"I Knew From Day One":
Rear Admiral Herb Bridge

Family Means Business

Family and business are deeply intertwined for Seattle’s Bridges, exceeding a centennial. Reflecting the interconnections of Seattle’s Jewish families, both branches of Herb Bridge’s family tree come together to establish Ben Bridge Jeweler’s foundation, core values, and success. With now over 100 worldwide locations, Ben Bridge Jeweler has adapted in response to local and global events, from World Wars and pandemics, to earthquakes and Seattle’s boom & bust trajectory. 

Herb’s father Ben Bridge worked for Schwabacher & Bros., a prominent local Jewish family whose business outfitted many customers seeking fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush. They offered canned goods, cigar, coffee, candy and other provisions. Headquartered at First and Yesler Way in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, they also had Alaskan agents to make sales onsite. 

While working at Schwabacher & Bros., Ben Bridge was mentored by Company Vice-President & President Nathan Eckstein and Bailey Gatzert, Seattle’s eighth mayor. 

As explained in Family of Strangers:

“As Seattle grew, many pawnshops that had been opened by Eastern European Jewish immigrants evolved into jewelry stores, and secondhand clothing stores became first-class establishments. Max Weisfield, a role model in the pawn-to-jewelry business, created the motto, ‘If Max Weisfield can’t fix your watch, throw it away.’ He and the Friedlanders, Burnetts, Bridges, and Rivkins were some of Seattle’s most prominent Jewish-owned jewelers.” (pg. 54)

Cone, Molly, Howard Droker and Jacqueline B. Williams. Family of Strangers. University of Washington Press; First Edition (July 1, 2003).

Listen to Jon Bridge narrate the company history:


After serving in World War I, Ben Bridge returned home. He married Sally Silverman in 1922.

Herb’s maternal branch of the family also involves another great uncle as a central figure. Charlie Silverman established Northwest Luggage, and later brought family members, including Herb’s grandfather Samuel Silverman, to Seattle. In 1912, Samuel began the namesake S. Silverman & Company, a jewelry store located on Third Avenue in Downtown Seattle. This was the predecessor to Ben Bridge Jeweler. 

Herb Bridge recalls that Samuel Silverman “... was not only a skilled watchmaker, and very well known, but he had a very nice store and he was an optometrist in addition... [a]nd that was something that was allied with the jewelry store. We have the early pictures of the watches with my grandma being in the store. She was a very beautiful woman. My mother and grandmother were beautiful women, unfortunately we took after our fathers in the looks department. But they were engaging, smart matriarchal type women.” 

Herb Bridge Interview. March 30, 2000. Washington State Jewish Archives. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.


Ben Bridge Jeweler Family Business

Orley Solomon, longtime Ben Bridge Jeweler employee and Manager of the Southcenter store, reflects on his time with the company and working with Herb Bridge:


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Beginnings of Seattle's Bridge Family

Embracing Independence

Bridge Family Extended

Navy Years and Military Career

Family Means Business

"Mr. Downtown"

Tikkun Olam

Resources

Acknowledgments

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