The Stationery Store Owner
I seem to be in one of those “who is he” modes. It happens. I’ll get
my fill, hopefully before you get yours, and I’ll then move on to
other things. So here we go.
It is now circa 1837…some twelve years before the gold rush. A shop
opens on Broadway in New York City. It’s neither large, nor very
impressive. It carries stationery and fancy goods, and a small side-line
of jewelry. It is established on the borrowed capital of only one thousand
dollars. It is run by two young men. The first partner’s name is John B.
Young. The other partner’s name is…is…whoa there Nelly. Not yet my
friend. Him…He…is what this is all about.
He was born in 1812. He had a son that became a famous American
artist. As our stationery store grew in popularity, so did its jewelry
department …till it began to overshadow the stationery to the point of
oblivion. Within ten years of opening, our stationery store became a major
voice in the jewelry industry, and by 1847 its course was set for fame in
Our modest store owner, now a recognized jeweler, made a specialty of
importing historic gems and jewelry and art works. He adopted the
standards of English Silver and was single handedly responsible for
establishing the term “sterling” in the United States. It was this act
which affirmed his company as a high-prestige jeweler.
In 1858 our jeweler got hold of a surplus section of the newly laid
Atlantic cable, which he subsequently cut into small pieces and sold
as souvenirs. This endeavor was a huge success. At the beginning of
the Civil War, he turned his attentions to the manufacture of swords
and other war materials. By 1868 he had branches established in London and
Geneva. In 1887 our modest stationery store owner bought some of the crown
jewels of France. In 1878 he was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
He died in 1902. His name was Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the
great House of Tiffany. His son was Louis Comfort Tiffany, one of the
leading original U.S. designers, most famous for his stained glass
designs. You’ve all heard of Tiffany lamps, with their stained glass
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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