The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

For information you'd like to share - Post it here - not for questions
dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:06 am

FAIR TRADE IN WATCHES

Liverpool


During his recent visit to Liverpool, Mr. Chamberlain received a deputation on one of the minor questions with which, it may be hoped, Parliament will some day be enabled to deal. Most of us buy one or two watches in the course of our lives, and there appears to be some anxiety in the watch trade that these transactions should be free from imposition. The anxiety is very laudable, but it would be less provocative of scrutiny were it shared by consumers as well as producers. The public are, however, singularly indifferent in the matter, and, but for the alertness of the representatives of British industry, would be totally unaware of the wiles practised on them by the insidious foreigner. It seems, in fact, that we are suffering from unfair trade in watches. No complaint is made of the importation of foreign watches to this country, but they must not be sold as if they were English work. The demand is intelligible; but it is not easy to see how, according to modern notions, it can be realized. Englishmen have got accustomed to the idea that every trade should take care of itself, and adopt all needful precautions against competition, whether fair or unfair. There is, indeed, no industry in which tales could not be unfolded of the unscrupulousness of rivals and the injury thus inflicted on honest enterprise. It is, however, a different question whether the Legislature ought to preside over any manufacture to guarantee to the public full measure of good quality, and to protect the manufacturer against all competition that does not conform to a certain routine.

This was the issue raised before Mr. Chamberlain, and if it were merely suggestive of something yet to be, it would not be worth discussion But the principle just stated is to a great extent covered by existing legislation affecting both the watch and silver trades, and in some quarters there appears to be no unwillingness to increase its stringency. Everybody is familiar with the Hall marks on silver plate; they certify that the metal is of a certain standard. The fact is not so well known that nothing below that standard can in this country be legally sold. There is an open market for electroplate ; but if a manufacturer send to Goldsmiths’ Hall an article for which, upon examination, the Hall marks cannot be claimed, it is —returned to him? Nothing of the sort: the workmanship may be rare and costly, but it will never more gratify the eye—the Goldsmiths’ Company will carefully break it up and return the owner the pieces. It is unnecessary to say that this fine old custom has a very high antiquity, and that there are people who would be sorry to part with it. The position of the English Silversmith presents a study in trade survivals ; he is regulated in the present day as all other tradesmen used to be regulated centuries ago, and the quality of their wares guaranteed by a paternal Government. He cannot sell goods of varying standards of purity under the same responsibilities as other tradesmen: his work is specially taxed, and cannot be dealt in without a special licence. In the watch trade similar restrictions prevail. An English watch manufacturer must not sell a watch that has not been Hall-marked. On the other hand, his Swiss competitor may and does sell in this country thousands of watches that have no such guarantee. The Swiss and the Americans also sell watches that have been Hall-marked, and with which English buyers appear to be satisfied. At all events they make no complaint, and it is left to the English trade to complain for them. It is not pretended that there is any difference between an English and a foreign watch-case bearing the impress of the Goldsmiths' Hall, or that the investigation there made is concerned with anything but the exterior of the watch. The grievance alleged is that foreign movements are put in English marked cases and sold as English watches. To remedy this it is proposed to refuse the Hall mark to all foreign goods, and thus to compel them to be sold for what they really are. The Hall mark, it is contended, although originally designed to certify only the purity of the metals, has come to be regarded as a certificate of origin—as in fact an English trade mark. The English buyer, it is said, knows this, and while he is looking for the Hall marks he is thinking of the watch as a whole, and of the superiority of English workmanship. It is not surprising that the account given of the mental process in such transactions should be somewhat coloured by class egotism. To the English watchmaker English watches are necessarily the subject of constant cogitation ; but watch buyers have little worlds of their own, and are heedless of some considerations which he very properly regards as important. The whole subject of Hall-marking, as affecting both the watch and silver trades, was exhaustively investigated by a Select Committee three years ago, and there is a good deal of evidence to show that watch-buyers are not so much the victims of foreign deception as has been represented. People who give several pounds for a watch expect it to be Hall-marked as a matter of course, but there is very considerable testimony against the assumption that the Hall mark is taken as evidence either of the British origin of the case or of the movement. The movement, it is obvious, is the more important part of the watch, and this is sold under the responsibility and with the guarantee of the vendor. “ The Hall mark is a mere nothing in comparison with the name of an English watchmaker on the back of the watch or case”—this is the burden of much evidence from experienced manufacturers and dealers. Nor does it appear that it is an easy matter to draw the line between an English and a foreign watch movement. There is a very considerable importation into this country of foreign watch movements which are worked up into English watches in various ways, and in varying proportions. Some gentlemen from the provinces who were examined by the Select Committee were not afraid to suggest that the Hall mark should not only be withheld from foreign watches, but that it should be made a punishable offence to use foreign movements for Hallmarked cases, whether English or foreign. The same zeal was not shown for the protection of the public against an artifice by which watches emanating from Liverpool and Coventry were, for their more ready sale, passed off as London watches. It was philosophically suggested that nobody but an expert could tell the difference, and it need not be doubted that general ignorance on this point adds to the sum of human happiness.

No impartial student of the Report and Proceedings of the Select Committee can doubt that the grievance set up by a certain portion of the watch trade is of the protectionist order. Of course protection is disclaimed, but where in these times is the protectionist who will frankly own that he wants protection? He wants something which perverse opponents will persist in calling protection, but with whose true character he is best acquainted. As regards both the watch and silver trades what they stand in need of is freedom, not restriction. Hall-marking has its value; but it is obviously a regulation in restraint of trade. There is a strong feeling in its favour among certain manufacturers, and there is no reason why it should not be gratified. But there is equally good reason why the Hall mark should not continue to be compulsory either for plate or watches ; it is a relic of public functions which in far different times embraced all kinds of industry, and which only a superstitious regard for the "precious metals" has preserved in its now limited sphere of operation. There is much contempt among English watchmakers for "cheap foreign rubbish," but it is certain there is a great home demand for it, and there is qualified opinion to support the. suggestion that the English trade would do well to be less indifferent to the wants of humble buyers. English watches have their merits, but they have not the merit of being cheap, and, as Mr. Edward Rigg has hinted in his recently published Cantor Lectures, it may be questioned whether the average English watch is so much superior to the average foreign watch as to justify the marked difference in their prices. But for the necessity of Hall-marking, we may believe that English makers would long ago have entered into a more thorough competition with their foreign rivals; and Hall-marking must be made voluntary before the competition can be equal. Doubtless there are English watchmakers who hug their chains, and who think it a great advantage to be prevented by law from selling anything but a gold or silver watch. It is from such quarters that the cry against unfair foreign competition proceeds. The competition of the foreigner may not indeed be fair; but the foreigner has something to say for himself, and it cannot be denied that he has watches to sell which the English public persist in buying. It is for English watchmakers to consider whether it would not be better to fight him in the open market, rather than by fresh legal restrictions for which Parliament will be appealed to in vain.


Source: Pall Mall Budget - 11th November 1881

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:21 am

DEATH OF HERBERT H. BALLOU

New York


His many numerous friends in the jewelry trade learned with deep regret of the death of Herbert H. Ballou, of Udall & Ballou, 574 Fifth Ave., New York, which occurred Saturday morning of last week. Mr. Ballou was expecting to leave his home in Bedford Park, Bronx, as usual, for his office in Manhattan, but he told his wife that as he did not feel well he would wait a short time. He went to an inner room to rest and 10 minutes later passed away. Death was due to heart failure.

The firm of Udall & Ballou was organized in 1890 at Newport, R. I., and a branch office was opened in New York in 1891. The business was incorporated in June, 1906, and Mr. Ballou became the treasurer.

Mr. Ballou was 48 years of age. He is survived by a widow and five children. Funeral services were conducted from the Bedford Park Congregational Church Monday evening at eight o’clock.


Source: The Jewelers' Circular - 20th February 1907

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Wed Jul 15, 2020 7:15 am

FRANK BECK

London


Frank Beck is one of our best known silversmiths, a fitting choice to open the series of master classes being held by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths during the coming months. He has worked at Wakely & Wheeler and Gerald Benney, and at the Central School and at Sir John Cass he has helped to pass on his knowledge and craft. Many important works of silver have been made by him and the company has examples of his work going back 55 years. In less than two hours he demonstrated a range of the techniques he applies to silver, making it look so easy. The Hall rang with the tap of his hammer as he showed how to raise the metal, and confided he never uses a divider except for a full circle, only a pencil. Scratching could lead to an ultimate crack. Planishing, crimping, caulking, peening - all the little tricks were revealed, though Mr. Beck insisted that 'soldering is the hardest job to do'. Further master classes are being given in the evenings of January 12 and February 8.

Source: British Jeweller and Watch Buyer - December 1981

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:28 am

SIR JOHN BENNETT

London


In the Exchequer Division on Monday, Mr. Macfarlane, of Portland-place, brought an action against Sir John Bennett, watchmaker, of Cheapside, for breach of contract. The plaintiff in 1876 bought from the defendant for £126 a repeater watch, which struck the hours and quarters, and in the invoice it was stated that the performance of the watch was guaranteed. At the end of six months the watch stopped, and was several times returned to the defendant for adjustment, but as it did not then give satisfaction the plaintiff suggested that it should be exchanged, but this proposal was declined. He then submitted the watch for examination to another watchmaker, who pronounced it to be of second-rate quality, roughly finished, and made in part of Swiss works. Evidence in favour of the watch was given by the maker and by the defendant’s workmen, who said that while it was with them it kept very good time. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, with £86 damages.

Source: Pall Mall Budget - 31st May 1879

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:34 am

DEATH OF ASSAY OFFICE WARDEN

Birmingham


OBITUARY

Mr. George Alexander Bryson, C.B.E., of Metchley Lane, Harborne, Birmingham, on the 1st inst., aged 81 years. Mr. Bryson was one of the leading authorities on licensing in the country. He served as a member of the Royal Commission on Licensing in England and Wales, 1929-1931, and was also a member of the Morris Committee appointed to report on War-Damaged Licensed Premises and Reconstruction, on which report the Licensing Planning (Temporary Provisions) Act is based.

Appointed a magistrate in 1914, he served as deputy-chairman of the Birmingham City Justices from 1932 to 1944. As chairman of the Licensing Justices from 1921 to 1944, he maintained the policy of “ fewer and better ” licensed houses, which led to the surrender of licences in the central districts of Birmingham and the building of imposing new hostelries in the surrounding areas. His work in this sphere is truly marked on the social life of Birmingham to-day.

Mr. Bryson rendered other great services to the city and diocese of Birmingham. As chairman of the Board of Finance of a comparatively new diocese, he gave valuable help in the movement to provide churches in the new housing areas. For many years he served as chairman of the Edgbaston Church of England College for Girls and the Birmingham Blue Coat School. He was a warden of Birmingham Assay Office.


Source: The Brewers' Journal - 17th July 1946

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:41 am

JEWELER FOILS ATTEMPT TO BLOW UP HOTEL

Mansfield, Ohio


A plot to blow up the Von Hof Hotel, in Mansfield, O., was recently discovered by L. A. Ott, a jeweler. Mr. Ott lighted a match and a flame of gas shot up from a radiator to the ceiling. An investigation showed that some one had, with a rubber tube, filled every radiator with gas.

Source: The Jewelers' Circular - 9th May 1906

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:32 am

JOHN HUNT

London


Mr. John Hunt, head of the firm of Hunt and Roskell, who died at the end of November, was for many years a member of the Society of Arts, and of other learned and scientific societies. He was born in the year 1811. His father was Mr. John Samuel Hunt, partner in the firm of Storr, Mortimer, and Hunt, the head of which, M. Paul Storr, had been originally manufacturing partner in the house of Rundell and Bridge. Mr. Hunt earnestly endeavoured, during a long business career, to raise the artistic standard in the silversmith's trade. In 1847 he acquired the services of Antoine Vechte, who received medals for his designs at the Paris Exhibition of 1855, and at the London Exhibition of 1862. He was one of the jurors for the latter exhibition, and his firm guaranteed £2,000. He was also a juror at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. Although his failing health prevented Mr. Hunt from taking an active part in the more recent international exhibitions, his firm continued to receive medals for their productions.

Source: The Watchmaker, Jeweller & Silversmith - 5th January 1880

Trev.

dognose
Site Admin
Posts: 43289
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: England

Re: The Snippet - Past News of the Silver Trade

Postby dognose » Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:11 am

JEWELERS EXCHANGE BLOWS

Atlanta, Georgia


Altanta, Ga., Aug. 24 - E.W. Blue last week formally opened his new quarters on Whitehall street. The store is one of the handsomest in the city.

A.L. Delkin, who conducts a store adjoining that of Mr. Blue, entered the new store the evening it was opened, and became involved in a quarrel with the proprietor. Blows were exchanged between the jewelers before friends interfered. Both men were arraigned the following day on a charge of disorderly conduct, but were immediately discharged.


Source: The Jewelers' Weekly - 29th August 1894

Trev.


Return to “Contributors' Notes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests