Ball, Black & Co., 1869
Black, Starr & Frost, 1919
The oldest jewelry firm in this city was founded by Isaac Marquand in 1810. The store was a little shop at 166 Broadway, near Maiden Lane, where Mr. Marquand was joined by one Erastus Barton, an Englishman who had won an enviable reputation in both London and New York as a designer of silverware and jewelry. Today the concern, now known as Black, Starr & Frost, is located at Fifth Ave. and 48th St.
When this business was founded James Madison was president of the United States. The war of 1812 had not begun. The population of New York city was about 96,000, or less than that of Albany of today. At that time the site of the old Astor House, which was not built until 20 years later, was considered uptown, being virtually in the suburbs of New York.
In 1833 Marquand & Co. moved to larger quarters when Henry Ball and William Black were taken into the firm. In 1839 the business was known as Ball, Tompkins & Black, and in 1851, upon the death of Mr. Tompkins, the firm became known as Ball, Black & Co. In 1860 a building was erected at Broadway and Prince St., constructed of white marble. Upon the retirement of the elder members of the firm, Robert C. Black, son of William Black, took in with him as partners Cortlandt Starr and Aaron V. Frost, all of whom had been through a long period of training with Ball, Black & Co., and the firm became Black, Starr & Frost.
From 1876 to 1898 the business was located at 251 Fifth Ave., and in 1898 the concern moved to 438 Fifth Ave., corner of 39th St., and was incorporated as Black, Starr & Frost in 1908. The present location at Fifth Ave. and 48th St. has been occupied since 1912. The present officers are: R. Clifford Black, president; William L. Rich, vice-president; Aaron Frost, secretary, and Witherbee Black, treasurer.
Source: The Jewelers' Circular - 5th February 1919