BEFORE there was a Medallic Art Company the top management were two brothers, the Deitsch brothers who oversaw Henri Weil. So here is a list of who was in charge for the entire existence of the company from those two brothers to the present.
1903-1909 – Edward J. and Charles Deitsch
Henri Weil went to work for the Deitsch Brothers in 1903 to make silver trimmings for their leather goods, ladies handbags and such. They imported the first Janvier die-engraving pantograph in 1906 to make those trimmings. Fashions changed, trimmings no longer needed. First medal made in 1907. First use of the name “Medallic Art Company” in 1909. Henri offers to buy medal business. Instead Deitsch brothers sells everything — dies and ongoing business – to Davison’s Sons in Philadelphia. They had a Janvier so did not need another. Deitsches sell their Janvier to Henri (who was unaware of business sale to Davison’s).
1910-1915 – Henri Weil
Henri operates alone for first five years. After purchasing the name “Medallic Art Company” (for $1,000 from Deitsch Brothers) Henri and Felix incorporate under that name in 1910. Felix is in partnership with Jules Edouard Roine in a separate sculpture business, Roine and Weil.
The two brothers agreed to split income no matter who earns what where. Each brother has 49 percent of company shares. The other 2 percent is in Marie Weil’s name, Henri’s wife.
As Henri struggles in those early years, he is supported by Felix’s income from his partnership’s income. Henri wants Felix to join him in medal business, but Felix is wise to wait, in satisfactory partnership with friend Roine. However, Roine becomes ill and returns to France, 1915. Felix attempts to keep is sculpture shop open, finally agrees to close sculpture shop and join Henri full time.
1915-1919 — Henri and Felix Weil
The two brothers operate the entire medal making business with knowledge of all aspects. Henri more in die-making and finishing, Felix in sculpture and operating the tanks for electroplating and galvano making. They contract out the actual medal stamping.
They accept orders from sculptors only. These are their friends as they had worked for numerous sculptors since the early 1890s. Their sister even married a sculptor. So they are among the “in crowd” with New York sculptors. They were the “service business” to sculptors who receive medal orders from clients and had only to produce a bas-relief model and turn this over to the Weils for all medal production.
1919-1929 — Henri Weil
The brothers realize they are not businessmen and seek someone to run the business side of the slightly growing business. Through a lawyer friend they learn of Clyde Curlee Trees, whom they take on board. Formal papers are drawn up with Henri president, Felix vice president, and Trees as secretary-treasurer.
Trees immediately moves to larger quarters and organizes the business. He sees greater potential in going around the sculptors and seeking medal business direct from clients. The Weils will have none of that, their loyalty is to their sculptor friends.
About 1927 Trees offers to buy out the Weils, to purchase the company, to be more aggressive in obtaining medal business. Felix agrees to sell out, Henri does not. The swing vote is that few shares of stock owned by Marie, Henri’s wife. She votes with her husband – no sale.
After two years the two brothers ultimately see the merit of sale and Marie is convinced. The agreement would be for at least one Weil would be in attendance at the company all time, in effect giving each Weil a six-month vacation.
Trees borrows the money from his brother, Fred Lawson Trees, a banker in their native Kokomo Indiana, and a friend — Mark Anthony Brown – and acquires the company.
1929-1960 — Clyde Curlee Trees
Once in control Trees immediately takes action. He moves the firm again. He starts soliciting medal business. He comes in contact with George DuPont Pratt and the pair start The Society of Medalists, as additional business for two sculptors a year, but also to showcase what medallic art is and what Medallic Art – the firm – can create.
Trees initiates advertising and sending out sales literature. Instead of waiting around for the medal jobs to come to the firm from sculptors, he actively seeks medal jobs which he will then commission sculptors to create the models for the company to produce. The Weils are not happy with this, but they go along, particularly when they observe the increased number of medal jobs early in 1929.
However, after the stock market crash and the onset of the depression years, medal business falls off. Trees struggles to keep the company afloat. He becomes even more aggressive as a salesman. In 1933, for example, he learns of a medal job in Chicago. He grabs Mint Engraver John R. Sinnock, and the pair train to Chicago. He meets with the client who has a model portrait he is not satisfied with. He sets up Sinnock in a hotel room to create a new model. Two days later he is back in the client’s office with a model that sells the job.
Even with declining business Trees tries not to fire employees. He establishes a policy of work a few hours a day on the jobs on hand, and take the rest of the day off. It’s short pay but his workers are not unemployed. As for the formal business Trees puts a board of directors in place, composed of :
Earl Brandon Barnes (1881-1966) lawyer, boyhood friend of Trees.
Warren Rollin Voorhis (1873-1953) a relative of Trees.
William M. MacCleary (1903-1983) a relative of Trees wife.
Jac C. Patten (who served only a short term).
If the depression years were difficult, the years of World War II were even worse. Employees leave to enter military service. But bronze – the major composition of al medals – becomes a strategic war material and is rationed. With few employees and no bronze, Trees limps along, striking a few medals in silver or whatever he can get.
Following World War II become boom years for Medallic Art Company. The magic word is “decorations.” Medallic Art makes military service medals, campaign medals, decorations of honor by the millions. The plant runs three shifts around the clock. Trees rents apartments near the plant on East 51st to set up women sewing ribbon drapes on looped medals and boxing these for shipment to Quartermaster Corps in Philadelphia.
It makes Trees wealthy and he buys real estate. Two of his purchases are adjacent tracts on East 45th Street, acquired in 1946. He remodels these and joins the two to make a single building with a plant on the first floor and offices on the second. By 1948 he moves all operations to this 325 East 45th location.
1960-1972 William Trees Louth
Trees later years are met with a growing business. His wife dies, and after a respectful time, he marries his secretary, Francis Kimmerle. Perhaps in recognition of his own mortality he puts his personal and business life in order. The real estate on the plant on East 45th Street is deeded to his daughters, Harriet List Trees and Mary Chapline Trees.
For the business he had put together a trio of management. He had been training his nephew, William Trees Louth, since he got out of the Naval reserve in 1948 in sales and advertising. His wife, Francis Trees, remained in the business and was in charge of the office and financial affairs. For production he promoted his oldest employee, Julius Lauth, to vice president of production.
Clyde Trees died October 2, 1960. His office remained empty for three months or more. Until the trio realized time for mourning was over, they must move forward for the sake of the business.
Bill Louth was named president. Julius vice-president. Frances secretary-treasurer. The three were equal owners. Francis also assumed the same title that Clyde had occupied as treasurer of the National Sculpture Society. That act tied the firm to the sculpture organization more than decade prior. During their combined treasurership the organization flourished as had the medal firm. The symbiotic relationship was inevitable.
During Bill Louth’s presidency two directors were named:
Robert Homes Platt (1921-1982) the president of Magnavox since 1963, he was also a director of Lincoln National Life, where Bill Louth had met him, also a director of Lincoln National Life.
Eva Adams (1908-1991) after her term as 27th Director of the United States Mint was over in 1969, Bill Louth named Eva Adams a director of Medallic Art in 1970. A year later she wanted to run for a political office – the board of American Numismatic Association. She felt her MACO directorship would be in conflict with the ANA board. She easily won the election. But her resignation letter devastated Bill Louth; he carried her letter around in his suit pocket for days before he told anyone.
1972-1989 Donald Schwartz
Bill Louth and Donald Schwartz were both members of the New York City Rotary Club. The two became friends. Schwartz ran a family printing equipment business and had recently purchased a legal publishing firm. He was looking to purchase another business. He set his eyes of Bill’s family firm.
In the early 1970s the American bicentennial of 1976 was looming with a tremendous potential for medal demand. It was going to require a very large cash infusion to the little company on East 45th Street in Manhattan and an aggressive sales campaign.
Schwartz told Louth he could provide both, but he wanted to purchase the company. It was an ideal time for both parties. Medallic Art was sailing along with about $10 million in yearly sales. Perhaps it was time for the trio owners to sell.
The sale took place in January 1972 and the firm moved into a new plant in Danbury Connecticut in June that same year. Sales did rise for the bicentennial years peaking on July 4, 1976, but declined afterwards. The company was sold in 1989.
1989-2009 Robert Hoff
Hoff purchased the assets of Medallic Art Co from the bank which held most of MACO’s debt.
June 16, 2009 Ross Hansen
Now in the hands of Ross Hansen the company is poised for great potential growth.