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Schaezlein

Birth place or City of origin: San Francisco
State of origin: CA
Last known City:
Last known State:
Start/Birth date: 1882
Death/End date: present


In the late 1870's Robert Schaezlein came to San Francisco, from Germany starting his business as simply R. Schaezlein in 1882 when he began manufacturing society badges, and other silversmithing. Sometime around the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Robert was joined by his son and the business became known as R. Schaezlein and Son. After the disaster, they rescued what equipment that they could and moved the shop by horse drawn wagon from downtown to the basement of their home on Clay St. and Robert F. crafted fine jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones for some of the notable people of San Francisco. In the early teens and 20's Robert F. started doing silver work (mostly saddle, harness, and bridle) for the Visalia Stock Saddle Co. making the hand-forged Monel Visalia Humane Bit that became extremely popular.. In the late 20's they started making several Levi Strauss award buckles including the annually awarded World Champion All Around Cowboy buckles and the Six Time Winner Trophy Buckle. He also made award buckles for the Grand National Rodeo, Horse, and Livestock Show at the San Francisco Cow Palace. After an argument over the patenting and outsourced casting of the Visalia Humane bit in 1936, he ended the relationship with Visalia Stock Saddle Co. Around that time he began work for Al Nolte, and subsequently, the Nolte-Olsen Saddle Shop. He manufactured custom silver belt buckles and a variety of western silver saddle and harness trimmings for western saddle makers and various western stores including C.C. Star, Bona Allen, Hamleys (Pendleton, Ore.), Keyston Brothers, and Ray Holes Saddle Shop. Although he did some work during his school years, Robert F. Schaezlein, Jr. (now deceased) didn't join his Dad in the business until after the War in 1946. Bob took engraving classes from German master engraver Fred Newmeyer which enabled him to do fine hand-cut lettering, and then from various people over the years, learned much of the ornamental engraving. Bob Jr.'s sister Louise also worked a lot for her Dad at the shop during the 1940s. In 1963, about three years after the death of Robert F., Sr., the shop was moved to its present location. Bob was joined by his son, Robert F. Schaezlein, III (Rob) in 1986. They manufactured a variety of western silver items of which many are custom made. They continued to use the old embossing screw press that survived the 1906 earthquake and many of the wonderful old figure, buckle, and concho dies that have been part of the company's signature look for the last century or more. Sadly, Bob passed away in 2008 but Rob is continuing the family business and tradition of fine German craftsmanship his Dad, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather built and maintained over 130 years ago.


In the late 1870's Robert Schaezlein I (Bob's grandfather) came to San Francisco, from Germany via Providence, R.I. In 1882, he started his business as simply R. Schaezlein, and began manufacturing society badges and some flatware, did some gold and silver plating, and other silversmithing. In 1888 he joined with Benjamin Burridge to form Schaezlein and Burridge and they continued with the plating, society badges, etc., until the early 1900's.

Sometime around the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Burridge was no longer in the business with him and Robert was joined by his son, Robert F. Schaezlein Sr. (Bob's Dad). The business became R. Schaezlein and Son.

After the earthquake and fire, they rescued what equipment that they could (much of the records, dies, and things that they were making were lost, therefore our information is sketchy for those first couple of years). They moved the shop by horse drawn wagon from downtown to the basement of their home on Clay St. They continued to manufacture there, and addition, Robert F. (having been trained also as a jeweler) crafted fine jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones for some of the notable people of San Francisco. In the subsequent years due to his age, Robert I became less involved with the business and was not a part of it as it evolved into the western silver business it became.

In the early teens and 20's Robert F. started doing silver work (mostly saddle, harness, and bridle) for the Visalia Stock Saddle Co. and continued for many years. He also made the hand-forged Monel Visalia Humane Bit that later became famous. In the late 20's he started making several Levi Strauss award buckles including the annually awarded World Champion All Around Cowboy buckles and the Six Time Winner Trophy Buckle. He also made award buckles for the Grand National Rodeo, Horse, and Livestock Show at the San Francisco Cow Palace.

After an argument over the patenting and outsourced casting of the Visalia Humane bit in 1936, he ended the relationship with Visalia Stock Saddle Co. Around that time he began work for Al Nolte, and subsequently, the Nolte-Olsen Saddle Shop. He manufactured custom silver belt buckles and a variety of western silver saddle and harness trimmings for western saddle makers and various western stores including C.C. Star, Bona Allen, Hamleys (Pendleton, Ore.), Keyston Brothers, and Ray Holes Saddle Shop.

Although he did some work during his school years, Robert F. Schaezlein, Jr. (now deceased) didn't join his Dad in the business until after the War in 1946. Bob took engraving classes from German master engraver Fred Newmeyer which enabled him to do fine hand-cut lettering, and then from various people over the years, learned much of the ornamental engraving. Bob Jr.'s sister Louise also worked a lot for her Dad at the shop during the 1940s. Bob's daughter Nancy and son Gary also worked in the shop as they were growing up.

In 1963, about three years after the death of Robert F., Sr., the shop was moved to its present location. Bob was joined by his son, Robert F. Schaezlein, III (Rob) in 1986. They manufactured a variety of western silver items of which many are custom made. They continued to use the old embossing screw press that survived the 1906 earthquake and many of the wonderful old figure, buckle, and concho dies that have been part of the company's signature look for the last century or more.

Sadly, Bob passed away in 2008 and is sorely missed. Rob is continuing the family business and tradition of fine German craftsmanship his Dad, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather built and maintained over 100 years ago.

Courtesy of Rob Schaezlein


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129 years in the making….
Rob Schaezlein — 4th generation of perfection

“The only thing we get is raw material and when it leaves, it’s a work of art.” And that has been happening for 129 years at R Schaezlein and Son of San Francisco. Works of art in silver and works of art in gold.

Talking to Rob Schaezlein, fourth generation silversmith in a line of masters, you are immediately taken with his passion for history and passion for the heritage arts. It’s a history that goes back to 1882 when his great-grandfather, German born Robert Schaezlein I, set up shop in San Francisco creating society badges and flatware. Quickly gaining a reputation for impeccable silverwork of the highest caliber of the day, his business thrived and grew in tandem with the legendary era of San Francisco when the finest craftsmen settled there to satisfy the needs of the gold rush barons. Almost destroyed by the major 1906 San Francisco earthquake which left their shop in rubble and ruins, he salvaged what he could and moved his shop by horse drawn wagon to the basement of his home where it remained for the next 57 years. By this time, Rob’s grandfather, Robert F, Sr., had begun working with his father, taking their work to another level and creating their now recognizable style and high standards of art for saddle makers such as Visalia Saddlery and the legendary Levi Strauss Company.

After World War II, Rob’s father, Robert F, Jr., joined the family business training under German master engraver Fred Newmeyer. Taking their work and designs to yet another level, fine hand-cut lettering and ornamental engraving became the hallmark of their impeccable work.

“I used to spend a lot of time with my dad, helping out in the shop in small ways doing basic stamping and a lot of cleaning up,” recalls Rob about growing up. “I went away to college and when I returned in the 80s I had a choice – to pursue a career in business or join my father at R. Schaezlein and Son. I realized, in my heart, that if I didn’t join my father, that the business would likely eventually disappear — I didn’t want that to happen. So, I began to learn from my father and as I did more, he did less.”

Learning from three generations of masters definitely has its rewards and today, Rob Schaezlein is regarded as one of the finest silversmiths in the country if not the world. He’s not comfortable with the accolades, though, and he’s wonderfully humble about the works he creates. Humble to the point where he feels art is his weakest talent yet what he designs and what he creates is most certainly art. “That’s actually the hardest part of this — often the design takes much longer than the actual product.” “It has to be perfect down to the tiniest detail. I’m obsessive about doing a really good job and I hope people will notice.”

Notice indeed! Rob’s work is featured in many of the finest shops in the country, all done one at a time and all done by Rob. No mass manufacturing here. “That is a problem, I just won’t go there, I won’t sell out. It’s not who I am nor who I ever want to be.”

Rob’s designs are typically rich is tradition but lately, he’s been stretching the envelope a bit with some more contemporary designs. “That has been fun, stretching my creativity, but my heart still goes to tradition.”

Is he still in the basement of his great grandfather’s house on Clay Street? No. After all, some traditions do eventually have to change.

Whether contemporary or conservative, it’s his world-class designs that make him such a treasured tradition for the High Noon family.

Visit Rob on Facebook at R. Schaezlein and Son

 

High Noon  |  9929 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034  |  info@highnoon.com  |  (310) 202-9010



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