1914 The first catalog for

S.Kirk & son

Currently under construction


For the vast majority of its first century, S. Kirk & Son was a regional, Mid-Atlantic company. Major markets included Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Richmond and Dover. Beyond those cities business would have tapered off the farther you traveled away from Baltimore.

Most business was handled in person, with the customer coming to the retail shop of the silversmith, picking out the pieces desired and the silver delivered when it was completed in the next days or weeks. Bills were sent to the husbands.

Major cross town rival, The Stieff Company produced a fine magazine sized catalog in 1910 for distribution to local clients.

  1. S.Kirk & Son was late arriving to the catalog business. Other companies in New York and Providence had been showing their silver wares in catalogs for more than a decade.

In 1914, S. Kirk & Son produced the catalog shown below.This  particular catalog has water damage from an unknown source. It was loaned to me by the Stieff family to be scanned. They acquired the catalog when the purchased Kirk in 1979.

There are also “cut outs” that were done by someone at Kirk as some point in the past. Again, no history as to what or why things were cut out. When scanning I placed black paper behind the cut outs to show the voids.


Some colorization has taken place to enhance some very faded sections of this original catalog.

The copy has a loose spine, causing some pages to tilt in the scanner.

The Samuel Kirk & Son Co. building was destroyed in the great Balitmore fire of 1904. A new building was erected on the location of the previous building, plus a lot next door. Kirk was able to move into the building on November 3, 1905. The Baltimore Sun called the building the “Business Palace of Marble”. They would occupy the building until 1967. The Italian Renaissance style building was  50 ft. wide and 103 ft. deep. Afraid of another fire, the building was built using no wood as a construction material. Highly polished Baltimore County Marble finished the building as well as creamy white glazed terra cotta. Metal staircases and a fireproof elevator served the building.

What appears as the first two floors is really the 34 ft, tall first floor. This allowed for vast amounts of natural light in the first floor showrooms.  The first floor was showrooms, the cashiers office and the offices of the President, H.C. Kirk. A gallery along the mezzanine housed the companies other offices.

The second floor was for Engraving, Packing and Shipping. The third floor was the Jewelry Room, for the manufacture and repair of Jewelry. Additionally there were changing rooms for the workers, a lunch room and a small kitchen. The silver factory was on the 4th floor of the building, which had a full ceiling of skylights as well as electric lighting.  The diamond and gem department was on the left side of the building upon entering, with it’s own vault for valuables.  H. M. Himmel & Son created the

Rosewood and plate glass display tables that were designed by S. Kirk & Son employees. The tables sat on bases of polished Baltimore marble. The showcases that lined the walls were made of walnut.



Click below for more of this original 1914 Kirk Catalog