Orme, Evans and Co. Ltd.

When we see adverts today, we look at them in terms of what they are tempting us to buy, maybe by bragging about their product, presenting an aspirational image, entertaining or amusing us, intriguing us, promising the impossible – they are everywhere. However, I’m not sure we ever think of them as something which in the future will be of historical interest.

When The A1 Cookery Book was published in 1901, I’m sure the firms advertising on the back pages were hoping to make money, not provide a future reader anything more. After the last recipe in the book, tomato savpury, 16 blank pages “For Recipes” and the index, there were three pages of adverts-

  • Orme, Evans & Co., Ltd, Wolverhampton. (London show-rooms: Bath House, 59, Holborn Viaduct, E.C.) for The “Household” self-basting roaster and baking pan
  • Farola – the perfect wheat food, dainty, nourishing
  • Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses
  • Cox’s – gelatine, Elfin Jellies, Wanda Essences

Orme, Evans & Co of Elgin Works, Wolverhampton, advertised that they’d been founded in 1790; in actual fact it’s more likely that it was over seventy years later, in 1864 by Alfred and Thomas Orme. They were joined fourteen years after that by Bernard Evans and it seems they specialised in gear case for cycles. They moved into other products and in 1899 became Orme, Evans and Co Ltd, and their factory was the Elgin Works. It was a massive place, of many different buildings, some were three stories high. They now began to produce all sorts of “enamelled holloware” including the self-basting Roaster and baking pan advertised in the back of The A1 Cookery Book. Holloware/hollowware/hollow ware, as the name implies, is table and cookware made from metal and enamelled.

The company was renamed on their move to the Elgin Works in 1899, two years later their advertisement appeared in the cookery book – so it was really the very latest kitchen item, very up to date! The advert states:

“This Baking Pan is constructed on scientific principles for efficiently roasting Joints, Game and Poultry.
The steam arising from the process of cooking is again absorbed into the viands, therefore the Roaster is self-basting, and as there is no evaporation there will be no shrinkage as with an open pan. Perfection of cooking is ensured and a saving of nearly one fourth in weight. After the Roaster is put into the Oven no attention is required. The Food cannot be spoiled.
Directions with each Pan for baking Bread, Cakes &c.”

Similar baking pans can be bought today, and I see from a quick glance at various outlets that the most basic ones cost about £18. Orme, Evans’ pans cost between six and ten shillings, which in today’s money would be £37 – £65!! Not cheap!




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