The Early years ...
In 1786 Matthew Boulton - one of the key figures of the Industrial Revolution - set up the original Birmingham Mint at his manufacturing works in Soho, Birmingham. This was no ordinary coinage mint, Boulton's operation was the first to use steam-powered presses. Up until then, coin presses had been hand-operated.
This new technology was a result of Boulton's close working partnership with the legendary James Watt, whose refinements to the Newcomen steam engine drove the Industrial world forward rapidly.
The need for Boulton and Watt to develop this was driven by the fact that the Royal Mint had found itself unable to meet the demand for bronze coinage in the mid-1700's. Boulton was charged with the important task of producing quantities of copper coinage to rectify the situation.