Saturday, March 28, 2015

LT ≠ Louis Tiffany

The LT & Son mark is typically found on all-metal combos and pencils, and has confused pen collectors for as long as I've been collecting. Commonly misinterpreted as standing for "Louis Tiffany", in fact it has no Tiffany connection whatsoever, standing instead for Louis Tamis -- a prominent New York jewelry firm that is still going strong today.

According to the company's website, the firm was "Founded in New York in 1909 by Russian-born jeweler Louis Tamis . . . In the late '30s, Tamis met Paul Flato, a retailer with a keen eye for design, and their association produced money clips, pens and cufflinks. . . Louis' sons took over the company in 1948 and the company became one of the top high-end jewelry manufacturers in America."

Exactly when (or if) "& Son" became "& Sons" I have not yet determined. The listing above and the ad below both come from the same publication, Trade-Marks of the Jewelry and Kindred Trades, 6th edition, 1950, pp. 220 and 27, respectively.

Another question regards who manufactured what and for whom. A number of New York companies offered virtually identical all-metal combos and pencils in this era, including Louis Tamis, Edward Todd, Hicks, and Twinpoint. These combos and pencils are also found marked with the names of high-end retailers such as Cartier and Tiffany. Only Hicks and Edward Todd held actual pen and pencil patents, and on balance the evidence favors Hicks as the ultimate maker of all these writing instruments.

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