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Houghton and Son (Ensign) Company History
in 1834 George Houghton partnered with Antoine Claudet in the optical glass business selling glass at 87 High Holborn street, London.
In 1839, Shortly after the the announcement of the discovery of photography by Daguerre,
Claudet secured a license directly from Daguerre and spent most of his time operating his own studio, while Houghton began selling Daguerreotype supplies.
In 1852, Houghton's son, George junior joined the business and the firms name was changed to Claudet, Houghton and Son.
In 1867 Antoine Claudet died and the firms name changed to George Houghton and Son and continued to expand to meet the demand for photographic goods.
In 1892 George Junior's brother Charles and his son Edgar joined the company. the firms name was changed to George Houghton and Sons. At this time period the firm offered a full range of cameras and supplies. In about this time frame or earlier the shop was expanded to include 87 through 89 Holborn street.
In 1895 Houghton began produced the popular Sanderson camera until approximately 1910.
In 1901 Houghton introduced Ensign film to the public which became a significant source of revenue competing with the likes of Kodak. The popularity of the Ensign brand then extended to the line of cameras.
in 1902 the firm became a limited rights company called simply Houghtons Ltd.
In 1904 Houghton Ltd. merged with four other companies.
in 1913 George Houghton junior died.
In 1915 it formed into the British Photographic Industries Ltd partnership with W. Butcher and Sons Ltd.
In 1926 Houghton and Butcher formally merged forming Houghton-Butcher manufacturing Co.
In 1930 Houghton-Butcher established a distribution company called Ensign Ltd. Which sold the cameras made by Houghton-Butcher manufacturing Co.
in September 1940 a bomb explosion during the world war 2 conflict, destroyed the manufacturing business at 88/89 High Holborn.
In 1945 due to the bomb damage in 1940, Houghton-Butcher manufacturing Co. merged with the firm of Elliot and sons Ltd. who made Barnet films and the business name changed to Barnet-Ensign Ltd.
In 1948 Ross and Barnet Ensign were merged to Barnet Ensign Ross Ltd., w
In 1954 the company was lastly renamed to Ross-Ensign Ltd.
In 1961 remaining operations ended.