Samuel Stone and Maurice Baer founded the Attleboro Manufacturing Company in the USA in 1897. By 1927, they were using the name Swank. In 1936, the business became incorporated as Swank Products Inc. And they changed their name to the current Swank Inc. in 1941.
- 1897 – Attleboro Manufacturing Company established
- 1927 – Swank hallmark used
- 1932 – patent for Cravat Holder (with decorative chain)
- 1936 – incorporated as Swank Products Inc
- 1941 – changed name to Swank Inc
Patent No 1865995 was issued on July 5, 1932 to Amsy L Wurster of New Jersey, USA. The patent was titled Cravat Holder. In the 1930s, the term cravat referred to what we currently know as a cravat, and also to what we now know as a necktie.
The idea of the vintage cravat holder is that it slides onto your shirt and only the chain is visible around the front of your tie. Worn this way, a cravat holder would suit any width of tie, as the chain would just hang with a differing amount of slack. Generally with these tie clasps, the chain is slightly longer on one side to account for the clasp being slightly off-centre when clipped onto the shirt. In more modern times, the clasp is clipped onto your tie, like any other tie clasp, with the chain dangling below for decorative effect.
DESIGN OF THE SWANK HALLMARK
Block lettering was used on older Swank jewellery, up to 1940:
Rounded lettering was used on Swank jewellery from the mid-1930s onwards:
SWANK VINTAGE CUFFLINKS / SWANK CUFFLINK HISTORY
Apart from the change in the Swank hallmark, there is also a change in Swank cufflink design which helps in dating vintage cufflinks.
The Swank cufflinks toggle bar was square-shaped up to 1954:
In 1955 Swank changed to using a rounded toggle bar:
See also: Ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q4PyedLSss
HALLMARKS USED BY SWANK
There may be other Swank hallmarks, but these are the ones I have come across:
- Biagi by Swank
- Swank B&W Plate
- Swank Kum-A-Part
- Loop Links
- Pin Klip
- S in a pentagon – used for Swank karat gold (around 1945)
Information provided by Member AEJC on Swank Kum-A-Part Cufflinks:
“Baer & Wilde, the men’s division of the Attleboro Manufacturing Co., began making Kum-A-Part links in 1918. Early links (1918 – 1923) are marked Baer & Wilde. The links were wildly successful, and Attleboro stopped making women’s jewelry. Once the US patent was issued in 1923, the marking was updated to B&W pat’d 1923 (links from c. 1924 – c. 1935). Baer & Wilde used seven regional distributors in the United States. The Swank name was used as a brand name in advertisements starting in 1927, but not used on Kum-A-Part links during that decade. B&W merged with its regional distributors in 1936 to form Swank Products Inc. (renamed SWANK, Inc. in 1941). Kum-A-Part links were not co-branded with the SWANK mark until some point in the mid- to late- 1930s.
So the offered cufflinks are mid-1930s at the earliest, and possibly from the 1940s. While they are newer than advertised, they are also rarer: B&W produced over a million Kum-A-Part links annually during the 20s (I’ve read figures as high as 4 mil/year). After 1931, the line was not as popular, so seeing a pair co-branded with the SWANK mark is far less common than seeing a B&W branded pair.”
If you’re searching for Swank cuff links company history, I hope this page has helped you. Swank were, by far, a leader in production and innovation in men’s vintage jewellery – and their older items are still much sought-after, even today.
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