Lean Times


English Late Arts & Crafts Hammered "Stay-Brite" Cufflinks by Charles Horner (LEO Design)
England enjoyed powerhouse economic growth in the Nineteenth Century.  But, after World War I (1914-1918), England fell into a slump which lasted throughout the 1920's. Things got even worse in the Thirties as the whole world suffered the Great Depression. Then came the War—a terrifying six years of danger, loss, debt and economic deprivation for England.  Unlike in the United States, where the economy boomed after the War, the decade following World War II was still very poor for the British economy.  England had lost many of its export markets, racked-up tremendous debt, and needed to re-build its destroyed infrastructure.  It was not until the Mid-Fifties that England was powered-up and producing at an impressive clip.

Successful businesses adapted to the change in England's economic circumstances.  One such company was the respected jeweler Charles Horner, founded in the 1860's in Halifax, West Yorkshire.  Horner made quality jewelry, culminating in his enameled sterling silver Art Nouveau brooches, necklaces and hatpins (just before and just after the Turn-of-the-Century).  Horner also made decorative thimbles, using his patented "laminated" metals: silver sandwiched with steel.  They were beautiful, functional and durable.

But when the tough times came, Charles Horner (now under the management of his two sons) created a durable, low-maintenance material which they called "Stay-Brite."  It had the appearance of a precious metal but could be produced at a fraction of the price.  During the lean years in England, men could still look smart with Horner's Stay-Brite cufflinks. Maintaining them was easy, which was especially important since most men lost their valets (if they ever had one to begin with).  Click on the photo above to learn more about these handsome cufflinks.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248