In 1796, during the Directory years, Georges Jacob decided to transfer his business to his two sons, Georges II and François-Honoré Jacob, and retire. The Jacob Frères company formed by the two brothers was supported by the governments it served under and held in high regard by the avant-garde who thought of the company as the "obvious and almost only choice in Paris for new luxury furniture." The Jacob Frères continued to work from designs by Percier and Fontaine much like their father, however, the younger brother, François-Honoré Jacob, was also an accomplished draftsman and could create designs for lesser pieces of furniture that complimented the design provided. The Jacob Frères would also take the successful designs and reproduce them for other clients on unrelated commissions, which helped to spread the empire style and also made the imperial residences relatively uniform in decoration. However, this also means that any particular model cannot be attributed to anyone without the design on paper by a recognizable signature.
The Jacob Frères most famous client was Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She would have most likely seen the work of their father during the revolution in a progressive aristocrat's house. She used them to decorate various imperial residences, such as the Tuileries palace, and remained a loyal customer, using them almost exclusively, until her death. When Georges II (the elder brother) died in 1803, Georges came out of retirement to help the remaining son, François-Honoré (who changed his named to Jacob Desmalter) from a new partnership called Jacob Desmalter Et Cie. (stamped Jacob D. R. Mesleé, on two lines), which continued to be a influential supplier for the imperial period and is credited with helping to define the Empire style as it is known today.