- Born: 19 Jun 1822, West Bloomfield Essex NJ
- Marriage (1): Sarah Hunter on 22 Nov 1848
- Died: 27 Dec 1897, Newark NJ
William Riker was born the son of Dutch immigrants in Montclair, New Jersey in 1822. At the age of 15, as was the custom of that time, William began an apprenticeship with Taylor & Baldwin where many prominent jewelers were trained. He continued his studies in New York City with Downing & Hoyt. In 1846 Riker partnered with George H. Tay, opening a shop in Newark on Quarry Street under the name Riker & Tay. The firm's rapid growth resulted in a need for additional space and equipment. The solution was a buy-out of Bliss & Dwight at 379 Broad Street lock, stock and barrel with relocation to their facility after only a year.
Feeling the lure of the California gold rush, Tay left the company in 1849 to lead the life of a gold prospector. A new partnership was formed with Horace Goble, renaming the firm Riker & Goble. In 1859 the company once again relocated, this time to Green Street where it remained until Goble's retirement in 1864. The business continued, using William Riker's name, until his three sons were old enough to join the firm thus creating Riker & Sons. In 1870 the nomadic firm once more changed locations, this time to a schoolhouse at 42 Court Street.
Over the years, William Riker became known for several patents involving mechanical processes in the surface ornamentation of jewelry. In addition, William held a patent on a sash fastener. In 1892 William withdrew from the firm along with one of his sons. The two remaining sons changed the name of the company to Riker Brothers, closed their New York selling office and moved to 42-46 Hill Street. William Riker died in 1898 and the company continued under William Jr.'s leadership. Joseph Riker, William's other son, left the firm and became president of the Newark Manufacturing Jewelers' Association and president of the Merchants National Bank. The offices remained on Court Street until 1926 when they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where they remained until the 1940's.
Events in his life were:
- Apprenticed circa 1839-1842 to TAYLOR & BALDWIN in New York City NY
- He worked circa 1843-1846 as a jeweler in New York City NY as a journeyman with DOWNING & HOYT.
- He was a partner in 1846-1849 with George H. Tay in New York City NY as RIKER & TAY.
- He appeared on the 1850 census taken at Newark NJ, listed as a jeweler.
- He was a partner in 1850-1864 with Horace Goble in New York City NY as RIKER & GOBLE.
- He worked in 1865-1892 as a jeweler in New York City NY
- He appeared on the 1870 census taken at Clinton NJ, listed as a jeweler.
- He was issued design patent number 11,820 on 15 Jun 1880
CLAYTON H. CASE, OF HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, AND WILLIAM RIKER, OF CLINTON TOWNSHIP, ESSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY; SAID RIKER ASSIGNOR TO SAID CASE.
DESIGN FOR A MILITARY SCARF-PIN.
SPECIFICATION forming part of Design No. 11,820, dated June 15, 1880. Application filed April 19, 1880.
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that we, Clayton H. Case, a citizen of the United States, and residing at Hartford, in the county of Hartford and State of Connecticut, and William Riker, a citizen of the United States, residing in Clinton township, in the county of Essex and State of New Jersey, have jointly invented and produced a new and original Design for a Military Scarf-Pin, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying illustration, which is a front view of the same.
The letter a denotes an annulus or circlet, which may bear any appropriate legend or motto, or it may bear none. From the base periphery start a series of radial star-points, b.
At the top of the annulus is the representation of a double-bladed battle-ax, c, the handle of which terminates in a spear-point, c'.
At the bottom of the annulus is a dovetail-shaped piece, d, and to the small lug, d', depending from it a company letter, as A, B, &c., may be hung.
The center of the annulus may be filled by an initial letter or monogram, as, in the present instance, the monogram "C. N. G.," standing for "Connecticut National Guard."
The number of the regiment, as, in the present case, " 1," may be superimposed upon the circlet.
1. The design for a scarf-pin, consisting of the annulus a, the peripheral star-points b, and the double battle-ax c, substantially as described, and shown in the accompanying illustration.
2. The design for a scarf-pin, consisting of the annulus a, the peripheral star-points b, the double battle-ax c, the dovetail d, and the monogram within the annulus, substantially as described, and shown in the accompanying illustration.
Clayton H. Case
Witnesses as to C. H. Case:
R. F. Raylord
Witnesses as to Wm. Riker
William R. Baxter
William L. Kerris
- He appeared on the 1880 census taken at Clinton NJ, listed as a manufacturing jeweler.
William married Sarah Hunter on 22 Nov 1848.