The Jaccard Companies

Dave Coatsworth

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From the NAWCC Chapter 190 Newsletter by Dave Coatsworth, November 2016...

One cannot discuss the history of jewelers in the Mid-west without discussing the Jaccard family. The Jaccard history is, indeed, a somewhat confusing one, in which several different concerns existed and are often mistaken for one another.

This history begins in 1829 when Louis Jaccard, a Swiss watchmaker, immigrated to the United States and settled in St. Louis. His first place of business was a little shop located on Main St., which he shared in partnership with Charles Recordon. In those days, there was considerable business in the city as St. Louis was the gateway to the West and also a major steamboat port on the Mississippi. In 1937, a significant robbery of $3,000 in goods took place, nearly wiping the business out. At this point, Charles Recordon left the business, dissolving the partnership.

Louis sent for his nephew, Eugene in 1837 and, with his arrival, renamed the business Louis Jaccard & Co. In 1848, Louis retired and sold his interest in the firm to Eugene, who operated under the name E. Jaccard. In 1852, he brought in A. S. Mermod (another family member) as a partner and then in 1855 added David Constant Jaccard as a third partner. At that point, the firm became known as E. Jaccard & Co. (Note that this sequence of events is reported in numerous sources, including the Jeweler's Circular and the History of Saint Louis City and County. While the events are consistent, the dates vary somewhat. The dates given here are from the History of Saint Louis City and County.)

As we see with many businesses in this era, fire was always a threat and the Jaccard business was not immune. In May of 1849, fire swept through the city of St. Louis, completely destroying the store and its contents. The partners rebuilt a beautiful store on 4th Street, between Pine and Chestnut and business continued briskly. In 1860, the firm moved to a marble building on the corner of 4th and Olive Streets. The store was then known as the 'Marble Palace'.

The partnership of E. Jaccard & Co. lasted until 1864 when it was dissolved, with two businesses resulting. D. C. Jaccard & Co. was formed by D. C. Jaccard, A. S. Mermod and C. F. Mathey. A year later, Goodman King would join the firm. This firm would become Mermod, Jaccard & Co. in 1873 and then would later be incorporated as the Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Co.

The other firm created by this split was headed by Eugene Jaccard. This firm was known as E. Jaccard & Co. Eugene passed away in 1871 and his nephew, Eugene J. Cuendet, took over management of the firm, which, in 1880, would become known as the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company. At the time, the firm occupied a beautiful five-story building on the corner of Fifth and Olive Streets. Eugene Cuendet died in 1894 at which time Thomas D. Witt became president of the company. (Thomas D. Witt had previously been a partner in the Prouhet & Witt jewelry concern, which was bought out by the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company in 1872.)

A third firm was founded by members of this family when Eugene G. E. Jaccard and Walter M. Jaccard, D. C. Jaccard's sons, left Mermod & Jaccard in 1888 and started their own jewelry business in Kansas City. Their store, known as the Jaccard Watch and Jewelry Company, was first located at 815 Main Street and later, 1034 Main. When Eugene retired in 1895, the company was reorganized by Walter as the Jaccard Jewelry Corporation. A third brother, Ernest A. Jaccard, would sever ties with the St. Louis company and join his brothers in Kansas City in 1902. The firm moved to 1017 Main in 1906. Walter B. Jaccard, Eugene G. E. Jaccard’s son, would later head the Kansas City firm.

Fire again struck Mermod & Jaccard just before Christmas of 1897. It was said that the vaults, loaded with Christmas merchandise, took a full week to cool down enough to open. The company was, however, open for business in temporary quarters across the street the following morning.

In 1901, Mermod & Jaccard bought out the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company, as well as Merrick, Walsh & Phelps. The consolidated firm's name was changed to Mermod, Jaccard & King in 1905.

The firm of Mermod, Jaccard & King was itself bought out by the general merchandiser Scruggs, Vandervoort and Barney in 1917. It incorporated Mermod, Jaccard & King into its own downtown department store and later into other stores in its chain. Scruggs, Vandervoort and Barney would remain in business until financial pressures caused them to close their doors in 1969.
 

Dave Coatsworth

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Here are several movements that were retailed by Eugene Jaccard. All but one (which is Swiss) was manufactured by the Illinois Watch Company. Note that they all have a "No." number on them. I have not, as yet, been able to determine the significance of this number.

Illinois134057Mvmt.jpg Illinois202900Mvmt.jpg Illinois276724Mvmt.jpg Illinois305674Mvmt.jpg Illinois1181445Mvmt.jpg Jaccard1.jpg
 

John Cote

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Thank you Dave. This is a great article. I knew a little bit of it but this is great stuff. I have always looked for these Jaccard family watches.
 

Jerry Treiman

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Here is an Elgin 12-size 23-jewel grade 190. The movement and dial are marked "Mermod, Jaccard & Co. / Superior / St. Louis". The case is stamped "Mermod, Jaccard & King Jewelry Co. / St. Louis -- New York"
Fantastic Jerry. These little 190s are super high quality. I love them. This one is spectacular.
 

Jeff Hess

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Picked up a 11 jewel hunter hamilton Jaccard and a HUGE gold Jaccard Non Magnetic last week.
 

Jerry Treiman

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Pretty neat items, Greg. I have only seen one other PL shipping tin.
 

Rhett Lucke

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Here’s an interesting Damaskeening Pattern Sample from the Hamilton Factory. It was obviously made for the folks at Mermod Jaccard.

3FAC4AB5-58DD-4093-9D68-AA0976A3C9C1.jpeg
 
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Jerry Treiman

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Here's my contribution

View attachment 462509

All I have to do now is find a watch to go with it!
Roland - have you determined which movement belongs with your dial? It is lovely and certainly deserves to find a partner. (I would guess a 12-size Waltham).
[... and Rhett - what a great artifact!]
 

rolandantrobus

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Spot on Jerry, yes a 12s Waltham. I have an open face case for it but no movement. That size seems to be quite scarce this side of the pond so may take a while.
$_32 (1).jpg $_32 (2).jpg
 

Stephen Matusek

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I have a Hampden pw/ls15j M J & Co's Railroad Watch, St. Louis serial #150937. It is a Hunting style watch.
I was on eBay last week & I just happened to come along a catalog from Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Co, corner of Broadway & Locust St., St. Louis, MO. Thanks to Dave, I can put a date to it from at least 1873. It is full of pocket watches, ornate cases, clocks, silverware & so on. I even saw an ad for an Abbott Stem Kit for kw watches for Waltham, Elgin, Illinois, Hampden, Rockford, Cornell, U.S., Marion & Tremont. Also will work on Howard watches above serial 30,000. The catalog is in excellent shape for its age, is 13 1/2" x 10 1/4" & has 97 pages. When I saw it, the listing said around 8 people had seen it within the hour so I looked at the condition for maybe a minute, if that & jumped on it. It was well worth what I paid for it. The cover shows horse drawn trolley's. There is a pic of my watch in there but kw plus at the bottom of that page they offer the watch & a few others as stem wind for gentlemen.

Steve

fullsizeoutput_83d.jpeg fullsizeoutput_843.jpeg fullsizeoutput_829.jpeg fullsizeoutput_82c.jpeg fullsizeoutput_82a.jpeg fullsizeoutput_848.jpeg
 

Kent

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Here's the serial numbers Ed & I have in our database for Hamilton, nominally grade No. 943, Paragon Time-Keepers:

239202
239205
239209

Pretty slim pickings, but the grade No. 943 wasn't all that common to begin with.
 

John Cote

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Here's the serial numbers Ed & I have in our database for Hamilton, nominally grade No. 943, Paragon Time-Keepers:

239202
239205
239209

Pretty slim pickings, but the grade No. 943 wasn't all that common to begin with.
Looks like gr 943 SNs 239201-16 were all for Mermod Jaccard. Mine was shipped to them in 1901 and these in 05. Your and Ed's records are very valuable Kent. What a great resource. Please always feel free to add anything I post here to your records and thanks a million for doing it.
 

Stephen Matusek

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kevinstang, it would be nice to see that one brought back to life. I imagine a watchmaker can fix the stripped hole. I have a balance cock on a running Waltham 1857 that has one of the 3 jewel screw holes stripped. I don't think they make Heli-Coil's or Time Sert's for pocket watches. :)

Steve
 

kevinstang

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kevinstang, it would be nice to see that one brought back to life. I imagine a watchmaker can fix the stripped hole. I have a balance cock on a running Waltham 1857 that has one of the 3 jewel screw holes stripped. I don't think they make Heli-Coil's or Time Sert's for pocket watches. :)

Steve
I'd be happy to donate it to someone who wants to repair it, its apart but the balance looks good, it had a broken mainspring (still does),parts,dial and pieces included, just if someone wants cover the flat rate mail box costs and they can have it! - I'll never do anything with it.
 

Stephen Matusek

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I noticed I posted the same one twice in posts 26 & 31. I think I meant to post this Illinois which is one I have not seen yet. The dial must have been changed because it says Illinois on it but on the movement, it says G.O. Jaccard, Kansas City, MO, sn 503149.

Steve

fullsizeoutput_98b.jpeg fullsizeoutput_989.jpeg
 

Stephen Matusek

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There was another Mermod Jaccard catalog on an auction site the other day & someone won it. I didn't want to bid on it because it may have been someone on here but I guess not. Mine is in a little better shape than it & it went for less than I paid but I don't care. I imagine there are some copies out there still but they are hard to come by. This one that sold has rolled corners with small tears so it may be very delicate & tear easier than my copy. For those interested just keep your eyes open. There was one on cd.

Steve

s-l1600.jpg
 

Rick Hufnagel

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I love this thread, and thanks to Dave for the great informative article!

I'm very excited to get to add to it finally.

This is a Goodman King signed Hampden with a dial signed Mermod Jaccard Jewelery Co.

15 jewels, half nickel, double sunk dial, unadjusted. Very neat and different damaskeen. Model 2.

IMG_20191025_171937835.jpg IMG_20191025_172031990.jpg
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Here are a pair of "Standards" from Mermod Jaccard.

Hampden 11 jewel model 2 signed for Mermod Jaccard & Co.
SN 618241
This is a rather late Hampden for me, as I believe it was made in Canton. I won't hold it against it too much... I actually really enjoy this watch.

IMG_20200912_222126902.jpg IMG_20200912_222300561_HDR.jpg

The next one is a 12 size Elgin mod 2, grade 321. 17 jewels and marked adjusted. The dial is marked Mermod, Jaccard & King, St louis and New York.

I believe this is one from close to the time the name changed.

Little bit different between the late 1880s and 1905, eh? Looks like the standards of the Standard jumped up a few notches!

IMG_20200912_222439859.jpg IMG_20200912_222512351~2.jpg

The latest Standard I've seen is an Illinois. MJK&Co 12 size open- faced, 17 jewel adjusted movement. Dating to the mid teens. Very pretty nickel damaskeen.

The earliest Standard I've observed is an 11 jewel, gilt Hampden keywinder in the 82xxx range. There has to be lower ones out there, just haven't recorded any yet.

Good fun, this Mermod Jaccard business.

One last fun fact, and I don't know if anyone has caught this, or cared.. lol.

In the Hampden blue book (which sits in reach on my night stand) page 110, there is an advertisement for Mermod Jaccard from 1881. Take a look at the illustration of the Standard. Look different? Does not quite fit in with the other three movements?? That's because it's an Elgin grade 13. I haven't seen one marked for MJ&Co... Yet...
 

PatH

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