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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

The International Silver Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

The International Silver Company

List of Deals

The International Silver Company was incorporated in New Jersey in November 1898 to acquire the following companies, the earliest of which was founded in 1852: the Barbour Silver Company, Hartford, Connecticut; Holmes & Edwards Silver Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Manhattan Silver Plate Company, Lyons, New York; Meriden Britannia Company, Meriden, Conn.; the Meriden Silver Plate Company, Meriden, Conn.; Norwich Cutlery Company, Norwich, Conn.; Rogers & Brother, Waterbury, Conn.; the Rogers Cutlery Company, Hartford, Conn.; the Rogers & Hamilton Company, Waterbury, Conn.; the William Rogers Manufacturing Company, Hartford, Conn.; the Standard Silver Company of Toronto Ltd., Toronto, Canada; Watrous Manufacturing Company, Wallingford, Conn.; and the Wilcox Silver Plate Company, Wallingford, Connecticut.

In the years to follow, International Silver continued to expand through acquisitions. It purchased the following companies in 1899: Derby Silver Company, Shelton, Conn.; Middletown Plate Company, Middletown, Conn.; and Simpson, Hall, Miller & Company, Wallingford, Conn. It added U.S. Silver Corporation of New York City in 1903, and in 1905 it bought Ontario Silver Company Ltd. of Niagara Falls, Canada.

The company's performance was uneven in its first years of operation. International Silver earned $1.3 million in 1906, dropping to $933,291 and $829,597 in the next two years. Yet, in 1909 earnings once again rose to a record $1.6 million. More than a decade later, in 1923, earnings remained somewhat the same at $1.1 million.

Sales grew from $13.4 million in 1921 to $18 million in 1923 to $20.4 million in 1926. In December 1924 International Silver purchased International Silver Company of Canada, Ltd., including the following subsidiaries: Meriden Britannia Company, Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario; Standard Silver Company of Toronto, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario; and the William Rogers Manufacturing Company, Ltd., Niagara Falls, Ontario. International Silver was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1927.

In 1941 International Silver earned $1.5 million on sales of $23.9 million, as compared to $1.7 million on sales of $17.7 million the year prior. Sales grew to more than $33.5 million in 1943, but net income fell to $1 million.

In April 1946 the International Silver Company was incorporated in Connecticut and the existing company was merged into it. The company reported a net profit of $7.8 million on sales of $68.6 million in 1948 and was now the largest manufacturer of both sterling and plated ware in the world.

International Silver embarked on a program to diversify and expand into new product lines in the mid-1950s. One reason for this was to counter the increased competition the company was experiencing from Japanese manufacturers of steel silverware. In March 1955 it purchased Times Wire & Cable Company, a maker of coaxial and engineered types of cables. In January 1958 International Silver bought the assets of Eyelet Specialty Company of Waterbury, Connecticut, and its operations in the making of lipstick cases, closures, and electrical specialties.

The company earned $2 million on sales of $57.1 million in 1959, up from the previous year when net income was $1.9 million with sales of $53.4 million.

International Silver continued diversifying through acquisitions in the 1960s. In 1960 it bought the Eastwood-Nealley Corporation of Belleville, New Jersey, producers of fourdrinier wire for the paper industry, and Drycor Felt Company of Staffordville, Connecticut. It acquired the Church Metalware division of Benziger Brothers of New York in December 1961, and in August 1962 for $9 million it added W.H. Hutchinson & Son of Chicago, a maker of bottle caps for the soft drink and beer industry. These acquisitions helped lift revenue for International Silver to $89 million in 1963.

In November 1964 International Silver acquired Steel Parts Corporation of Indianapolis, Indiana, a manufacturer of automotive equipment, for $10.6 million. With this acquisition, sales of non-silverware products now accounted for about 50 percent of total sales for the company.

In 1965 International Silver reported record sales of $103.5 million and an earnings increase of 40 percent over the previous year at $7 million.

It bought Hawthorne Metal Products Company of Michigan in April 1966, and the following month it added United Tool & Plastics, Inc., of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

International Silver made its first diversification outside of the metalworking field in 1967 by merging with Taylor Publishing Company of Dallas, the leading publisher of high school and college yearbooks.

Sales for International Silver climbed to $173.9 million in 1967, with net income of $8.9 million.

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