet and tube production. Coinage accounted for 10-20% of the business from 1940-64. World War II again demanded quantities of brass sheet and copper tube for ammunition and aluminium-brass cylinder linings for Rolls-Royce aeroplane engines. Bomb damage and the effects of continuous production for the war left the factory run-down. It was unable to supply new minting machinery to the Royal Mint in 1948, but did provide the necessary drawings.
Maria Theresa thaler
In 1949 the Mint produced an edition of the Maria Theresa thaler, a silver "trade dollar" widely used in the Middle East and previously minted by the Vienna Mint, or later, the Rome Mint. Further mintings were in 1953, 1954 and 1955.
By 1953, coins accounted for only 5% of the business. A major product was copper tubing and fittings for the building industry, supplied under the MBL trade mark. Medals, slot machine tokens and gambling tokens were produced.
In 1965 a consortium of the Mint, the Royal Mint and IMI achieved a growth in the export market. The Mint expanded to an adjacent site in 1967 but a reduction in orders from the Royal mint immediately followed, apart from a large order for 1680 tons of bronze half-pence blanks and 466 tons of cupro-nickel 10 pence blanks were supplied to the Royal Mint for the decimalization coins in 1968-71.
Business reorganisations saw the sale in 1975 of the copper pipe business and a reinvestment in new coining machinery with continuous casting techniques.
In addition to manufacturing coins, the Birmingham Mint also produced proof medals and tokens for vending machines. They also produced and named Long Service & Good Conduct medals for West Midlands Fire Service.
In later years, the plant became increasingly busy with the introduction of the Euro within the European Union; the mint produced several million €1 and €2 coins. However, a slump in trade and contractual agreements between them and the Royal Mint resulted in the sale of the mint in late 2003. The Mint was acquired by JFT Law & Co Limited who still produce and sell commemorative coins and medals from a website. Substantial parts of the plant and machinery were subsequently purchased by an Indian company, Lord's Security Mint Limited. The Pobjoy Mint purchased the newest high speed presses plus new tooling.
Most of the complex, excluding the Icknield Street block and the rear, retaining, wall, was demolished in April 2007. The façade is grade II listed.
After being purchased by George Wimpey, planning consent was given for a large mixed use residential and commercial scheme. However the project was deferred due to the downturn in the wider economic climate, and it was later sold on in January 2007 to Junared Property Group.
Construction of scheme commenced in early 2007 with the intention to be complete by spring 2009. Unfortuately Junared Property Group ceased construction in December 2008 after funding was withdrawn by HBOS before lapsing into administration in February 2009.
In May 2010 the development of the site was revived by Rabone Developments, intending to produce a gated residential development.
Mints in the United Kingdom
Birmingham Mint Pobjoy Mint Royal Mint Soho Mint The Tower Mint
World War I (WWI) was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until the start of World War II in 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (originally centred around the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy; but, as Austria–Hungary had taken the offensive against the agreement, Italy did not enter into the war). These alliances both reorganised (Italy fought for the Allies), and expanded as more nations entered the war. Ultimately more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of technological advancements that led to enormous increases in the lethality of weapons without corresponding improvements in protection or mobility. It was the sixth-deadliest conflict in world history, subsequently paving the way for various political changes such as revolutions in many of the nations involved.
Long-term causes of the war included the imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, including the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, the French Republic, and Italy. The assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Yugoslav nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the proximate trigger of the war. It resulted in a Habsburg ultimatum against the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked, so within weeks the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 28 July, the conflict opened with the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, followed by the German invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and France; and a Russian attack against Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. In the East, the Russian army successfully fought against the Austro-Hungarian forces but was forced back from East Prussia and Poland by the German army. Additional fronts opened after the Ottoman Empire joined the war in 1914, Italy and Bulgaria in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The Russian Empire collapsed in March 1917, and Russia left the war after the October Revolution later that year. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the German armies in a series of successful offensives and United States forces began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries at this point, agreed to a cease-fire on 11 November 1918, later known as Armistice Day. The war had ended in victory for the Allies.
Events on the home fronts were as tumultuous as on the battle fronts, as the participants tried to mobilize their manpower and economic resources to fight a total war. By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost a great amount of territory, while the latter two were dismantled entirely. The map of central Europe was redrawn into several smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup of empires, the repercussions of Germany's defeat and problems with the Treaty of Versailles are agreed to be factors contributing to World War II
Date 28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918 (Armistice)
Treaty of Versailles signed 28 June 1919
(4 years and 11 months)
Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye signed 10 September 1919
Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine signed 27 November 1919
Treaty of Trianon signed 4 June 1920
Treaty of Sèvres signed 10 August 1920
Location Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, China and off the coast of South and North America
Result Allied victory
End of the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires
Formation of new countries in Europe and the Middle East
Transfer of German colonies and regions of the former Ottoman Empire to other powers
Establishment of the League of Nations. (more...)
Allied (Entente) Powers
United States (1917–18)
Commanders and leaders
Leaders and commanders
H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Victor Emanuel III
John J. Pershing
Leaders and commanders
Paul von Hindenburg
Franz Joseph I
Conrad von Hötzendorf
Casualties and losses
22,477,500 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details. Military dead:
16,403,000 KIA, WIA or MIA ...further details.
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Theatres of World War I
Balkans Western Front Eastern Front Italian Front
Caucasus Persia Gallipoli Mesopotamia Sinai and Palestine South Arabia
South-West Africa West Africa East Africa North Africa
Asian and Pacific theatre
America Atlantic Ocean Mediterranean
[hide] v t e
Major armed conflicts involving the United States Armed Forces
Indian Wars Shays' Rebellion Whiskey Rebellion Walton War Dorr Rebellion Anahuac Disturbances Mormon War Regulator–Moderator War Cordova Rebellion Bleeding Kansas Wakarusa War Utah War Morrisite War Erie War Civil War Bald Hills War Erie Gauge War Sheep Wars San Elizario Salt War Brooks–Baxter War Pleasant Valley War Coal Creek War Ned Christie's War Homestead Strike Battle of Blair Mountain California Water Wars Sheepshooters' War Coal Wars Illinois Coal Wars Black Patch Tobacco Wars Bonus Army Colorado Coalfield War West Virginia Coal Wars Red River Bridge War Harlan County War
Revolutionary War Quasi-War First Barbary War Blockade of Africa Sixty Years' War Chesapeake–Leopard Affair War of 1812 War of the Sixth Coalition African Slave Trade Patrol Second Barbary War Falklands Expedition Johanna Expedition First Sumatran Expedition Second Sumatran Expedition Ivory Coast Expedition Shimonoseki Campaign Mexican–American War Taos Revolt First Fiji Expedition Second Opium War Cortina Troubles Trent Affair Chesapeake Affair Formosa Expedition Second Fiji Expedition Samoan crisis Korean Expedition Las Cuevas War Egyptain Expedition First Samoan Civil War Hawaiian Rebellions Philippine Revolution Spanish–American War Philippine–American War Wilcox Rebellion Garza Revolution Black Week Hawaiian Civil War Overthrow of Hawaii Second Samoan Civil War Second Boer War Boxer Rebellion Banana Wars Occupation of Nicaragua Occupation of Veracruz Mexican Revolution Border War Pancho Villa Expedition Bandit War World War I Occupation of Haiti First invasion of The Dominican Republic Russian Civil War World War II Greek Civil War First Indochina War Korean War 1953 Iran crisis First Taiwan Strait Crisis Laotian Civil War Second Taiwan Strait Crisis 1958 Lebanon crisis Central American crisis Guatemalan Civil War Portuguese Colonial War Bay of Pigs Invasion South African Border War Vietnam War Cambodian Civil War Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation Nicaraguan Civil War Dominican Civil War Second invasion of the Dominican Republic Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Philippines insurgency Afghan Civil War Cambodian–Vietnamese War Iran–Iraq War Chadian-Libyan conflict Yom Kippur War Nicaraguan Revolution Salvadoran Civil War First Gulf of Sidra incident Invasion of Grenada Lebanese Civil War Angolan Civil War Second Gulf of Sidra incident First bombing of Libya Invasion of Panama Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992) Third Gulf of Sidra incident Gulf War Iraqi no-fly zones Somali Civil War Bombing of Iraq Iraqi Kurdish Civil War Invasion of Haiti Bosnian War Third Taiwan Strait Crisis Conch Republic clashes Missile Strikes on Iraq Civil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001) Kosovo War Albanian Rebellion Shia insurgency in Yemen Missile Strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan Kurdistan Islamist Conflict War on Terror Afghanistan War Maghreb insurgency Iraq War Drone attacks in Pakistan Central African Republic Bush War War in North-West Pakistan War in Darfur Iraqi insurgency (2003–2006) Pakistan Skirmishes Shia insurgency in Yemen War in Somalia (2006–2009) Civil war in Iraq Violence in Pakistan 2006–09 War in Somalia (2009–present) Honduran Coup Somali piracy crackdown Yemeni al-Qaeda crackdown Libyan Civil War Lord's Resistance Army insurgency Iraq insurgency 2011-present 2012 East DR Congo conflict Azawad insurgency
List of conflicts in the U.S. List of wars involving the U.S. Timeline of U.S. military operations Length of U.S. participation in major wars Overseas expansion Military history Covert regime-change actions Casualties of war
[hide] v t e
World War I
Home front during World War I
European theatre Balkans Western Front Eastern Front Italian Front
Middle Eastern theatre Caucasus Mesopotamia Sinai and Palestine Gallipoli Persia South Arabia
African theatre South-West West East North
Asian and Pacific theatre Siege of Tsingtao
Atlantic Ocean Mediterranean
Russian Empire/Republic French Empire: France, Vietnam British Empire: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa Italy Romania United States Serbia Portugal China Japan Belgium Montenegro Greece Armenia Brazil
Germany Austria-Hungary Ottoman Empire Bulgaria
Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912) First Balkan War (1912–1913) Second Balkan War (1913)
Origins Sarajevo assassination July Crisis
Battle of the Frontiers Battle of Cer First Battle of the Marne Battle of Tannenberg Battle of Galicia Battle of the Masurian Lakes Battle of Kolubara Battle of Sarikamish Race to the Sea First Battle of Ypres
Second Battle of Ypres Battle of Gallipoli Battles of the Isonzo Great Retreat Conquest of Serbia Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive Battle of Verdun Lake Naroch Offensive Battle of Asiago Battle of Jutland Battle of the Somme Brusilov Offensive Battle of Romani Monastir Offensive Conquest of Romania
Capture of Baghdad First Battle of Gaza Second Battle of Arras Kerensky Offensive Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) Battle of Caporetto Battle of Mughar Ridge Battle of Jerusalem Battle of Cambrai
Armistice of Erzincan Salonika front Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Spring Offensive First Transjordan Second Transjordan Hundred Days Offensive Battle of Baku Vardar Offensive Meuse-Argonne Offensive Battle of Megiddo Battle of Vittorio Veneto Armistice of Villa Giusti Armistice with Germany Armistice with the Ottoman Empire Battle of the Lys
Maritz Rebellion (1914–1915) Angola (1914–1915) Indo-German Conspiracy (1914–1919) Senussi Campaign (1915–1916) Easter Rising (1916) Russian Revolution (1917) Finnish Civil War (1918)
Russian Civil War (1917–1921) Ukrainian Civil War (1917–1921) Armenian–Azerbaijani War (1918–1920) Georgian–Armenian War (1918) German Revolution (1918–1919) Revolutions and interventions in Hungary (1918–1920) Hungarian–Romanian War (1918–1919) Greater Poland Uprising (1918–1919) Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920) Latvian War of Independence (1918–1920) Lithuanian Wars of Independence (1918–1920) Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919) Egyptian Revolution (1919) Polish–Ukrainian War (1918–1919) Polish–Soviet War (1919–1921) Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) Turkish War of Independence including the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1923) and the Turkish–Armenian War (1920) Polish–Lithuanian War (1920) Soviet–Georgian War (1921) Irish Civil War (1922–1923)
Military engagements Naval warfare Convoy system Air warfare Cryptography Geography's role Horse use Poison gas Railways Strategic bombing Technology Trench warfare Total war Christmas truce Last surviving veterans
Civilian impact /
Casualties 1918 flu pandemic Destruction of Kalisz Rape of Belgium Ottoman people (Armenian Genocide, Assyrian Genocide, Pontic Greek Genocide) Women's roles Popular culture German prisoners of war in the United States
Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire Sykes-Picot St.-Jean-de-Maurienne French-Armenian Damascus Paris Peace Conference Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Treaty of Lausanne Treaty of London Treaty of Neuilly Treaty of St. Germain Treaty of Sèvres Treaty of Trianon Treaty of Versailles
Aftermath "Fourteen Points" League of Nations World War I memorials