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OUR ROOTS

The Biro & Sons success story opened in 1945, six thousand miles away, when a 16-year-old Alex Biro first put a hammer against a piece of silver. “I liked the sound,” he says with a smile. That introduction turned into a passion, which took Alex and his family from Hungary through Eastern Europe to Canada and finally to the United States.

Along the way, the family’s patriarch created miniature ships for Hungary state mint, tabernacles and chalices for a Catholic church in Montreal and a multitude of pieces for families, contractors and designers at every stop.

The Biro family found a permanent home in San Francisco in 1959 and Alex went to work for the M&H Company, where he stayed until the opportunity to purchase his own business arrived. That business, The Burridge Company, had roots in San Francisco dating back to 1889.

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A FAMILY BUSINESS

Rather than leaving M&H without a silversmith, the two companies merged and became M&H/Burridge Company. That company served the area until Jack Matthews retired in 1977. In that same year, the company moved to the current location on Folsom Street and was rechristened Biro & Sons.

Martin, who had been working alongside his father since 1977, was joined by brother Rick in 1985. “When my sons joined the business everything improved,” Alex says. “They brought in new ideas and we did a lot of things better.”

Biro & Sons continued to offer old-world care and craftsmanship, while looking to open new lines of business.

Over the next handful of years, the company became known as the place for five-star hotels, resorts, restaurants and casinos to call when they needed hollowware or other custom pieces, as well as local churches looking for tabernacles, crosses or chalices or for companies looking to create priceless special order trophies.

 

A HISTORY OF CRAFTSMANSHIP

Indeed, one of the most unique pieces commissioned to Biro & Sons came from Capitol Records, who were looking to create a trophy to honor the label’s artists who’s musical achievements left an indelible mark on American popular culture.

“A local designer came up with the design and we made up four of them for Capitol,” recalls Rick. “The first was given to Frank Sinatra, then Nat King Cole got one, Les Paul and Steve Miller. The trophy itself looked like the Capitol Records building. It was a cool looking piece.”

While that was one of the most interesting, probably one of the most historical to come through the doors is The America’s Cup trophy. “When the BMW Oracle team won in 2010, the person in charge of the Cup at Oracle called a bunch of places around the Bay Area and our name kept coming up,” Rick says. “So, she called and set up a time to bring it in. They showed up with a security task force, brought it in and we got to work.”

At the same time, Biro & Sons have maintained and succeeded in business because they understand the importance of sentiment. “People trust us with their most important things,” Martin says, “from platters that have been in their families for decades to a small trinket that their grandfather picked up in World War II. We take great pride in restoring those things, so that those memories continue to live on in their families.”

The road from Hungary to San Francisco has been long, but educational for the Biro family. Alex, who remains actively involved in the business, has successfully passed on his love of silversmithing to his sons. They, in turn, pay homage to their father’s experience by remaining true to the core philosophies of care and craftsmanship every day.