Order books of Tearne & Sons Ltd (Transfer Manufacturers, Birmingham)

Scope and Content

Order books from Tearne & Sons Ltd, Transfer Manufacturers, Birmingham. Two volumes (1st vol. Jan 1896-1905, 2nd vol. Jan 1905-Nov 1909). The volumes record how many transfers companies ordered, including orders from railway companies for heraldry used on vehicles.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tearne & Sons Ltd operated as a transfer company established by Samuel Tearne in Birmingham, 1856. Operating from the jewellery quarter the company mainly manufactured jewellery boxes. However in the 1870s the company began producing transfers for bicycles and by the end of the century had become the main manufacturer of railway transfer art in Britain. The company is still in existence in Birmingham and operates from 41-45 Hanley Street, New Town, Birmingham.


Single item.

Access Information

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Contact details:

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Acquisition Information

These volumes have been on loan from a private party to the National Railway Museum since 1993.

Other Finding Aids

Outline description on NMSI inventory database.

Alternative Form Available

Not known.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fair condition, covers appear worn.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Alison Kay (Project Archivist), December 2010. The qualifier ‘Transfer Manufacturers, Birmingham’ has been added to Tearne & Sons Ltd in order to distinguish it from other corporate bodies.

Description created by Jane Ronson (Archives Hub team) using the Archives Hub EAD Editor, May 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied of items in the archive, provided that the copying process used does not damage the item or is not detrimental to its preservation. Copies will be supplied in accordance with the NRM’s terms and conditions for the supply and reproduction of copies, and the provisions of any relevant copyright legislation.

Appraisal Information


Custodial History

The volumes were once part of a larger collection amassed by a private collector. These items were singled out from the collection and loaned to the National Railway Museum a separate donor.


None expected.

Related Material

Related units of description held at the NRM:

For objects, images and general printed material relating to heraldry locomotive decoration please contact the NRM.

Inventory number: Various - please enquire.

Description: The National Railway Museum holds a large collection of items relating to railway heraldry.

Related units of description elsewhere, listed by Repository:

Sheffield Archives, 52 Shoreham Street, Sheffield, S1 4SP England. Tel: 0114 203 9395 Web: http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/archives Email: archives@sheffield.gov.uk

Description: J Bagshaw Ltd, transfer manufacturers, 1841-1910: order and day books, specimens of work.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, Hanley Library, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3RS England. Tel: 01782 238420 Web: http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives/.htm Email: stoke.archives@stoke.gov.uk

Description: Capper Rataud Ltd, lithographic and screen print transfer manufacturers c 1900-1990: records.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Archive of Art and Design, 23 Blythe Road, London, W14 0QX, England. Tel: 020 7603 1514 Web: http://www.vam.ac.uk/resources/archives/aad Email: archive@vam.ac.uk

Description: Eagle Transfers Ltd, transfer manufacturers, c1920-79: records.

Location of Originals

Not applicable.


For further publications see the NRM’s library catalogue

  • Boutell, Charles, 1812-1877. Boutell’s heraldry. London : Frederick Warne, 1978.
  • Dow, George Midland style : a livery and decor register of the Midland Railway, its absorbed lines and its joint lines to the end of 1922 / by George Dow ; with a contribution on Midland coaching stock by R. E. Lacy. Bromley : Historical Model Railway Society, 1975.
  • Dow, George. Railway heraldry and other insignia / by George Dow. [Newton Abbot] : David & Charles, [1973].
  • Maire, Frederick. Carriage painting : a series of practical treatises on the painting of carriages and wagons, embracing full directions for the practical execution of all kinds of carriage and wagon painting, including striping, lettering, scrolling, ornamental work, varnishing, transfer ornaments, applying gold leaf, etc. ... / by F. Maire. Chicago : Frederick J. Drake, c1911.
  • Rogers, H. C. B. (Hugh Cuthbert Basset) The pageant of heraldry : an explanation of its principles & its uses to-day / H. C. B. Rogers ; with an introduction by H. A. B. Lawson. London : Seeley Service, [1955].
  • Wilkinson, Edwin F. History of the North Eastern Railway Company’s coat of arms / by Edwin F. Wilkinson ; illustrated by J. Foster Stackhouse. Leeds : McCorquodale, [1924?].
  • Civic & corporate heraldry : a dictionary of impersonal arms of England, Wales, & N. Ireland / compiled and edited by Geoffrey Briggs. London : Heraldry Today, 1971.
  • History of the North Eastern Railway Company’s coat of arms. Leeds : Samual Butler & Co., [1947?].