The H stands for Henry C. Muller who operated as a bottler under that name in Far Rockaway, New York, from the mid 1890’s up until 1904. However, the seeds of the business were planted much earlier by a German immigrant named Urban Kneer.
Census records from 1880 indicate that Kneer arrived in the United States from Wurtenburg Germany in 1872. In the late 1870’s he was living in Manhattan where the 1879 New York City Directory listed him with the occupation “cider,” and an address of 274 East Houston Street.
The following year he relocated to Brooklyn where he listed his occupation as “keeper beer saloon,” in the 1880 census records. Brooklyn city directories from 1880 to 1886 listed his address as 103 Bushwick Ave. Then sometime in the late 1880’s, he apparently moved to Far Rockaway where he’s listed in the 1890 Lain’s Business Directory of Brooklyn and Long Island (Far Rockaway section) as a bottler on Birdsall Avenue near Guy.
Sometime in 1894 Kneer apparently turned the business over to a partnership that included Muller and Peter C Klein. In 1895, the firm of Klein & Muller was listed at “Birdsall n Guy,” as “Agents for Otto Huber’s Lager Beer, Bottlers of Ale & Porter.” A bottle embossed with the “Klein & Muller” name recently appeared for sale on the internet. It exhibits the same “tree branch” trade mark that Muller’s does.
The following year, it appears the partnership was dissolved and the business was simply listed as Henry C. Muller at the Birdsall Avenue location.
By the late 1890’s, Muller had apparently moved to a nearby location, changing his address to Carlton Ave c. Guy, Far Rockaway, where he was listed under bottlers of lager beer in the 1899 and 1903 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens. A small operation, the Report of The Factory Inspector for the State of New York, dated January 23, 1899, listed the business as having four employees
According to the November 15, 1903 issue of American Carbonator and American Bottler:
H.C. Muller, Far Rockaway, NY, makes high grade beverages and has many customers.”
The October 15,1904 issue of the American Carbonator and American Bottler reported that H.C. Muller had sold his business to Henry Lutgens, however the deal must have fallen through because a month later, in the November 15th issue of the same magazine, there’s a letter to the editor stating that Muller was out of business and that the magazine should be sent to James VanBrunt.
It should be noted that in subsequent years VanBrunt was listed as a bottler with the same address as Muller. Van Brunt’s business is covered in another post on this site. J. H. VanBrunt, Far Rockaway, L. I.
Carlton has been renamed Nameoke Avenue and Guy has been renamed Augustina Avenue. An old frame building that until recently sat on the northwest corner of Nameoke and Augustina likely once accommodated the business. It has recently been demolished.
The single bottle found is a champagne style with a tooled blob top. It fits the 1890’s to early 1900’s time frame of the business.