This is the earliest trade catalogue we have in the Newman Brothers’ collection. It most likely dates from around 1894 or just after and only contains brass products. This is consistent with the company’s manufacturing processes at that time. Newman Brothers were brass founders, and brass was the material they knew best. This page of ‘best cast brass bar handles’ was top of the range and was reserved for the middle and upper-class funerals.
Sarah Hoile, coffin furniture researcher, has said:
“The engraved breastplate was the most important item and usually the first to be added, if a coffin had any fittings at all. By the 1880s even otherwise plain pauper coffins were described as having plates. These usually included the name, age and date of death of the deceased and could be very large and highly decorated, in contrast with the small, plain name plates found on coffins today.”