What are hobs

These metal jewelry Hubs or Hobs came from Rhode Island. At one time Rhode Island was the Jewelry capital of the world. Each one of these stamping Hobs was carved by hand and then heat-treated to create a master or positive die. It was then stamped into another piece of metal that was then heat-treated creating a negative die and this negative die would be used for production. When the negative die wore out or broke, they would go back to the positive die and create a new negative production die. Some of the hobs in my collection are over a hundred years old!

Some of the companies that manufactured these Hobs were:
-W.C Green Company.
-Rhode Island Buckle manufacturing Company, now owned by C&C Metals in New Jersey.
-Swank, Inc. originally called Attleboro Manufacturing Company founded in 1897 in Attleborough MA. Swank manufactured and distributed men’s and women’s costume jewelry. During World War I the company made dog tags for the US military. After the war ended, it changed focus to produce only men’s jewelry and accessories.
-L G Balfour Company, founded in 1913 was a fraternity jewelry manufacture.

This art form of master craftsman carving these metal hobs is now a lost art, replaced by computers and CNC machines. each one of these is a one of a kind and no longer reproduced.

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