“A History of Long Island From Its Settlement to Recent Time” Vol 3 by Peter Ross; published in 1902 included a short biography of Frederick William Ernst Dieckman. The biography contains the following paragraph about the start and early years of his mineral water business:
In 1878 he began the manufacture of mineral water at No. 125 Elm Street, there conducting a successful business until 1884 in which year he purchased the three lots at No.s 59, 61 and 63 Stockholm Street. There he erected the dwelling and other buildings used in his manufacturing business and in addition he secured the accessories and other conveniences for the successful operation of his trade. In his undertaking he has prospered and the volume of his business is constantly increasing.
The early Brooklyn City Directories confirm and add a little to the story. William Dieckman was first listed in the 1880 Directory at 125 Elm Street. He was also listed as pop/beer and vinegar in the 1883 and 1884 Directories respectively. By 1886 he was listed at the 63 Stockholm address as vinegar and by 1890 he was listed primarily as a bottler of soda and/or mineral water. During these yearly years he was sometimes listed as having two n’s in his last name.
Around 1899 the son, also William, becomes associated with the business. The 1899 Trow Business Directory refers to the business as Wm Dieckman and Son and the 1902 General Directory lists both William and William Jr at the Stockholm Street address. Sadly, William Jr died prematurely of pneumonia in June of 1911 at the age of 36.
The business is still listed in the 1929 Brooklyn Red Book but I haven’t been able to find any listings in the 1930’s. Born in 1844, William Sr would have been in his 80’s by then.
Dieckman was one of several bottlers who incorporated the Brooklyn and Long Island Bottler’s Protective Union. The April 13, 1890 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:
The Brooklyn and Long Island Bottler’s Protective Union has been incorporated by James Ward, Hugh Goodwin, George Russell, William Dieckman, Charles Maurer, John J. Dunn, F.W. Witt, J.F. Knoble, Daniel Bahr, Ebenezer Seely, P. Klein, George Bohlen and Henry Ahrens, of this city; Robert Finan of Long Island City, and Phillip Schweickert, of Coney Island.
Today, the Stockholm Street address is a vacant lot.
The one bottle I found is machine made, quart size (27 oz) probably from the last decade of the business.
I came across a humorous episode involving Dieckman in an item printed under the heading “Court News” in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Published in the February 17, 1881 Issue, it occurred early in his career.
William Dieckman is a dealer in root beer in the Eastern District, and he left the compound at various candy stores and other places where the stuff is sold. One Frederick Feltman was also interested in the root beer business, and Dieckman charged him with stealing his beer bottles and substituting his own in their place. He caused his arrest, but on the hearing before Justice Semler the complaint was dismissed, because it appeared that the Dieckman business really belonged to Mrs. Dieckman. Then the lady in the case had Feltman arrested on the same complaint, but that case was also dismissed by the justice. Now Feltman took his innings in the game and sued Mr. and Mrs. Dieckman for $5,000 each for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The case was tried yesterday afternoon before Judge Reynolds and a jury. The suit against Mrs. Dieckman was dismissed, and in the suit against the husband the jury gave Feltman a verdict for six cents damages. Honors may be said to be easy between the root beer litigants.