1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fry

FRY, the name of a well-known English Quaker family, originally living in Wiltshire. About the middle of the 18th century Joseph Fry (1728–1787), a doctor, settled in Bristol, where he acquired a large practice, but eventually abandoned medicine for commerce. He became interested in china-making, soap-boiling and type-founding businesses in Bristol, and in a chemical works at Battersea, all of which ventures proved very profitable. The type-founding business was subsequently removed to London and conducted by his son Edmund. Joseph Fry, however, is best remembered as the founder of the great Bristol firm of J. S. Fry & Sons, chocolate manufacturers. He purchased the chocolate-making patent of William Churchman and on it laid the foundations of the present large business. After his death the Bristol chocolate factory was carried on with increasing success by his widow and by his son, Joseph Storrs Fry (1767–1835).

In 1795 a new and larger factory was built in Union Street, Bristol, which still forms the centre of the firm’s premises, and in 1798 a Watt’s steam-engine was purchased and the cocoa-beans ground by steam. On the death of Joseph Storrs Fry his three sons, Joseph (1795–1879), Francis, and Richard (1807–1878) became partners in the firm, the control being mainly in the hands of Francis Fry (1803–1886). Francis Fry was in every way a remarkable character. The development of the business to its modern enormous proportion was chiefly his work, but this did not exhaust his activities. He took a principal part in the introduction of railways to the west of England, and in 1852 drew up a scheme for a general English railway parcel service. He was an ardent bibliographer, taking a special interest in early English Bibles, of which he made in the course of a long life a large and striking collection, and of the most celebrated of which he published facsimiles with bibliographical notes. Francis Fry died in 1886, and his son Francis J. Fry and nephew Joseph Storrs Fry carried on the business, which in 1896 was for family reasons converted into a private limited company, Joseph Storrs Fry being chairman and all the directors members of the Fry family.