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The Unger Bros.

The Unger Bros. out of Newark, New Jersey promoted themselves as jewelry manufacturers, silversmiths and glass cutters. The immigrant Unger family came to New Jersey from Germany. Herman, the oldest son began the manufacturing of silver items in 1878.

All five sons joined the firm, but William, George and Frederick died in 1879. Herman and Eugene, the surviving sons, became officers in the firm, Herman as a silversmith and Eugene as an engraver. The Unger Bros. were most well-known between 1895 and 1907. In 1880, when Eugene married Emma Dickinson, her brother, Philemon, joined the firm as an artistic designer. Philemon created well-known Art Nouveau items that became the logo for the Unger Bros.

The Art Nouveau designs of flowers, a woman’s head with long flowing hair and other popular Nouveau creations were invented for toilet sets that included mirrors, comb and brushes, powder, rouge and repousse silver lids, hatpins and other silver items. Companies such as Reed & Barton and Tiffany & Co., to name a few, bought the silver Art Nouveau designs created by the Unger Bros. Between 1904 and 1906, two large catalogs were created revolving around hatpins of which 65% were of the Art Nouveau designs created by the Unger Bros. They catered to men as well by making smoking pipes applied with silver, pocket knives, ash trays and cigar tip cutters. Hunting and sporting themes were often the metal work decoration.

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