Price's Patent Candle Company

Date Established:
Price's Patent Candle Company

Price's Patent Candle Company was established in London in 1830. During the 19th century, Price's discovered new candle making materials to replace tallow and beeswax, and were the first company to explore industrial applications. By the 20th century, Price's was a national household name. It had become the largest candle-making company in the world, producing 130 different types of candle from tiny birthday cake candles to large church candles. The firm also produced soap, lubricating oils and glycerine and employed 2,150 people in its London and Liverpool factories.

Price's two London factories were at Vauxhall and Battersea. The Battersea site covered 11 acres and manufactured candles, soap and lubricating oils. The site also included a paraffin distillery and light railway system for transporting goods. All candle-making machinery used by the firm was designed and manufactured within the factory workshops.

Price's played a key role in Battersea's local economy, employing successive generations of Londoners. The firm founded schools and factory villages for its employees and offered paid holidays, pension and profit-sharing schemes.

During the First World War, the company announced record profits of 300,000. However, in 1919 Price's was taken over by rivals Lever Brothers Limited. During the 20th century, ownership of the company changed many times, but by the 1990s Price's had once again become Britain's largest candle makers, with over 300 employees.

Rising costs forced the company to leave London. By the end of the 20th century, the Battersea factory had been converted into riverside apartments, although a Price's retail shop remained on site.

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