Coloman Jonas was born in 1879 in Budapest, Hungary. Over a century ago, he and his four brothers immigrated to this country and settled in Denver, Colorado, where they established the most successful taxidermy studio of its kind. “Old Man” Jonas, as he was known, wrote an essay in 1920 entitled “No Competition On Top”. Every decade or so it is reprinted in a taxidermy publication to reach a new generation of taxidermists.
The last time it was published was in Breakthrough issue 32 in 1993. Even though this piece was written almost 100 years ago, it still rings true.
No Competition On Top
by Coloman Jonas
A piece of Taxidermy Work is like a fine painting — a luxury, and is regarded as such by the Discriminating Sportsman. Consequently, more than ever before, we have put forth greater effort to produce a piece of work that will be admired, appreciated and desired.
For over Fifty Years I have seen Taxidermy pass through its various stages, and from my observation and experience, I say to all my fellow Taxidermists — you cannot, for one moment regard Taxidermy as anything else but “Art”.
It cannot be successfully commercialized to the extent of taking in a volume of work — turning it out at the rate of “so many per day or week”, for a price that would not cover the honest effort necessary, to produce an artistic piece of work!
Be honest with yourself and your customer. Give him his money’s worth, but don’t give your time and efforts away.
It is far better to take only a few jobs, ask a fair price and devote time to each, necessary to produce a piece of work that will credit you and your shop.
Constantly strive to improve your work. Keep abreast of the times — of changing and improved methods. Study always, from actual life — no book can give you such a wealth of information.
Let your Shop be indicative of the kind of work you do — Clean, Artistic and Thorough. Use good tools and materials. Display good examples of your work — the kind you would do for your customer.
Maintain the respect of the public and the trade!
If you follow these simple Rules — you must reach the Top — and there’s plenty of room for all of us at the “Top”!
Coloman Jonas — 1920
Jonas Brothers Taxidermy