I’m looking for historical documents that would tell me what the
gold and enamel jewelry production of the early 1900s might entail.
What kind of chemicals were used? What was the manufacturing
process? I’m looking for American manufacturing processes -
specifically in the Northeast states.
You may wish to contact the Newark Museum in Newark, N.J. Newark was
a world leader in Jewelry production in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
They have a large collection of Jewelry as well as a great archive.
On Divers Arts Theophilus, paperback, 1979, 216 pages illustrated.
Translated from the Latin by John G. Hawthorne and Cyrill Stanley
Smith, Dover Publications, Inc., New York. “I have made it my concern
to hunt out this technique for your study as I learned it by looking
and listening.” On Divers Arts, c. 1122, is the oldest extant manual
on artistic crafts to be written by a practicing artist. Theophilus
teaches, with rigorous attention to fact but also with great
reverence, the making of pigments for fresco painting, the
manufacture of glue, the technique of gold leaf on parchment (the
first recorded European reference to true paper), how to blow glass
and design stained glass windows, fashion gold and silver chalices,
make a pipe organ and church bells. Precise instruction (earliest
known instruction) on enameling, chasing, repousse, niello, and
beaded wire work prove Theophilus’ first-hand knowledge of his
While I have never seen this book, it has been carried by Thompson
for as long as have been dealing with them, which is over 20 years.
They must feel it is worthwhile.
I have a book, published by Dover titled "Metalwork & Enamelling"
by Herbert Maryon that shows the first edition as 1912. As it 's a
Dover book it may still be available.
My copy of this is about 10 feet away from me as I write this - one
of the first really great jewelry books I ever got, about 30 years
ago. One of the little gems it holds is several pages of photos of
twisted wires - “twisted square, twisted again onto a large square
wire.”, etc, Not a large book, but a real gem.
This book is still available and has gone through several reprints.
You can order it from Amazon.com. The prices start out at $6.00 for a
new copy from one of their outside vendors or $9.97 from Amazon. A
used copy will set you back a whopping $1.92. I was intrigued by the
description so I have a new copy on it’s way. Thanks for the heads
OK, so this won’t tell you about “early 1900s American processes” as
you were looking for, but for anyone interested in how things were
done in an earlier time, I’d recommend “On Divers Arts ”, which is
translated from a text written at about, if I remember correctly,
1100. It’s not exactly a page-turner, being from so long ago, but it
really is interesting to learn how things were done “way back when”.
It covers stained glass, too. There are very detailed descriptions,
as well as diagrams, showing the equipment, tools & processes.
OK, so this won't tell you about "early 1900s American processes"
as you were looking for,
Hmm, if you are looking for turn of the 20th century
one book I can recommend is Henleys Formulas for Home and Workshop
The original version was written in 1907 and included things like
adhesives, abrasives, soldiers, metal alloys and other things. It was
reprinted in the late 70’s. I often use it as a starting point for
trying to relate historical formulae to modern processes.
I’ve been reading ABOUT this book for a long time, I come across excerpts and references to it constantly, and I’m really intrigued by it but didn’t realize it’s actually still in print and you can get a copy of it so I’m really excited you gave a link! I’m getting it!!