Henry Ressmeyer was a German immigrant who, according to 1910 census records arrived in the United States in 1886. It appears that he got his start in the New York City bottling industry sometime around the turn of the century.
At that time the 1901 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Henry Ressmeyer, along with Frederick Evers, as the proprietors of Evers and Ressmeyer, located at 987 Park Avenue. Both men were also listed individually as bottlers at the same address in NYC’s general directory. They remained listed that way through 1904.
In 1906, the firm of Evers and Ressmeyer disappeared from the directories and Ressmeyer was listed individually as a bottler located at 234 East 84th Street. So it appears that Evers and Ressmeyer went their separate ways around that time. Shortly afterwards Ressmeyer moved both his business and residence to 514-516 East 85th Street, where he remained well into the 1930’s.
A bottler for the George Ehret Brewery, here he’s pictured with his wagon outside his 516 East 85th Street location.
Ressmeyer’s eldest son, John Frederick, apparently joined his father in business sometime in the mid to late teens, changing the name of the business to Henry Ressmeyer & Son. (The 1920 census records listed both father and his 19 year old son’s occupation as “bottler.”)
At some point, the company also served as distributors for the Jacob Ruppert Brewery, as evidenced by the following advertising sign. Both the Ehret and Ruppert breweries were located within several blocks of Ressmeyer’s business so it makes sense that he was associated with them.
Ressmeyer remained in business during Prohibition, listed in the early 1930’s under the heading “bottlers of cereal and fruit beverages.”
It’s not clear if the company survived into the 1940’s. By then, census records from 1940 listed Henry Ressmeyer as the superintendent of an apartment house, living in the Bronx. John Frederick was still in the bottling business but included his occupation as simply “salesman.”
Today, 514 and 516 E 85th Street no longer exist. They have been replaced by a large apartment building at 510 E 85th St.
The bottle has the 516 E 85th Street address embossed on it dating it no earlier than 1908-1909 when the business moved to that location. It’s a champagne style beer with a tooled blob finish so it wasn’t manufactured too long after the move.
The great grandaughter of Henry Ressmeyer contacted me after reading the initial version of this post and was able to provide the photograph of Henry Ressmeyer next to his wagon, as well as the Jacob Ruppert beer sign both of which are now included in the post…Thanks Erika!