1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Elkington, George Richards
ELKINGTON, GEORGE RICHARDS (1801–1865), founder of the electroplating industry in England, was born in Birmingham on the 17th of October 1801, the son of a spectacle manufacturer. Apprenticed to his uncles, silver platers in Birmingham, he became, on their death, sole proprietor of the business, but subsequently took his cousin, Henry Elkington, into partnership. The science of electrometallurgy was then in its infancy, but the Elkingtons were quick to recognize its possibilities. They had already taken out certain patents for the application of electricity to metals when, in 1840, John Wright, a Birmingham surgeon, discovered the valuable properties of a solution of cyanide of silver in cyanide of potassium for electroplating purposes. The Elkingtons purchased and patented Wright’s process, subsequently acquiring the rights of other processes and improvements. Large new works for electroplating and electrogilding were opened in Birmingham in 1841, and in the following year Josiah Mason became a partner in the firm. George Richards Elkington died on the 22nd of September 1865, and Henry Elkington on the 26th of October 1852.