Close This Page To Return To The Previous Page

Absence & Variation Among 19th Century Negotiated Business Agreements & Contracts Complicate Modern Research Pertaining To Antique Products ~ Including Nutmeg Graters :

The Problem :Advertisement for jobber / manufacturer

Tracing a product's history is complicated! Like all products, the rights to manufacture and/or market nutmeg graters were often contracted, transferred, and/or sold by an original inventor or manufacturer to a secondary party of agents or manufacturers, who resold the product and/or transferred rights to a third and sometimes a fourth party. This wide range of Jobbers [SEE: A Few Definition., this page, below.] were often an invisible part of the process. Because these contractual agreements were lost or disregarded over time, they are usually absent to the modern researcher. Determining the actually inventor, manufacturer, or marketer of a product with certainty is sometimes difficult.  Any remaining evidence sometimes yields misleading, incomplete, inconclusive or inaccurate historical accounts.  To the reader, it is insightful to understand this problem as we attempt to reconstruct the history pertaining to the various nutmeg graters

Notice this 1888 advertisement for Wells Manufacturing Co. Ad.  This Boston company describes themselves as both a "Manufacturers and Jobbers of Novelties and Fancy Goods For Home And Export Trade".  While a local inventor may seek Wells Manufacturing Co. to manufacture his product so that this inventor can later market his own product, another company, which manufactures their own product might hire Wells Manufacturing Co. to sell their product to the export trade.  In each case, it is likely that no record pertaining to the Wells Manufacturing Co. involvement would remain for a modern researcher to reconstruct a product history. 

Some Background Information :

In mid-nineteenth century America, the term jobber was a well known occupation which included a wide range of services. In absence of legal regulation during the 1850"s and 1870's, unscrupulous jobbers ~ who were well placed middlemen ~ could become an inventor's or small manufacturer's worst nightmare. Because "feeling cheated by jobbers" was not uncommon, by the 1890's, both governmental regulation and the creation of jobbers' associations evolved to correct these problems. Jobbers' associations were created to defend and negotiate fair business practices, usually associated to that of interstate commerce.  A few of these associations are noted here.


Today, the occupation jobber is often incorrectly redefined as wholesaler.  Once, a well recognized job title, the term jobber has long vanished from use.

A Few Definitions :

Jobber :



Royalty Payment :

Agent :