Silversmith Falick Novick made this coffee service for Joan Weil Philipson (later Saltzstein), one of his many South Side Jewish customers.
Between 1880 and 1924, more than two million Eastern European Jews immigrated to America. They included twenty-one year-old Falick Novick, a trained metalsmith from Russia, who arrived in New York in 1900. Finding no market for his skills, Novick worked as a plumber's assistant and in the coal business before seeking his fortune elsewhere. Novick moved to Chicago in 1907 and, two years later, opened a metalwork shop in the heart of the West Side Jewish community. In typical immigrant fashion, he lived above the shop with his Polish-born Jewish wife, Tillie, and their young son, Mitchell. Making items from copper, brass and silver, Novick gained a reputation for fine craftsmanship and soon moved his shop and family to East Forty-Third Street, nearer his many affluent German Jewish customers. Novick worked at that location for more than forty years, but due to deep class and cultural differences, he never became part of the German Jewish community.