George Marris & Co (Sirram)

Discussion in 'Manufacturers' started by Trojandog, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    George Marris & Co of Birmingham, England first come to light in the 1800s making iron bedsteads and brass/copper fern pots. The ad below is from 1856:

    1297450511-3267-0_opt.jpg

    For the purpose of our interest, I have not delved into the history and production of non-stove related Marris products, but concentrated on the volcano kettles and 'boiling sets'.

    Marris first appear to have begun diversifying from their beds and fern pots base in 1906 when the brand name 'Sirram' (Marris backwards) appeared on picnic sets.

    There is a record that there was a meeting between one of the Marris family and a New Zealander (almost certainly John Ashley Hart who started the Thermette Co in New Zealand in 1929). The original concept of the volcano kettle appears to have been Harts, but he may have been inspired by traditional Mongolian and Chinese hot-pots which had a central chimney:

    1326492072-IMG_1492_opt__1_.jpg

    The first Sirram volcano kettle appears in the late 1920s (image courtesy of 'Brassnipplekey':

    1297562522-PICT1313_opt.jpg

    These bear a brass plate which include "Registered Design No 731794". The records held by the British Public Record Office show that this Design Number was issued in 1928. So that gives us the earliest definite date for the 'Sirram Volcano Kettle'.

    At some time Marris switched from the copper and brass kettles to spun aluminium. We have no date for this:

    1297279351-IMG_0156_opt.jpg

    Between WW1 and WW2 there was a boom in recreational motoring and cycling when the company took off, producing not only volcano kettles and picnic sets, but also 'boiling sets' for motorists and cyclists. These were mostly constructed of tin plate. Post WW2, saw more use of aluminium.

    Many of these sets can be seen in the Stove Reference Gallery.

    We know that the volcano kettles were still in production in the late 60s as the book 'Modern Camping 1968: by Jack Cox' quotes a UK Consumers Association ('Which? Magazine') test of 21 camp stoves which concluded "For boiling water quickly or washing up there is nothing to beat a Sirram Volcano, either at home or abroad".

    Production of the volcano kettles and boiling sets ended in 1970 with the arrival from France of the Bluet gas stoves.

    A report in Autocar magazine of 1970 stated that "Desmo Ltd have purchased the Sirram picnic division of Hawker Marris Sales Ltd. Brexton Ltd, a div of Desmo will now market all Sirram Products which will continue as a separate range."

    So it would appear that in 1970 Marris (under the name Hawker Marris Sales Ltd) went to the wall with just the picnic hamper division continuing under new ownership.

    It is interesting, that following the demise of the Sirram volcano kettle in 1970, modern versions are now in production by a numbers of companies around the world (some even claiming to be the original design).

    I don't claim this to the definitive history, it's just what I've managed to uncover. Any additional information or corrections would be most welcome.

    Best wishes,
    Terry
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  2. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Great article Terry - exactly what this section was originally set up for. What happened to my Grandfathers Volcano stove is still a family mystery unfortunately. I bet it was a Sirram.

    The Blueut hit our shores in the late 1950's.
     
  3. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Update to the Marris history.

    There were a number of 'George Marris':

    Rev George Marris 1780-1851 father of
    George Marris 1829-1906 (known as 'Old George') father of
    George Suffield Marris 1857-1936 (known as 'Young George') father of
    George Christopher, Eric Denyer and Richard Geoffrey Marris.

    'Old George' was a successful Birmingham businessman, running a number of businesses bearing the Marris name over a 30 year span. A Birmingham councillor and Justice of the Peace, he retired aged 50 leaving 'Young George' to run the business of 'Brass Founders, Stampers and Piercers'. This would have been around 1879. It would therefore appear that 'Young George' is the one that produced the Sirram items that we are interested in.

    There is a reference on the internet reporting that his son Eric, once said in a letter, that his father diversified the business into producing stoves and picnic sets in 1906, and that the Sirram brand was first used at this time.

    However, I recently acquired a part spirit set ( Link ) where the stand is marked "The Sirram" - Rd No 247422. This number was issued between 29 Dec 1894 and 24 Jan 1895 (The National Archives Kew, Catalogue Ref BT 50/220). We therefore now have firm evidence that the trade name 'Sirram' was in use in late 1894/early 1895.

    Terry
     
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  4. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    In the above post I said:

    "However, I recently acquired a part spirit set ( Link ) where the stand is marked "The Sirram" - Rd No 247422. This number was issued between 29 Dec 1894 and 24 Jan 1895 (The National Archives Kew, Catalogue Ref BT 50/220). We therefore now have firm evidence that the trade name 'Sirram' was in use in late 1894/early 1895."

    The National Archive records have been amended and now show Rd No 247422 was issued between 9th Jan 1895 and 16th Mar 1895. That number falls very early in the block 247419-251415, so was probaly issued on the 9th January.

    However,

    I've just acquired a brass matchbox holder that is stamped "Sirram" and "Rd 242707". That Registered Design Number was issued on 22nd October 1894 to G.Marris & Son, Stampers and Printers, Browning Street, Birmingham.

    This takes the Sirram brand name back a little further.
     
  5. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Nice work Terry.

    John
     
  6. gieorgijewski

    gieorgijewski Subscriber

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    I do not know - nothing - about Kellys kettle inspirations
    but :
    from my perspective - somewhere could be lost - hundred years of technical culture samovar making - and bath heaters...

    it is just: cutted and simplificed, poor material done - primitive samovar - for outdoor use
    Yes - we dont have nothing like this.

    :)

    Pic1.jpg

    Pic2.jpg
     
  7. shueilung.2008

    shueilung.2008 Subscriber

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    @gieorgijewski Would they burn coals or wood?

    The first ones are really nice!

    Cheers

    Enrique
     
  8. gieorgijewski

    gieorgijewski Subscriber

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    typical WOOD COAL