Of course, Happy New Year folks. Now…by a show of hand…how
many of you missed me? Hmmm?
The Huguenot Jeweler
He was the most famous jeweler of his times. His father had been
a French refugee who had settled in New England and had been
apprenticed to a silversmith. He then subsequently taught his
son the trade. And, as is sometimes the case, the son surpassed
the father in skills. The fact is that our hero became one of the
most famous jewelry artists in American history. He worked in
silver and in gold, though, at one point, he was considered by a
Harvard professor as the only man in America with competent
knowledge in metallurgy and its allied sciences. I doubt very
much if there is a man, woman, or child alive today that does not
know his name.
He spent much of his years among the Puritans who rejected
jewelry as ornamentation. And yet, in order to survive, our hero
sold gold rings and silver spoons to the colonials. There are
those who think that our protagonist was the pacesetter for the
world of jewelry fashion in America.
And yet, though he wanted nothing more in his life than to be
considered a jeweler, it was in two other areas that he achieved
enormous fame. The first was directly related to his knowledge
of metals. During the revolution, he was called upon to construct
a powder mill for the troops. When he wasn’t making jewelry, he
was making copper hardware for ships.
In 1800, after spending a great deal of his personal wealth in
experimentation, he set up a factory with a rolling mill for the
manufacture of sheet copper. It was from this factory that
sheathing was made for many American ships, among them the
Constitution, He worked with Robert Fulton on copper boilers for
steamboats. He was more than ahead of himself for his time. He
was the connecting link between the medieval craftsman and the
He had, over the years, amassed a fortune. And yet, all he ever
wanted to be known for was his skill as a goldsmith and
silversmith. And although he is well known for these skills…it
is in a ballad by Longfellow that brought our hero the fame that
will live into eternity.
Apollos Rivoire, his father, named him Paul before changing the
French family name to the more Americanized version of Revere.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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