Bernard Rice’s Family

You might be familiar with the company known as Bernard Rice’s Sons.  They are well known for cocktail shakers bearing their mark (sometimes accompanied by the Apollo mark) during the 1920s and 1930s.  But little hard documentation can be found about their history.  Some reference has been made that this company is somehow related to or succeeded Redfield & Rice, a company that went out of business in the early 1870s. I could find no connection or link between Redfield & Rice (James Rice) and Bernard Rice’s Sons (Jacques and Louis Rice).  Let me share with you what I did find.

It really all started with Ignatius Rice (1838 – 1910), Bernard’s brother and Jacques and Louis’ uncle. New York City directories show that Ignatius was in business with an gentlemen by the name of Gustavus Oberndorf in the mid 1860s.  Rice & Oberndorf were manufacturers of and agents for various items such as pocketbooks, combs, brushes, perfumes and notions.  In 1866 Ignatius obtained a patent for a comb design and that same year he was assignor to another comb design patent.

Following are snippets of directories and patents from 1864 to 1884:


The 1867 – 68 Trow’s New York City Directory shows that Ignatius went into business with his brother Bernard (1836 – 1896).  The following article comes from an 1884 publication “New York’s Great Industries”:

1884 New York's Great Industries pg206

The two brothers continued in business until 1891, the year that Bernard went into business with his eldest son, Jacques ( 1869 – 1935 ).  The business was known as Bernard Rice & Son.

1891 New York Herald Jan. 28 1891

The above notice from the January 28, 1891 New York Herald also mentions that Ignatius went into business with William Rice Hochster manufacturing tortoise shell, celluloid, rubber and horn novelties. Their firm was call Rice & Hochster.

Bernard Rice died in 1896.  Bernard Rice & Son was succeeded by Bernard Rice’s Sons in 1897 with brothers Jacques and Louis ( 1872 -1933 ) at the helm. The 1901 Trow’s Directory lists Apollo Silver Co. (registered trade name) as belonging to Jacques B. and Louis W. Rice.  The April 10, 1906 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office shows the trademark as a “fleur-de-lis inclosed (sic) in concentric circles, with the words “Apollo Silver Co.” between the circles granted to Bernard Rice’s Sons.

I have seen speculation that Apollo Silver Co. existed prior to Bernard Rice’s Sons involvement but I could find no evidence of that.

Jacques and Louis also originated “Riceszinn” a pure non-tarnishable metal of secret composition! The following is from a 1902 publication, Geyer’s Stationer:

1902 Geyer's Stationer pg17 June 12 1902

And this is an ad from a 1902 Jewelers’ Circular:

1902 Sept. 1902 Jewelers Circular

Some beautiful items were made combining Riceszinn and iridescent art glass.  I don’t think many are aware of the connection between Bernard Rice’s Sons and Riceszinn.

Following is a chronological listing of information from directories and publications from 1889 through 1909:

Rice notes 2

Bernard Rice’s Sons continued in business into the mid 20th century.  Quite a successful run for a company with roots that began almost one hundred years earlier.

I intend to write a separate blog post on Bernard Rice’s Sons cocktail shakers.


This entry was posted in Apollo Silver, Bernard Rice, Bernard Rice & Son, Bernard Rice's Sons, Jacques Rice, Louis Rice, Rice & Brother, Rice & Oberndorf, Riceszinn, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Bernard Rice’s Family

  1. Brenda says:

    Your research is interesting. Have you found any pieces made of Riceszinn?

    • queenofsienna says:

      If you search Riceszinn on eBay right now three things will come up. Some examples can also be found on Google images.

  2. KerryCan says:

    You are so good at this research! So, is Riceszinn pewter? Did you ever learn the “secret composition”?

  3. queenofsienna says:

    Riceszinn certainly looks like pewter…but the “secret composition” is still secret as far as I know!

  4. Matthew L Borden says:

    Wonderful article. I am curious if you know the dates of manufacture of Bernice Metal. I have a Bernice Metal tankard #484 that I have also seen with the Ricezinn stamping as well. Bernice = Bernard Rice?

  5. Jim Wilder says:

    Is there any way to contact the company, if it is still in existence? The reason is I have an Appollo 5496 piece that I have no idea its value..

  6. Robin Lucia says:

    I have a piece that I don’t know what it is for. It is marked Dutchardt Apollo Pat. Applied for Bernard Rice and son 3838. It is urn shape with pedestal. There are scenes on the top and bottom and on the handle. It is beautiful but not sure of its purpose.

  7. Lacinda Foster says:

    I have a piece I would like to know about. It says Apollo E.P.N.S. Made By Bernard Rice’s sons Inc. 5230. Thank you. Lacinda

  8. Kathleen McGann says:

    Does the number 180 beneath the trademark on my Apollo Tankard mean anything?

    • queenofsienna says:

      It relates to the item number associated with this particular design and would be the identifying number shown in their catalog.

    • queenofsienna says:

      If you could find this tankard in a Bernard Rice’s Sons catalog or ad, the date of that catalog or ad would help somewhat to date it. Unfortunately, I do not have access to their catalog or an ad with a tankard in it.

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