Prices Patent Candle Co
Price's Patent Candle Co, manufacturer and retailer of candles, soaps, lubricating oils,
of Belmont Works, Battersea, London, SW11
of Threadneedle Street, London (1908) with works at London, Liverpool and Manchester.
The firm now has its headquarters in Bedford and holds the Royal Warrant for the supply of candles. It is now the largest candle manufacturer in the UK. They hold an important place in the technological history of candle making.
formerly Edward Price and Co
- John Frederick William Hempel
- Henry Blundell
- Miles Berry
- William Smith
- William Coley Jones
- George Fergusson Wilson
- George Gwynne
- James Pillans Wilson
- Samuel Childs
- John Jackson
The company's seal depicted Africans bringing calabashes of palm oil to a seated Britannia figure under a palm tree, reflecting the importance of palm oil to the company. The name reflected the mistake they made in failing to patent their composite candles in 1840; after this error they protected all their inventions.
1849 Acquired the business of Samuel Childs, a night-light manufacturer in London.
By 1855 Price's had opened a new factory at Bromborough Pool, Liverpool, where the company also built a village of 147 houses with church, institute, shop and library for its workforce, many of whom had migrated from Battersea to the new factory. This model village was an inspiration to other employers and was copied at Lever Brothers Port Sunlight factory (which was built nearby in the 1880s) and elsewhere.
A new factory was opened in Battersea; the original Vauxhall factory was closed.
1855 Took the initiative to produce stoves for the Crimea but was frustrated by the delays in the War Office, so the directors wrote to the newspapers documenting the problems..
1855 The company, by this time, had 2,300 employees.
1856 Started to manufacture soaps at Battersea
1858 of Belmont and Sherwood
By 1858 Price's held 114 patents for different candle manufacturing inventions as well as working many other patents under license, including that of Warren De La Rue for processes to manufacture candles.
Developed various methods of mechanising the production of candles and night-lights.
The by-products of saponification included glycerine. George Wilson manufactured and promoted this by-product. By 1870 it was being used as a treatment for burns and skin disease, as a food preservative, an additive to paints, a photographic emulsion, a suspension for vaccines and as a base for soaps. George Wilson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his pioneering development of glycerine.
Another by-product, a liquid fat called oleine, could be used as a light lubricating oil and was successfully marketed it to the woolen and cotton manufacturers as a 'cloth oil' for mechanical looms where it quickly replaced olive oil. This was the first of a whole new range of lubricating oils.
After the discovery of oil in Burma, Price's imported large quantities to develop paraffin wax candles. In order to use the kerosene left over from distillation of crude oil, they developed various other lubricating oils.
1889 Exhibited soaps, and the materials used in making them.
Price's took over other lubricant manufacturers including in 1889 the Manchester business of J. Veitch Wilson, Halliday and Co. John Veitch Wilson moved to Battersea as the head of Price's Lubricating Oil Department where he was responsible for the firm's later pre-eminence as a manufacturer of lubricating oils for petrol and diesel engines.
1891 Manufacturers of lubricants. 
1892 Price's acquired a significant international presence and a new export manager when it took over the candle export firm of Beach and Co. Between 1892 and 1912 Price's took over eight other London candle manufacturers.
For the first 30 years of the twentieth century, Price's dominated the market for lubricating oils with 'Huile de Luxe' and Motorine products. Rolls Royce were so impressed with the product that from 1906, and for thirty years after, all their new cars were sold with Motorine oil.
1900s The company was the largest manufacturer of candles in the world, and soon set up factories in Johannesburg, Shanghai, Chile, Rhodesia, Morocco, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
By 1900, in response to the threat of gas and electric lighting, Price's were producing 130 different sizes of candle, any one of which could in theory be manufactured in 60 different permutations of material, colour and hardness; the company regularly held 2,000 different standard candle products in stock.
1911 Royal Agricultural Show. Showed appliances for testing oil. 
1912 Incorporated as a limited company.
1914 Oil merchants, refiners and distillers. 
1917 Advert. Manufacturers of oils for textile machinery and others. 
1917 Advert. Refined paraffin wax, soap oils; Stearine; Cop and other soaps. 
1919 The company was bought by Lever Brothers.
1922 The Preference shares were still quoted at this date.
1936 Lever Brothers (by then part of Unilever) sold out of Candles Ltd, taking the Bromborough works and all the soap manufacturing rights with it. It continued to develop Bromborough for its specialist fatty acid production. The factory operates today as part of Unichema Ltd, producing a complex and sophisticated range of specialist fats and glycerides for the manufacture of cosmetics, polishes, ice cream, confectionery, soaps and detergents, printing inks, plastics and pharmaceuticals - all derived from the basic industrial chemistry that George Wilson first explored in the 1840's. Many of its employees continue to live in the Bromborough Pool village built by Price's.
1937 Manufacturers of lubricants. "Belmoline" Motor Greases. "Belvedere" Greases. "Motorine" Motor Oils. "Zero" Radiator Anti-freeze. 
1951 The first multigrade oil, Energol, was developed at Battersea.
1952 Advert for use of the winter grade of Energol. .
1954 Increasing demand for multigrade oil led BP to remove all the lubricating oil business to their oil refinery at Grangemouth and re-brand it as their own product.
1980 End of the design and manufacture of candle-making machinery.
1991 Shell sold Price's to a private buyer.
1998 Price's relocated its UK candle manufacturing to Bicester in Oxfordshire
2001 Price's Head Office moved to Bedford where the Distribution Centre was located.
Sources of Information
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
-  Gazette Issue 20794 published on the 17 November 1847. Page 2 of 32
- The Times, 8 January 1855
- Directory 1891 Worrall's Cotton Spinners
- The Engineer of 7th July 1911 p27
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- Directory 1917 Worrall's Yorkshire Textile Advert p195
- Directory 1917 Worrall's Yorkshire Textile Advert p194
- The Times 30 December 1922
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- The Times 8 October 1952