Duhme & Meyer was a New York City mineral water manufacturer and a bottler of soda and beer that operated in lower Manhattan during much of the 1870’s and 1880’s. The proprietors were German immigrants Henry Duhme and Wiliam Meyer.
Census records indicate that Duhme arrived in the United States from Hanover, Germany in 1848. By the early 1850’s he had apparently joined his brother Martin in the grocery business under the name “Duhme & Brother.” The 1851 N.Y.C. directory listed the business in lower Manhattan with an address of 17 Grand Street. By the mid-1850’s the name “Duhme & Brother” had disappeared from the directories however, both Duhme’s continued to be listed as grocers at several lower Manhattan locations up through the mid-1860’s.
It was around this time that Henry Duhme opened a saloon at 198 Bleeker Street as evidenced by the occupation he listed in the 1870 census records: “Lagerbier Saloon.” This likely occurred in 1868 when his occupation in the directories changed from “grocer” to “liquor.”
Sometime in the early 1870’s Duhme partnered with William Meyer and together they established Duhme & Meyer. Meyer had immigrated to the United States from Prussia and I suspect he had recently arrived in New York City after first settling in New Jersey.
The business of Duhme and Meyer was initially listed in the 1871 N.Y.C directory at 112 Prince Street where they remained for over ten years. Early directories (1871 to 1875) referenced the company as a “soda” business while later directories called them “bottlers.” They were certainly bottling beer as well as soda in 1875 as evidenced by a Duhme & Meyer bottle found in a collection presented on brucemobley.com. The bottle is embossed “Lager Beer” on the front, with the year 1875 embossed on the back.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the bottling business was actually an outgrowth of Duhme’s saloon business and they were bottling beer from the start but that’s entirely conjecture on my part.
Sometime in 1883 Duhme & Meyer moved to 115 Christopher Street where they were listed in the N.Y.C. directories until 1886 when Duhme apparently left the business. He ultimately moved to Brooklyn where 1900 census records listed his occupation as a real estate agent. He passed away in March 1909.
The bottling business continued to operate under the management of the Meyer family after Duhme’s departure. In 1887, both William Meyer and Henry W. Meyer, were listed with the occupation “waters,” at 115 Christopher Street. Henry was almost certainly William’s son, who, according to 1880 census records, was born in 1871.
The following year William Meyer was no longer listed, apparently leaving the business in the hands of his son who continued to operate it at 115 Christopher Street up until 1898.
A bottle embossed Henry W. Meyer exhibiting the 115 Christopher Street address was found in the collection of Mike AKA Chinchillaman1 at http://mikesbottleroom.weebly.com (no relation to this web site).
Sometime in 1898 Meyer moved the business to 218 West 22nd Street. The move was almost certainly associated with New York State’s enactment of their 1896 liquor tax law, popularly referred to as Raines Law. Among other things, the law included an $800 license fee making it difficult for much of Meyer’s small business clientele to remain in business.
Shortly after the move the business came to a tragic end when Henry W, Meyer committed suicide. A story in the May 21, 1899 edition of the New York Tribune provided the sad details.
Henry W. Meyer, head of the firm Henry W. Meyer & Co., manufacturers of soda water, committed suicide yesterday afternoon at his home, No. 215 Tenth Ave., by taking muriatic acid. The shrinking of his extensive business to a condition of poor trade by the closing up of many small dealers with whom he had a monopoly of trade is thought to have caused Myer’s act. Myer lived with his wife and four children on the second floor of the Tenth Ave. house. His factory is in Twenty second Street between Tenth and Eleventh Aves. The man had built up a large business among the small saloons in the city, especially on the East Side. The Raines Law license drove a great many of these dealers out of business, and Meyer’s trade suffered, as he found himself unable to compete with the larger dealers.
The bottle I found is a pony with an applied blob finish that includes the embossed Christopher Street address. The monogramed back includes the embossed year 1883, suggesting it was manufactured specifically to reflect Duhme & Meyer’s move to new quarters that year.
Streeteasy.com reports that today the building at 115 Christopher Street was built in 1904, so it does not date back to the time frame of the business.
Day & Brother was a New York City mineral water manufacturer and bottler that operated from the late 1860’s through the early 1890’s. Always located on the east side of Manhattan, the business was operated by several different members of the Day family over the course of their history.
Their story begins with an Irish immigrant named John W. Day who, as early as 1863 was listed in the New York City directories with the occupation “soda,” and a home address of 201 East 20th Street.
In the late 1860’s he apparently went into business with his brother, James P. Day, and by 1869 both were listed with the occupation “soda” at the 353 East 20th Street address embossed on the bottle. A year later, in 1870, the business of Day & Brother also appeared in the directories at that address.
Their advertisement appeared in the 1872 edition of Goulding’s Business Directory.
The business continued in this fashion until sometime in 1874 when James P. Day apparently left the company. Whether he passed away or simply moved on is not clear. John W. Day continued the business, ultimately moving it to 351 East 23rd Street sometime around 1877.
John W. Day passed away in November, 1878 after which his widow Catherine took over. She apparently served as the proprietor until 1886 after which management apparently transferred to her eldest son Peter S. who, according to census records turned the age of 21 that year. Peter served as proprietor from 1886 to 1891. In the early 1890’s, another son, James R. Day, was also listed with the occupation “waters,” at the East 23rd Street address.
Still listed in 1892, by 1894 Day & Brother was no longer mentioned in the directories.
The bottle I found is a six ounce pony with a blob finish. It’s embossed with the 353 East 20th Street address, dating it from approximately 1869 to 1877 when the business utilized that address.
Examples of Day & Brother bottles that exhibit their later address at 351 East 23rd Street have also appeared on the Internet. They date from 1877 to the early 1890’s
I’ve also seen a bottle for sale on the internet that’s simply embossed John W. Day, with the 353 East 20th Street address. This example also included the embossed year “1874,” which suggests that John W. used this style for a period of time in the mid-1870’s after James P. Day left the business but prior to their move to East 23rd Street, roughly 1874 to 1877.
H. Busch & Son were the proprietors of a turn of the century bottling business located in Union Hill, New Jersey. The business, by all appearances, was a small, local operation.
Herman Busch, a German immigrant, established the business, likely called H. Busch, sometime in the first decade of the 1900’s. Prior to that, 1900 census records listed Busch as a teamster living in West Hoboken.
In 1910 census records listed Busch’s occupation as the owner of a beer bottling business and his seventeen year old son, Herman Busch, Jr., was listed as a helper in the business. Digitized directories that include Union Hill are scarce, however, one I did find, the 1915 Hudson County Business Directory, listed H. Busch & Son as bottlers at the address listed on the bottle, 116 Blum Street. So, based on this listing, Herman, Jr. was viewed as a partner in the business no later than the mid-teens. In 1920, census records listed both father and son as bottlers of soda.
By 1930 Busch Sr. had retired and Busch Jr. was a truck driver living in Jersey City so the business apparently dissolved sometime in the 1920’s.
Union Hill merged with West Hoboken becoming Union City, New Jersey in 1924. Three years later, in 1927, Blum Street was renamed 36th Street. Shown below is 116 36th Street in Union City, courtesy of Google Earth. Assuming the street numbering system remained unchanged, this could be where the business operated. According to Trulia.com the el-shaped building includes office space, warehouse space, a loading dock and a parking area in front; everything you need to operate a bottling business. Sadly there’s no information on when it was built.
The bottle I found is a 28 oz., mouth blown tooled crown that fits with the early years of the business.
Long Island New York’s Hicksville Bottling Company had its roots with the mineral water business of a man named Edgar Davis. When Davis started the business is not clear, however, bottles produced for the Hicksville Bottling Company in the 1940’s and 1950’s include the phrase “Since 1873,” so it’s possible that it’s inception extended back that far.
A September 4, 1886 local newspaper story specifically referenced Edgar Davis as a bottler so it’s clear he was up and running by the mid 1880’s.
In 1894, brothers-in-law William F. Staude and Charles Fassbender purchased the business from Davis. The transaction was announced in the May 12, 1894 edition of a Huntington, New York newspaper called “The Long-Islander.”
William F. Staude of the Roadside Hotel and Charles Fassbender, collector for the Ulmer Brewing Company have bought out the mineral water business of Edgar Davis and have leased the old Pahde property where they will carry on a bottling business on a large scale. Both young men are sons in law of August Fleischbein, proprietor of the Grand Central Hotel and are well-known. We wish them success.
As far as I can tell their initial location was near the Hicksville train depot on the northeast corner of East Marie Street and Railroad Avenue. A map, circa 1914, confirmed their plant was located there by that time.
Not just associated with mineral water, this advertisement, published in the September 21, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union also labeled them as beer bottlers and wine and liquor dealers.
The advertisement specifically mentioned Ulmer Cabinet Beer. According to Fassbender’s April 12, 1922 obituary published in the Brooklyn Standard Union he worked for Brooklyn’s Ulmer Brewery from 1880 to 1920.
During his forty years connected with the Ulmer Brewing Company, Mr. Fassbender advanced himself from clerk to personal collector for Brooklyn and Long Island. He also handled a considerable portion of its real estate dealings with its various agencies.
So, it’s no surprise that the company not only bottled Ulmer beer, but almost certainly bottled it from the start in 1894. Recognizing that their father-in-law, August Fleischbein, owned Hicksville’s Grand Central Hotel including its 600 person capacity hall, it’s also likely they had an immediate market for their products.
Staude passed away in 1917 and Fassbender ultimately sold the business in 1921. The sale was reported in the August edition of the American Bottler.
HICKSVILLE BOTTLING PLANT CHANGES HANDS
The Hicksville Bottling Co., at Hicksville, Long Island, has been purchased by Jac. Friedman, who was formerly connected with the Christ Wagner Bottling Co., of Java Street, Brooklyn. Charles S. Fassbender was the former owner of the plant, which he had successfully conducted for a number of years.
Polish immigrants, the Friedman’s apparently operated the business as a family affair. In addition to Jac (Jak), 1930 census records indicate that Eli Friedman, likely his brother, as well as Jak’s two sons, Louis and William, were all involved in the business. Census records in 1940 continued to associate the Friedman’s with the business.
It was the Friedman’s who, during Prohibition, began utilizing the name “Roxy.” They trademarked the name in 1930, but their application indicated that it had been in use since July 1, 1926.
After Prohibition they were back in the beer business as evidenced by this May 26, 1937 advertisement in the New York Daily News listing them as a Brooklyn and Long Island distributor for the Fidelio Brewery. By then the company had apparently moved, listing their address as 10-2 Lenox Avenue in Hicksville.
Another advertisement, this one published in the March 17, 1939 edition of the Nassau Daily Review named them as a distributor for New York City’s John Eichler Brewing Company as well.
The company, as well as the Roxy brand, endured well into the 1950’s and possibly longer. As late as 1957, this July 21 New York Daily News advertisement listed “Roxy – dietetic” (halfway down the second column) as a beverage made with Sucaryl.
The bottle I found is machine made with the Hicksville Bottling Co. name embossed on the bottom. The name “Roxy” is embossed on both sides in a style matching the patented trademark.
The bottle was likely made in the late 1920’s or 1930’s, and certainly no earlier than July, 1926 when the trademark application declared it was first used.
The company also used the Roxy name on siphon bottles as evidenced by this item recently offered for sale on the internet.
The Rising Sun Brewing Company was in operation for almost 50 years during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Located in the vicinity of 7th Street and Marshall Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey, it was one of just two major breweries located in that city.
Established in 1887, the roots of the business date back much earlier. According to a 1901 publication called “One Hundred Years of Brewing:”
John F. Wagner commenced brewing lager beer at Elizabeth N. J., in 1865, and the continuation of the business, to which has been added the manufacture of ale and porter, is in the hands of the Rising Sun Brewing Company.
Wagner was listed in the Elizabeth directories as a brewer from the mid 1870’s up until 1883. At that point it appears that he turned the operation over to Benjamin Witter who called it the Orient Brewery.
Within a year, newspaper accounts across the nation announced that a boiler explosion had destroyed the brewery. The September 24, 1884 edition of the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader told the story like this:
A BREWERY BURNED
ELIZABETH N. J., Sept. 23. – This evening an upright boiler in Witter’s brewery exploded, the fragments being thrown through the roof and 300 feet from the building. The brewery immediately took fire and was totally consumed, together with its contents. F. W. Bauer’s grocery store adjoining was also burned. The loss is about $25,000. Two men were reported to have been killed by the explosion, but the report lacks confirmation.
A year later on December 5, 1885 Camden N. J.’s Morning Post announced that the business had failed.
Failure of a Brewery
ELIZABETH, N. J., Dec 5 – The failure is reported of the Orient Brewery in this city, Benjamin Witter, proprietor, for the sum of $31,000.
An advertisement published three months later, in the February 23, 1886 edition of the Elizabeth Daily Journal, indicated that the brewery, still called the Orient Brewery, was back up and running by then. The brewery also ran this advertisement in the 1886 Elizabeth directory.
A year later, in 1887, the Rising Sun Brewing Company had incorporated and was listed at the former address of the Orient Brewery. Whether the cost of rebuilding ultimately forced Witter to sell the brewery due to bankruptcy or the new owners of the business rebuilt and operated it for a year under the old name is not clear. Nonetheless, by 1887 it was certainly under new ownership.
“The City of Elizabeth Illustrated,” published in 1888 by the Elizabeth Daily Journal, described the operation in its first year or so.
The Rising Sun Brewing Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey, on March 2, 1887, with a capital of $50,000. The incorporators are citizens of Elizabeth, who are interested in the development of home trade, which they supply with a wholesome article of ale and lager beer.
In addition to their home trade the Rising Sun Brewing Company have an extensive business in Newark and New York City, which they supply with their products.
The business of the company is growing rapidly, and the present output of beer is at the rate of thirty thousand barrels per annum. The quality of the beer, which is of the finest, is equaled only by a few breweries and surpassed by none.
The 1888 feature also included a description of the physical plant along with a rendering.
The buildings are substantially built of brick, and are situated at Nos. 29 to 35 Seventh Street, corner of Marshall Street. The premises are amply supplied with all of the modern appliances for the manufacture of ale and beer. They have a complete equipment of horses and wagons for transportation purposes. The present buildings were put up a few years ago on the site of a brewery which had been destroyed by fire, and the extensive plant presents an imposing appearance, the wagons and teams in the vicinity of the brewery presenting a scene of constant activity.
By 1890 the Elizabeth business directory listed the business under the title of both “brewers” and “beer bottlers,” so it appears they were likely bottling their own beer close to, if not at the start of the new company.
The brewery grew with Marshall Street serving as its central spine. The manufacturing plant was located on the west side of the street while the offices and distribution facilities were located on the east side. This 1930 photograph of the brewery shows Seventh Street running from foreground to background and Marshall Street across the picture. The brewery is the building pictured on the right, with the towered office and distribution plant plainly visible across the street. According to a September 18, 1932 story in the N. Y. Daily News the beer was piped from vats located in the brewery under Marshall Street to kegs in the distribution plant.
As early as the late 1800’s you could grab a “Rising Sun – Special” on draught, “after business hours or, when at your leisure,” at Elizabeth’s Cafe Broeker. Their beer menu, printed in the 1897 Elizabeth N.J. directory, mentioned that you could also enjoy a Salvator, brewed by Peter Breidt. Breidt’s City Brewery was the only other major brewery located in Elizabeth at the time.
Originally Rising Sun was in the hands of several Elizabeth, New Jersey businessmen including Charles Seeber who, according to his January 18, 1900 obituary, was the principal stockholder. Seeber served as president of the company up until his death in 1900. At that point, another stockholder, Phillip Schauble, assumed the presidency with Seeber’s son, George, serving as vice president.
Four years later, a story in the November 25, 1904 edition of the Central New Jersey Home News reported that the Rising Sun business had changed hands.
ELIZABEH, NOV. 25 – One of the most important real estate deals transacted in the city in recent years took place Wednesday when the Rising Sun Brewery here changed hands and is now in the control of a syndicate represented by Alderman Edward Neugent as president. The price was $300,000, all of which was delivered in cash…
The syndicate will conduct the business on a much larger scale than heretofore, and will also enlarge the facilities of the plant.
Two months later, in January, 1905, the stockholders elected George Seeber as president, a position he held up through the start of Prohibition and beyond.
In addition to Alderman Neugent, stockholders in the new company included the former governor of New Jersey (1898 to 1902) Foster M. Vorhees and the head of Citizen’s Bank, H. Hayward Isham. An October 27, 1905 story in the (Bridgewater N. J.) Courier-News, explained that this roster of influential individuals allowed them to conduct “business as usual.”
This is Plainfield and Union County politics, but it is also politics everywhere else. The Rising Sun Brewing Company of Elizabeth….owns or controls a large proportion of the saloons in Union County. Among its stockholders are men high in official authority and powerful in the councils of both political parties. It controls the granting of licenses to such an extent that brewers in other counties can hardly obtain licenses to sell their beers in Union, and it commands the saloon vote so completely that politicians and bosses are glad to do its bidding in return for its influence at election time. “The saloon in politics” is a misnomer, so long as brewers can own the saloons and crack the whip over political bosses of both parties.
Prior to Prohibition the company marketed their light brew under the name “Bohemia” and their dark beer as “Seeber.” An advertisement for Bohemia appeared in several December, 1913 editions of the Central New Jersey Home News.
Another advertisement, this one in the September 15, 1915 edition of the Hackensack (N. J.) Record, pitched a free advertising tray to be included with the sale of each case.
The sun has arisen. The Rising Sun Brewing Co., Bohemia Beer. Pure malt and hops only. $1.00 per case, 24 bottles. A beautiful tray given with each case of beer.
It’s possible that the tray pictured below, recently offered for sale on the internet, could be a surviving example of this advertised offer.
With the advent of National Prohibition the company began advertising a non-alcoholic version of both Bohemia and Seeber, now marketing them under the singular name – See-bo (light and dark).
Newspaper advertisements for See-bo began appearing in late 1919 and early 1920; the following appearing in the January 20, 1920 edition of the Passaic (N. J.) Daily News.
Around the same time another advertisement creatively delivered their marketing pitch, cleverly avoiding the fact that it was non-alcoholic.
Not a “near”-this, nor a “near” -that but the ACTUAL THING. You can’t mistake it for anything but what it really is. Touches the spot as nothing else can. Made in a plant that knows how, and bottled right here at the brewery – as good when it reaches you as when it leaves us. Just try it – order a case (light or dark, or assorted) from your dealer or grocer, or telephone the local distributor.
Within a year they had added both a “Half & Half,” and a non-alcoholic ale called “Dublin Brew” to their menu as well.
Newspaper advertisements for these products, plentiful in the early 1920’s, completely disappear by 1924. Around this time it appears that Seeber leased the brewery to others. Names mentioned in newspaper stories over the next several years mention Louis Parkowitz and later the Oneida Manufacturing Co. as lessees, however, other stories suggest that the brewery was actually being run by New York gangster Waxey Gordon. The history of the brewery during the latter half of the 1920’s serves to support this suggestion.
The brewery was certainly illegally brewing and distributing real beer as evidenced by this December 8, 1928 story in the (New York) Daily News.
Court action yesterday prevented a general smashup of the Rising Sun Brewery at Elizabeth N. J., after dry agents had made an ax-and-crow-bar raid there. And the agents needed police protection, because of the unpopularity they had achieved.
Elizabeth likes its beer, and the crowd that gathered when blows of ax and hammer resounded through the neighborhood was in no friendly mood.
Just after daybreak five agents from New York, led by W. J. Calhoon, battered their way through the gates. A truck sped through another gate and got away and ’tis said, it carried with it a full load of brew. A crowd collected about the place and its attitude was such that the Elizabeth police were summoned.
Later the agents set about to dismantle the plant. But along came a temporary restraining order from Judge Runton in Newark to spoil that sport. It seems, according to the attorney for the brewery, that the raiders had forgotten the formality of getting a search warrant.
One man, Louis Parkowitz, was found in the brewery. He was released in $1,000 bail.
The brewery survived this incident but wasn’t able to survive another incident in 1930 when an enforcement agent was shot and killed during a government raid. A September 20, 1930 Daily News article told the story; a story that brings to mind the “Untouchables” television show.
A raiding dry agent, already marked for death, was killed yesterday in a gun battle between brewery guards and Philadelphia prohibition operatives , who were trapped by the gangsters in the fortress-like Rising Sun Brewery at Elizabeth, N. J.
The dead man was John J. Finiello, ace of Philadelphia raiders, who had a reputation for being incorruptible.
“Get the rat!” said one of the gunmen, pointing to Finiello who stood with raised hands.
Sensing the peril, the agent reached for his revolver, and fired twice, but he died with eight bullets in his body. Five of the shots pierced the search warrant which was in one of Finiello’s pockets.
Later, according to an October 3, 1930 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the story got better.
John G. Smith, chief of Federal prohibition agents led a squad to the Rising Sun Brewery, followed an underground passageway and went up at the other end into a blacksmith’s shop where he found 1,500 half barrels of beer. Julius H. Russell, owner of the building was arrested and held pending an investigation.
The next day’s edition of the Daily News included a photo of the illicit beer barrels.
After well over a year of legal proceedings, the March 2, 1932 edition of the Courier-News announced that the brewery had been ordered padlocked.
Federal Judge William Clark yesterday ordered the Rising Sun Brewery in Elizabeth where John Finiello, dry agent, was killed during a raid, padlocked for one year.
Counsel for company consented to the order, ending suddenly proceedings the government instituted many months ago. The brewery was raided in Sept., 1930, but the defendant company carried the issue of the legality of the raid to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, where the bench warrant was held valid.
The padlock was removed on April 7, 1933 and on February 14, 1934 the Courier-News announced the brewery’s reopening.
Elizabeth – Formal opening of the Rising Sun Brewing Co, this city, was attended by a large number of city officials and other citizens today. The plant, closed during prohibition days, was the scene of the shooting of John G. Finiello, a prohibition agent, in September 1930, during a raid…
Shortly after the re-opening the company apparently changed its name to the Seeber Brewing Company. The business was certainly a family affair as evidenced by the 1935 Elizabeth directory listing for the Seeber Brewing Company that named George Seeber, Jr. as manager (George Seeber Sr. passed away in 1930), Herbert Seeber as vice president, John Seeber as “brewery worker” and Phillipine Seeber as secretary. The listing also included the phrase “brewers since 1877,” so they continued to acknowledge their “Rising Sun” history.
This July 2, 1936 advertisement in the Montclair (N. J) Times demonstrated that they also stayed true to the former “Rising Sun” brands.
Unfortunately the Seeber Brewing Company’s lifespan was short. According to the September 14, 1937 edition of the Hackensack Record:
The Seeber Brewing Company of Elizabeth, successor to the Rising Sun Brewing Company, faced liquidation today under a Federal court order.
The May 17, 1939 edition of the Courier-News reported that the plant was ultimately taken over by the Schultz Brewery of Union City N. J. but their occupancy was even more short-lived.
The Schultz Brewing Company of Elizabeth was ready today for a public sale of its assets. Federal Judge Guy L. Fake signed an order yesterday directing the sale of the company on May 25. The company which moved from Union City to Elizabeth recently to take over the Seeber Brewing Company, said it could not meet bills accumulated since last September and could not pay back $17,000 it had borrowed.
Today, a scan of Google Earth reveals that very little remains of the brewery complex. One possible exception is a brick building that includes a smokestack located at 650 Marshall Street.
Another, also brick with a modified entrance, lies right across the street at 647 Marshall Street.
The bottle, actually found in the bay by a friend of mine, is export style and machine made. It certainly resembles the bottle shown in early 1920’s See-bo advertisements.
It’s likely from the Prohibition era or possibly a Bohemia or Seeber bottle from the decade prior.
The L&S trademark embossed on the bottle represents the Brooklyn, N.Y. business of James E. Smith and Elbert (sometimes Albert) Layton. The roots of the business date back to 1875 when Smith was listed individually in the Brooklyn City Directory at 10 Ormond Place with the occupation of “root beer.”
Layton apparently joined Smith in business sometime in the early 1880’s and the partnership of Smith & Layton was first listed at the Ormond Place address in 1883. It remained listed in the Brooklyn directories up through 1911, always with the 10 Ormond Place address.
Their bottling notice was published in several February and March, 1889 editions of the Brooklyn Citizen.
The letters “L&S,” trademarked on July 24, 1890, and the pictorial representation of a five-pointed star highlighted in the notice are clearly visible, embossed on the subject bottle.
An August 7, 1892 story in the Brooklyn Citizen featured the business and their products.
It is often a question of a great many people during very warm weather such as we have been experiencing during the past two weeks, what it is best to drink…
While he is making his examination it would be well for him to remember that there is nothing more refreshing than a drink that is impregnated with carbonic acid gas. At the same time such a drink is quite healthful, and provided the flavoring extracts are not injurious, there is no reason why a carbonated beverage should not be the one chosen by the seeker after healthful, and at the same time refreshing drinks. Among the manufacturers of these carbonated beverages is the firm of Smith and Layton, whose establishment is at No. 10 Ormond Place. They have established a reputation that is more than local, because of the delightful flavor of the goods they turn out, and above all, because of the purity of the flavoring extracts with which they impart the palatable flavor that has helped to make their goods so popular. Then the water used by this firm is all filtered and distilled, and thereby is freed from the possibility of its being impure from organic matter or microbes. They manufacture lemon soda, ginger ale, sarsaparilla, root beer, and have recently placed a new drink on the market which they call Neopolitan cream.
Later that decade, a company advertisement in the February 13, 1898 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that their mineral waters had won an award at Brooklyn’s annual Food Show.
As early as the late 1880’s the company’s territory had expanded beyond Brooklyn, reaching east to parts of Long Island as evidenced by their inclusion in this July 1, 1889 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement for the Northport (Suffolk County) business of Green & Wheeler.
While the company could certainly have served as the bottler for a brewery (PABST was making a medicated beer in the 1890’s), there’s no mention that I can find for a Gowdy’s brewery. That, coupled with the fact that the business was always listed in the directories as a manufacturer of mineral water and soda, leads me to believe that their medicated beer was actually a root beer. A description of root beers in a July 2, 1875 Brooklyn Union Times Story seems to bear this out, referencing medicated beer as a class of root beer.
Of root beers there is an endless variety of names, but they are much the same in composition. Birch beer, spruce beer, root beer, Ottawa beer, medicated beer, Green Mountain beer, Otaki beer, Madoc beer, and scores of others are of about the same taste, chiefly compounded of essential oils of sarsaparilla, sassafras, birch, dandelion, dock, wintergreen and other healthful botanical substances. They are ready for use in a few days after brewing, as yeast which is the “working” principle operates very speedily upon the whole mass. Molasses and sugar are used for sweetening , and the compounds are either manufactured in the shops where they are sold, or exported from the factories in store bottles and kegs, and placed on draught. Root beers are generally healthful, but should, like all fermented drinks, be used moderately as they are liable to exercise a purgative influence.
Whether the name Gowdy’s was their brand or the brand of another business that they manufactured and bottled for is unclear.
The Smith & Layton business dissolved in July, 1911. The Dissolution Notice, published in the July 25, 1911 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle indicated that neither original partner was still associated with the business at that time.
As fas as I can tell, Wilson Smith was the younger brother of James E. Smith and William Marquart was a grocer whose store was listed within several blocks of Smith & Layton at 1165 Fulton Street.
Note: Elbert Layton was no longer listed in the Brooklyn directories by 1907 so its possible he retired, moved or passed away around that time with his place in the firm being taken by local businessman Marquart. Smith was still listed individually in 1910 but not in 1914 so his younger brother may have inherited the business in 1911 with no interest in continuing it. (All conjecture on my part.)
Ormond Place, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, was later renamed Claver Place. According to street easy.com, the current building at 10 Claver Place was built in 1930 so it doesn’t date back to the days of Smith & Layton.
The bottle I found is approximately 27 oz. with a tooled blob finish. It fits the time frame from 1890 (registration date embossed on the bottle) to 1911 (dissolution of the business).
This advertisement published in several editions of Babylon’s South Side Signal between August and November, 1896 identified the Bayshore Bottling Company as a carbonated water manufacturer that produced mineral water, as well as soda, sarsaparilla, ginger ale and root beer.
They also bottled beer as evidenced by this July 7, 1907 advertisement published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that listed the company as a local bottler for Brooklyn’s S. Liebmann Sons brewery (3rd on the list).
A story published in the April 20, 1978 edition of the Islip Town Bulletin identified the proprietor as Lou Smith and listed the company’s location as the “northeast corner of Union Blvd and Fourth Avenue.” The story went on to describe the end of the business.
Lou Smith grew old, as we all do, and when his sons expressed no desire to continue the business, he sold it to Charles Mecklenberg along with the boarding house which went with the property. The year was 1919…
Upon purchasing the Bottling Plant a gas station was erected and a regular oil and kerosene depot emerged.
The story mentioned a boarding house associated with the property. Census records listed Lewis (sometimes Larvis, sometimes Louis) Smith’s occupation as “hotel proprietor” in both 1900 and 1910. That being said, it’s almost certain that the hotel and bottling operations were connected (which was common back then) and operational from at least the mid 1890’s to 1919.
1870 Census records listed Lewis Smith’s mother, Caroline, with the occupation “selling liquors,” so it’s possible that the roots of the business date back much earlier than the 189o’s.
Courtesy of Google Earth, its evident that today the northeast corner of Union Boulevard and Fourth Avenue remains an operational gas station.
The bottle I found is the Hutchinson style with a tombstone slug plate that fits a late 1800’s to early 1900’s time frame.
Thanks to Howie Crawford, President of the Long Island Antique Bottle Association, for pointing me in the direction of the 1978 Islip Town Bulletin story.
The Union Bottling Company story starts with Isaac A. Moran who, according to 1860 census records, operated a “public house” in Manhattan where he’s listed in the NYC directories as early as 1845 at East 17th St., corner of Third Avenue.
In 1868, he partnered with his brother Marcius (sometimes Marcus) and they established a soda/mineral water manufacturing and bottling business at 83 Third Avenue (later 91 Third Avenue) under the name Isaac A. Moran & Brother.
Sometime in 1873 they changed the name of the business to the Union Bottling Company and, around the same time, established factories at 240 East 20th Street and 119 East 124th Street. According to this item published in the August 1, 1875 edition of the Daily Herald, at the time the company bottled soda water, ginger ale and cider, as well as beer and ales.
Up through 1888 Marcius and Isaac Moran served as president and secretary of the company respectively, then in 1889 a second company was established with the Moran Brothers associated with both.
The Union Bottling Company continued to be listed in the 1890 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Peter P. Krummeich now named as president and Marcius Moran, secretary. The company address was solely listed at the 240 East 20th Street location.
The new company, called the Moran Bottling Company, was listed at the 119 East 124th Street address with Issac A. Moran named as president. Initial directors of the company included New York City brewers William and Phillip Ebling, so its possible that the business had been established to serve as a bottler for the Ebling brewery but I haven’t been able to confirm this.
The Moran’s remained associated with both companies until 1894 when they apparently retired. According to an item published in the September 15, 1896 edition of the New York Times, on January 1, 1894 Krummeich partnered with Lorenz Geuken, and bought the Union Bottling Company plant and continued the business as a copartnership. Around the same time, they moved the company to 517 West 25th Street.
Within three years, the business, likely financed by a relative of Geuken’s, was in financial trouble. The New York Times item went on to say:
Lorenz Geulen and Peter P.Krummeich, doing business as the Union Bottling Company, bottlers of beer and beverages at 513 to 519 West Twenty-fifth Street, made an assignment yesterday to James Graham, giving a preference to Cornelia Geuken of Rotterdam Holland, for borrowed money…
They have suffered from hard times and the Raines law, and collections have been very slow. Their liabilities are said to be about $40,000 and nominal assets $54,000, a large part of which consists of the plant.
The Union Bottling Company was still listed in the 1901 Copartnership and Corporation Directory with Lorenz Geuken now named as the sole proprietor, so the business survived its financial difficulties, losing Krummeich along the way.
The next year a New York Corporation named the Manhattan Union Bottling Company, capital $15,000, was listed at the 517 West 25th Street address with Charles A. Miller and Charles W. Hagemann, named as president and secretary, respectively. Gueken was no longer mentioned. Short-lived, the corporation was no longer listed in the 1906 directory.
The Moran Bottling Company continued to be listed at 119 East 124th Street up through 1904 with several different proprietors including James A. McKain (1901), Charles Polansky (1902) and Julius Goldberg (1903). The last listing I can find for the company was in 1906, with an address of 502 East 118th Street.
The bottle I found is mouth blown. Oddly, it’s not exactly a hutchinson or a pony, but shaped more like a can with abrupt shoulders and a blob finish. It’s embossed with the 240 & 242 East 20th Street address which dates it no later than 1894 when the Union Bottling Company moved to West 25th Street.
Albert D. Buschman was a German immigrant, who between the late 1880’s and early 1900’s was an influential business owner in Brooklyn, New York. His profile, included in a volume called “A History of Long Island from It’s Earliest Settlement to Modern Times,” published in 1902, called him a “shrewd, far-sighted business man who:
became convinced of the future development of Coney Island, and in 1890 invested largely in real estate, which property has made him one of the wealthiest men on the island.
His business activities, which included, mineral water manufacturer and bottler, brewery owner and hotel proprietor were cut short when according to his September 13, 1927 obituary in the (Brooklyn) Times Union:
In 1903 he suffered a paralytic stroke. Although unable to walk, his mental facilities remained unclouded, and he continued to conduct his business until he retired in 1908 and to advise his sons almost up to the time of his death. Bushman’s Walk, near Steeplechase, was named in his honor.
Buschman arrived in the United States in 1868, at the age of 10 and according to the History of Long Island between 1881 and 1886 he worked in partnership with Henry Sierichs. During this period, Sierichs was sometimes listed with the occupation of “waters” and other times “bottler” at two Manhattan addresses; 159 Elizabeth Street and 172 Orchard Street. Buschman was typically not listed during this period but did appear in the 1884 directory with the occupation of “bottler” at the Elizabeth Street location. So I suspect it was during this five year period with Sierichs that he got his start manufacturing and bottling mineral water.
In 1885 or 1886 Buschman and Sierichs dissolved their partnership and Buschman established his own business in Coney Island. Bushman’s obituary stated:
About 1885 he moved to a plant at Coney island. Four years later he bought out a large bottling factory.
I can’t find a directory listing for his initial Coney Island operation but the embossing on the back of the bottle I found, “Mineral Water,” and the date “1888,”makes it clear that the business was up and running in Coney Island by that time.
In 1890, the Lain’s Brooklyn and Long Island Business Directory included a Coney Island section that listed A. D. Buschman & Co. at what was presumably their newly purchased bottling factory, located on Surf Avenue (corner of Stillman Avenue). Apparently a partnership, the listing named Albert Buschman, along with Charles Buschman (likely Albert’s brother) and Frederick Von Wiegen as proprietors.
The 1892 edition of Lain’s included an advertisement that mentioned in addition to manufacturing and bottling mineral water, they were also bottling both local and out-of state beers.
A series of 1897 advertisements in a German magazine called “Puck,” identified one of their local clients as a Manhattan brewery called Schmitt & Schwanenfluegel for whom they served as the local Coney Island bottler.
Frederick Von Wiegen passed away sometime in the late 1890’s so by 1903, with Albert incapacitated, it appears that Charles was running the operation. Around that time, Frederick’s wife, Frieda, put the Von Wiegen share of the business up for sale. The announcement printed in the March 21, 1903 edition of the New York Times under the heading “Business Opportunities” provided a concise description of the company at the time, specifically mentioning that in addition to bottling mineral water and beer, they were also “wholesale dealers in wines, liquors and cigars.”
Around that time (actually 1888), a Report of the New York State Factory Inspector indicated that A. D. Buschman & Co. had 28 employees.
As far as I can tell, Frieda Von Wiegen never sold her share of the business. Charles Buschman was listed with the company until 1908 at which time it appears that Frieda’s son, also named Frederick W. Von Wiegen assumed control of the company. This August 28, 1908 advertisement in the Brooklyn Standard Union named him and Chas. W. Fehleisen as proprietors of the company, now called F. W. Von Wiegen & Co.
The business continued under that name for several years, but by 1913/1914 the Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens indicated that the business had dissolved.
The bottle I found is mouth blown with an applied blob finish. In my mind the embossed date of 1888 on the bottle could mean one of two things. It could be the actual manufacture date of the bottle or, more likely, it could be the year Buschman established his large factory on Surf Avenue. This would put the manufacture date between 1888 and the 1908 name change to F. W. Von Wiegen & Co.
In addition to his mineral water business, for a time Buschman served as president of a corporation that owned the Apfel Klueg Golden Rod Brewery in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. It’s not clear exactly when Buschman acquired the brewery but newspaper articles in 1901 indicate that he was certainly the owner by then. A story in the May 25, 1927 edition of a Brooklyn publication called “Home Talk and Item Historical and Real Estate Review” mentioned that the brewery was demolished in 1907, which was about the time of Buschman’s retirement.
Although the story generally addresses a time period prior to Buschman’s involvement with the brewery, it provides an interesting description of the brewery and its place in history so I’ve included it here.
FIRST MOVIES HERE
A favorite gathering place for South Brooklyn people 30 years ago, was the Golden Horn Brewery on Third Avenue, between Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Sts., owned and conducted by Adolph Texter. It was there that many banquets and other social events were held and where nightly one could enjoy excellent band concerts given by musicians from both the Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd steamers in port and prominent vaudeville and concert artists.
It was at the Golden Horn Brewery that first experiments with a motion picture machine were made. An inventor, named Thomas Kelly, who has many patents on motion picture machines and who has an office on Fourteenth Street, New York, set up his new discovery at that place in the summer of 1897. The event was widely advertised and the curious filled the large ballroom of the brewery. A large screen was spread across the stage and the experiment began. Of course, figures moved, but so rapidly and blurred that it was impossible to distinguish any object. And your eyes! Well, after looking for a few minutes, one was unable to see correctly for some time. However, Mr. Thomas Kelly kept improving on his invention, and in a few weeks after the first experiment, again had a motion picture machine that was considered marvelous in those days, for the objects were distinguishable and didn’t affect the eyes. The brewery was demolished in 1907.
The Empire Bottling Works was established in June, 1905. Nathan Goldberg was named as one of the four original directors and apparently the one actively involved in the management of the business. A Russian immigrant, prior to establishing the bottling business Goldberg lived on Second Street in Manhattan where he listed his occupation as “hotel keeper” in the 1900 census records.
The company’s incorporation notice was published in the June 10, 1905 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The 1913/1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens continued to associate Nathan Goldberg with the business listing him as president of the company. His son Samuel, a lawyer by trade was named vice president.
The business was located in a small portion of Rockaway Beach called Hammels for most if not all of their history.
Initially, a September 5, 1906 story in the Times Union mentioned that the Empire Bottling Works was located at 23 and 25 South Hammel Avenue (later named Beach 85th Street), which they went on to say was also the dwelling of Nathan Goldberger.
Later directories and tax certificates between 1906 and 1927 listed the business on Division Avenue (later named Beach 82nd Street) near Boulevard. At times they also used a Boulevard address (both 497 and 522 were listed at various times).
Their 1905 incorporation notice only mentioned mineral waters but the company certainly bottled beer as well. This is confirmed by a labeled bottle that recently appeared for sale on the internet. The label named the Empire Bottling Works of Rockaway Beach as the local bottler for Koehler & Co.s Fidelio Beer. Information on Koehler & Co.and Fidelio Beer is available in more detail within another post on this site. Fidelio Brewery, New York
By 1928 the business was listed at 75-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard which was technically just outside of Hammels. As far as I can tell Goldberg’s wife Yetta was listed as a widow in the 1930 census records so its quite possible that the business ended around that time. The company was not listed in the 1940 Queens phone book. (I don’t have access to any directory information from the 1930’s.)