The business begins manufacturing agricultural shears in Sheffield, an area known since the 14th century for its skills in knives and steel.
James Ball patents a manufacturing process for the production of solid steel sheep shears. The design uses the best cast steel rather than the more usual iron blades of the time. At its peak, annual production of these shears will top 300,000 pairs.
Still family-run, the prospering company builds La Plata Works at Malin Bridge in Sheffield. The new factory is next to the River Loxley, which provides the power for production, until steam and later electricity take over. Burgon & Ball still manufactures at these premises.
The company is now a substantial international company exporting to South America, North America, Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand, among other countries.
Production of garden shears and equipment has now outstripped that of sheep shears. The 1922 catalogue shows over 96 designs of hoe alone!
A new forge and a new despatch warehouse are completed at La Plata Works to allow more modern production systems. Further investments in manufacturing, customer service and marketing follow in the coming years.
Burgon & Ball stainless tools are offcially endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society – possibly the ultimate accolade in the gardening industry.
Seven years after first collaborating with Sophie Conran, Burgon & Ball’s award-winning giftware ranges continue to be hugely popular, extending the appeal of the Burgon & Ball brand.
Our Heritage Timeline
We’ve been making shears in Sheffield, England, since 1730. With such a long history, it’s difficult to pick out the highlights! Read on to find out about some important milestones for Burgon & Ball.