An important invention, which speeded up the production of many brass articles and thereby increased this demand, was the stamping press. This was mainly due to John Pickering, a London toymaker, and Richard Ford and John Smith, both of Birmingham. In 1769 the first-named patented his machine for stamping articles out of sheet metal. It was a simple transition for Ford to employ shaped dies which enabled pots, pans, dishes and an unending variety of other things to be manufactured from sheets in bulk quantities. The stamps or presses had two steel dies, upper and lower, one being convex and the other concave, so that by impact or pressure the sheet could be cupped and formed according to the pattern of the dies. As a result of this development metal buttons became much more readily available; and many of the brass furniture fittings used by the master cabinet-makers of the period were made by stamping although some still had to be cast.
The invention of coining presses inevitably followed the development of the ordinary stamping press.