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William Kappel

Jewelry Store Owner

Founder of Busch Jewelry Company, Chairman of William J. Kappel Jewelry Company of Pittsburgh.

 William J. Kappel was born in Pittsburgh in 1885 and took an interest in the jewelry industry at a young age, starting with working in a jewelry store and working his way up in the business. By 1922, Kappel had

founded his own store, the William J. Kappel Jewelry Company of

Pittsburgh. Within a few years, he began work on expanding his

business to the New York market, with the help of stockholder

Harold J. Busch. The first Busch Jewelry Company store opened in

1931 in Manhattan.  At the time of his death in 1967, Busch Jewelry

Company had over two million customers and over 30 locations in the

United States, including New York and Chicago, and William J. Kappel

Jewelry Company had several locations in Pittsburgh, even expanding its

business to include an optical department. The Kappel Jewelry Company,

better known as Kappel’s Jewelers, reorganized in 1993 and now operates

as Dean Diamond Importers.

Kappel earned the nickname “Honest Bill” over his years of operation, derived from his credit-based purchase system.  In addition to his dedication to his jewelry business, he also served as a trustee at Thiel College and was an active member of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Avalon, PA. He and his wife Sarah had three sons, two daughters, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. 

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