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How the Silver Plated Ware Industry Grew
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posted 07-20-2012 01:26 PM
From The Jewelers' circular
February 5, 1919
History of the Old Concerns Now Merged as the International Silver Company Forms
Almost Complete History of the Trade.
EDITOR'S NOTE.—No sketch of the history of the older concerns in the jewelry business would be complete without a brief history of the many concerns manufacturing silver-plated hollow-ware which have played such an Important part in the development of the retail jewelry business of the country. As most of these old concerns are now amalgamated with or merged into the International Silver Co., we have combined the histories together, and to W. G. Snow, of the International Silver Co., we are indebted for the following information telling of the growth of the various concerns now merged into the controlling corporation.
THE history of the International Silver Co., and the various companies that joined themselves together to form it in 1898, is to a remarkable degree the history of the industry itself. The International Silver Co. was organized with an authorized capital of $20,000,000 and included the following companies each of which had won a place for itself in the silver world: Meriden Britannia Co., Wilcox Silver Plate Co., Meriden Silver Plate Co., Meriden; Barbour Silver Co., Rogers Cutlery Co., William Rogers Mfg. Co., Hartford; Holmes & Edwards Silver Co., Bridgeport; Manhattan Silver Plate Co., Lyons, N. Y.; Norwich Cutlery Co., Norwich; Rogers & Brother, Rogers & Hamilton Co., Waterbury; Watrous Mfg. Co., Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co., Simpson Nickel Silver Co., Wallingford; Derby Silver Co., Derby: Middletown Plate Co., Middletown. Samuel Dodd, who had been general manager of the Wilcox Silver Plate Co., of Meriden, was the first president, holding that office until his death in Dec, 1906.
The present officers are as follows: George H. Wilcox, president, Meriden; "George C. Edwards, first vice-president, Bridgeport; George D. Munson, second vice-president, Wallingford; I. W. Cokefair, third vice-president, New York; George Yeamans, treasurer, Meriden; George Rockwell, secretary, Waterbury; and C. E. Breckenridge, assistant treasurer, New York.
The headquarters of the company were established in Meriden, the offices of the Meriden Britannia Co. being greatly enlarged for their accommodation. In Jan., 1903, the total capital stock of the United States Silver Corporation was acquired, which gave the International Silver Co., indirectly, the ownership of C. Rogers & Bros., of Meriden.
Meriden Britannia Co. In order to take care of the Canadian business, the International Silver Co. has a controlling interest in the following Canadian factories: Meriden Britannia Co., Ltd., Hamilton; Standard Silver Co., Ltd., Toronto; William Rogers Mfg. Co., Ltd., Niagara Falls, and these are able to look out for the Canadian business.
Although the silver plated ware industry of this concern dates back to 1847, and the struggles of three brothers, named Rogers, who sought in their little shop at Hartford to develop the electro-plating process, the business really had its inception as early as 1808, with the establishment of a small plant in Meriden for the production of pewter or Britannia ware.
It was the vision of the Britannia makers, at a later date, which was to make the efforts of the Rogers brothers a success, and, indeed, it might be claimed with some justice that it was the joining together of the mechanical genius of the Hartford experimenters with the practical business ability of the Britannia makers which constituted the definite beginning of silverware making as a business. By 1852 there were six or seven small Britannia ware plants in the town of Meriden, and the idea occurred to one of the pioneers of the industry to combine the efforts of these individual makers. It was Horace C. Wilcox who conceived this idea, and to his enterprise and great initiative the subsequent development of the silverware industry is largely responsible.
It was not long before the Meriden Britannia Co., which was the name given to the new organization, realized that the electro-plating process of the three Hartford experimenters was of great potential value to the Britannia industry. The Rogers brothers had met with success in a small way, but were hampered by lack of capital and someone to market their product. The Meriden Britannia Co. had both of these to offer, and an agreement was reached whereby the genius and skill of the Hartford men were joined with the initiative and business ability of the Meriden concern, and the latter began the production of goods that were later to be described in the catalogue of the Meriden Britannia Co., in the year 1867, as supplying "all the advantages of silver in durability and beauty at one-fifth the cost."
The men who joined with Horace Wilcox in 1852 to organize the Meriden Britannia Co. were his brother, Dennis C. Wilcox, Isaac C. Lewis, W. W. Lyman, Lemuel J. Curtis, John Munson and James Frary. The company was incorporated with a capital of $50,000. Isaac C. Lewis was its first president and Horace C. Wilcox, at the start, was both secretary and treasurer, but soon Dennis C. Wilcox was made secretary. The vitality and wonderful initiative of the Wilcox brothers was splendidly balanced by the shrewd conservatism of Messrs. Lewis and Curtis, making an ideal combination that insured success. In 1869 the officers of the company were H. C. Wilcox, president; D. C. Wilcox, secretary; and George R. Curtis, treasurer.
These were the days of keen competition and they offered large rewards for the true fighting men in the business world, and Meriden Britannia Co. was conducted by men who loved a fight if it were a fair and square one. Some of the men who traveled for the Meriden Britannia Co. during this period are still alive and have many interesting reminiscences of the "good old days." Among them are Andrew J. Forbes, of Somerville, Mass., who as a boy of 11 years went to work for I. C. Lewis and John Munson, before these twe gentlemen, with others, formed the Meriden Britannia Co. Mr. Forbes was identified with the silverware business until within a few years when he retired. Others of the old guard are Edmund A. Parker, of Meriden, who became associated with the company in 1866; G. G. Tibbals, of Middletown, who first sold Meriden Britannia Co. ware in 1867, and Alfred Barker, of Meriden, who went with the company the year following.
Fifty years ago baking dishes were first put upon the market and were a wonderfully popular article, while such items as soap racks, toothbrush racks, etc., were specialties that met with a ready sale. Mr. Barker recalls Minneapolis as the farthest point west which he visited, and that city was then regarded as the "jumping off place." To reach it involved some hard traveling, for the entire trip must be made in day coaches. Other well-known salesmen were John C. Wrarnock and John Beach, Horace C. Wilcox and his brother, Dennis C. Wilcox, also sold goods, the former making trips to Boston, while the latter confined his efforts more largely to New York. The company's New York office in 1869 was at 199 Broadway, which site it occupied from 1864 to 1873. Previous to that it had been at 90 John St., beginning with 1856, and later at 45 Beekman Si. Some of the men connected with that store who were widely known among the trade at that time or at a later date were John W. Miles, Henry D. Atwater and a salesman named Graves.
In 1867 a branch of the Meriden Britannia Co. was opened in San Francisco, where William P. Morgan, son-in-law of Horace C. Wilcox, represented the concern. Mr. Morgan entered the employ of the Meriden Britannia Co. in 1865, and before the Pacific road was built had gone to California by the Panama route in an endeavor to build up the business of the Meriden Britannia Co. west of the Rockies. Mr. Morgan was wonderfully successful in his work, which he continued until his death in 1902. The present office of the International Silver Co. in San Francisco is at 150 Post St., E. V. Saunders, manager.
In 1878 another branch was opened; this time in Chicago, by Albert L. Sercomb, who became associated with the Meriden Britannia Co. in New York in 1875. Mr. Sercomb was born in 1847, most fitting for one whose name was so closely linked with that of the silverware industry. Upon his death in 1913, he was succeeded by George Meehan, the present manager.
The New York store, which, as already stated, was at 199 Broadway in the year 1869. was under the direct supervision of Dennis C. Wilcox, who had moved from Meriden and become a resident of New York in order to better look after the interests of the company. Mr. Wilcox was a master salesman and his efforts were largely responsible for the rapid growth of the business during the early days.
"None of his numerous patrons were treated exactly alike, of course, but he seemed to recognize and respect at once the different peculiarities of each, no matter how subtle. We have room but for one incident illustrative of this quality. Calling one day upon one of his customers, he found a flat showcase covered with plated ware of an inferior grade. 'What are you doing with this trash?' he asked. 'Well,' said the merchant, 'I bought it cheap and it looks fairly well; I guess I can sell it.' Without further remark Mr. Wilcox swept the whole assortment from the case in a bruised and broken mass on the floor. 'You can't afford,' said he, 'to ruin your reputation with such truck. Send the company your bill and we will pay it. Now I want to sell you some reliable goods.' And he did, while the merchant became from that moment one of his most faithful friends. Probably in no other store in the country could such radical action have been taken without giving offense, but Mr. Wilcox knew his man as he knew all his customers, and it was this comprehension of individual character that made possible the rapidly increasing sales and popularity of the company's products."
The merchandising of manufactured ware was still on a more or less free and easy basis, the day of the peddler's wagon having hardly closed. The early method of disposing of the ware made in the Meriden shops had been to equip wagons, which were sent out for trips of greater or less length, and traveling merchants or salesmen were accustomed to accept various kinds of merchandise instead of money, which was not plentiful.
Rogers, Smith & Co.
By the year 1869 the Meriden Britannia Co. had taken over the interests of another concern with which was identified the name of Rogers, having controlled since 1862 the Rogers, Smith & Co. Rogers, Smith & Co. was organized in Hartford in 1856. Alter an unsuccessful attempt at consolidation with the Rogers Bros. Mfg. Co. and the sale of both concerns to Edward A. Mitchell, of New Haven, the company sold out to the Meriden Britannia Co., and its interests were henceforth controlled by the latter, although it continued in New Haven until 1877, when it was moved to Meriden and became merged with the Meriden Britannia Co. Two Rogers, Smith & Co. salesmen, whose names will be recalled by the older members of the silverware trade, are Robert M. Wilcox and T. H. B. Davis. The latter gentleman later went with the Middletown Silver Plate Co. and became its vice-president.
Another concern that had become a part of the Meriden Britannia Co. before the formation of the International Silver Co. was Wilcox & Evertsen. This company was formed by R. M. Wilcox, mentioned above, and H. H. Evertsen in 1892, succeeding Wilcox & Rowan. Wilcox & Evertsen was located for four years at 46 E. 14th St. until 1896, when it was sold to the Meriden Britannia Co.
In 1894 the Meriden Britannia Co. began the making of the Forbes Silver Co. hollowware, which has always been popular and has grown to be a very extensive line.
With the formation of the International Silver Co., the Meriden Britannia Co., Rogers, Smith & Co., and Wilcox & Evertsen as well, became known as Factory "E." Henry H. Stockder, for over 30 years with the company, is the manager.
Through all of the history of the International Silver Co., and of the silver industry, the Rogers name appears. We find the interests of the individual brothers identified with those of the Meriden Britannia Co., and also, at times, with the interests of Rogers & Bro., of Waterbury, and William Rogers Mfg. Co., of Hartford, all eager to avail themselves of the Rogers name and the Rogers skill and experience. The various companies who thus contended for the brothers and who appreciated their reputation are all now members of the International Silver Co.
The establishment of the Meriden Britannia Co. naturally had been followed by that of other concerns, the history of some of which was later to be identified with that of the International Silver Co.
Rogers & Bro.
Rogers & Bro. was organized in 1858, in Waterbury, by Asa H. and Simeon S. Rogers, two of the three Rogers brothers, Le Roy S. White and D. B. Hamilton. The following year the company was incorporated with the following directors: Asa H. and Simeon S. Rogers, Green Kendrick, Le Roy S. White and D. B. Hamilton. The first officers were Simeon S.. Rogers, president; D. B. Hamilton, secretary; and Green Kendrick, treasurer. L. S. White was made superintendent. The new company purchased the stone mill, located on Mad River, formerly occupied by Brown & Elton. The company manufactured spoons, forks, knives and other articles in great variety and on a far more extensive scale than had ever been attempted before in this country.
The "Olive," the first fancy pattern in electro-plated ware made in America, was made by this company and bore their trademark, * Rogers & Bro. Al, which has since become known and respected throughout the country. The company maintained a New York store in 1869 at 203 Broadway. George C. White was in charge. In Nov., 1862, Simeon S. Rogers resigned the office of president, and Green Kendrick was appointed his successor until the annual meeting in 1863, when he was elected president and treasurer and John Kendrick became secretary. Green Kendrick remained president until Jan., 1867, when he resigned and was succeeded by Philo Brown. In Jan., 1874, Dennis C. Wilcox was elected president and remained in that office until 1882, when D. B. Hamilton, former treasurer, became president and so continued until his death in the year 1898.
It was in this year that Rogers & Bro. joined with other silverware manufacturers in the formation of the International Silver Co. The directors at the time the company ceased to be a separate organization were George H. Wilcox, George Rockwell, G. M. Curtis, F. P. Wilcox, and C. Berry Peets. After the formation of the International Silver Co., Rogers & Bro. became known as Factory "J," and has been under the management of George Rockwell, former treasurer and manager and present secretary of the International Silver Co. The original factory has been enlarged and improved from time to time and is today superbly equipped for its work, the making of flatware.
Rogers & Hamilton Co.
Besides housing its own plant, Rogers & Bro., after becoming Factory "J" of the International Silver Co., took over the activities of the Rogers & Hamilton Co., which had been incorporated in 1886, its first officers being C. A. Hamilton, president and treasurer, and William H. Rogers, secretary. This company became Factory "K" when it became a part of the International Silver Co. The merging of companies "J" and "K" is now complete.
William Rogers Mfg. Co.
The William Rogers Mfg. Co., of Hartford, was started by William Rogers, one of the original Rogers brothers, in 1865, in the form of a partnership in connection with William J. Pierce and Thomas Birch, Mr. Birch furnishing the capital and Pierce and Rogers their time, skill and services. This company was incorporated in 1872 and continued uninterruptedly in business until 1898. The flatware of its manufacture has become more and more widely known. Today its trademarks, "Anchor, Rogers, Anchor," "William Rogers Mfg. Co.," "1865, William Rogers Mfg. Co.," and "William Rogers & Son," are recognized everywhere.
In 1875 D. B. Hamilton became president and four years later F. Willson Rogers, a son of William Rogers, and W. H. Watrous were elected directors, and W. H. Watrous succeeded to the presidency. F. Willson Rogers later became secretary. In 1898 the William Rogers Mfg. Co. became a part of the International Silver Co., and in 1901 W. H. Watrous, who had been president and manager of the old company, resigned. George D. Munson, who had been connected with the company since 1884, was then appointed manager and has continued in that office until the present time. In 1903 the plant was moved to Meriden into the factory formerly used by C. Rogers & Bro.
Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co.
Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. was organized in Wallingford in 1866 by Samuel Simpson, Aimer I. Hall. Friend Miller, Gurdon W. Hull, J. H. Osborne. Benjamin Church, W. M. Whittaker, A. H. Cowles, Andrew Andrews, Thomas L. Scovill, Thomas C. Morton, Charles M. Chittenden, James P. Church, Edward P. Boon and Samuel Holmes. This company started business on its present site in a small wooden building that had been used as a metal and paper button factory. Samuel Simpson was elected president and was the leading spirit in the company from the time of the formation of the company until his death in 1894, and during this period the business was largely increased, more land acquired and new buildings erected. In 1878 William Rogers, Jr., son of one of the three Rogers brothers of Hartford, became associated with the company.
The scope of the products in the later years was widened so that it included every style of sterling silver and silver plate in both flat and hollow ware, and "William Rogers" flatware was widely and favorably known. Gurdon W. Hull, the secretary of the company until 1869, was succeeded by Andrew Andrews, and two years later C. D. Yale became treasurer in place of Friend Miller, who had held the office since 1866. Gurdon Hull was superintendent in 1883, and three years later took charge of the New York office, corner of 14th St. and Broadway, succeeding C. D. Yale and his son, Charles B. Yale. Besides Mr. Hull, Samuel Parmelee, Friend Miller and Aimer I. Hall were Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co., salesmen who were well known to the trade. Aimer I. Hall later went to San Francisco and founded the house of A. I. Hall & Son, known to every silverware dealer on the Coast. When the International Silver Co. was organized, Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. became Factory "L," with C. H. Tibbits as manager. Mr. Tibbits' health caused his withdrawal in 1918, and he was succeeded by H. B. O'Brien.
Simpson Nickel Co.
Closely allied with Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. was the Simpson Nickel Co., incorporated in 1871 by Samuel Simpson, E. W. Sperry, Albert A. Sperry, Alfred W. Sperry and R. L. McChristie. The plant was used for the making of nickel silver flatware blanks, which were sold to Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. for plating and marketing. The stockholders and officers for the most part were allied with the latter company. Samuel Simpson, president of the Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co., was elected president and treasurer, and Alfred ,W. Sperry, secretary. The bookkeeping was done at the office of Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. C. P. Goss, president of the Scoville Mfg. Co., who died recently, was a stockholder and director, and Capt. William N. Mix was, up to the time of his death, superintendent, succeeding Harry D. Kendrick.
Shortly before the International Silver Co. was organized, the Simpson Nickel Co. began the manufacture of sterling flatware, and this was continued and largely increased after the plant had become known as Factory "M." the nickel silver flatware end of the business being gradually transferred to other factories of the International Silver Co.
Wilcox Silver Plate Co.
The Wilcox Silver Plate Co., at first known as the Wilcox Britannia Co., was incorporated in 1865 by Jedediah Wilcox, H. C. Wilcox, Charles Parker, A. L. Collins, Henry Martin, W. M. Humphrey, J. A. Humphrey, Nathan F. Johnson, F. G. Anthony, H. H. Miller, Joseph Morse, C. H. Collins, George W. Lyon, Eli I. Merriman, William A. Foskett and Levi E. Coe. The first president was Jedediah Wilcox, and the secretary and treasurer was Charles H. Collins. The following year Mr. Collins resigned and Levi E. Coe was appointed secretary and treasurer. The latter was succeeded in 1867 by W. C. Humphrey.
In this same year a contract was made with Henry B. Beach as salesman for the company. Mr. Beach proved a tower of strength for the new concern, as he not only was a most successful salesman but was largely influential in the designing and making of the hollowware which was the product of the company. In 1867 A. L. Collins was made superintendent, and in this same year the company began to be known as the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. Jedediah Wilcox resigned as president in 1867 and was succeeded by A. L. Collins, who was also authorized to act as general agent.
In 1869 the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. absorbed a concern known as Parker & Casper, at that time located at the present site of Manning, Bowman & Co., of Meriden. Samuel Dodd, who had left the Home Xational Bank to go with Parker & Casper, became secretary and treasurer of the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. Mr. Dodd was destined to become the first president of the International Silver Co. when it was formed in 1898.
The Wilcox Silver Plate Co., which had an office with the Meriden Cutlery Co. on Chambers St., New York, in 1869, in 1880 voted to secure a store for itself and appointed A. L. Collins, Dennis C. Wilcox and Samuel Dodd a committee to secure such a place, and some time after this we find the company located at 6 Maiden Lane. In 1890 George E. Flint was elected assistant treasurer. Among the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. traveling men was the master salmesman, Henry B. Beach, known widely as "Harry" Beach, Henry J. Ives, Dwight M. Rodgers, George N. Rice, John Hendershot, and Paul Boehme.
The company produced a high grade of plated hollowware which won a place for itself in the estimation of the trade. When the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. became a part of the International Silver Co. it was christened Factory "N." John M. Harmon is the manager.
Meriden Cnt Glass Co.
Housed in the same plant with Factory "N" is the Meriden Cut Glass Co. (Factory "T"). The history of this concern up to the formation of the International Silver Co. is covered by that of the Meriden Silver Plate Co., of which it was really a part. The Meriden Silver Plate Co. was incorporated in 1870 by Charles Casper, Isaac H. Cornwall, William E. A. Bird and William R. Mackay, with a capital stock of $30,000.
The Meriden Silver Plate Co., besides the lines of silver plated hollowware, were cutters of glass from the time the company was formed. Their early line of these goods was confined to common and rich paster bottles, pickle and berry dishes, etc., which were mounted in silver frames. Later they added quite an extensive line of salts and peppers, mustards, sugar dredgers, etc., and these lines were continued up to about 1895, when they started cutting a line of tableware, and it was deemed advisable to market it under a separate name, and that of the "Meriden Cut Glass Co." was adopted.
The Barbour Silver Co.
With the organization of the International Silver Co., the Barbour Silver Co., of Hartford, became Factory "A" of the new corporation. The Barbour Silver Co. was incorporated in 1892 by Isaac J. Steane, S. L. Barbour and J. L. Dalgleish. This company itself was the result of the uniting of the interests of three other concerns; L J. Steane & Co., the Barbour Hobson Co. and the Barbour Bros. Co., all of Hartford.
The events and conditions that led up to the formation of these three concerns and their amalgamation as the Barbour Silver Company extend over a good many years and are of considerable interest.
What may be looked upon as the starting point was the determination of Isaac J. Steane, a watch maker at Coventry, England, to come to America and collect a bad debt of $6,000. This was about 1866. Mr. Steane found it impossible to recover the money and was forced to take over his debtor's stock. This he auctioned off and not only recovered the amount of the debt but $6,000 in addition.
His first experience in the auctioning business was so successful that he continued it for some time, purchasing stock from various sources. He then returned to England, wound up his business affairs there and again came to the United States, and formed the firm of Steane, Son & Hall, consisting of Isaac J. Steane, Isaac J. Steane, Jr., and J. P. Hall. Mr. Hall retired in 1886 and the firm was changed to I. J. Steane & Co. After a time he bought the Taunton Silver Plate Co., and brought this stock to New York to dispose of it by auction. Later, he did the same thing with the Albany Silver Plate Co., buying out J. Strickland and moving the business to New York, combining the affairs of these two companies in that of I. J. Steane & Co. In the early '80s Mr. Steane purchased the old silverware stock of the Cromwell Plate Co., of Cromwell, Conn. This sale was made by Mr. A. E. Hobson who in 1881 had left the Meriden Britannia Company where he had been employed about a year and had become a salesman for the Cromwell concern.
About this same time was formed the Barbour Bros. Co. when S. L. Barbour came from Chicago to join his brother Chas. Barbour who was in the business in New Haven. These various forces now began to come together, I. J. Steane & Co., producing goods that the Barbour Bros. Co. marketed, Mr. Hobson being associated with the former. At the suggestion of W. H. Watrous, the business was moved to Hartford and two years later the business of the Hartford Silver Plate Company was acquired. Mr. Steane, Sr., retired and returned to England in 1888.
The Barbour Hobson Co. was organized in 1890 for the purpose of manufacturing Sterling Silver. The interests of I. J. Steane, the Barbour Bros. Co. and the Barbour Hobson Company were so nearlyidentical that it was thought best to unite them and the Barbour Silver Co. was the result. This company was incorporated by I. J. Steane, S. L. Barbour and J. L. Dalgleish. The new corporation took over the property, business and good-will of the three companies already mentioned and continued business until the formation of the International Silver Co., when they became Factory "A" with S. L. Barbour as manager Mr. Barbour continued in this position until a short time ago when be retired and A. E. Hobson, who had been superintendent, took over many of his duties.
Derby Silver Co.
The Derby Silver Co. (Factory B) was organized in 1873 for the making of Flatware, being to a large extent the successor of the firm of Redfield & Rice of New York, buying the latter's tools and material. In addition to the manufacture of Flatware, they purchased hollowware from the Wilcox Silver Plate Company, of Meriden, plating it themselves.
In 1878 Henry B. Beach, whose name has appeared in the account of the Wilcox Silver Plate Co., came to the Derby Silver Company and through his efforts the production of hollowware was established and became very successful. When Mr. Beach returned to the Wilcox Silver Plate Co., the Derby people felt his loss very keenly. They cast about for someone who could maintain the high standards Mr. Beach had set and finally selected Col. Watson J. Miller, of Xew York. Col. Miller was elected secretary and treasurer of the company and in 1890 succeeded the President, E. DeF. Shelton, W. L. Clark being elected secretary and treasurer. Colonel Miller's efforts in behalf of the company were most ably seconded by those of his wife, who showed a remarkable aptitude and taste in the production of new goods. Upon the death of Colonel Miller in 1911, he was succeeded as manager of factory B by Mr. Clark, who in turn was succeeded by I. W. Cokefair, the present manager, who has been identified with the affairs of the Derby Silver Co. since boyhood, starting with the company in 1873.
Among the early salesmen connected with this company were "Ed" Brittin, George Seal, Harry Osborne, Joseph Beach and Mr. Daggett. Henry B. Beach during his connection with the company also sold goods while Mr. Brittin acted, before Mr. Beach's arrival, in a measure as general manager in the manufacturing end of the business. After Mr. Beach's withdrawal, this work fell upon Barnard Culver and he in turn was followed by Colonel Miller about 1879.
The Watrous Mfg. Co.
The Watrous Mfg. Co. (Factory "P" of the International Silver Co.) was incorporated in 1896, having succeeded to the property of the Maltby, Stevens & Curtis Co. Among the principal stockholders were W. H. Watrous, president of the Willitm Rogers Mfg. Co., of Hartford; D. S. Maltby, of Waterbury, of the Maltby-Henley Co., of Xew York; G. D. Munson, F. M. Chambers, and the Seymour Mfg. Co., of Seymour, Conn. The first officers of the company were: President, W. H. Watrous; treasurer and manager, G. D. Munson, and secretaiy," F. M. Chambers.
The products of this company at the start and for some time thereafter were nickel silver blanks for plating, -nickel silver hollowware, sterling silver hollowware and novelties, and sterling silver flatware. The company was in business for two years when it became a part of the International Silver Co. in 1898. The plant at the present time produces sterling novelties, vanity and cigarette cases, etc., sterling toiletware, hollowware and flatware, also rlated ware in the form of small hollowware novelties, vanity and cigarette cases, etc., heavily silver plated on nickel silver, and nickel silver flatware. G. D. Munson is the manager.
The Holmes & Edwards Silver Co.
In Jan., 1880, the Rogers & Brittin Silver Co. was established at Bridgeport, Conn. The following year George C. Edwards and C. E. L. Holmes purchased the controlling interest, and in 1882 the Holmes & Edwards Silver Co. was organized, taking over the stock and assets of the Rogers & Brittin Silver Co. Mr. Holmes was elected president and Mr. Edwards, treasurer and general manager. Upon the death of Mr. Holmes in 1884, Mr. Edwards succeeded to the presidency, and at the annual meeting in 1885 the officers elected were: President, George C. Edwards; vice-president, M. W. Seymour; treasurer, George C. Edwards; and secretary, F. D. Baker.
The Holmes & Edwards Silver Co. soon won a place for itself in the flatware world and established the reputation of its various lines, especially its silver inlaid ware, which has long been recognized throughout the country. The company was active in the formation of the International Silver Co., and upon its establishment Mr. Edwards was elected the first vice-president. The company produced a wide variety of lines, embracing not only the silver inlaid brand, hut silver plated ware of various grades, and unplated nickel silver goods as well. Mr. Edwards has been manager of the plant (Factory "C") since •he organization of the International Silver Co.
Norwich Cutlery Co.
Factory "G" of the International Silver Co. was, before the fonration of the latter, known as the Norwich Cutlery Co. and was organized in Norwich, Conn., the latter part of 1889. by William H. Watrous. George W. Watrous was the manager and F. W. Brittin was superintendent. The first shipment of knives, made about the middle of March, 1890. 'was to the William Rogers Mfg. Co., of Hartford, and for a number of years the latter company took all the production of the plant. The output was largely increased until it reached its present large figures. C. A. Sherman, the manager, entered the employ of the Norwich Cutlery Co. in 1889, and has been with the plant ever since.
Another one of the early silverware concerns that was included in the International Silver Co. was the Middletown Plate Co., of Middletown, Conn. This business was first started in 1864 by Edward Payne and Henry Bullard, formerly in the employ of I. C. Lewis, of Meriden, Conn., one of the founders of the Meriden Brittannia Co. Payne and Bullard formed a partnership, doing business in the name of the former, in the manufacture of Britannia and plated wares, on Hubbard St., Middletown.
In 1866 Edward Payne, Elmore Penfield, Embree Bullard (Henry Bullard, attorney) began doing business as the Middletown Plate Co., a joint stock corporation with a capital of $20,000, which in 1884 was increased to $250,000. Messrs. Payne, Penfield and Embree Bullard were chosen directors. Penfield was elected president, Payne treasurer, and Henry Bullard secretary. Penfield severed his connections with the company in 1875, selling his interest to Edward Payne, trustee for the company. George H. Hulbert, who became associated with the company in 1866, represented the concern in the market, as did also Edward Payne. Bullard devoted his time to the manufacturing end.
In 1867 the company opened a showroom at 13 John St., New York, with J. Wesley Johnson as representative. In 1871 James H. Kelsey, who had been an employe of the company since 1869, was elected secretary. In this same year John G. Rich, of Hartford, was employed as the company's representative, continuing in that capacity until the end of the company's corporate existence, when he went to the Derby Silver Co. branch (Factory "B") of the International Silver Co., remaining there until 1918, and now resides at Auburn, N. Y.
In 1874 Henry Bullard was elected superintendent, which position he most capably filled until he severed his connection with the company in 1886. George H. Hulbert was elected president in 1874, and in 1875 Thomas H. B. Davis, who had represented Rogers, Smith & Co. in the market, became associated with the Middletown Plate Co. and was elected vice-president. In 1891 Joel R. Boice, who had been employed by Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co., of Wallingford, became superintendent. Later he was employed by the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. (Factory "N") and by the Meriden Brittannia Co. (Factory "E"), plants of the International Silver Co.
Among the traveling men employed by the Middletown Silver Plate Co.. who were well known in the silver trade some years ago, were: Edward A. Phelps, San Francisco; Fred Livermore, Chicago; Chester Shepard, Jr., James F. Barclay, Mt. Vernon, N. Y.; Charles Klett, Samuel Clapp and J. F. Teichner, Detroit; Fisk Brainerd and C. S. Griswold.
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