Cephas Rogers & Brothers and Cousin Arthur

This post starts like many of my other posts…I was doing research on a piece of silverplate and come across some interesting information.  The piece of silverplate was a cream pitcher marked “Wm. Rogers Mfg.” and the pattern was #1225.  I had a cream pitcher in this same pattern, also marked as pattern #1225, but the manufacturer name stamped on this pitcher was “C. Rogers & Bros.”  Did Wm. Rogers produce the blanks and then C. Rogers apply the decorative bright cut work?  If Wm. Rogers produced these blanks, did he also make flatware for C. Rogers as well?  Or what? 

Pattern # 1225, Wm. Rogers Mfg. on Left and C. Rogers & Bros. on Right

Pattern # 1225, Wm. Rogers Mfg. on Left and C. Rogers & Bros. on Right

Upon further research I found evidence that not only is this often the case, but sometimes manufacturers find themselves being challenged in court over the use of backstamps. 

An interesting example that includes C. Rogers & Bros. is a court case between Meriden Britannia and Charles Parker.  Charles Parker manufactured silverplate for C. Rogers & Bros.  The backstamp he used was “C. Rogers & Bros. A1”  Meriden Britannia thought this was too similar to their “Rogers Bros. A1” trade-mark, was deceptive, and took issue with it.  The following article explains the issues of the case and the court’s finding.  It makes for very interesting reading and also provides an excellent background on the history of Meriden Britannia.  The following was taken from the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 1874:

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Note:  I have a separate post on the Boardman v. Meriden Britannia case mentioned above.

Charles Parker seemed to stop producing flatware about the same time that C. Rogers & Brothers started.  Did C. Rogers purchase Charles Parker’s equipment?

Here is a little on  C.Rogers & Bros. starting with their building on Butler street in Meriden.

C. Rogers & Bros. Factory Building, Meriden, CT

C. Rogers & Bros. Factory Building, Meriden, CT

The pictue above and the following were taken from a 1906 book “An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden” by Charles Bancroft Gillespie and George Munson Curtis

From a 1906 Gillespie Book

From a 1906 Gillespie Book

So who is C. Rogers and who are his brothers?  C. (Cephas) Rogers was the oldest of four brothers.  He was born in Old Saybrook, CT in 1836.  His brothers were Gilbert, born 1838, Wilbur, born 1841 and Nathanial, born 1848.  Cephas was originally involved in the hotel business (as was his father who had moved the family to Meriden) which allowed him to be involved with many influential people, including Abraham Lincoln.  He had moved to New York, but due to illness, he returned to Meriden and it appears his brothers convinced him to start his own silverplate business.

The following on Cephas, Gilbert and Wilbur comes from Gillespie &  Curtis mentioned above.

“Cephas Brainerd Rogers one of Meriden’s most successful business men and the senior of the once well known firm of C Rogers & Bros was born in Saybrook Conn December 30 1836. His parents Harvey and Elizabeth Tryon Rogers moved to Meriden to engage in the hotel business when their son Cephas was thirteen years of age. Previous to the Civil War Mr Rogers engaged as a clerk in the New Haven House which hostelry was the rendezvous of distinguished men of the state and nation in political military and educational circles and he became acquainted with many notable men among them was Abraham Lincoln. Still later Mr Rogers took charge of the Wadavvanock House a summer hotel in Stonington Conn and soon after manager of the St Denis Hotel New York City. He was very successful in both enterprises. However, due to poor health he returned to Meriden, where with his brothers in February 1866 the partnership of C Rogers & Bros was organized for the manufacture of silver plated goods. Beginning in a small factory the business advanced rapidly until the name of C Rogers & Bros on spoons knives and forks became known throughout the world for quality and beauty of design. The business of C Rogers & Bros was successfully carried on for nearly forty years.

Cephas B. Rogers

Cephas B. Rogers

“Gilbert Rogers began his business career as a boy of fourteen years when he became employed by Luther Webb at whose factory pocketbooks were then extensively made.  After two years he entered the factory of Chas Parker where he remained for five years during which time he learned the trade of finishing  flat  ware.  In 1858 he removed to Hartford where he was employed by the Hartford Silver Plating Company but later by Rogers, Smith & Co He was afterwards made superintendent of one of the departments of the Rogers Bros silver plating factory at Waterbury but after two years he formed a partnership with Asa H Rogers and engaged in the manufacture of silver plated spoons and hollow ware in a factory on Nassau street New York City. Like many other concerns when the Civil War broke out business operations were suspended and Mr Rogers returning to Meriden received the appointment as US enrolling officer which duties he fulfilled for the government for one year. It was in 1866 that with his brothers the concern of C Rogers & Bros was formed. Building a factory on Butler street now owned by the International Silver Co they first engaged in the manufacture of casket hardware, shrouds etc Later the firm began making plated forks spoons knives etc and built up as enviable a reputation as any concern in this country During the World’s fair at the Centennial exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876  Mr Rogers had charge of the C.Rogers & Bros exhibit.

Gilbert Rogers

Gilbert Rogers

“Wilbur Fiske Rogers a distinguished member of the Grand Army and until his retirement a leading manufacturer of Meriden was born in Saybrook Connecticut July 18 1841. While he was still a boy he moved to Meriden and after attending school here secured work at the Chas Parker factory being only twelve years of age at that time. He soon became very skillful as a silver plater and worked at that trade until 1861  At the outbreak of the Civil War Mr Rogers while working at his trade in New York city was one of the first to respond to the call of his country. In 1865 he returned to Meriden where he formed a partnership with his two elder brothers known as C Rogers & Brothers.”

Wilbur F. Rogers

Wilbur F. Rogers

Nathaniel Burton Rogers  Born July 6 1848  in Saybrook CT. He was a partner with Cephas, Gilbert and Wilbur in Danbury CT as Rogers Silver Plate Co.. The firm specialized in novelty goods, such as jewelry boxes, book ends, ashtrays, pin cushions, etc. In 1899 he became an officer when the two companies were incorporated.

“The Directors and Officers of the New Corporation of C Rogers & Bros Meriden Conn      Jan 30  The act of consolidating the Rogers Silver Plate Co of Danbury with C Rogers & Bros this city and the forming of a joint stock company with a capital of $1,000,000 was completed at the meeting of the interested parties in New York yesterday The new company took the old and well established name of the Meriden concern C Rogers & Bros. Directors were elected as follows Cephas B Rogers Gilbert Rogers Wilbur F Rogers and George F Rogers of Meriden N Burton Rogers and G Mortimer Rundle of Danbury and Arthur J Baldwin of East Orange NJ The directors met and elected these officers President Cephas B Rogers vice president N Burton Rogers treasurer Gilbert Rogers secretary Wilbur F Rogers executive committee Cephas B Rogers Gilbert Rogers and N Burton Rogers The headquarters will be in Meriden Mr Rundle who has been elected a director is an ex mayor of Danbury and Mr Baldwin is a member of the prominent law firm of Dill Seymour & Baldwin of New York city.”  From The Jewelers’ Circular and Horological Review Volume 38 Feb 1 1899

Another reference: “History of New Haven County, Connecticut” by John L. Rochey (Cephas page 612)

Gilbert and Wilbur seem to be the driving force behind the formation of a silver plating company as they both worked  for Charles Parker, as well as a number of other well known silverplating companies.

Ichabod Rogers Family

Ichabod Rogers Family

Their young cousin, Arthur, obtained many patents that were apparently manufactured by C. Rogers as well as Wm. Rogers Mfg. and Aurora Silver Plate Mfg. (noted below by a “W” for Wm. Rogers or an “A” for Aurora).  This information was referenced from Sterling Flatware Fashions website http://sterlingflatwarefashions.com/SPPatterns/CRogers.html

Arthur G. Rogers' Design Patents

Arthur G. Rogers’ Design Patents

Julius Wilbur Rogers (Sr.) Nov. 20 1877 received patent 197,408 “Electro-Plating Frame”

Julius Wilbur Rogers patent shows that as C. Rogers & Bros. started they were still making coffin trimmings. Julius also has patent USD 11799. His father was the administrator.  

Julius' Patent

Julius’ Patent

 Another interesting Patent from 1877

Patent 197,408

Patent 197,408

Here are  a few more bits about C.Rogers, The United States Silver Corp. and International. 

Some More Notes

Some More Notes

 As I started this post with a question, the question still remains: Why did Wm. Rogers and Aurora make patents by Arthur and assigned to C. Rogers?  Did Wm. Rogers actually make them for C. Rogers and Aurora?  Or perhaps Wm. Rogers Mfg. used C.Rogers’ dies once moved into their (C. Rogers) old building by International after 1903. I’ll have to keep looking into this mystery.  More to come.

I do have the C. Rogers creamer in the beautiful chased cherry design shown in the lead photo for sale here at my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/158276102/c-rogers-bros-aesthetic-silver-plate

I also have this same design in a four piece set manufactured by Wm. Rogers Mfg. here at my Etsy shop:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/158570416/wm-rogers-mfg-aesthetic-silver-plated

Wm. Rogers Mfg. Chased Cherry Silver Plated Set

Wm. Rogers Mfg. Chased Cherry Silver Plated Set

And a bon bon basket in this design by Wm. Rogers Mfg. here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/158206034/wm-rogers-mfg-silver-plated-bon-bon

Wm. Rogers Mfg. Chased Cherry Design Bon Bon Basket

Wm. Rogers Mfg. Chased Cherry Design Bon Bon Basket

If anyone has information they can share, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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4 Responses to Cephas Rogers & Brothers and Cousin Arthur

  1. Helen Ashton says:

    Hello! I found your website fascinating. I am writing the life of silversmith Omar Ramsden, his father Benjamin went from Sheffield to Connecticut to work in the silver business. In 1900 he is recorded as working for CR Brothers of Cheshire Rd., Meriden. From your site it seems very possible that CR Brothers were once part of C Rogers and Brothers. Do you think so? Would love to have your thoughts on this.
    Thanks, Helen

    • queenofsienna says:

      Hi, Helen. I’m glad you enjoyed my post on Cephas Rogers & Brothers. It could well be that “CR Brothers” was Cephas Rogers & Brothers. As the lawsuit between Meriden Britannia & Charles Parker stated, goods were manufactured with a mark of “C. Rogers Bros.” minus the “&” between “Rogers” and “Bros.” and this could have been further abbreviated to just “C R Bros.” I don’t see that the company was located on Cheshire Road in Meriden, but street names / building locations could have changed.

      I see there is some confusion over what happened to Benjamin. The ‘edinburghsilverco.blogspot.com’ seems to indicate that Benjamin died around 1895 “after the family’s return from America’ and Norah (wife) continued to manage Benjamin’s business in England.

      And I found an article in the June 9, 1896 London Gazette which mentions a “Deed for Assignment for Creditors” of Benjamin Woolhouse Ramsden. Maybe Benjamin was having financial difficulties and he returned to America at that time, leaving his wife behind to run the company?

      I have not found any obituary or grave for Benjamin in America.

      Best of luck with your investigation and writing! If I can help any further, don’t hesitate to ask. Regards, Susan

      • Helen Ashton says:

        Hi Susan, thank you very much for replying. It was someone else from `The Sheffield Indexers` who told me that she had found BWR at CR Bros in Cheshire Rd. in the 1900 United States City Directory working as a Metal Solderer. I have not actually seen it myself, as I don`t have access to US records., do you?
        There is confusion around his death as there was another B Ramsden who died in Sheffield c1895 but it is def. not him. I looked into it carefully. We have an entry for him which I have seen myself in the 1900 US Ferderal Census, in meriden on his own.
        But I am THRILLED to have that bit of info on him from you re the creditors. That is new to me and it is v seldom now I find any more facts about him. It wd. explain why he went back to the States in 1897, which I know he did, if his own business folded. Norah went on to run her own small business of a shop in Sheffield till she died in 1929.
        When his son Horace married in Sheffield in 1912, he states that his father is a silversmith, implying he was still alive then, but not definitely, of course. But it usually states `deceased` if the father is dead, and it didn’t say that, so it seems to me probable that he was still alive in 1912.
        His son Omar was v successful in London then, it is his life I am writing .
        Many thanks again for the new information which I am so pleased to have.

        Best wishes,
        Helen

  2. Helen Ashton says:

    Hello again Susan, I have just read the account on Edinburgh silver co site. It is obviously based very closely on the 1973 Exhibition Catalogue biographical notes by Peter cannon Brookes and unfortunately contains lots of errors as a result, which have got repeated over the years. I am trying to put them right and reference where my facts and information come from.
    So when I have looked up the facts you mention in the London Gazette, I will be able to show that.
    So thanks again!
    Helen

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