The Jeweler’s Shop Gallery

The Jeweler’s Shop Gallery authentically replicates a jewelry store from the early 1900s, giving visitors the sense they’ve stepped back in time.

The late 1800s saw the proliferation of jewelry stores in cities and towns, and by the turn of the century, the corner jewelry store was something of an American institution. The typical jewelry store owner in the early 20th century was a respected member of the community, offering clients courteous and thorough service. These stores stocked a wide variety of timepieces and accessories such as watch fobs, keys, and chains. In addition, town jewelers offered watch and clock services.

While jewelry stores offered a variety of horological items, including high-end watches, the general store was a good place to pick up more affordable dollar-type pocket watches. Jewelers and other merchants who sold timekeepers rarely bought their inventory directly from the factories, but instead purchased through middlemen called “jobbers” or via trade catalogs.

The trade catalog rose as a significant source of clock and watch purchasing during the early to mid-1900s. Retailers relied on these resources to maintain their inventory and keep up on new models and styles that manufacturers had to offer. For people who lived outside of town, mail order catalogs were the best—and sometimes the only—way to purchase a watch or clock.

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