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Solomon Isaacs, 1786–1855

Born New York City
Solomon Isaacs established a thriving copper manufacturing business in partnership with his brother-in-law, the metallurgist and inventor Harmon Hendricks. Both men were members of the Sephardic community in New York City, where Isaacs began his career providing imported metals to customers such as Paul Revere. During the War of 1812 (1812–15), Isaacs operated a copper mill in New Jersey that supplied the U.S. Navy with domestically produced copper sheathing for warships. He also provided copper for Robert Fulton’s steamship boilers, hence his nickname “Steamboat Isaacs.”

In this portrait, Isaacs presents himself as an elegant man of leisure rather than a busy industrialist. ...
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c. 1813
Oil on canvas