Briggs & Co. was founded in 1874. They invented the iron-on transfer method for embroidery. I just recently found some wax transfer sheets, patented dated October 14, 1879.
In 1895, the company was incorporated and became William Briggs & Co. That company joined Coats in 1939, and is still in existence today. The company became famous for traced linens and heat transfer printing after WWI. They made embroidery and needlepoint kits under the brands Penelope, Anchor and Fleur de Lis. Today William Briggs produces tapestry wool and kits for Coats companies around the world. The William Briggs Mill is located at the Halliwell Business Park in Bolton, UK.
I have several of the early catalogs, from Briggs & Co., that have printed illustrations of the stamped pattern motifs that had available. The early catalogs were imprinted with "Briggs Patent" on the cover in gold lettering. They are cloth-bound, with brown, blue or burgundy covers. They are not dated, but are prior to 1895 when the company incorporated.
Kate Greenaway designs were in the catalogs, mostly for splashers. They also released a booklet catalog called Village Scenes which was dedicated to illustrations by Kate.
Dover has put out a couple of books of Briggs' designs and are readily available:
Designs and Patterns for Embroiderers and Craftsmen: 512 Motifs from the William Briggs Company Album of Transfer Patterns by Marion Nichols
400 Floral Motifs for Designers, Needleworkers and Craftspeople by Briggs & Co. (Author), Carol Belanger Grafton (Editor)
The original catalogs are much harder to find - I am lucky to have several of them.
J.F. Ingalls was a "Special Mail Agent" for Briggs and imported the patterns for the American consumers. Briggs & Co. had ads in the Ingalls' magazines in other publications. Ingalls also published a paperboard copy of the Brigg's Transferring Papers catalog and provided copies to its subscribers.
Now Back to the Wax Transfer Sheets:
The tissue transfers are very fragile and there was a significant amount of bleed-through between the tissues. I photo copied the tissues and used a LOT of white-out to remove the extraneous lines. I recopied the white out sheets, cut and pasted them together and reduced them to 25% so I could show them to you.
These are part of a Stamping Outfit that was sold for about $1.00. 100 designs, plus a catalog and a few booklets came in the outfit. These three sheets contain 65 patterns - there probably was another 30 image sheet and another 5 image sheet (just a guess on my part) in the outfit.
See the next entry to see the wax transfer images.