Fidelio Brewery, New York

 

In name, the Fidelio Brewery, dates back to 1916 when the well established brewing business of H. Koehler & Co. changed their name to the Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc. The company had been brewing beer under the “Fidelio” brand name, since at least the late 1890’s and likely much earlier. The name change announcement was printed in the February 21, 1916 edition of the “Evening World.”

ANNOUNCEMENT

To-day this sixty-four-year-old business, with all its traditions and enviable reputation for ideals of quality, is launched under a new name-

Fidelio Brewing Co.

…Formerly H. Koehler & Co.

The announcement stated that Koehler & Co. was a 64 year old business but, in fact, the roots of the business dated back even further to a brewer named Alexander Gregory who was listed in Manhattan at 6 Sheriff Street in the early 1840’s.

In 1843 Gregory partnered with Phillip C. Harmon and for the next ten years their brewery business was listed as Gregory & Harmon. The Harmon family apparently bought Gregory out in 1852 (the year that coincides with the reference to the business being 64 years old) and renamed it Harmon & Company. The business was listed as Harmon & Co. up through 1862 when a notice in the May 27, edition of the New York Times indicated that both the brewery and its contents were up for sale at that time.

It was at that point the Koehler name entered the picture when three brothers, Herman, Joseph M. and David M. Koehler, bought the brewery. The 1864/65 NYC Directory listed the business as the Koehler Brothers, and it was still located at the 6 Sheriff Street address. Then sometime between 1865 and 1867 the brewery moved to First Avenue between 29th and 30th Street where it would remain until the late 1940’s or 1950.

In the early 1870’s Joseph and David Koehler were no longer associated with the brewery address and the Koehler Brothers name had been dropped from the directories. This apparently left Herman in charge of the entire operation until sometime in 1883 or 1884. At that time he partnered with Samuel Goldberger, changing the name of the business in the directory listings to Herman Koehler & Co.

Koehler and Goldberger continued to be listed as partners until Koehler’s death on April 16, 1889. The following year the 1890 Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Samuel Goldberger as the sole principal of the business and shortly afterward the name of the company was shortened to H. Koehler & Co. Goldberger, according to his June 15, 1905 obituary published in the (Long Branch N. J.) Daily Record, remained owner and president up until the time of his death, after which his son Norman S. Goldberger took over. It was Norman who changed the company name to the Fidelio Brewing Company in 1916.

It’s not clear to me exactly when their famous “Fidelio” brand name was introduced.  By 1898 they were using local distributors to sell it in neighboring New Jersey so it was almost certainly available in New York prior to that. This advertisement printed in the December 23, 1898 edition of the (New Brunswick N. J.) Daily Times also mentioned Koehler’s ale and porter in addition to their Fidelio Beer.

Based on this March 22, 1905 advertisement published in the Evening World I think it’s safe to assume that they had added a bottling operation to the brewery at around that time. Introductory in nature, the advertisement made it clear that Fidelio Beer “can now be obtained directly from our brewery,”

From Brewery to Home

We have just established a delivery service for the prompt distribution of our pure FIDELIO BEER fresh to your door. Not a flat bottle in the lot, our beer is thoroughly pasteurized, is absolutely pure and can now be obtained directly from our brewery.

Shortly after the start of National Prohibition the company, now operating under the Fidelio Brewing Co. name, held a “voluntary dissolution sale.” The notice of the sale, printed in the October 10, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune, provided a good description of the brewery operation at that time.

Lot-1 Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc., plant (with all permanent fixtures), complete brewery comprising whole front on 1st Avenue, 29th to 30th Streets, and adjoining on each street, nearly 14 lots in all, together with garage, complete bottling unit, 60 ton ice making plant, etc.

Lot 2 – About 6,500 Barrels Fidelio brew, malt, hops and sundries brewing materials, also about 500 tons coal.

Lot 3 – Good will, chattel mortgages, book value $133,000; leases, bottles, cases, crowns, draught-packages, shop supplies, etc.

Lot 4 – Auto trucks, automobiles

Lot 5 – Real estate, free and clear, at 316 Oakland Street, corner Huron Street, building with lot 25 x 100 ft., Brooklyn N.Y.

The sale was held on October 13, 1920 with previous president, Norman S. Goldberger, the successful bidder. The result was printed in the October 22, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune.

Buyer of Brewery Property

Deeds just recorded reveal that Norman S. Goldberger, president of the Fidelio Brewing Company, was the successful bidder at the recent auction of the company’s brewing plant on First Avenue, Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Streets. L. J. Phillips &Co. acted as auctioneers.

The company was listed as Fidelio Brewery, Inc. in the 1925 New York City Directory, so it appears that Goldberger incorporated the business under that name after the sale.

According to an article published in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Chronicle Goldberger’s brewery had been turning out near beer and malt tonic at the rate of 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 bottles annually during Prohibition. Another article published around the same time in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle mentioned that this equated to roughly 10 to 15 percent of the brewery’s capacity.

Their Prohibition brews were listed in the June 30, 1932 edition of the Hartford Courant.

Approximately 25 percent of the brewery’s present business is represented in the sale of Fidelio Purity Brand Malt Tonic, which commands higher price than any other malt tonic sold as a cereal beverage. Other brands at the company are Fidelio Old Lager, Fidelio Double Brew, Fidelio Red Label and New Yorker Brew.

This advertisement for their Purity Brand Malt Tonic and New Yorker Brew appeared in the July 9, 1931 edition of the (Bridgewater N. J.) Courier News.

The Hartford Courant story went on to say:

These products are sold in more than 20,000 stores in the Metropolitan District through chain stores and independent dealers. The largely localized character of the business is a major factor in economical distribution by the company’s own fleet of trucks.

In 1932, with the repeal of the Volstead Act looming the company reorganized again, this time inviting public investment. The June 27, 1932 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the reorganization.

Fidelio Brewery To Be Reorganized

Fidelio Brewery, Inc. has been organized and incorporated under the laws of New York to take over the business heretofore conducted by Norman S. Goldberger, under the name of Fidelio Brewery…Mr. Goldberger will head the Fidelity Brewery, Inc…

The need for public investment was explained in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Available brewing equipment would be insufficient to quench the thirst of the millions in the metropolitan district, should beer be legalized, the announcement said, adding “Realization by the management that the legalization of the brewing and sale of beer would necessitate bringing production up to brewing capacity has influenced the decision to invite public participation in the business.

This advertisement promoting the stock offering appeared in the November 10, 1932 Long Branch (N.J.) Daily Record.

As the date ending Prohibition neared, the Fidelio Brewery was included in a March 15, 1933 New York Daily News pictorial essay entitled “Happy Days Are Here Again…Well, Almost Anyhow.” It featured a photo with the caption “Master Brewer Henry E. Kayan (left) of Fidelio Brewery superintends repair of beer kegs as brewery begins to hum.”

…and the following month this April 20, 1933 advertisement for Fidelio Beer appeared in the New York Daily News.

Nathan S. Goldberger died in March 1936 at the age of 52 at which point Goldberg’s brother in law, Frank Deitsch, assumed the presidency until the late 1930’s.

The end of the Fidelio Brewery name came on November 15,1940 when the company changed its name to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc. A November 16, 1940 Brooklyn Daily Eagle item made the announcement.

Brewery Changes Name

Edgar H. Stone, chairman of the board, announces that effective November 15 the name of the corporation was changed from Fidelio Brewery, Inc., to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc.

Around that time Lowell Birrell became involved with the business and by 1942 he was serving as president and chairman of the Greater New York Brewery. During this period the company acquired three additional breweries – Horton Pilsner, City Brewing and Lion Brewing. In December, 1944 he changed the company name to Greater New York Industries and expanded into other fields.

According to an April 24, 1964 article in the New York Times Birrell was later accused of being one of history’s great stock swindlers, accused of looting a dozen or more corporate treasuries of $40 million. The article went on to say that he had been tabbed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as “the most brilliant manipulator of corporations in modern times. He spent several years in the 1950’s and early 1960’s exiled in Cuba and Brazil until finally returning to the United States to face trial.

Needless to say, the history of the business after Birrell got involved is confusing and unclear, at least to me. What I do know is this.

The Greater New York Brewery survived and apparently moved their operation to Brooklyn where they remained operative or at least maintained facilities up through 1950 or 1951. In 1942 the company listed their office on First Avenue in Manhattan but their plant was now listed at the previously acquired City Brewing plant address of 912 Cypress Avenue in Brooklyn. The First Avenue office listing was dropped the following year but the Brooklyn plant address remained listed in the NYC Telephone Book through 1951. This November 13, 1947 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement confirmed that they were still brewing beer at that time.

The plant in Manhattan was apparently acquired by another NYC brewer named Louis Hertzberg who renamed it the Metropolis Brewery. Hertzberg at one time or another was also connected with the Old Dutch Brewery and North American Brewery in Brooklyn and the Pilser Brewery in the Bronx. He also ran the Metropolis Brewery of Trenton New Jersey.

The Metropolis Brewery of New York was listed at the old Fidelio address of 501 First Avenue in the 1945 Manhattan Telephone Book where it remained through the early 1950’s. An advertisement from the November 1, 1948 edition of the New York Daily News showed at that time he was brewing his Pilser brand at the Metropolis Brewery. He also brewed Champale Malt Liquor during this period.

By 1953, the brewery had been converted into a warehouse and much of its equipment had been shipped half-way around the world to Israel. The surprising story was told in the July 20, 1953 edition of the Berkshire Eagle.

Transplanted N. Y. Brewery Lick’s Israel’s Beer Shortage

All Israel languished over the weekend in searing heat ranging from 90 degrees in Haifa to 115 in Elath. All except Louis Hertzberg, 65, a brewer of Trenton N.J. who has just transported to the Holy Land the old Fidelio Brewery from First Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets, opposite Bellvue Hospital in New York…

To set up the brewery here cost about $2,300,000, of which Mr. Hertzberg put up most and two United States and three Israeli associates smaller sums. In addition to parts of the First Avenue brewery, he brought over equipment from three other New York properties he formerly operated – the Old Dutch Brewery in Flatbush, the North American Brewery on Green Avenue in Brooklyn and Pilser Brewery of 161st Street. Not to mention 2,000,000 amber bottles to supplement Israeli production.

The story went on to say that they intended to continue making the old Fidelio brew under a new name.

New Yorkers who wonder what happened to the familiar landmark of First Avenue – now a warehouse – may be interested to know that as the result of the brewery’s removal, the Israelis, who are accustomed to being short on nearly everything, need never be short on beer again.

Nor need Manhattanites despair of ever again drinking the old Fidelio brew. For under the name of Abir (meaning Knight in Hebrew), beer from the National Brewing Company of Israel will be exported to the United States. Mr. Hertzberg thinks the novelty of beer from Israel will make it easy to sell enough Abir through the distribution network of his Metropolis Brewery of New Jersey to cover his new enterprise’s needs in foreign exchange.

A little over a year later, in August of 1954, Abir was being imported to the United States where I found it listed for sale under the heading “Something New” at a local liquor store in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

This labeled Abir bottle was recently offered for sale on the Internet. Amber, it certainly could have been one of the 2,000,000 bottles that Hertzberg brought with him from the United States during the start-up of the Israeli operation.

   

The Fidelio bottle I found is 12 ounce, export style, machine made and embossed “Fidelio Brewery, New York.” The business specifically included “Fidelio” in the company name from 1916 up through 1940, so the bottle almost certainly dates somewhere within that period.

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Fidelio’s bond with McSorley’s Ale House. Established in 1854, McSorley’s is one of the oldest and most famous saloons in New York City. An April 14, 1940 story in the New Yorker Magazine explained their relationship with Fidelio.

Except during prohibition, the rich, wax-colored ale sold in McSorley’s always has come from the Fidelio Brewery on First Avenue; the brewery was founded two years before the saloon. In 1934, Bill (McSorley) sold the brewery the right to call its ale McSorley’s Cream Stock and gave it permission to use Old John’s (McSorley) picture on the label; around the picture is the legend “As brewed for McSorley’s Old Ale House.”

Advertisements for McSorley’s Cream Stock Ale were plentiful in 1937 and 1938 editions of the New York Daily News.

       

According to the McSorley’s web site they continued to use the company’s brew after the name change to Greater New York Brewery and did so until the business went into receivership. This likely happened in the late 1940’s or 1950. PABST now services McSorley’s.

H. Harkavy, 510 – 512 E 85th St., N.Y.

Hyman (sometimes Herman) Harkavy was a Russian immigrant who, around the turn of the century, established a business that manufactured and bottled mineral/soda water.  Originally located in Manhattan, the company later moved to the Bronx.

The first listing I can find for his business was in the 1900 New York City Directory with an address of 193 Broome Street. In 1902 and 1903 the business was listed at 413 East 24th Street, then sometime around 1905 it moved to the address embossed on the bottle, 510 East 85th Street, where it remained until approximately 1931.

Originally the business was quite small and family run. Testimony from a 1934 court case, “Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc. against David Radek, et al,” indicated that in 1926 H. Harkavy had approximately 20 employees and that his son, Harry Harkavy was serving as General Manager. Then, in an effort to expand, on May 22, 1926 the business incorporated under the name “Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc.”

This advertising sign recently offered for sale on the internet listed a wide variety of carbonated drinks that the business was manufacturing under the corporate name.

By the early 1930’s the company had moved north from Manhattan to the Bronx, listing their address as 415 Concord Avenue in the 1931 directory. The 1930 census records listed Hyman Harkavy’s spouse Jennie as a widow so Harkavy had apparently passed away sometime in the late 1920’s leaving his son Harry as president.

In 1946, the Harkavy Beverage Co. formed a second company called Doc’s Beverages, Inc. Both the Harkavy Beverage Co. and Doc’s Beverages were listed in the 1948 and 1949 NYC directories at 415 Concord Avenue.

The summary of another court case, Dad’s Root Beer vs. Doc’s Beverages, Inc., et al.,” spells out the reasoning and history behind the second corporation.

In 1941, the plantiff (Dad’s Root Beer Co.) granted to defendant, Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc., the franchise for the Borough of Bronx and the County of Westchester in New York. For the next six years the concern continued to sell there plaintiff’s product which it manufactured from concentrate purchased from plaintiff. In 1946, however, the individual defendants formed Doc’s Beverages, Inc., the other corporate defendant, and began sometime later to substitute their own product, Doc’s Old Fashioned Root Beer, bottled, labeled and boxed in strikingly similar fashion on orders for plaintiff’s root beer. When plaintiff discovered this fact in March 1947, it terminated the franchise, and in October of that year filed the complaint in this action.

This advertising sign, also recently for sale on the internet, depicts “Doc’s Old Fashioned Root Beer” being sold under the Doc’s Beverages, Inc.’s name.

Dad’s Root Beer was granted and injunction in the case and other than an accounting of profits, Harkavy/Doc’s did not appeal.

In 1953, the Harkavy Beverage Co., Inc. and Doc’s Beverages, Inc. were both listed at 629 East 136th Street in the Bronx. That address was also the listed address of the Apollo Bottling Company. According to “The Practical Brewer: A Manual for the Brewing Industry,” some of the assets of the Harkavy Beverage Company were ultimately purchased by the Apollo Bottling Company. The timing of this purchase is not clear to me.

According to streeteasy.com 510 East 85th Street is, today, a 13 story apartment building built in 1956 so it does not date back to the business. The same website indicates that the existing building at 415 Concord Avenue was built in 1931 so Harkavy was likely the original tenant at this location.

The bottle I found is 27 oz. with a crown finish. It’s embossed with the East 85th Street address so it dates between 1905 and 1931 when the company was located at that address. Machine made, it likely dates to the teens or 20’s.

Reiss-Premier Pipe Company

Unlike other bottles presented on this site the above bottle did not contain beverages, medicines or perfumes, but was in fact the water bottle associated with a 1920’s hookah. Manufactured by the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company, a recent ebay advertisement showed an example of the pipe as it likely appeared back in the day.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company had its roots with a Chicago Company called Reiss Brothers & Company. First listed in the 1887 Chicago Directory with an address of 163 Lake Street, the company listing included the term “smoker’s articles,” and named the initial proprietors as brothers Julius and Otto Reiss and their brother-in-law, Nathan Burger. The company continued to be listed in this fashion until 1909/1910.

Nathan Burger passed away in 1909 and by 1910 Otto Reiss was no longer included in the company listing. Julius passed away sometime in 1913 or 1914, which apparently left the business in the hands of Nathan Burger’s son, Jacob (John) D. Burger. The 1914 and 1915 directories listed both Jacob Burger and the estate of Julius Reiss as proprietors. By 1917, the business had moved to 208 West Monroe and Jacob Burger was listed as the sole proprietor.

It was Jacob Burger, who, according to his November 2, 1943 obituary in the Hackensack (N.J.) Record, established the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company in 1920, when he merged the Reiss Brothers Company with the Premier Briar Pipe Company.

The Premier Briar Pipe Co. had previously incorporated in mid-1913 as a successor to the Carl Hirsch Company which had been established on December 21, 1912. A New York Corporation with capital of $ 50,000, the 1914 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed the company address in Manhattan at 501 East 70th Street. Carl Hirsch was named president and Paul Mayerosch secretary. The following year, the 1915 directory stated that the company had moved to West Hoboken New Jersey.

The start of The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company was announced in the January 8, 1920 edition of a publication called “Tobacco.”

The new Premier-Reiss Pipe Co., successors to Reiss Brothers & Co., is now in working order. Their Chicago salesroom and offices are located at Wells & Monroe Streets. They feature pipes and holders with Redmanol stems and they have a trade that promises to be largely increased.

The Wells & Monroe Street location mentioned in the above story was likely the former location of Reiss Brothers & Co. but according to this May 25, 1922 item in “Tobacco” within two years they had moved their offices and established a new warehouse.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Co. has opened new offices in the Hunter Building at 339 W. Madison Street. The new warehouse is now located at 32-40 South Clinton Street.

It’s also likely that they initially utilized the Premier Briar Pipe Co.’s West Hoboken N. J. location as their manufacturing facility but I haven’t been able to confirm this. Ultimately, the company established their primary manufacturing facility in West New York, New Jersey at 6400 Broadway where their factory encompassed an entire city block.

In the early 1920’s the company established a New York City presence as well. The 1922 NYC Directory listed Reiss-Premier at 37 w 39th with John D. Burger named as N Y Manager. Later, by 1926, the company had moved their New York location to 277 5th Avenue where they were listed through at least 1932.

In 1926 the company acquired Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, originators of the famous Kaywoodie pipe brand. At the time, this made them the largest manufacturer and importer of pipes in the United States. The August 18, 1926 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle summarized the acquisition and described the make-up of the organization at that time

Reiss-Premier Pipe Co. Unites Vast industries

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company of New York has purchased a controlling interest in Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, the oldest pipe house in America, established in 1851. This company will now be known as Kaufman Bros. & Bondy, Inc. and will operate as an associate company of the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company.

Another associate company is the Civic Premier Pipe Company, which is the American representative of the Civic Co. Ltd., of London, the largest manufacturer of pipes in the world. The three companies are operated under the same management and represent in this combination the largest manufacturers and importers of pipes in the United States, and are therefore the largest factor in the pipe business of the country.

In 1929 United Cigar Stores of America acquired a large minority share in Reiss-Premier. The transaction was announced in the April 13, 1929 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

United Cigar Stores of America directors have agreed to exchange 35,000 shares of $10 common stock for 1470 shares of Reiss-Premier Pipe Company capital stock. A contract has been entered into with J. D. Burger and will give the United Cigar Stores 49 percent of the outstanding 3,000 shares Reiss-Premier. Stock for purpose of the exchange was valued at $500 a share.

The Reiss-Premier Pipe Company is an Illinois corporation which operates chiefly through subsidiaries.

As mentioned in the 1929 article above, the company operated primarily through subsidiaries and apparently there were quite a few of them. In addition to the board chairmanship of Reiss-Premier, Burger’s obituary named him as chairman of subsidiaries Kaufman Brothers and Bondy and the Kaywoodie company. The company was also intimately connected with the New England Briar Pipe Company, in Penacook, New Hampshire and the Transylvania Pipe Company in Brevard North Carolina.

Another subsidiary that I can identify with Reiss-Premier was the Pacific Briarwood company, located in Santa Cruz County in California.  Incorporated in July 1941, the company was established to cut and cure manzanita wood required for the manufacture of Kaywoodie pipes. According to a June 25,1941 story in the Santa Cruz Evening News the wood supply was needed because the supply from France, Italy and Africa had been cut off as a result of World War II. By 1947, with the war long over, the company suspended operations.

His obituary also named Burger as Chairman of the Board of Lorr Laboratories, which indicates that at the time of his death the overall organization was not just exclusively associated with the manufacture of pipes and smoker’s articles. According to a story in the February 20, 1937 edition of the Paterson (N.J.) Morning Call:

The Lorr Laboratories serve various large chain drug stores in supplying them with a well-assorted pharmaceutical line of goods, toothpaste, cod liver oil, aspirin tablets, and various other staple articles in the drug line. The Lorr Laboratories are intimately associated with the Reiss-Premier corporation, a company which manufactures approximately one-half of the tobacco smoking pipes manufactured in this country.

Burger’s obituary went on to say that he served as Chairman of the Board of Reiss-Premier until his death in November of 1943. At that time, Rudolph Hirsch, the nephew of Carl Hirsch assumed leadership of the company. Hirsch was already intimately involved in the operation, serving as President of Reiss-Premier as well as President of the New England Briar Pipe Company, Transylvania Pipe Company, Pacific Briarwood Company and the Kaywoodie Company.

It appears that the Reiss-Premier story ends in 1955. That year S.M. Frank Company acquired the pipe manufacturing companies associated with Reiss-Premier. According to the S.M.Frank Company website:

In March of 1955, S.M. Frank & Co., Inc., headquartered at 133 Fifth Avenue, New York, with manufacturing facilities located in the Richmond Hill section of Queens in New York City, completed the purchase of The Kaywoodie Company, Kaufman Brothers & Bondy, Reiss-Premier Corp. and The New England Briar Pipe Co.

S.M. Frank & Company remains in business to this day in upstate New York and continues to manufacture a series of Kaywoodie pipes.

Around the same time, Lorr Laboratories was acquired by A. R. Winarick Inc., makers of Jeris Hair Tonic. A story in the January 16, 1955 edition of the Central New Jersey Home News mentioned that acquisition.

Nat Winarick, secretary of the company and its chief chemist, recently announced the firm had purchased the Lorr Laboratories of Paterson (N.J.), makers of Dura-Gloss nail polish.

A story printed in the December 26, 2006 edition of the Hudson Reporter stated that S. M. Frank maintained the pipe manufacturing facility in West New York, New Jersey until 1972. Subsequently, sometime within the last decade, the building was demolished and the location is currently a vacant lot. The following photographs, one taken prior to demolition and the other afterwards and both from roughly the same angle, give one a sense of the size of their New Jersey operation, which, according to the Hudson Reporter story, at the height of production employed over 500 people and produced up to 10,000 pipes per day.

The bottle I found is machine made which fits the post 1920 start of the company. In fact, in the mid-1920’s the Reiss-Premier Pipe Company applied for a patent that included, in addition to pipes and cigar and cigarette holders, an item entitled hookahs.

I couldn’t find any  advertising material specifically associated with the Reiss-Premier Hookah but this December 1, 1927 Daily News article may explain why there may have been some demand.

 

Colgate & Company, New York

  

Originally a candle and laundry soap manufacturer, Colgate & Company was founded by William Colgate around the turn of the nineteenth century. The business ultimately grew into today’s Colgate-Palmolive, a global household and consumer product corporation with over 38,000 employees.

William Colgate was the son of Robert Colgate, an English farmer who was forced to leave England as a result of his political sentiments that favored the democracies of France and America.

According to William Colgate’s obituary, in the March 26, 1857 edition of the New York Tribune, in March, 1795 the family sailed for America on the ship “Eliza,” arriving in Baltimore after passage of 70 days. As a young boy, Colgate lived with his father in Baltimore before moving to New York City. The obituary picks up the story from there.

In 1804, William Colgate, at the age of 21, left his father’;s house and came, a comparative stranger, to the City of New York. He had scarcely a cent that he could call his own. His purpose. however, was fixed; and in his pursuit, he entered the counting-room of John Slidel & Co., then the largest tallow chandlers in the city, located at No. 50 Broadway…The salary proposed was small. But it was not the salary, it was the business that he wished; and in a very short time he accomplished his purpose. He was soon transferred from the manufacturing to the sales department; and at the end of three years, when the firm dissolved, Mr. Colgate was its principal business manager.

At the age of 23, in the year 1806 Mr. Colgate commenced the soap and candle business for himself in Dutch Street…

It appears that the business was originally organized as a partnership between Colgate and Francis Smith. The company was first listed in the 1807 Longworth’s New York Register and City Directory as “Smith and Colgate, tallow chandlers,” with an address of 6 Dutch Street. A rendering of the original Dutch Street location was included in a profile of Colgate’s business published in the July 1921 edition of Printers Ink Monthly.

The Printer’s Ink story went on to reveal why Colgate chose the Dutch Street location for his business.

In meeting the first problem that confronted him – the selection of a location for his business – the young soap and candle maker exhibited good judgement for the Mayor of New York lived on Dutch Street, and in the immediate vicinity of his little factory were the homes of many other prominent men of the day. Thus it followed that the influential citizens of the city must of necessity become familiar with his business by passing it every day. And the out-of-town friends who visited the Mayor and his neighbors must need see the Colgate factory and carry back home with them that impression of metropolitan prestige for which even today businesses spend fabulous sums in erecting towering buildings and great sky signs in New York and other large cities.

The partnership of Smith & Colgate was listed until 1815 when it apparently dissolved. Subsequently William Colgate was listed individually as a tallow chandler at 6 Dutch Street until 1820 when the listing changed to William Colgate & Company. Colgate would add the manufacture of toilet soaps to the business in 1847, continuing  to mange the company until his death in 1857. At that point, his son Samuel Colgate and nephew Charles C. Colgate took over and the company name listed in the directories was shortened to simply Colgate & Company.

According to the Printer’s Ink story, the two younger Colgate’s continued to add the manufacture of new products to the business.

Still studying the trend of the market as had the elder Colgate, and ever on the alert to add new products that might appropriately be made and sold by a soap manufacturer, the two young Colgates decided to add perfumes to the Colgate line, and in the early 60’s this was done with great success.

Then in line with the demand for a perfumed toilet soap, in 1869 or 187o the first kettle of the now famous Cashmere Bouquet was made.

During this period, advertisements for their perfumed toilet soaps began to appear in the newspapers. The first ones I could find referenced brands named “Honey Toilet Soap” and “Aromatic Vegetable Soap.”  The advertisements below appeared in 1867 (Hartford Conn Courant) and 1869 (Rutland Vt. Daily Herald) respectively.

 

By the early 1870’s, their famous Cashmere Bouquet toilet soap had been added to what had become a long list of toilet soap brands. That list of at least 17 different brands appeared in  several August/September 1872 editions of the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

According to this November 5, 1873 advertisement in the Buffalo Commercial, a Cashmere Bouquet perfume soon followed.

This delightful perfume will be appreciated by all who have enjoyed the lasting fragrance of Colgate & Co.’s Cashmere Bouquet Soap, which is so universally popular.

It was around the same time that, according to the Colgate-Palmolive web site, Colgate introduced their “antiseptic dental powder” sold in a jar. As evidenced by this November 17, 1895 Frank Brothers Department Store advertisement in the Chicago Tribune, by the mid-1890’s they were selling toothpaste in a tube as well.

This 1911 advertisement, for the Paine Drug Company in Rochester New York, provided a listing of the Colgate products they carried at the time. It provides a feel for how much Colgate’s product line had expanded in their first century.

This expanded product line required expansion of both their office and manufacturing facilities as well.

A story in the January 21, 1906 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle dedicated to Colgate’s 100th anniversary celebration described the expansion of the company’s physical plant over their first 100 years stating that in 1847 the company added a Jersey City factory and in 1865 they expanded their New York facilities extending their Dutch Street offices through into John Street.

Around this time their New York City directory listings for Colgate began to include addresses on both ends of their block; 6 Dutch Street and 55 John Street. Their Jersey City factory was situated along the Hudson River waterfront. Initially located on the corner of York and Greene Streets, according to a July 17, 1988 New York Times article, by the 1890’s it encompassed the full block bounded by York, Greene, Hudson and Grand Streets.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 100th anniversary story went on to provide this description of the company facilities as they existed in 1906.

…by now offices and perfume manufactory have overflowed until they cover very nearly a third of the New York block, and the Jersey City factory, just equipped with new buildings, fills out the entire block and portions of other blocks in the neighborhood. Here are the greatest soap kettles or “pans” in the world, four stories high (five of the largest hold 700,000 pounds each), also the original pan of 1847, which was considered a giant in those days. William Colgate was told that it was folly to build such a big “pan,” that he could never use it. That “pan” is, however, a pigmy beside those of today. Only soap is not made now by building a fire underneath as in the old days. Coils of steam pipes run inside the monster kettles.

Samuel’s Colgate’s biography contained in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol XIII, published in 1906, adds to the picture by describing the extent of Colgate’s perfume operation in that centennial year.

As a producer of perfumery the firm is the most extensive in the United States, and stands second or third in the entire world. In the valley of the Var, France, bounded by the towns of Grasse, Nice and Cannes, many acres of flowers are cultivated for the manufacture of perfumery, and Colgate & Co. take the total output of a factory in which the essence of fragrancy is extracted. Over 100 tons of rose leaves are thus used annually, besides large quantities of other flowers.

The company continued to occupy their Dutch Street/John Street location in New York City until 1910. At that point it appears that most of the operation had moved to New Jersey although they did continue to list a New York location at 199 Fulton Street from 1911 to 1922 and later 403 Broadway in 1925.

The Colgate Company ultimately merged with the Palmolive Peet Company in July, 1928. A well established company in their own right, the Palmolive Company was formed in 1864, and on January 1, 1927, they had acquired the Peet Brothers Company, which had been established in 1872. A July 11, 1928 UP story covered their merger with Colgate:

PALMOLIVE, COLGATE MERGER IS PLANNED

Directors of the Palmolive-Peet Company and Colgate and Company have agreed to a plan of consolidation of the two firms, subject to action of stockholders. The merger would be effective as of July 1, 1928, if approved, it was announced today.

The name of the new company would be the Colgate Palmolive Peet Company.

The new organization will have large manufacturing units at Jersey City,  N.  J., Milwaukee, Chicago, Jeffersonville, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Berkeley Calif., and Portland, Ore.

The executive offices will be located at Chicago. No public financing is contemplated at present.

The following officers were reported as probable selections: Sidney M. Colgate, chairman of the board; Charles S. Pearce, president and general manager, and A. W. Peet, chairman of the executive committee.

Later, in 1953, the company would shorten its name to Colgate-Palmolive.

The story mentioned that Colgate’s Jersey City plant would continue to operate as one of Colgate Palmolive’s manufacturing units, which it did for another 50 plus years, ultimately expanding to a footprint of six city blocks.  Finally, in 1985 the company announced its closing. The announcement was covered in the January 15, 1985 edition of The (Paterson N.J.) News.

Colgate – Palmolive Plant in N. J. to Close

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. plant on the Jersey City waterfront, whose 54-foot high clock is a landmark, will close in three years, the company said yesterday.

The company is closing the plant because its products can be made more cheaply at factories in the Midwest, a company spokesman said. Colgate-Palmolive expects the plant closing to result in a savings of $20 million per year.

Today, the initial Jersey City block occupied by the Colgate factory is home to the tallest building in New Jersey, a 79 story luxury condominium, however, another Jersey City  building in the area, located at 81 Greene Street, provides a reminder of it’s former use.

According to the “Library of Congress” this building served as the principal manufacturing facility for the company’s personal care products from 1915 to 1987.

I’ve found two Colgate & Co. bottles over the years. The first is machine made and is embossed with the Colgate & Co. trademark (C & Co enclosed within a double circle). It most likely contained one of their toilet water brands. It matches a Colgate bottle recently offered for sale on the internet labeled “Dactyus Toilet Water.”

   

The Dractylis brand was included in the 1911 Paine Drug Store advertisement presented previously in this post. Machine made, it likely doesn’t date much earlier than the 1911 advertisement and certainly no later than the 1928 Colgate-Palmolive merger.

The other is a mouth blown jar embossed Colgate & Co./ Perfumers / New York. In spite of the embossing it looks more like this labeled tooth powder jar to me…who knows???

I couldn’t end this post without at least touching on the iconic Colgate Clock  that has overlooked the Hudson River and served as an identifying symbol of the company since 1908. Designed and built in connection with Colgates centennial anniversary, according to a New Jersey City University Internet Post entitled “Jersey City Past and Present,” it sat atop the roof of an eight-story Colgate warehouse at the southeast corner of York and Hudson Streets.

It was officially set running on May 25, 1908. A special dispatch to the San Francisco Chronicle covered the start-up.

The largest clock in the world was set going today on top of Colgate & Co.’s eight-story factory building on the river front in Jersey City. It is visible for miles along the Hudson River and can be clearly seen from the New York skyscrapers.

Mayor Wittpen of Jersey City pressed the button which started the mechanism of the giant timekeeper, and when the immense minute hand began moving the boats on the river joined in a chorus of whistles.

The dial is thirty-eight feet in diameter, with an area of 1,134 square feet. The next largest clock – that on the Philadelphia City Hall, has a diameter of twenty-five  feet and a face area of 490 feet. The diameter of the Westminster clock in London is twenty-two and one-half feet and its dial area is 393 feet. The minute hand of the Colgate clock is twenty feet long and weighs nearly a third of a ton. The clock’s weight is approximately six tons. At night red electric bulbs mark the hours and white electric bulbs show the minute spaces.

The above story attempts to convey the size of the clock but, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the following photographs put the clock’s size in perspective. The first found in the November, 1908 issue of a publication called “Wood Craft” compares the clock to a worker (to the right of the clock) standing on a support beam. The next two, found in the May 23, 1908 issue of “Scientific American” appear to be construction photos that show the clock’s hands in relation to construction workers.

   

A lot of publicity was generated around the design and construction of the clock of which Colgate took full advantage. This advertisement in the June 20, 1908 edition of “Collier’s” linked the clock to a number of their products.

A July 17, 1988 story in the New York Times suggested that the clock was worth more than simply advertising to the Colgate Company.

The Colgate sign and clock was a sophisticated piece of advertising, comparable to the landmark headquarters buildings of the Metropolitan Life Insurance and Woolworth Companies of the same period. It was seen by the thousands aboard ships trafficking New York Harbor. In 1910, Colgate moved its executive offices to the Jersey City complex and the clock, and sign, became for the public the very symbol of the company’s corporate identity.

The 1988 New York Times story went on to say that:

In 1924 the Colgate clock was replaced with a new larger one, 50 feet in diameter of practically identical design – including the trademark octagon dial shape. Mayor Frank Hague turned on the new clock on December 1…

In 1983, Colgate, long out of the perfume business took down the “Soaps-Perfumes” lettering on the sign, replacing it with an inartistically drawn toothpaste tube representing one of its most identifiable products.

The original 38 foot clock was relocated to Colgate’s newly opened Clarksville Indiana plant where according to Images of America – Clarksville Indiana, by Jane Sarles, it was lit for the first time on November 17, 1924.

“Secret Louisville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,”By Jill Halpern, completes the story.

An enduring vision in downtown Louisville for as long as locals can remember, the bright red clock (when lit) usually shows the correct time, or at least close, 100 years later, despite the fact that Colgate-Palmolive moved its operations out of town in 2008. The clock’s continued operation is likely because the facility was placed on Indiana Landmarks list of 10 Most Endangered Landmarks.

The nomination to place on the Clarksville plant, including the clock, on the National Register of Historic Places was announced in the December 13, 2013 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal December 14, 2013.

The newer 50 foot version of the clock still resides on the Jersey City waterfront next to the Goldman Sachs Tower and his maintained by Goldman Sachs.

Joseph Eppig Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Joseph Eppig Brewery started business in 1888 and continued until 1914. The brewery was one of many businesses featured in an article on “Industry and Commerce” published in the May 23, 1908 edition of the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader. Much of the information and several of the quotes that follow were gleaned from that feature.

The brewery’s founder, Joseph Eppig was born in Germany on June 21, 1844 and came to the United States in 1857.

After working for a number of years on the farm of an uncle who had located near Baltimore, he decided to enter the employ of an elder brother, Leonard Eppig, who had founded a brewery in Brooklyn. Joseph Eppig showed unusual aptitude for the business and speedily was made brewmaster, which important post he held for seventeen years.

Early in the year 1888 Mr. Eppig, who for a long period had cherished hopes of going into business for himself, realized his ambition, and in partnership with Frank Ibert established the Joseph Eppig Brewery…

The 19th of March is a red letter day in the history of the brewery for it was on that date in 1888 that the first delivery of beer was made from that plant

Eppig & Ibert was listed in the 1889 Brooklyn City Directory with an address of Central Avenue, corner of Grove Street but the partnership was short-lived.

In less than twelve months Mr. Eppig bought out his partner, and thereafter was the sole owner.

Ibert would go on to open his own brewery nearby on the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Linden Street.

The Joseph Eppig Brewery office of 176 Grove Street was listed in the Brooklyn directories and later, phone books, up through 1914. The brewery itself ran the entire length of Central Avenue in the block between Grove Street and Linden Street.

Early in the company’s history, they were one of a handful of New York City brewers who supported brewery worker’s demands for shorter hours and ultimately they became one of the first brewers to recognize union labor. Their agreement with the brewers’ union was printed in the April 18, 1892 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. (It certainly highlighted the need for unions at that time!)

AGREEMENT OF UNION BREWERS

The brewers’ union has made an agreement for a year, to take effect today, restricting the employees to union men, making ten hours a day’s work, six days in the week, with two hours on Sunday, with wages at $16 and $18 a week. The Brooklyn breweries affected are those of Frank Ibert, Joseph Eppig, George Grauer, and the Fort Hamilton Company.

The brewery brewed two brands of beer that were only sold locally.

Two brands of beer are there brewed – the “Standard,” a light beer, and the “Wuerzburger,” a dark brew. They are sold on draught and also bottled by the brewery for family and hotel trade. Nothing but lager beer is brewed.

The business of the Joseph Eppig Brewery is confined to local trade and nearby points in Long Island, delivery being had in various distributing centers Hollis, Jamaica, etc.

The business never incorporated. A family operation it was run by Joseph Eppig until his death in September, 1907 after which his family continued the business.

Since the death of its founder the Joseph Eppig Brewery has been conducted by Katherine Eppig, his widow, as executrix of the Joseph Eppig estate. She is assisted by her sons, Theodore C. and C. John, the former being business manager and the latter supervising the practical end of the plant.

In 1914 the Eppig estate sold the brewery. An item announcing the sale appeared in the August 9,1914 edition of the Brooklyn Citizen.

Among the latest Brooklyn transactions are the following: the J. Chr. G. Hupfel Brewing Company, of No. 229 East Thirty-eighth Street, Manhattan, purchased from the estate of Joseph Eppig the plant of the Joseph Eppig Brewing Company in Brooklyn. The property consists of two large brick and one frame structures, occupying an area about 200′ x 500′ in Central Avenue, Grove and Linden Streets.

The bottle I found is champagne style and approximately 12 oz. The embossing includes a trademark that appears to be an eagle with a beer keg dangling from its mouth by means of a short length of rope. Machine made it was likely made in the last 10 years of the business.

On a final note – Joseph’s brother Leonard, also a long-time Brooklyn brewer, was listed in the Brooklyn directories dating back to the early 1860’s. His April 10, 1893 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

In 1867 he was instrumental in organizing the firm of Fischer and Eppig, establishing a small brewery on the corner of Central Avenue and George Street…In 1879 he purchased Mr. Fischer’s interest in the firm.

This was certainly the brewery where Joseph served as brewmaster for seventeen years (roughly 1870 to 1887) prior to leaving in 1888 to start the Joseph Eppig Brewery.

Listed at 24 George Street and later at 193 Meserole Street in Brooklyn, I’ve seen it referred to as Leonard Eppig’s Germania Brewery and the Leonard Eppig Brewing Company.

The Eppig name was recently revived by a craft brewery located in San Diego California called J & L Eppig Brewing. According to their web site (eppigbrewing.com) it’s run by members of the Eppig family. Their slogan is:

Eppig Brewing – Established 1866 – Reinvented 2016

 

Glyco-Thymoline (Kress & Owen Co.)

Glycol-Thymoline dates back to the late 1800’s, when it was advertised as:

An alkaline, antiseptic, non-irritating, cleaning solution for the treatment of diseased mucous membrane, especially nasal catarrh.

The preparation had its roots with Oscar Kress, who, according to his January 3, 1895 obituary in the Pharmaceutical Record, was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States after graduating from the University of Munich.

A medical paper entitled “Chronic Nasal Catarrh and what the General Practitioner Can Do for it,” presented in May, 1893, mentioned that Kress introduced Glyco-Thymoline to the medical profession around that time.

Glycolic-thymoline is a preparation recently introduced to the profession by Mr. Oscar Kress, a pharmacist of this city. It is composed of glycerine, thymol, sodium, borax , benzoin, salicylic acid, eucalyptol, menthol, gaultheria, oleum pini pumillonia, and solvents, in proper proportions.

A druggist, Kress was first listed in NYC’s general directories in 1870/1871 with an address of 781 Seventh Avenue. Later, in the 1880/1881 NYC Directory the business was listed as Oscar Kress & Co.and two addresses were included: 1670 Broadway and 918 Sixth Avenue. According to an item in the July 15, 1894 edition of the Pharmaceutical Era, it was the Broadway location that accommodated the early manufacture of Glyco-Thymoline.

Oscar Kress of 52nd Street and Broadway, and of Sixth Avenue, is one of the most enterprising druggists in this city. He prepares a solution known as Glyco-Thym0line, which has an immense sale; in fact, he keeps six men on the road all the time. Mr. Kress is now enlarging the basement of his Broadway store to accommodate the additional apparatus needed in his manufacture. The cellar will be carried out under the sidewalk and will give him much more room on both the street and front sides

At some point prior to his death in December, 1894, Kress associated with Samuel Owen who, when Kress passed away, continued its manufacture. Ultimately on June 8, 1895, the business incorporated under the name of Kress & Owen. The announcement was printed in the June 13, 1895 edition of the Pharmaceutical Record.

The Kress & Owen Co. has been incorporated to manufacture and deal in drugs and medicines in this city. It’s capital is $100,000. and the directors are Samuel Owen, Alfred H. Kennedy, and William H. Pearson of Newark, N.J., Artur A. Stillwell, Max J. Breitenbach and Edward G. Wells of New York, Thomas W. Mullet of Jersey City and William A. Demerust of Brooklyn. The firm will manufacture its specialties at its present quarters, No. 374 Pearl Street. The “Kress” in the firm name represents the estate of Oscar Kress, the late druggist of 6th Avenue, who was interested in the concern.

Samuel Owen was named the company’s first president and the NYC directories and phone books continued to list him as president through the mid-1920’s.

The announcement referenced the initial corporate address as 374 Pearl Street but that location was apparently short-lived and by 1897 they were listed at 221 Fulton Street where they remained until approximately 1903, when they moved to 210 Fulton Street. Other than a temporary relocation due to fire, the business remained at 210 Fulton Street until 1912. The fire and resultant  relocation were described in the March 11, 1907 edition of the Pharmaceutical Record.

A disastrous fire completely gutted the five-story white stone building at 210 Fulton Street, occupied by the Kress & Owen Co., manufacturers of Glyco-Thymoline on Sunday night, March 3. Though the building was so ruined by the flames that it will have to be entirely rebuilt before it can be used again for commercial purposes, the Kress & Owen Co. has not permitted the disaster to interfere seriously with its business and is now ready to fill all orders from its new location at 92 Chambers Street. The company lost almost all of its stock at the Fulton Street site but fortunately saved many of its most valuable files. The total loss by fire amounted to $75,000 but the stock, machinery, tanks, fixtures, drugs and chemicals of the company were fully insured so that it will sustain no actual loss except a temporary cessation of business.

The company rebuilt at 210 Fulton Street and continued to list it as their address until May 1912, when they moved to 361 Pearl Street.

A long time employee, Dr. Charles L. Constantinides, replaced Samuel Owen as president in the mid-1920’s. According to his August 4, 1955  obituary:

He was graduated from the Toronto Medical College in 1903 and joined Kress & Owen, manufacturing chemists, in 1906. He retired from the firm in 1949 after 25 years as as president.

The company remained at Pearl Street in New York City until the early 1950’s when they built a 14,000 square foot facility in Middletown New Jersey. By this time, Alfred Owen, a nephew of Samuel Owen was serving as president.  The opening of the new plant was highlighted in the January 24, 1952 edition of the (Long Branch N.J.) Daily Record.

One of the newer additions to Monmouth County’s rapidly growing roster of industry is that of Kress & Owen Company, makers of Glyco-Thymoline, an alkaline preparation for oral application.

In operation since the new year, in a modern plant recently erected on land owned by the company on Route 35, Middletown, Kress & Owen merchandise is now being shipped from here to all parts of the world.

The June 28, 1951 edition of the (Long Branch N.J.) Daily Record included a rendering of the new building which, according to another Daily Record story around the same time, would, due to automation, employ only 12 to 15 persons.

The company remained at this location for less than twenty years. An item in the January 7, 1969 edition of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, stated that at that time Kress & Owen no longer occupied the building and it was being remodeled for office use.

Over the years, advertisements for Glyco-Thymoline focused primarily on treatment of the nose and throat. One, from December 1899, included this quote from the March 1898 issue of the Chicago Medical Recorder.

In acute and chronic rhinitis and post-nasal catarrh it will be found specially effacious, diluted in from one to three parts of water, and slightly warmed before using. As a gargle in diphtheritic inflammations and other forms of pharyngitis , its bland and non-irritating properties render it most soothing and curative to the inflamed membrane.

Many of their early advertisements promoted the use of Glyco-Thymoline in concert with a nasal applicator called the Birmingham Douche. (A precursor to today’s Neti Pot?) This 1899 advertisement printed in the American Journal of Surgery and Gynecology was one that promoted them together under a single process.

The application of Glycolic-Thymoline (Kress) to the nasal passages with our Birmingham Douche, obviates the danger of drawing Muco-Pus into the Eustachian tube.

“An ideal little instrument, safe, cheap, effective”

In case you were wondering how the Birmingham Douche worked, this young lady from an early 1900’s advertisement, served to clarify.

       

Sometime in the 1920’s, their advertisements had added a nasal spray as another type of application designed to target what they referred to as “the zone of infection.”

By the mid-1940’s bad breath had been added to the list of conditions addressed by the preparation as evidenced by this March 12, 1948 Los Angeles Times advertisement.

Other than that, over the years their advertising message did not change much. The last set of newspaper advertisements I could find for Glyco-Thymoline was released in the Spring of 1967. One such ad, printed in the April 5, 1967 edition of the New York Daily News, delivered the same message as those from the 1890’s.

Apparently dormant for a while, the Kress & Own Company, Inc. is once again active and being run by members of the Owen family.  Their web site, glyco-thymoline.net, lists their address as a P.O. Box in Owings Mills, Maryland and states that in 2008:

Kress & Owen Company launches the Glyco-Thymoline web site and reintroduces the 100 year old “premier” oral hygiene product. We intend to get Glyco-Thymoline back in the local pharmacy, grocery and retail stores near you. Our product has been recommended by dentists and physicians for over 100 years.

Today, you can purchase Glyco-Thymoline on Amazon.

The bottle I found is machine made with a square cross-section. Six ounces in size, it was one of three sizes utilized by the company in the early 1900’s. This December 1913 advertisement indicated that the six ounce size was originally furnished with a sprinkler top.

 

 

 

Louis Bergdoll Brewing Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

   

The Louis Bergdoll name was associated with the brewing industry in Pennsylvania for approximately 70 years, beginning in the mid-1800’s and continuing up until the advent of Prohibition. Bergdoll’s brewery, sometimes referred to as the City Park Brewery, gained fame for its lager beer which was produced utilizing water from artesian wells.

A German immigrant, according to his 1894 obituary:

Mr. Bergdoll was born in Seusheim, a little town near Heidelberg, in Baden, and after acquiring a thorough knowledge of the beer brewing business came to this country late in the forties.

A feature on Bergdoll, published in the October 6, 1908 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that the business started out under the name of Bergdoll & Schemm and, in 1849 the partnership established the original brewery at 508 Vine Street in Philadelphia. An item printed in the November 24, 1849 edition of the (Philadelphia) Public Ledger indicated that they also maintained a retail location close by at 178 Vine Street.

The next year Schemm left the partnership and turned it over to Bergdoll’s brother-in-law, Charles Psotta. The company would operate as Bergdoll & Psotta from 1850 until Psotta’s death in July, 1877.

At some point in the mid-1850’s the company  began to transition operations from their Vine Street location to newer, larger quarters. A 1979 application to register several remaining buildings associated with the brewery complex on the National Register of Historic Places picked up the story from there.

In 1856 the firm of Bergdoll & Psotta in need of more commodious quarters abandoned the plant on Vine Street and began the development of a new complex located in the still existing buildings in the block situated on the east and west sides of 28th Street, between Brown, Parrish and Poplar Streets.The site of the plant was chosen primarily because of its location near Fairmont Park and the Schuykill River.

The application described the original brewing house like this:

The original brewing house was erected in 1856 and consisted of a 3 story dwelling house for Mr. Bergdoll, a brick and stone fermenting, cooling and storage section, and a one story fermenting and distilling building of stone and brick with a slate roof.

Later the fermenting building section and distilling building were increased to five and six stories respectively and additional buildings were added until the complex encompassed approximately three acres of land on 28th and 29th Streets, between Brown and Poplar Streets. The Philadelphia Inquirer feature described the 1908 version of the complex like this:

…on the original space stands a five story brew house whose two kettles have a capacity of 88 barrels, a six story malt house, with a capacity of 200,000 bushels, an elevator, boiler house, stables and ninety houses for workmen. Every part of the plant is constructed of stone, iron and brick, being fireproof throughout. There are four ice machines with a capacity of three hundred tons of ice. Recently a smoke stack 70 inches in diameter was erected to the height of one hundred feet to make the necessary draft for the additional power used to drive two engines and two dynamos that supply electricity to the plant. A modern machine shop is in operation and a complete fire department equipped, the water being supplied by a standpipe connected with water pumps. The plant now employs more than two hundred men and the annual output is about one hundred and seven-five thousand barrels.

The business did not abandon the facilities at 508 Vine Street immediately, but continued to include both the 28th/29th Street and Vine Street locations in their Philadelphia directory listings up through 1880. Several directories in the 1860’s referenced 508 Vine as their “beer depot.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer feature Bergdoll, along with his two sons-in-law, Charles Schoenning and John Alter,  incorporated the business as the Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, on October 3, 1881. Bergdoll served as the first president. Schoenning  was secretary and superintendent of the works and Alter was treasurer. Bergdoll’s son, Louis Bergdoll Jr. was the brew master.

After Louis Bergdoll’s death in 1894 the brewery remained closely held by the Bergdoll family with Peter Bergdoll Jr., Joseph Alter, Charles Schoenning  and Bergdoll’s widow, Emma, all serving as president at various times.

By the late 1800’s the company had started to advertise a lighter beer and a bock beer along with their well known lager. A July 19, 1902 advertisement referred to the light beer as “Protiwiner Export”

Their “Celebrated Bock Beer” was apparently seasonal and was advertised as being available on tap each year sometime in March or early April. Both advertisements shown below were published in the local Philadelphia newspapers. The first, from 1896, is one of the earliest I could find. The second was one of the later ones, from 1910.

  

In addition to advertisements in the newspapers, on at least two occasions, 1912 and 1914, they sponsored a unique event at a local Philadelphia theatre where they challenged Harry Houdini to escape from a vat filled with their beer. Houdini accepted the 1912 challenge in the January 10 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It was also in the early 1900’s that the company was transitioning their delivery methods from the horse to the motorized truck, putting their first delivery truck into service on June 17, 1903. In fact, an article in the February 1, 1913 edition of a publication called the “Power Wagon,” stated that Bergdoll was the first company in Philadelphia to successfully deliver beer using a truck in lieu of horses.

“We are done depending on horses,” was the announcement made by the president of the company. “We must find a delivery medium that won’t sicken or die unexpectedly. We must shift to machinery and make our delivery sure.”

This resolve taken, officials of the company went to New York and bought a 3-ton General Vehicle truck. This was the first successful electric vehicle used in beer delivery in Philadelphia, and when it first appeared on the streets it attracted more attention than an airplane would now.

The article went on to describe the company’s fleet in 1913.

Never has this innovation been regretted. The firm has increased it’s total of motor trucks to 15, and is done buying horses. Those that die are not replaced. Instead, motor trucks are constantly being purchased, and eventually the delivery of this firm will strictly be on a power basis…

Thirteen of the 15 trucks used by Bergdoll are electric, nine of the General Vehicle make, and four the output of the Commercial Truck Company of America. There are also two 3-ton Mack gasoline trucks.

The firm still retains a small number of horses, but these are worked only in a radius close to the brewery. For the heavy hauls, the 5-ton trucks are used. The 3-ton electrics do the middle distance work, and the gasolines make runs into the suburbs.

The gasolines are used with excellent effect on runs like that to Germantown. It is possible for one of the 3-ton Macks to do a service that would require on the average from six to eight horses. The truck can start out at 7 o’clock in the morning, make the long run to Germantown or Chestnut Hill, and be back at 11, four hours later, ready to tackle another extended trip in the afternoon.

A pair of horses used on this route would pull ten less barrels, take eight hours, come back tired out, and have to be rested the next day.

Even in the average hauls, the routine work, where a horse has the best chance to show to advantage in comparison, one 2-ton truck does the work of not less than four horses…

Bergdoll makes his own current, and does his own charging. Figures kept by the chief of Bergdoll’s garage show that the 3 1/2 and 5-ton electrics give a mileage of about 6,000 miles a year, and the 2-ton trucks give 7,000 miles.

A photograph of several trucks parked in the Bergdoll yard was included with the article.

By the mid to late teens the brewery was feeling the impact of the temperance movement and impending Prohibition. According to a story in the September 7, 1918 edition of the (Philadelphia, Pa.) Inquirer, the brewery was still operating at that time but was certainly being threatened by President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to exercise his wartime authority to prohibit the manufacture of beer after December 1, 1918.

Forty Breweries To Close Here

The Government order suspending all brewing operations December 1 means the closing of between thirty-five and forty breweries in Philadelphia and the release of approximately 2000 men for other work, as well as a considerable saving in barley, malt, sugar, coal and other materials used in brewing…

Charles Barth, general manager of the Bergdoll Brewing Company, said: “We were not much surprised. You can’t be surprised at anything these days. I don’t see what could be done but close the brewery and let the men go. There will be a meeting of the association and, I suppose, the result will be some sort of of request for a modification of the order. We employ about 150 men here.”

The Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company continued to be listed in the Philadelphia directories up through 1922 at their 28/29th Street address. In the 1923 directory the name of the company changed to the City Park Brewing Company.

A story in the March 28, 1928 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes it pretty clear that the brewery was not operational during most if not all of Prohibition.  The story concerned an application by Albert Hall, a stockholder, to appoint a receiver to wind up the affairs and distribute the assets of the “old Bergdoll Brewing Company, now known as the City Park Brewing Company.”

Mrs. Emma Bergdoll and her sons are the principal stockholders in the company which was organized in 1881. Hall is a son-in-law, holding 248 shares which he received by inheritance…

Owen J. Roberts representing Hall, said that the company had ceased operations in 1923, when the plant had been closed. J.R. Breilinger, for the company, contended that the concern was doing a real estate business and added that Hall’s efforts to distribute assets was more on the part of a minority holder to force the hand of the majority.

Judge McDevitt then asked if the brewery was not dead legally, to which Breilinger replied that, by making beer one day a year, they would establish their legal existence.

Ultimately the Bergdoll family sold the brewery in June,1929. The sale was announced in the June 26, 1929 edition of newspapers across Pennsylvania.

The dismantled Bergdoll Brewery, long one of the pre-prohibition landmarks of Philadelphia’s brewerytown has been sold, it was disclosed this afternoon

Mrs Emma Bergdoll…signed the papers turning the plant over to G. M. Slade. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The vast Bergdoll fortune was amassed in the manufacture of beer in the old brewery prior to prohibition and the days of the World War.

At the end of Prohibition, a March 23, 1933 item in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the headline “Breweries, Hotels Plan For Big Day” indicated that the plant was being refurbished in anticipation of the April 7, 1933 date when 3.2 beer sales would again be legal.

Ultimately a September 6, 1933 item in the (Scranton, Pa.) Times-Tribune announced that the company had been granted a 3.2 beer permit.

Bergdoll Beer Permit

The Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, Philadelphia, today was granted a permit to manufacture 3.2 beer…

Interestingly, the permit was awarded under the Bergdoll name and not the City Park Brewing Company. According to various internet sources the company brewed beer for a short time in 1933 and 1934 before shutting down for good but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Several of the brewery buildings still exist to this day as residential apartments and condominiums called the Brewery Condominiums. One such building on North 29th Street still showcases the name “Bergdoll & Psotta.”

   

The bottle I found is a brown export style with the embossing “Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, Phila.” Machine made it was likely made in the decade prior to Prohibition.

S. Casella & Sons, 84 Huyler St., Hackensack, N.J.

       

The S stands for Salvatore Casella who was an Italian immigrant. His snapshot biography was included in his March 1, 1937 obituary printed  in The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record.

Mr. Casella, who migrated to this country before 1900 and has lived in Hackensack since 1917, is well known in the First Ward. For a number of years he manufactured carbonated beverages, forming the company known as S. Casella and Sons. Since 1933 he has operated the Fair Grill at 81 Fair Street, Hackensack.

While the facts presented in the obituary are generally in agreement with records from other sources, the time periods are slightly off.

Census records indicate that Casella was born in Italy in 1878 and actually immigrated to the United States in 1904, not prior to 1900. As late as 1920 he was living in New York City. Census records show his residence in 1910 on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and by 1920 he was living on Nineteenth Avenue in Brooklyn. During this time he listed his occupation as a retail dealer in coal and ice.

He was first listed in Hackensack, New Jersey in the 1921-1922 directory. At that time, he was partnered with Mariano Torrisi in a bottling business  located at 84 Huyler Street called Torrisi & Casella. The partnership with Torrisi was apparently short-lived and by 1923 Casella was listed individually as a bottler at the Huyler Street address.

By 1925, his sons Russel and Charles had formally joined the business and the company name in the directories was changed to S. Casella & Sons. The business continued to list their address as 84 Huyler Street up through 1931 (the last directory I have access to). Casella also lived at 84 Huyler so it appears that the business was always a small family run operation.

Located within the same block as Casella’s bottling business was the Fair Grill. The Grill’s 81 Fair Street address was in close proximity to 84 Huyler, possibly with adjacent back yards, and it’s apparent that Casella had a connection with the Grill well before the 1933 time frame mentioned in his obituary. This is evidenced by an item that appeared under the heading “Other Arrests”  in the May 15, 1929 edition of The Record.

Salvatore Casella of 84 Huyler Street, arrested by Detective-Sergeant Shuart at 81 Fair Street on a charge of violating the Federal Prohibition Act.

Whether he owned the Grill at this time or was just supplying it with illegally bottled beer through the back door is not clear but he certainly owned it in January, 1934 when he applied for a retail liquor license for 81 Fair Street, the address of the Fair Grill. The following “notice of application” appeared in the January 18, 1934 edition of “The Record.”

The Fair Grill under Casella’s management was referred to as everything from a take-out pizza place to an Italian restaurant to a night club in this 1935 advertisement.

Based on annual license renewals, Casella owned the Fair Grill up until his death in March of 1937. Subsequently, in June of that year, his son Russel renewed the license but by 1939 the business was apparently no longer in the family and  being run by Paul Maiorisi, who applied for the license renewal in June of 1939.

In the 1950’s a portion of Huyler Street was renamed South State Street. Today, 84 South State Street is a two story building, with commercial at street level and apartments above, that’s located within the block that also includes the 80’s addresses of Fair Street.  It’s almost certainly the building where Casella lived and ran his bottling business.

The bottle I found is 27 oz. and machine-made. It’s embossed “S. Casella & Sons” so it likely dates no earlier than 1925 when the company name changed to include “& Sons.” Neither Russel or Charles Casella reference the bottling business in the 1940 census records so I think it’s safe to say that the business had ended by then. More than likely it ended around the time that Casella began to legally run the Fair Grill in the mid 1930’s.

Kirsch & Herfel Co., Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Kirsch & Herfel was established by Hyman Kirsch and Henry Herfel in the first decade of the 1900’s. The company existed as Kirsch and Herfel up until 1920 after which both went their separate ways.

Kirsch went on to become a giant in the industry and in the 1950’s was the developer and initial manufacturer of sugar-free soda. A feature on his business in the June 23, 1971 issue of the Tampa (Florida) Tribune mentioned his early years:

Hyman Kirsch learned how to formulate soft drinks before the turn of the century when he worked for a Russian family in the Crimea. After five years in the Russian army, he immigrated to England then the United States.

His obituary in the May 13, 1976 edition of the N. Y. Times (he lived to be 99 years old) picked up the story from there.

Mr. Kirsch came to this country in 1903, and the next year he went into the soft drink business in a 14-by-30-foot store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Distribution of ginger ale and other sodas was by horse and buggy, and the daily production was 25 cases, made by hand.

Census records from 1910 indicate that Herfel immigrated to the United States from France in 1882. Prior to meeting Kirsch he was sometimes listed as a grocer in the Brooklyn directories.

Later Kirsch advertisements include the phrase “Since 1905,” so it appears that the two formed their partnership around that time. The first listing I can find for Kirsch and Herfel is in the 1907 Trow Business Directory for Brooklyn and Queens. Their address, 67 Bartlett, was in Williamsburg so it’s quite possible that it’s the location referenced in Kirsch’s obituary. A year later, the 1908 Trow Business Directory listed their address as 244 Scholes Street where they remained for the next 12 years. According to the November, 1915 issue of a publication called the “New Confectioner,” the business incorporated around that time with capital of $10,000.

In this April 26, 1919 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement the company called themselves manufacturers of soda water and another beverage called Golden Dwarf Celery Tonic.

They also served as one of three local Brooklyn bottlers for Ward’s Orange and Lemon Crush as evidenced by a series of Eagle advertisements in 1920

Around this time, with prohibition just enacted, the company was feeling optimistic and broke ground on a new plant. According to this January 24, 1920 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle,

Soda Water Firm Building Big Plant

Ground has been broken for the new plant at 172-6 Cook St. of Kirsch & Herfel Co., Inc. of 244 Scholes St. The new establishment, which will be devoted to making soda water and celery tonic, will be ready to use about April 1.

The building will be 225 feet long, extending from Cook St. to Flushing Ave. The latest model machinery, purchased during the convention in Chicago in November will be installed.

No interim in the business due to moving will occur. The old plant will be kept in full operation until the new has completely taken over the load carried by its predecessor.

Due to prohibition and other causes, the company expects a bumper season this summer and is already keeping a full force at work, although it is the winter season. In some quarters the soda water companies are expecting to step in where the breweries stepped out and take over the enormous business of quenching the nation’s mid-summer thirst. Although Kirsch & Herfel do not go so far as to predict that soda water will build up great castles of industry, such as the modern brewery had grown to be, they are very sanguine of the outlook for the coming year.

Despite the optimistic outlook, five months after this story was published, an item in the June 22, 1920 edition of the New York Times announced that the Kirsch & Herfel corporation had been dissolved. Whether the dissolution had been planned all along or was the result of a recent development is not clear, but by August, the business had moved into the new plant and was continuing as H. Kirsch & Co.

The August 28, 1920 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle covered the story.

Kirsch & Herfel Now H. Kirsch & Co.

The old soda water firm of Kirsch & Herfel is now continuing the business under the name of H. Kirsch & Co., located at 923 Flushing Ave. and 172 Cook St.

It was this firm which made the old reliable Golden Dwarf celery tonic, popular even at the bar of that merry old John Barleycorn person.

The company’s business has grown since the institution of prohibition. It is now the largest soda and mineral water bottling plant in Brooklyn and maintains a large fleet of trucks to care for its boro business and out of town trade.

According to an official of the company, a great many people have been coming direct to the factory to fill their orders. The plant has been working to capacity.

Advertisements for the new business began appearing in the Eagle in early September, 1920.

The demand was such that according to this March 19, 1921 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, by the following summer they had doubled the capacity of their new plant in an effort to expand their product line.

Soda Water Plant Enlarges Capacity

In anticipation of a long spring and summer, H. Kirsch & Co. have doubled their capacity by extensive alterations and additions to their factory for soft drinks at 923-925 Flushing Avenue. These extensions are now complete and include a new washing machine capable of turning out several thousand clean and sterilized bottles per hour.

This company, taking prohibition by the forelock put on the market a drink called Golden Dwarf Orangeade, which quickly caught public fancy. Although the company specializes on soda water and celery tonics, sold throughout the Greater City, its new orange drink will occupy a large part of the old plant’s capacity.

The extension is devoted chiefly to bottle washing, this operation in the preparation of soft drinks for the market requiring considerable space, not for machinery so much as for stacking up clean “empties” waiting to be filled.

Sometime around 1930 the company expanded further, acquiring another soda manufacturer, also located in Williamsburg, called T.F. Ness & Son.

After prohibition they continued to be successful and sometime in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s they changed their name to Kirsch Beverages, Inc. By the late 1940’s they were manufacturing 16 different flavored drinks as evidenced by this 1949 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement.

In 1952, the No-Cal Corporation was formed as an affiliate of Kirsch Beverages, Inc. to produce a new line of sugar free soft drinks. Hyman Kirsch’s 1976 New York Times obituary described how the “sugar free” concept got started.

Mr. Kirsch began the commercial production of sugar free soft drinks in 1952, when he started distributing them through dietetic outlets under the No-Cal brand.

The idea for the product was the byproduct of one of his many philanthropic activities. As vice president of the Jewish Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases, he and his son, Morris, had become concerned about the lack of a sugar-free, nonalcoholic beverage for diabetic patients of the sanitarium.

They got together in the laboratory at Kirsch Beverages with Dr. S. S. Epstein, their research director, and explored the field of synthetic sweeteners. Saccharine and others left a metallic aftertaste. Then, from a commercial laboratory, they obtained cyclamate calcium, which proved satisfactory in soft drinks produced for diabetic and cardiovascular patients in the sanitarium.

No-Cal Ginger Ale was first to hit the market in March, 1952 and by the end of the year four additional flavors were being sold. This early ginger ale advertisement appeared in several June, 1952 issues of the New York Daily News and Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

By December the advertisements included Cola, Cream Soda, Black Cherry and Root Beer as well.

Originally intended for dieters and those with medical issues like diabetes, it wasn’t long before the company focused their marketing efforts on the public at large. The reasoning behind this change was explained in an April 10, 1953 story in the Long Branch (New Jersey) Daily Record.

More than a year ago Kirsch Beverages, Inc. marketed their new sugar free NO-CAL ginger ale. Aimed primarily at the dietetic and diabetic markets, NO-CAL was an immediate sales sensation.

As sales doubled and re-doubled with each passing month, the pleasantly amazed Kirsch people enlarged their bottling capacity and developed four new NO-CAL flavors, cream, cola root beer, black cherry.

In an effort to determine the “why” behind the “buy,” Grey Agency, which handles Kirsch advertising, conducted an intensive survey in metropolitan area supermarkets. The survey revealed the amazing fact that only half of regular NO-CAL buyers are on a diet. This means that a market of literally millions of non-dieting, yet weight conscious, soft drink buyers is wide open for NO-CAL

In an all out effort to capture this huge market, Kirsch is initiating this program with a quarter-of-a-million dollar “saturation advertising campaign.

Their focus on the weight conscious market is exemplified by this 1954 advertisement that appeared in the New York newspapers. With the tag line “Time to Switch to NO-CAL,” the advertisement was designed to make you weight conscious even if you weren’t!

Another series of advertisements in the mid-1950’s highlighted the star of a current movie, always slim and female, promoting both the movie as well as NO-CAL. An advertisement from July/August, 1956, which was typical of the series, featured Kim Novak and the movie “The Eddie Duchin Story.” It reads in part:

You know Kim Novak as a NO-CAL girl! You see the slender modern look…sense the relaxed “enjoy life”air. You know Kim refreshes with NO-CAL.

Other advertisements featured Mamie Van Doren in “Running Wild,” Julie Adams in “All Away Boats,” and Jan Sterling in “The Troubleshooter.”

By the 1960’s their slogan had become:

In 1969, when the United States banned the use of cyclamates in food and drink products, it could have spelled the end of the company, but according to a June 23, 1971 feature on Kirsch in the Tampa Bay (Florida) Tribune:

Our first decision the morning after the ban was announced was that we wouldn’t go out of business. That gave us just eight weeks to develop a new formula and market it.

This October 22, 1969 New York Times News service story found in the Franklin (Pennsylvania) News Herald demonstrated that they had been up to the task.

The nation’s diet food and soft drink manufacturers rushed out new-product announcements yesterday, indicating they had been prepared for the Government’s ban on the use of the artificial sweetener cyclamate in general-purpose food products.

The Government’s action was announced on Saturday. By nightfall yesterday, a number of leading soft drink manufacturers and others involved in the $1 billion low-calorie market had reported they were ready to market new, cyclamate-free beverages and other products within a matter of days or a few weeks at most…

No-Cal Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kirsch Beverages, Inc. will have a new line of No-Cal drinks on the market in about two weeks. A company spokesman said they will contain sacharrin and a small amount of sugar, adding about 10 to 14 calories to the drinks.

Both Kirsch Beverages, Inc. and No-Cal Corporation remained under control of the Hirsch family until 1980. Morris Kirsch, Hyman’s son, had joined the company in 1926 and assumed the presidency of Kirsch Beverages sometime in the early 1940’s. By 1971, according to the Tampa Tribune feature on the business, Morris’s sons, David and Lee, were presidents of No-Cal Corporation and Kirsch Beverages respectively, and both Hyman, at the age of 94, and Morris were still active on the board of directors. Around this time the business moved to a new location in College Point Queens at 112-02 15th Avenue.

Hyman died in 1976 at the age of 99 and his son Morris retired in 1980. At that time the Kirsch companies were acquired by a Philadelphia bottler named Harold Honickman. According to January 21, and March 19, 1980 articles in the Daily News, shortly after acquiring Kirsch, Canada Dry awarded him a bottling and distribution franchise and their products were added to his College Point production line of Kirsch and No-Cal sodas.

That was the beginning of the end for the Kirsch companies that ultimately fell victim to consolidation in the soda industry. The end of the line came sometime in the mid-1980’s. It was summed up like this in a July 26, 1987 story in the New York Daily News:

After years of mergers, the man who would be king today is Harold Honickman, head of Pennsauken, N. J. based Honickman Enterprises.

The leading independent bottler of Canada Dry products gradually acquired such city favorites as Dr. Brown, Kirsch, Hammer, Hoffman, Kirsch’s No-Cal brand and Meyers 1890. Though distribution is somewhat limited, all brands but Kirsch and Meyers are still alive.

The 244 Scholes Street address no longer exists and is now within the limits of Ten Eyck playground which is under the jurisdiction of NYC Parks and Recreation.The building currently located at the 172 Cook Street address is likely the building built by Kirsch & Herfel in 1920.

The College Point plant is now owned by Pepsi.

So, you ask, “What became of Henry Herfel?” Well he certainly didn’t achieve the same notoriety as Hyman Kirsch. A year after their partnership was dissolved, he established another Brooklyn soda water company named Herfel & Co. The company was listed as a new corporation, with capital of $20,000, in the April 15, 1921 edition of the New York Times. The incorporation notice named Herfel, along with J. Grodinsky and E. Heyman as directors. The initial company address was 215 Montague Street.

By the mid 1920’s, the directories listed the company address as 257 Ellory Street with Morris and Sam Shapiro named as proprietors. Herfel was no longer mentioned. A notice in the June 8, 1934 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that the corporation had dissolved.

The bottle I found is machine made and 27 oz. It’s embossed with the name “Kirsch & Herfel Co., Inc.,” which dates it between 1915, when the original business incorporated, and 1920, when it dissolved.

Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc., Brooklyn, New York

     

     

The founder and original proprietor of the Munch Brewery was a German immigrant named Ferdinand Munch who was first listed in the 1869 Brooklyn Directory as a brewer living on Dean Street, corner of Franklin Avenue. Over the next ten years he was listed at several different Brooklyn addresses and  always with the occupation “brewer.” Then, according to his June 2, 1890 obituary in the New York Evening World, sometime in the late 1870’s he established his own brewery.

Mr. Munch purchased the old Armory on Cobb Hill, corner of Vernon and Sumner Avenues, Brooklyn, less than fifteen years ago, and by perseverance, energy and strict attention to business, succeeded so greatly that in a few years he purchased a couple acres of land and erected a mammoth brewery with a yearly output of 50,000 barrels of beer.

Munch’s brewery was first listed at the Vernon and Sumner location, 283-299 Vernon Avenue, in the 1882 Brooklyn Directory and based on the following advertisement, printed in that directory, he was certainly up and running at that time.

The advertisement located the brewery on the block bounded by Vernon, Sumner, Myrtle and Lewis Avenues, where it remained until at least the early 1920’s. Munch ran the business until his death in 1890 at which time  the business incorporated and his son Frerdinand Munch, Jr., took over. Munch Jr.’s  June 14, 1897 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described his role in the brewery.

After leaving school he associated with his father in his business and when the latter died about seven years ago the present stock company was formed and young Munch was elected to the presidency of the corporation. He retired from active service in the business about a year ago on account of ill health.

Two of Munch Sr.’s other sons, William and Otto, were involved in the management of the brewery for several years after Munch Jr. retired. William was listed at the brewery address between 1897 and 1904 and Otto between 1901 and 1904. During some, if not all of this period, William served as president and Otto secretary of the corporation.

Beginning in 1905 the directories don’t associate any Munch sons with the Brewery so its not clear who was running the business. By 1913 – 1914 the family was not directly involved. That year Brooklyn’s Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed: Ernest F. Dissler, president; Robert Weigel, secretary and William Muller, treasurer.

In late 1915, the company began construction of a new bottling plant. The announcement was included in the December 15, 1915 edition of “Ice & Refrigeration.”

The Ferdinand Munch Brewing Co., 277 Vernon Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., have let contracts for the erection of a new bottling house to cost $10,000.

In February, 1917 the bottling plant was listed in the NYC telephone book under a new company name, the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc. Its address of 1022 Myrtle Avenue appears to have been located within the same block as the main plant on the corner of Myrtle and Sumner Avenues. That year, the Ferdinand Munch Brewery was listed in the same directory with the Vernon Avenue address but one year later, in 1918, only the Bottling Department was listed.

In 1919 the business was purchased by Edward B. Hittleman, a long time employee of the brewery. According to his April 6, 1951 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Coming to the United States shortly after the turn of the century, Mr. Hittleman went to work at the Ferdinand Munch Brewery in this borough as a clerk. He became general manager and in 1919 purchased the company and became sole owner.

Brooklyn’s 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Hittleman as the president and treasurer of the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc.

Some time in the mid-1920’s it appears that Hittleman had acquired portions of the old Otto Huber Brewery, originally calling it the Hittleman Golden Rod Brewery and later, the Edelbrau Brewery. Information on the brewery prior to the acquisition by Hittleman is presented in another post on this site entitled: Otto Huber Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

During this time the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc. continued to be listed, initially at 1022 Myrtle Avenue and later at several different Brooklyn addresses including 13 Wycoff Avenue (early 1920’s) and later at 92 Stanwix Street.

Sometime in 1927 the company name changed again, this time to the Munch Brewery, Inc., and in the 1928 Brooklyn telephone book their address was listed as 1 Bushwick Place, the address of the old Otto Huber Brewery. This June 13, 1927 Bridgeport (Connecticut) Telegram advertisement for their near beer was the first one I could find that exhibited the new name and location.

The 1928 phone book also listed the Hittleman Brewery at the same address so it seems that by then, and possibly earlier, the operations of both companies had been consolidated at the old Otto Huber plant location. Nevertheless in 1933 they were still producing beer under both company names. The first advertisement shown below, referencing the Munch Brewery, was from the May 13, 1933 edition of the Palm Beach Post the second, mentioning Hittleman Golden Rod Brewery, is from the August 17, 1933 edition of the New York Daily News.

By this time, they were also marketing another brand called Edelbrau and as early as 1930 phone book listings included the Edelbrau Brewing Company at the 1 Bushwick Place address as well.

During much of the 1930’s the Munch Brewery and Hittleman Brewery along with the Edelbrau Brewing Company (sometimes Edelbrau Brewery) were all listed in the directories at the 1 Bushwick Place address. Then, sometime around 1940 the listings for Munch and Hittleman disappeared leaving just Edelbrau.

A November 10, 1941 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle featuring the Edelbrau Brewery described the operation at that time as well as it’s featured brand “Edelbrau.”

(Dating back to the Otto Huber days) The plant was originally established at its present site in 1861. Today it employs 250 workers in a modern eight-story building several hundred thousand square feet in area.

The brand name Edelbrau came into existence in 1928. This year (1941), in order to simplify pronunciation, it was changed to Edelbrew. The beer is marketed throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, including exports to foreign countries in the Americas, Central and South America, Asia and Africa.

Extensive improvements and extensions to the brewery proper and bottling plant have been made and are still continuing. Since 1928 there has been a tremendous increase in sales in the Edelbrau plant.

The Edelbrau Brewery incorporates several square blocks on Meserole St., Bushwick Place, Montrose Ave. and Waterbury St., several distribution stations throughout the Metropolitan area, plus warehouses outside the brewery…

Edelbrau has just installed more modern machinery as part of its expansion, capable of bottling 300 bottles a minute per unit. Previously hops were purchased abroad, but today they are grown in New York and rank with the finest crops.

In the past year Edelbrau has exported a great deal of beer abroad for use by the British army in Egypt and the Near East.

The article went on to describe one of their marketing strategies relating to bottle size.

According to E. B. Hittleman, president of Edelbrau, the brewery was the first in the United States to to introduce the solo bottle which contains a single glass of beer. The brewery was also a pioneer in marketing the half-gallon jug of beer. It is now producing the largest and smallest container of beer in the United States.

According to this July 13, 1943 advertisement in the New York Daily News, they referred to their solo bottles as “Steinies.”

The Edelbrau Brewery closed shortly after Edward Hittleman’s death in April, 1951, but in the early 1940’s he was still making improvements to his plant. In conjunction with one set of improvements he was making in 1942 a warehouse associated with the brewery was targeted for demolition. The building ultimately made a little history when it  was scrapped along with a 41-mile section of railroad and an unfinished/bankrupt 22-story skyscraper and contributed to the war effort. According to one newspaper account that appeared all over the country:

Picture a skyscraper hurtling across the Atlantic, Berlin bound…a railroad winging over the Pacific, headed for Tokyo…Crazy Dream?

No, just part of what the Nation’s biggest city is getting ready to throw at the Axis in the form of bombs and bullets, tanks and planes.

Uncle Sam said: “The steel mills need scrap, 17,000,000 tons of it, in order to continue producing for the war.”

New York said: “Count on us to do our part”

…Over in Brooklyn, Edward Hittleman, president of the Edelbrew Brewery, decided to turn in $100,000 worth of brewery equipment – great copper kettles, metal insulated tanks and other pieces used in the past as spare parts. Together with structural steel from a five-story warehouse which Hittleman is tearing down, the brewery’s metal will total 175 tons.

The skyscraper, railroad and brewery are only a few of the big things New York will hurl at Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini.

A staged photograph commemorating his contribution appeared in the October 1, 1942 edition of the New York Daily News.

What became of the original Munch Brewery on Vernon Avenue is unclear but today the block accommodates a large 1950’s era apartment building under the control of the New York City Housing Authority.

I found two bottles with identical embossing. One is aqua and export style the other brown and champagne style. Both are machine-made. They most likely date between 1917 and 1927 when the embossed company name “Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc.” appeared in the directories. I’ve also found a machine-made, export style Hittleman bottle that probably dates between 1925 and 1940.

    

The bottles all exhibit similar characteristics including a large single letter on the neck that represents the company name.