A. E. ODELL & Co.
Practical Watchmakers and Jewellers, Stuart Street, Harrismith.
Specializations is the trend of every industry, art and science. It is illustrated in the productions of the manufacturer, and in the creations of the painter and sculptor: and the time is bound to come when each individual will be employed solely in that particular department of activity for which his capabilities, natural or acquired, best qualify him. The commercial and industrial aspect of Harrismith, at present, certainly does not exemplify specialization. On the contrary, most of its firms devote themselves to a conglomeration of trades, and their respective establishments are stocked with bewildering assortments of the commodities of the world's markets. There are, however, one or two individuals who, confining their entire attention to well defined avocations, are affording to the public all the advantages which specialization therein creates. Among these is the firm of Messrs. A. E. Odell & Co., whose remarkable skill in the many delicate operations associated with the watchmaking and jewellery trade must be duly recognised by us in our review of the town.
In their attractive establishment in Stuart Street no goods outside the sphere of the avocation are to be seen. There is nothing in that methodically arranged and well kept shop but those precious materials which have been the object of human desire throughout untold ages, and which will continue so until gold, silver and precious stones cease to be the embodiment of wealth and power. The young man desirous of obtaining "something out of the common " in an engagement ring, or the happy individual whose sentiment seeks expression in the purchase of that plain little circlet of gold which religious and secular laws and customs render imperative, are frequent visitors to the establishment, in which the large selection displayed is well calculated to meet the requirements of the most fastidious mortal who ever sought to captivate and retain a lady's heart. And should he be of a poetic or romantic turn of mind, the firm will engrave at his request a pretty and appropriate motto of any kmd on his purchase—the ring, not the heart—with the utmost expedition and proficiency. Brooches, bracelets, and watches of the most novel and artistic designs are also displayed in such abundant variety that his nuances must indeed be in a state inconsistent with the approaching momentous event, who does not succumb to their attractions and leave the establishment with more extensive purchases than were intended on first entering. The shop is also a popular resort of every lady on the outlook for the most acceptable present for beau or relative, and the collection of articles of jewellery which "the lord of creation" most appreciates, such as scarf pins, watch chains, studs, links, cigar, cigarette and card cases, match boxes, etc., would be difficult to find surpassed in the Colony. Magnificent presentation plate of all kinds is also on view; while the firm's assortment of clocks indicates the great efforts which are being put forth by the manufacturers towards the attainment of the highest standard in the ornamentation and utility of their productions.
The firm are noted for the expert way in which they execute gilding, engraving, electroplating, and repairs of every description.
The premises have been devoted to the watchmaking and jewellery trade since 1892, in which year the business was started by Messrs Myers Bros., who carried it on until 1896, when it was taken over by Mr. A. G. Bobbins. In 1901, Mr. A. E. Odell, who had been employed in the concern since 1896, bought the business; and since then, under his able direction, it has developed in a very praiseworthy manner.
Source: The Orange River Colony: An Illustrated, Historical, Descriptive and Commercial Review - Macmillan & Ferguson - 1905