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Plate, A.J.

Name Street Town State From To
Plate, A.J. 411 Sansome Street San Francisco California 1850 1870
Plate, A.J. 418 & 420 Market Street San Francisco California 1870 1878

Patent Date Remarks

Contract for

Hermann Adolph Joseph Plate, born 29 May 1818, Borghorst, Westpahlia, died 5 November 1878 San Francisco. Married to Augusta Agnes S. Tolle, immigrated from Burgsteinfurt, Westphalia in Prussia to America.

Their Children:
Henry Augustus (Harry) 1850 - 1918
Lisetta Elizabeth Martha 1852 - 1856
Adolphus Josephus 1855 - 1857
Augustus Francis 1856 - 1939
Josephine Agnes Ellen S. (Josie( 1858 - ?
George (A?) B. C. 1862 - 11862
Matilda (Tillie) A (Twin) 1862 - ?

Herman Adolph Plate, known as Heinrich Adolph Plate tock his fathers name of Adolphus Josephus on arrival in USA leaving Burgsteinfurt in 1836, naturalized on October 31, 1844 in New York City. He worked as Dealer for John Henry Belter in New YOrk (1844- 1849), was listed as Adolphus I. Plate, cabinetmaker in 1849-1850 Doggett0s New York City Direcotry, page 338, shipped his family household goods on a clipper ship around the Horn to San Francisco in late 1849, traveled via Pnama May 1850 and arrived in San Franciscoin June, opened a gun business after returning from the gold diggings, listed in 1870 SF 8th Ward Census with Augusta, Henry, August, Josephine and Matilda, Cremetery records show him as 60 years 5 month, 7 days. By Laurence L Plate, Jr

Dealer and manufacturer, maker of Deringer-Style Pocket Pistols. Plate was succeeded by his sons in 1878 and the firm operated as A.F. & H. A. Plate from 1878 to 1882.

Guns of the Old West, as of page 125.
In 1850 Adolphus J. Plate beat J.H. Derringer in a patent infringement lawsuit about a single shot, muzzle loading percussion pistol. Plate was a California agent for Henry Deringer guns. I the 1860s the West Coast began to receive shipents of almost indentical copies of the true Deringer, not only with all the Deringer marks, but with the additional legend: MADE FOR A.J. PLATE, SAN FRANCISCO.

At the rial of the suit for copyright infringement against Plate, filled on November 10, 1863, Henry Deringer said through depositions presented by his California attorneys, that his suspicions were aroused when Plate and other West Coast outlets decreased their orders for his pocket pistols: "I sent agent to New York and elsewhere to try to find out who was counterfeiting my goods, and offered a hundred dollars reward for information, but could get no evidence against the guiliy paties. After a time I learned that the defendant was selling these counterfeits and I procured two pairs from his store, one pair of which I attached to my former deposition in this case"

Plate, sometimes during or after 1860, purchased 428 pairs of counterfeit Deringer pistols from Slotter & Co., and sold them in San Francisco at various times up to 1866. Some, he said, bore the Slotter & Co mark, but he admitted that about three-quarters of them carried marks almost identical to those that Deringer had made for him in 1858. Also, like any enterprising businessman, Plate wanted to investigate and explore both sources and markets. Charles Schlotterbeck made some counterfeit Deringer pistols for him, which Plate sold both to individuals and retails in Calfornia. R. Liddle & Co., and Wilson & Evans were two of the concerns that bought from Plate. They also bought directly from Slotter in Philadelphia, realizing it was cheaper to deal direct, be the dozen or more, than to work through a middleman. Plate was now too busy to worry about such picayune matters, even if he had known about them. He was industriously cultivating a market that extended from the Comstock Lode's booming Virginia City to Seattle, and beyond into British Columbia. Gone now was Adolphus Plate's ulcerous irritation at thought of orders for a product he could not supply. He could gibe 'em what they wanted, and he did selling a small, large caliber gun that locked and performed like the genuine Deringer pistol, and even stamped with Deringer's own mark, if you didn't look too closely. The only difference was that the weapons Plate sold were simply not rhe real, honest to god Deringer pocket pistols which, in many instances, they were represented to be. And if no one else got made about it, one old Philadelphia gunsmith did.

Derringer asked for fifteen thousand dollars for damages suffered through trade-mark infringement. Plate's lawyers answered that a California law, since April 3, 1863, had required registration of trade-mars. Deringer, they maintained, had not complied with this; therefore he had no cause for action.

1864 advertisement:
A.J. Plate, Importer, WHolesale and Retail
411 Sansome Street, between Commercial and Sancramento, San Francisco
Double Barrel Guns, Rifles, Pistols, and Gun Trimmings, Powder, Shot, Leand and Caps
New Work made to order and repairing exercted to the neatest manner
Dealer in Shool Books and Cheap Publications

In 1868 the building at 411 Sansome street (known as the Knickerbocker Engine House) was damaged by tje earthquake.

1870 the company published as A.J. Plate & Co. guns, fishing, tackle and society goods, 418 & 420 Market Street San Francisco

.41 caliber percussion, single shot deringer, 2 3/8" round barrel
right side

percussions shotguns, side by side shotguns, and probably some breechloading shotguns