Fred’K S Steinmann, Apothecary, 92nd St & Lexington Ave, New York

 

steinmann-long

NYC Directories and the ERA Druggist Directories of the US, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Manila and the Hawaiian Islands indicate that Steinmann operated a pharmacy at 1402 Lexington Avenue (at 92nd Street) from 1907 to approximately 1917 -1920. He also operated a pharmacy in Bronxville NY from 1913 to 1925.

Frederick Steinmann’s story is best told in a letter he wrote to his friends and customers announcing that he was selling his pharmacy business. The letter was printed in the May 8, 1925 issue of the Bronxville Press. I’ve summarized parts of it below.

  • Frederick Steinmann was a graduate of the 1899 class of the New York College of Pharmacy and was manager of drug stores until 1907 when he entered business for himself at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Several years later he established a branch at 152nd Street and Convent Avenue, New York City, and in 1913 he opened a Bronxville branch in the Colonial Building.
  • He talked about how early on the Bronxville store was a losing proposition and how the opening of the rail line and station and movie theatre improved things. During this period, he sold the NY stores (A 1917 directory in the Druggist Circular still lists both the Lexington Avenue and Bronxville locations) and moved from Long Island to Bronxville to devote his energies to building the Bronxville business.
  • Ultimately, on May 1, 1925, he sold out to I Bernitz, a successful pharmacist of New York City who had sold his NYC store several weeks prior. Steinmann announced he was leaving pharmacy and entering the real estate brokerage field.
  • In a reflective piece of the letter he talked about serving the community during the influenza period and during the strain of the weeks of constant call to duty when compounding of prescriptions and medical supplies were in most urgent demand. Digalen, thermometers and caffeine benzoate were unobtainable in New York or in other places but we were fortunate enough to have brought our surplus stock to this store. It seemed a matter of fate to have helped save many lives. Then again, the pleasant duties of serving the healthy as well as the sick recompensed one for all the effort and strife and cares of a business.

The Fred’k S Steinmann name carried on into the 1990’s. In October 1968 the Fred’k S Steinmann Apothecary ltd of Ossining New York filed for incorporation in New York State and on July 1, 1997 the company was dissolved.

Today, 1402 Lexington Avenue is a five-story walk-up with a street level commercial store. According to apartments.com it was built in 1920 (it looks older to me) so it doesn’t date back to the business.

The bottle I found is a small (4 oz) medicine with a tooled finish that has the Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street address embossed on it. Embossing on the base indicates it was made by Whitehall Tatum Company (W.T. Co). The fact that there’s no ampersand (between the T and Co) indicates it was made after that business incorporated in 1901. A web site article on Whitehall Tatum puts the specific embossing in the 1901 to 1924 time frame. This confirms that the bottle fits within the 1907 to late teen’s time period that the business was at the Lexington Avenue address.