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Fred M Stern - Fred M Stern

Birth place or City of origin: San Jose
State of origin: CA
Last known City:
Last known State:
Start/Birth date: 1852
Death/End date:

Established in 1852, The F M Stern Saddlery is one of the oldest and most respected in California. Fred M Stern boasted in his 1909 catalog that he was the only "manufacturer in this line who confines himself entirely to hand-made harness, saddles, rawhide work, bits, spurs and other articles" obvious swipe at makers who carried more mass-produced items. Stern employed or represented some of the most accomplished bit and spur makers in California including Mardueno, Flores, Echavarria, and Larios, and carried a full-line of finely braided rawhide in addition to his renowned saddles.

Marcus Stern came from Germany to San Francisco in 1852, and moved to San Jose, where he set up a shop for the construction of saddles, harness, and steamer trunks. He eventually made fire hoses as well. He was one of a number of Jewish immigrants who settled in the town and established businesses. A devout Jew, Stern was active in the establishment of San Jose's first synagogue and the founding of the Hebrew Society. Stern's saddles gained a wide-ranging reputation for quality, and he soon had a large export trade. His business, which moved to various buildings within San Jose, was passed along to the next five generations, making it the oldest surviving family enterprise in Santa Clara County. Fred M Stern's name is perhaps the most familiar, since the shop operated under his name for decades. Fred's son Harold took over the family business. Harold married outside the Jewish religion, and from that time, the family adopted the Protestant faith. The Stern family is still active and prominent in San Jose. The business is currently operating under the name Stern's Travel Shop, and sells a wide range of luggage by several manufacturers.

Submitted by Ron Soodalter


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