Pittsburgh’s Reymer & Brothers Civil War Token

Reymers' Fine Candies Best Assortment Illustrated Packed 1-2-3-5 pound sizes
Early Reymer Bros’ Chocolate Candies

In 1846 Philip Reymer, a headstrong twenty-two year old with an entrepreneurial streak, partnered with Pittsburgher R.J. Anderson and opened a confectionery store in downtown part of the city.  Born on June 28th 1824, Reymer had by a young age already established himself as a veteran in the confectionery business. At 16 Reymer started on his own and entered into the business. It was a mere 12 years later in 1856 when undertook his entrepreneurial aspirations and struck up his partnership.

The location of Reymer’s store was a bustling and busy part of Pittsburg’s downtown. Located at 39 Wood Street, the store sat opposite the popular St. Charles Hotel, and found itself an immediate hit with the Pittsburgh population.

Despite the store’s popularity with locals, for reasons unknown Anderson exited the partnership only a short time after the business was launched. Reymer, seizing the opportunity which lay ahead of him, purchased Anderson’s share and established it as his sole proprietorship.

The business was a sole proprietorship for only a few years. In 1861 Reymer’s two brothers, Jacob S. and Harmar D. joined the firm. Reymer changed the business name, and moving forward was known as Reymer and Bros.

Philip Reymer
Philip Reymer
Jacob Reymer
Jacob Reymer

Like his brother, Jacob Reymer started out on his own at a young age. At the age of a mere 14 years, he entered the hotel, grocery, and restaurant business.

There he learned business acumen, the importance of customer service, and honest work ethic. It was these principles which made him an instant asset when he joined his older brother’s firm.

By the 1870s Reymer Brothers had grown into a business powerhouse.

Its business became so prolific that the firm found itself needing to expand its production and operations.

Reymers Chocolate CandiesThe Reymer Brothers confectionery was well regarded by the people of Pittsburg. Their products were considered second to none, and boasted a reputation for being made from the finest ingredients.

Public demand and popularity necessitated the need for the firm to expand its confectionery-making capacity. In 1876 the firm opened a second location at 124-128 Wood Street, with a factory alongside.

With the new facility, the company was able to significantly increase its output and meet the businesses’ public demand for its products.

The new facility boasted its own storefront, seating area, as well as a large factory to produce their confectionery products.

Reymer Plant on 124-128 Wood Street, Pittsburgh
Reymer Brothers’ Plant on 124-128 Wood Street, Pittsburgh

Among the various hand-made confections the firm was renowned for, the company is credited for inventing the chocolate egg, a candy that to this day are enjoyed by children during Easter.

In addition the various edible treats that Reymer Brothers stocked, the brothers also sold exotic fruits, nuts, spices, flavored sugars, bon-bons, cookies, and crackers. For a time the firm even stocked fireworks and other holiday amusements.

For decades the Reymer Brothers remained a Pittsburg staple. In the 20th century, the business was auctioned off and sold to Heinz Foods.  Years thereafter, Heinz retained the Reymer Brothers’ brand.

Numismatic Specimen

Below please find a Reymers Brothers’ Civil War token.  Struck on or about 1863, the token was used in Pittsburg commerce at the value of one-cent.

Due to public hoarding and the scarcity of coinage in general during the era, merchants like the Reymer Brothers struck their own private coinage to meet public need while making transactions.

The token is About Uncirculated in grade, and exhibits sharp details. Photographed using axial lighting, the token has a Rarity Rating of R-3See Rarity FAQ for Rarity Scale on the Fuld rarity scale.

PA765T-1a Reymer & Bros Civil War Token c.1863 R-3

Aaron Packard [End Mark]

Notes and Sources

  1. ‘100 Years of Candy Making,’ The Pittsburg Press, October 8, 1955, Pg. 88
  2. ‘Reymer & Brothers, Inc.,’ The Story of Pittsburgh, Volume 1, Pittsburgh First National Bank, 1919
  3. Notable men of Pittsburgh and Vicinity, Percy Frazer Smith, Pittsburg Printing Co., 1901, pg.68, 374
  4. History of Pittsburgh and Environs Volume 3, George Thornton Fleming, American Historical Society, 1922, pg.659
  5. History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Volume 2 Part 2, A. Warner & Co, 1889
  6. Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900 Fourth Edition, Russell Rulau, Krause Publications, ©2004, pg.510
  7. U.S. Civil War Store Cards Second Edition, George & Melvin Fuld, Quarterman Publications, ©1975
  8. The Civil War Token Collectors Guide, Bryan Kanzinger, Valley Forge Coins-Books, ©2001

The Library of Congress Digital Archives

Aaron Packard

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