Although the discovery of Old Sheffield Plate, which is the combining of silver with copper, was accidental, it has had a great deal of importance in the history of manufacturing in England. The process derived its name from the city in which it was first produced, and its popularity was incredible. Because of the number of people hired as well as the amount of merchandise produced, it became one of the leading industrial centers of Great Britain.
The demand of silver far exceeded the supply especially with the rise of the merchant class in the eighteenth century. Thus, one can understand why Sheffield Plate was so well received. The pieces resembled solid silver and now were able to be duplicated in Old Sheffield Plate. Its lower cost thus enabled those of lesser income to enjoy luxuries for the first time.
The discovery of Sheffield Plating is accredited to Thomas Boulsover in the year 1742 while he was repairing the handle of a knife. Over the years, Old Sheffield Plate has become quite scarce and originals are eagerly sought after and, once gained, they are treasured with the respect due to them.