Lets start around 1880 at a toy business on Vesey Street in New York City associated with a James W. Smith and a William A. Rogers. William lives at 158 Dean Street in Brooklyn. In the NY City Directory of 1886 he claims his profession to be in “woodware”, then in the 1894 edition it’s back to toys, still at 72 Vesey St. By 1896 this Wm. A. Rogers has found a new direction -Silverware. And a new work address – 12 Warren St. (former home of Pope Bicycles) In 1900, the directory listing is for “platedware” at 12 Warren; his Brooklyn home address is still 158 Dean St. 12 Warren was later known as the location of the NY office of “Wm A. Rogers Ltd” out of Niagara Falls. In 1913 a William Augustus Rogers died at his home on Dean St. It was noted that he had been the General Manager of William A Rogers, Limited. What’s in a name?
In that same 1880-1881 NY City Directory there is listed a Robert W. Rogers “plater” with only a home address – 779 Eighth Ave. This Rogers will come into play later as an “inducer”, being “tricky, dishonest and fraudulent”. All he wanted to do was sell his name.
Below is some information shown in a chronological order, however we can find various periods of time discussed throughout.
Here are two court cases. The first involing the actions of one Robert W Rogers and basically how he continuously tried to sell his name. He is listed in “The New York City Directory” 1880-1881 as a “plater” living at 779 Eighth Ave. Curious fellow! Was he related to William ? Was the first court case a diversionary tactic so the second would succeed? “Wm A Rogers” as a backstamp was approved and then challenged again 10 years later by International, but to no avail. A lawyer in the first case, Hon. Charles H. Duell, is later listed as a director of William A. Rogers, Ltd. Hmmm…
The decision on the second case was rendered the next day:
Dec. 1895 “Wm A Rogers” mark approved on appeal. (see above case) 1895 Higher quality flatware now being sold by “Wm A Rogers”. (see excerpt from Candian incorporation papers below) Feb 1 1896 Horseshoe mark was first used (see trademarkia below)
Next from an 1897 book is a biography of William A. Jameson up to that time. He was very involved in the flatware business. He organized Oneida in Niagara Falls, Niagara Silver Company and I would assume Wm. A. Rogers. He was also a talented designer, receiving many patents.
Above from: “Landmarks of Niagara County New York” Edited by William Pool 1897
Following is an ad from a 1898 Jewelers’ Circular showing NY address W.A. Rogers prior to becoming “Ltd.”
Below an 1899 ad shows that “Niagara Silver Co.” was making for “Wm A. Rogers” a Jameson Patent design.
Jameson’s patent for this spoon design follows:
May-June 1899 There was a strike at the “Niagara Silver Co”. William Jameson was in the middle of the negotiations. How did this play into the formation of “Wm A Rogers Ltd”? For more on the strike see: “Annual Report of the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration of the State of New York, Volume 13”
Below is a close-up of a portion of “The Annual Financial Review Canadian Vol.1 1901”. This was written by Samuel J. Moore, President:
Note: Wm A Rogers was GM of Niagara Silver. I thought that postion was held by William Jameson. Jameson is not mentioned in this document or similar documents until after the death of William A. Rogers in 1913.
Below are the two pages from “The Annual Financial Review Canadian Vol.1 1901”
In the above Samuel J. Moore is president. He was a very prominent banker and was mentioned in the court case as being “induced” by Robert W. Rogers. Often representing Jameson and or Wm. Rogers we find Charles Duell. Looks like he was a judge.
Below is a close-up of another portion of the above document.
Was William A. Rogers promoting the business by procuring wholesale orders from the large retailers? Was 12 Warren St the NY salesroom ? Note the Chicago address below.
1902 ad below shows the trademark that was not registered until 1905:
Above are two Horseshoe marks…maybe one for flatware and the other for holloware.
Trademark issued May 25 1905 (serial number of 71006569) Apparently this was first used early 1n 1896.
See Trademarkia: http://www.trademarkia.com/wm-a-rogers-a-1-r-71006569.html
The following is from “The Niagara Falls Electrical Handbook” from 1904
Another photo of the mill from about 1900-1910:
Above from “Niagara Falls, Volume 2” By Daniel M. Dumych 1998.
Next are a couple excerpts from 1912 and 1913:
His obituary is the only time I could find where his full name was used. And how does the Noiseless Typewriter fit in??? William H. Disch took over Warren St. operations after Roger’s death.
Following is William A. Jameson’s obituary:
Note: “founded the Wm A Rogers Ltd”
For my own semi-sanity, I attempted to compile in some semblance of order a kind of brief timeline outline:
In Summation…William Augustus Rogers had a toy shop at 72 Vesey St. in NYC until 1894. Thereafter he is involved in the silverware business, first engaging “R. Wallace & Sons Mfg.” in July 1894 to stamp cheap steel flatware with “Wm. A. Rogers”. “Wm. Rogers Mfg.” took legal action against this mark but lost on appeal in December 1895. In the same year, Wm. A. Rogers upgraded the quality of his product and it seems sales took off. Apparently he used the “Horseshoe R” mark for the first time in February 1896. In the late 1890s, 75 percent of “Niagara Silver Co.” goods were being sold with the “Wm. A. Rogers” backstamp. Early in 1901 Niagara Silver Co. is reorganized into WM. A. ROGERS, LIMITED. Other companies included are: Oneida, Pairpoint, E.E. Wood, and Rogers & Wood. In May 1905, “Wm. A. Rogers A.1. horseshoe / R” mark is registered. William Augustus Rogers dies June 15, 1913.
SPECULATION AND CONJECTURE: Granted the name “Wm A Rogers” sold a great deal of silver plated ware, but how involved was William Augustus? It looks like Jameson was the organizer/designer, Moore the banker, Duell was the legal mind, and Wm A. Rogers the promoter.