J Wiss & Sons Jewelers – Newark, NJ

J Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJ

J Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJ
© Frank H. Jump

J. Wiss & Sons Company was founded in 1848 by Jacob Wiss, a thirty-one-year-old immigrant from Switzerland who was an experienced cutler and gunsmith. The company, headed by Wiss and his descendants in Newark, N.J., emphasized high quality in its products which became known world-wide and sold to the U.S. Government in the Civil War and the two World Wars. In 1914, Wiss acquired the manufacturing facilities of a competitor and became the largest producer of fine scissors and shears in the world. Following World War I, Wiss weathered a severe depression in scissors markets, partly caused by dumping of European products. Increased U.S. help remedied this situation. Recently, the Wiss Company became a subsidiary of Cooper Industries. ¹

J Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJ(e-Bay)

J Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJJ Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJ

This PDF download courtesy of Don Wiss.

J Wiss & Sons Jewelers - Newark, NJ

Roth, Race & Newark – A Marxist look at Newark’s writer Philip Roth (Portnoy’s Complaint)

Newark was a thriving city right up to the end of the 1920’s. Even with the brewing industry shifted into the underground economy, Newark’s factory life was robust, as Newark historian John Cunningham reported:

“The city had 1,668 factories in 1925, with an annual payroll of $90 million and Newark continued to boast that no other town manufactured a greater variety of products. . . . Most of the factories were small, employing fewer than thirty. But there were giants among them: Clark Thread Company, Westighouse, Weston, Balbach’s, Baker & Company, J. Wiss, Ward Baking Company, Tiffany, Pittsburgh Plate glass (making paint in Newark), Benjamin Moore, Murphy Varnish, Mennen, General Electric, Fischer Baking Company, Conmar and Johnson & Murphy, shoemakers.

– Larry Schwartz

J. Wiss & Sons WebsiteJ. Wiss & Sons Website

Visit the J. Wiss & Sons Co. Website!


28 responses to “J Wiss & Sons Jewelers – Newark, NJ

  1. Pingback: Don Wiss on Brooklyn Storefronts & the J. Wiss & Sons Co. « Fading Ad Blog by Frank H. Jump

  2. The J. Wiss jewelry store in downtown Newark was the go to store for our Christmas shopping trips in the 1950s. I remember you first entered a locked caged area after opening the front door, so the staff could observe if you were a legitimate shoppper or somehow looked threatening. If you were approved for entry, a buzzer was pressed and the door swung open to a fabulous display of jewelry and other fine gifts. For kids like me short on money, there was always the $1 grab bag where you reached in and pulled out a gift box of costume jewelry.

    Our shopping trips to Newark ended in 1960 when the Menlo Park mall on Rt. 1 near Edison, NJ opened. It was one of the first malls in the U.S. and doomed the downtown shopping centers of Newark and Elizabeth.

  3. I worked in the gift department.around 1950 51.

  4. Nancy Nikodem Ballard

    I have the draft registration of a great great uncle that states he was employed with Wiss & Sons aat 665 Broad St, Newark he was 54 yrs at date of regis for WW2.
    Do you have any employee information that far back? His name was Thomas J. Nikodem
    Thanks, Nancy

  5. Members of the Wiss Family occasionally check in on this page. Best of luck.

  6. I first learned to cut with scissors from this store in Newark,,What was the name of the resturant or soda fountain that was very fancy to a four year old either next door or near the store,,,that is where my grandmother opened the bag and I got my first big girl scissors,,,,

  7. Where can I send a Wiss pinking shears for sharpening?

  8. I recently aquired a pair of old 9 3/4″ Wiss scissors.
    The handles are 18k gold. The blades appear to be chrome plated. The number 2 3 appears on each blade near the rivet. The word “Wiss” with no other markings is clear on one blade. There are several numbers in one of the handles where it attaches to the blade. I have not been able to get any information about them, any help would be deeply appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Without a picture it is impossible to know much of anything. Gold handles tend to be on styles like paper shears, as they would end up being displayed on a desk. You can check the various catalogs that I have on my website.

  9. In answer to Heather…
    the name of the candy store/restaurant/
    soda fountain near Wiss was Schrafft’s.
    I used to go there with my mother frequently.
    They had the best hot fudge sundaes with
    coffee ice cream!!

  10. I’m a decendent of J Wiss and I have a factory rendering, the “History of Scissors” book, and some old pairs of scissors. Oh, and a tiny-winey trust fund that partly paid for my college education, and then petered out! ha Thank you Wiss Scissors! 😛

    I had NO idea that so much was on the internet about all of this! I’d love to learn more about my great grandfather Wiss, who was the last person to run the company I believe.

    • I too am a descendant. Your message did not identify you. Please what is your name.

    • The last person to run the company (in the 1970s, prior to the 1976 sale to Cooper) was not a Wiss. The last Wiss to run the company was Richard.

      If you identify yourself, I can provide you with a DVD of Wiss family films from about 1926-1932.

  11. Hey M- Are you in touch with Don Wiss?

  12. I was looking for (replacement) screw and nut that holds my Wiss (Steel Forged) No 20 Scissors together.

  13. Thelma Lathrop

    I have a set of six coin silver teaspoons wrapped in a silver protector that says J Wiss & Sons, Newark, NJ The Hallmark Store. Is this the same place?

  14. i have a pair of pinking shears from my grt grandmom . I was wondering where to send them
    to get sharpened

  15. I have 12 sterling silver teaspoons which belonged to my Grandmother (I am now 66), which have “J. Wiss & Sons” engraved on the back along with the word “sterling”. I think she was given them when married just after the turn of the century when she lived in Newark, N.J. I found the current pattern name is “Luxenbourg by Gorham”. Is there any information concerning sterling flatware and J. Wiss? Thank you

  16. There is much on the web site. Just type donwiss into yahoo or google. do have any plans for the spoons?

  17. I just purchased some Wiss pocket scissors on line and tried to find out more about the Wiss company. It’s now part of Cooper Hand Tools? From what I can tell, CHT only sells industrial type snips. Are the pocket scissors and other scissors for home use no longer produced? I’m just curious.

  18. I have 6 forks & 2 knives, which say J. Wiss & sons & the number 12. I don’t know the pattern name, but it is made of scrolls or curls, all around the handle. Does anyone know this pattern?

    • J Wiss only retailed silver. They never made it. Much of what they sold was made by Gorham. If you go through some catalog of their patterns, I bet you will find it.

  19. My mother was Catheryn Thompson who worked at Wiss in the late 50’s and early 60’s into college and part time I think when she was a teacher. When she got married, her sterling, china and crystal came from Wiss. I am looking for the crystal. It was a totally 1960’s pattern that was very thin with an iridescence to it. I have looked but been unable to determine the manufacturer or pattern. Are there any catalogs from that era around? Or can anyone help to locate? Thanks

    • Hi Christopher. I gather you mean your mother worked at the jewelry store and not the scissors factory. At the time your mother worked there they were two completely independent companies. I’m not aware that the jewelry store had any catalogs. If they did I’ve never seen any. What I would do is to put a picture someplace on the web and then e-mail some crystal sellers and ask in forums. Usenet has been dying recently due to ISPs dropping it and spammers taking over. But if you have access (or want to use Google Groups) you could ask in misc.consumers. Good Luck, Don.

  20. i have a pair of your wiss hedge shears 6 1/2 from 1929. i would like to know how much they would cost now. thank you very much for your tmie.

    • On eBay you could get $10-25 for it. Used shears and scissors do not sell for much. Few people collect them and there are lots out there, as they last forever if kept away from water.