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Redlich & Co. Sterling Two Handle Trophy, 1915, California

One-of-a-kind circa 1925 sterling silver 2-handle trophy by Redlich & Co. of New York, with a superbly chased male figure carrying power lines with one arm, and the other arm holding a mechanism sending out bolts of light--to Southern California, with a raised pedestal base that is superbly chased displaying the hilly city of Los Angeles, the trophy with two (2) 'S' curved and engraved applied handles.

Weight 56 oz. Dimensions 15 inches high by 12 inches across handles. Engraved at the top of the trophy are the words 'Charles A. Coffin Foundation Trophy' and along the base rim is engraved 'Southern California Edison Company'. Marked as illustrated in photo. In excellent condition.

The Charles A. Coffin Foundation was created in 1922 and seller believes Southern California Edison was a recipient of an award from the foundation.


Charles A. Coffin was born in 1844 and died in 1926. "A man born to command, yet who never issued orders." This phrase sums up the leadership qualities of Charles A. Coffin, General Electric's first president. His executive skills helped establish General Electric's place in the front rank of American corporations.

Electrical manufacturing was Coffin's second career. At 18, he moved from Fairfield, Maine, where he had been born in 1844, to enter his uncle's shoe business in Lynn, Massachusetts. He later found his own shoe manufacuring firm, and by 1883 had established himself as an outstnding success in this line.

In that year, Silas E. Barton, a Lynn businessman, proposed bringing to the city the struggling young American Electric Co. of New Britain, Connecticut, whose major asset was the inventive genius of Elihu Thomson. A businessman was needed to supplement Thomson's technical skills. Coffin was prevailed upon to take the post.

He led the new company, Thomson-Houston, to parity with Thomas Edison's companies, the previous leaders of the field. When negotiations in 1892 led to the formation of General Electric, a key step in creating a viable enterprise was the installation of Coffin as its first chief executive officer.

Coffin's associates (and he always made a point of calling them "my associates," not "my subordinates") knew him as a gracious gentleman and delightful companion. He never ordered one of them to do anything, preferring to rely on his powers of suggestion. In his turn, he graciously sought and welcomed suggestions from those around him - and then decisively made up his own mind on key questions.

Customers and competitiors knew him as both the outstanding statesman and the outstanding salesman of the electrical manufacturing industry. He took a personal interest in major negotiations, often writing business proposals to important customers in his own hand. At tense meetings he knew how to the pressure with an appropriate anecdote, and how to add the key words to bring matters to a successful conclusion.

His greatest test came in the depression of 1893. A cash shortage threatened GE's existence. He coolly negotiated a deal with J.P. Morgan whereby New York banks advanced the needed money as payment for utility stocks which GE held. The tactic saved the company and made possible its rapid recovery and growth during the remainder of his tenure. The strength and wide ranging excellence of the company he passed to Owen D. Young and Gerard Swope when he retired from the board chairmanship in 1922 was--and remains--his greatest monument.


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