Amita Co. artists: Minai, Torahiko Kanamori, Takeshi

Arthur & Bond [アーサー アンド ボンド] (1889 ~ 1923)

The English owned, Japanese based company Arthur & Bond were important retailers and manufacturers. Focusing mainly on tourists and expats, they were well known for their high quality silverware.

The Arthur & Bond store at 38 Water st., Yokohama (on the left side of the street). The next store (at 37 Water st.) belonged to another famous company - "Kuhn & Komor".

The company was founded by Horace Frank Arthur and William Robert Bond. Horace Arthur came to Japan in 1889 and opened an art gallery ("Fine Art Gallery") in Yokohama, at 12 Water street. The following year William Bond came to Japan and became a partner of H. F. Arthur. From this time on they operated under the name Arthur & Bond's Fine Art Gallery. The same year they moved to 38 Water street, Yokohama. In addition to silverware Arthur & Bond manufactured and retailed porcelain, cloisonne, gold lacquer, chased, hammered and inlaid metal works, ivory carvings, embroideries, furniture and domestic items. On August 22, 1891, William Bond married Beatrice Waters in the Christ Church of Yokohama. In the same year Herbert T. Goddard, who came to Japan in 1890, joins the company. Goddard worked for Arthur & Bond until 1893, when he left to join Flint Kilby & Co. In 1895 William Bond leaves the company and H. F. Arthur becomes the only owner of the Fine Art Gallery. Nevertheless, the company continued to grow.

View on the Arthur & Bond store from the side of the "Kuhn & Komor" shop.

In 1895 Arthur & Bond employed William F. Arthur for the management of the company branch in England, at 52 St. Mary Axe, London. In the same year, Alfred McKardy Delf, who came to Japan in 1884 and was working for Skipworth, Hammond & Co. in Kobe until 1894, moves to Yokohama and joins Arthur & Bond. Two years later, in 1897, Delf becomes the partner in the firm. On September 27, 1897, H. F. Arthur married Isabell Burson in the Christ Church of Yokohama. Three months later, on December 19, 1897, his wife died at the age of 27. She was buried in the Foreigners Cemetery of Yokohama. Two years later, in 1899 William F. Arthur leaves the company and Alfred Delf goes to England, to take care of business in the London's branch instead of him. In the same year three additional persons are being employed by Arthur & Bond: E. C. Miller as an exporter, Percy J. Delf and Lawrence D. Abraham. The latter two - as partners in the company.

Arthur & Bond's employees and their roles over the years.

L. D. Abraham had rich business experience: he came to Japan in 1882 and started to work for Marians & Co. In 1886 he was transferred to their branch in Kobe. In 1892 the firm has moved to another location inside Kobe and he worked there until 1893. In 1894, still in Kobe, he opened his own trade business with employees, operating under Abraham & Co. Consequently, in 1899, he could additionally start working for Arthur & Bond. In the same year Arthur & Bond opens the Kobe branch, under the management of L. D. Abraham: the wholesale warehouse at 51 Harima Machi and the retail store at 2 Nishi Machi. In early 1900's Ch. A. Aslet joins the firm. He became the most loyal employee of Arthur & Bond of all time, beside the H. F. Arthur himself, working for the company for 15 years. During this time the company was at its peak: Arthur & Bond were the largest and the most popular curios store in Yokohama. On the wave of success it is of no surprise that Arthur & Bond received the order to create the famous Liscum Bowl (see below) in 1902. In 1904 Percy J. Delf leaves the firm. He founded in partnership with L. R. Ellson the firm Ellson & Delf, Exporters of Japanese Goods, in Yokohama. In 1906, however, the company was liquidated and P. J. Delf left Japan. Instead of Delf, in 1904 Arthur & Bond hire S. Bernard as an assistant and Lewis E. Davis as a Kobe branch manager on behalf of L. D. Abraham, who became a commission agent.

The famous entrance to the Fine Art Gallery in Yokohama, with two silver storks inviting the customers.

As it often happens, a great success is followed by a recession. The Arthur & Bond's company began to suffer from unplesant incidents. The Liscum Bowl took eight months to create, and was completed on November 2, 1902. Together with the bowl, a silver ladle and a circular tray, forming a set, were produced. On November 3, 1902, thiefs broke into the store and stole the silver ladle. On December 27, 1902, the thief that stole a part of a silver plate from the Arthur & Bond's Yokohama branch was caught in Kobe. In 1905 L. E. Davis, the manager of the Kobe branch was accused on spending the company's money on personal needs. According to the prosecution, Davis had taken the firm's money on several separate occasions since June 1904, for more than a year, until August 1905. L. D. Abraham presented as witness in the trial. Davis was sentenced to one month of imprisonment. On October 21, 1909, a fire broke out in Yokohama, near the warehouses that belonged to Arthur & Bond, Kuhn & Komor and Papasian & Co. Warehouses of Arthur & Bond and Kuhn & Komor were completely destroyed. All the merchendise was insured (Arthur & Bond's - for 20,000 yen, Kuhn & Komor's - for 35,000 yen). No casualties were reported. Total loss was estimated at 150,000 yen (~2.3 million US dollars today).
The sales didn't go well either. By 1910, only two men are left in the company: the proprietor H. F. Arthur and his assistant Ch. Aslet. Together they tried to save the company from collapsing, but beginning of the World War I in 1914 made the situation even worse. Number of tourists greatly redused. People were focused on spending their money on more essential things than fine arts. In 1916 Aslet, after 15 years in the company, was dismissed and in the following year H. F. Arthur found himself running the company with just his second wife. After the end of WWI, Arthur & Bond hired two assistants, but the company's fate was predetermined. In 1920, after 30 years in operation, H. F. Arthur's company was sold.

Dan F. Morrison in 1923.

Arthur & Bond was purchased by two business partners from the U.S., Dan F. Morrison and R. E. Thompson. The latter could be a relative of Andrew L. Thompson, the representative of a syndicate of American stores, with whom Morrison travelled to Japan in January 1921. In October, 1921, Morrison arrives to San Francisco. A branch of Arthur & Bond is opened in San Francisco, at 683 Sutter street. Another branch of the company was located at 512 Fifth Avenue, New York. Two years later, in July 1923, Dan Morrison with his wife returns from Japan to U.S. to open a new company branch in New York. R. E. Thompson stayed in Yokohama to manage the company's business there. They made an enormous effort to save and even expand the famous business. Instead of fine artwork, the business was now focused on the export of silk clothes, including shirts, underwear, pajamas and robes. Unfortunately, their business couldn't survive - two months later the Great Kanto earthquake struck Japan.
At 11:58 AM on Saturday, September 1, 1923 the eqarthquake struck the Kanto Plain on the main Japanese island of Honshu. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.9 on the moment magnitude scale with its focus deep beneath Izu Oshima Island in Sagami Bay, 80 km (50 miles) from Yokohama.

A view of the destruction in Yokohama.

The death toll from the temblor was estimated to have exceeded 140,000. More than half of the brick buildings and one-tenth of the reinforced concrete structures in the region collapsed. Many hundreds of thousands of houses were either shaken down or burned in the ensuing fire touched off by the quake.
Richard E. Thompson, the manager of Arthur & Bond in Japan, survived. He was rescued on Monday night, September 3, by the "West Prospect". This ship was on its way across the Pacific from Manila and stopped at Yokohama only because it was short of water. On Wednesday, September 5, Thompson reported to his business partner of entire destruction of the company's store in Yokohama.
After that the traces of Arthur & Bond are lost. Presumably, the company didn't recover from the consequences of the Great Kanto earthquake and was closed forever.

Liscum Bowl

Arthur & Bond's most famous commission is undoubtedly the Liscum Bowl, tresured by the 9th United States Infantry. It stands as a monument to the regimental commander Colonel Liscum, who was killed in action at Tientsin, China, on 13 July 1900.
The background of the bowl lies in the American Relief Expedition to China. On 13 July 1900 the regiment was engaging in the conquest of the walled city of Tientsin. With the exception of a battalion of Marines, the 9th Infantry was the only American unit engaged in the struggle, or in the locale. In the course of an assault upon the walls of Tientsin, Col. Liscum was killed by Chinese fire. Two days after the Tientsin fell, on 15 July, a government mint was discovered in the city. The area was immediately placed under guard by the 9th Infantry to prevent looting. Further investigation revealed the presents of silver bars of an estimated value of $376,000. When the bars were removed from the mint, it appeared the heat had caused a number of bars to fuse together, resulting in the development of some large molten masses. Two of these formations were among the last of the silver removed from the building.

The Liscum Bowl made by silversmiths at Arthur & Bond, 1902.

In early 1901, Captain Frank Ramsey, at the time the regimental Quartermaster and the representative of the 9th Infantry was presented with the two formations. He called an informal meeting of a number of the officers to explore possible actions in use of the fused silver. It was then that the idea of a trophy similar to the existing Liscum bowl was conceived. Before leaving Peking, fifty-two cups, forming part of the collection, were designed and constructed from a portion of the silver by Chinese silversmiths.
In April 1902, after returning to the Philippines, the regiment shipped the fused silver to Yokohama, Japan, where Arthur & Bond company performed the delicate task of formulating the body of the bowl, the ladle and the heavy circular tray. It was an ornate bowl of large dimensions: the four handles insisted upon by the Regiment consisted of the torsos of four Imperial dragons peering over the edge of the bowl. There was a ladle and a tray. The bowl took eight months to create, and was completed on November 2, 1902, but the Regiment did not receive it until stationed at Madison Barracks, New York, in April 1903.
In memory of the personnel who had served with the Regiment, the bowl is ingraved with their names. The first name engraved was that of Colonel Liscum. The Liscum Bowl was originally valued at over $50,000. It weighs 90 pounds and has a capacity of 14 gallons.

Addresses and locations
Examples (from the web)