Carl Schultz CPMS (Central Park Mineral Springs), New York

schultz

Carl Schultz first began producing artificial mineral waters in 1862. At around this time, he met Thomas Walker who had invented the siphon bottle and they went into business together.

The business was initially called Schultz and Walker and was listed at 133 Fourth Avenue from 1864 to 1868 and 112 East 14th Street from 1868 to 1872. Around 1873 they began listing two addresses: 436 First Avenue and 860 Broadway and by 1877 they had dropped the Walker name and the business was renamed Carl H Schultz.

An full page advertisement in the 1876/1877 directory indicated that their factory was located at the First Avenue location. I assume that Broadway served as their retail location.

The factory remained at the First Avenue location through most of the 1920’s but it appears that their retail locations moved around. In the mid 1880’s they listed 76 University Place and a 1909 advertisement specified that orders be sent to 1129 Broadway.

Carl Schultz also operated a Mineral Springs Pavilion in Central Park at the north end of Sheep Meadow that opened in 1867.

schultz-cp-pavillion

An 1871 article in the New York Daily Herald described it this way:

THE MINERAL SPRINGS IN THE PARK

One of the most attractive features of the Park – in all things beautiful and attractive – is the Moresque structure that stands on a gently rising eminence within earshot of the Mall. It combines, with a rare picturesque of appearance, the attractive utility of furnishing to the thirsty pedestrian the very thing which on a hot and dusty day he looks around him to procure – namely, a drink at once refreshing, palatable and nonintoxicating. The Central Park mineral springs, under the care of Schultz and Walker, where all sorts of mineral waters are kept, make the feature of the Park, which all the visitors thereto feel bound to appreciate.

In addition to refreshment on a hot day, the mineral springs offered a cure for everything from indigestion to diabetes to rheumatism. According to a May 2, 1897 story in the New York Tribune:

Carl H. Schultz originated the plan of having in Central Park a place for the sale of mineral water to enable invalids to combine a mineral water cure with exercise in the open air. At the Springs the leading natural waters are kept on hand, and in addition there are the artificial waters, in the manufacture of which only distilled water is used. Many prefer the artificial mineral waters on account of their uniform composition, great effervescence and freedom from bacteria. Some of them contain more lithium carbonate than any natural lithia water contains. The following waters are recommended for invalids:

For indigestion – Carbonic water. For stomach, kidney and liver trouble – Double or quadruple Carlsbad, Marienbad, Kissingen. For catarrh – Obersalzbrunn, Seltzers, Kissingen. For diabetes – Ballin, double and quadruple Carlsbad. For gout and rheumatism – Lithia water, especially when mixed with Carlsbad or Vichy

If refreshment and mineral water cures were not enough, visits to the Mineral Springs could also reduce your weight.

Oh yes…and one more thing. It also made a good cocktail! “Why spoil wine and whiskey with inferior Mineral Water?”

schultz-ad

Carl Schultz died in 1897. The 1907, 1914 and 1919 Copartneship and Corporation Directories all list Rudolph and Walter Schultz as Directors of the Schultz Corporation, so it looks like the business remained in the family through at least 1919.

In 1929 The Schultz Corporation merged with Schoneberger and Noble (bottlers for the famous Dr. Brown’s Celery Tonic) and Brownie Corp. (makers of the Brownie Chocolate Drink) to form the American Beverage Corporation. Shortly afterwards the consolidated business opened a new plant in Brooklyn at 118 N 11th Street. An April 7, 1929 story in the Brooklyn Times Union announced the changes.

Concentration of the manufacturing operations of the American Beverage Corporation, which early this year acquired the Carl H. Schultz Corporation, Schoneberger & Noble, Inc., and the Brownie Corporation, all of New York, in a new plant in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, is announced by E. C. McCullough, president. One unit is now in operation, while the entire plant will be ready for the seasonal demand at the end of the month. ..

The new plant will provide manufacturing facilities for a gross business of $2,500,000 to $3,000.000 per year or about three times the volume done by the subsidiaries last year, while concentrating in one plant will materially reduce operating costs.

By the 1920’s the Central Park pavilion had become a soft drink and candy shop and in 1957 it was demolished. 440 First Avenue is within the current limits of the Bellevue Hospital complex and no longer exists.

I found two ten-pin soda bottles (8 oz) each with a tooled blob top finish. C-P-M-S (Central Park Mineral Springs) is embossed on both. I’ve also found a Dr. Brown’s Celry Tonic bottle embossed “One and Only One.”

  

 

H. Ressmeyer, 516 E 85th St., N.Y.

ressmeyer-1               ressmeyer-2

Henry Ressmeyer was a German immigrant who, according to 1910 census records arrived in the United States in 1886. It appears that he got his start in the New York City bottling industry sometime around the turn of the century.

At that time the 1901 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Henry Ressmeyer, along with Frederick Evers, as the proprietors of Evers and Ressmeyer, located at 987 Park Avenue. Both men were also listed individually as bottlers at the same address in NYC’s  general directory. They remained listed that way through 1904.

In 1906, the firm of Evers and Ressmeyer disappeared from the directories and Ressmeyer was listed individually as a bottler located at 234 East 84th Street. So it appears that Evers and Ressmeyer went their separate ways around that time. Shortly afterwards Ressmeyer moved both his business and residence to 514-516 East 85th Street, where he remained well into the 1930’s.

A bottler for the George Ehret Brewery, here he’s pictured with his wagon outside his 516 East 85th Street location.

Ressmeyer’s eldest son, John Frederick, apparently joined his father in business sometime  in the mid to late teens, changing the name of the business to Henry Ressmeyer & Son. (The 1920 census records listed both father and his 19 year old son’s occupation as “bottler.”)

At some point, the company also served as distributors for the Jacob Ruppert Brewery, as evidenced by the following advertising sign. Both the Ehret and Ruppert breweries were located within several blocks of Ressmeyer’s business so it makes sense that he was associated with them.

Ressmeyer remained in business during Prohibition, listed in the early 1930’s under the heading “bottlers of cereal and fruit beverages.”

It’s not clear if the company survived into the 1940’s. By then, census records from 1940 listed Henry Ressmeyer as the superintendent of an apartment house, living in the Bronx. John Frederick was still in the bottling business but included his occupation as simply “salesman.”

Today, 514 and 516 E 85th Street no longer exist. They have been replaced by a large apartment building at 510 E 85th St.

The bottle has the 516 E 85th Street address embossed on it dating it no earlier than 1908-1909 when the business moved to that location. It’s a champagne style beer with a tooled blob finish so it wasn’t manufactured too long after the move.

The great grandaughter of Henry Ressmeyer contacted me after reading the initial version of this post and was able to provide the photograph of Henry Ressmeyer next to his wagon, as well as the Jacob Ruppert beer sign both of which are now included in the post…Thanks Erika!

Pflug & Ackley, Hempstead, L.I.

 

 

The founders of Pflug & Ackley were Daniel Pflug and Henry E. Ackley. Pflug was a German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1880. Ackley was born in Lynbrook, New York and was a life-long Long Islander.

The company was apparently established in 1881. At that time, a news item published in the April 22, 1881 edition of the Roslyn (L. l.) News stated that Ackley had partnered with Pflug after leaving the bottling business of Elbert Matthews.

Alfred Matthews, former Keeper of the Town Poor House, has entered into partnership with Elbert Matthews in the lager beer and soda water business. Henry Ackley, foreman in Elbert Matthew’s establishment has entered into partnership with Pflug of Washington Square, in the same business. They have leased the Mearing building on Greenwich Street and moved it flush with the pavement.

The Hempstead section of the 1890 Lain’s Business Directory listed their address as 33 Greenwich. They would remain at that location as late as the early 1950’s.

In early advertisements, like this one published in the September 4, 1886 edition of the Roslyn News, they also referred to the operation as the Enterprise Bottling Company.

Apparently a small operation, the “Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of the State of New York in both 1899 and 1900 indicated the business had 6 employees during that time, all male.

Primarily a bottling operation, in the early years they also manufactured something called steamed beer, as evidenced by this June 22, 1889 item in the Roslyn News.

Pflug & Ackley of Hempstead, have added a steam engine to their bottling facilities. They are now prepared tp furnish parties promptly with their well-known steamed beer.

Later that year their steamed beer (two kinds?) was included in this October 12, 1889 Roslyn News advertisement.

According to Ackley’s obituary (provided by a family member who read an earlier version of this post), Pflug retired in 1903 and Ackley continued the business until 1909 when his two sons, William H. and Valentine assumed control.

A 1914 advertisement that appeared in several summertime editions of the Nassau Post indicated that by that time, in addition to mineral water and beer, the company was also bottling wine and liquors.

The same 1914 advertisement also included this photograph of their “Bottling Department and Sales Rooms in Hempstead L.I.”

An article under the Headline “Makes Good Beverages” in the December 17, 1925 edition of the Hempstead Sentinel provided a snapshot of the business at that time.

One of the oldest established firms in Hempstead is the Pflug and Ackley bottling works at the corner of Greenwich and Prospect Streets. The name has been synonymous with good beverages extending over nearly three generations. At the present time the business is managed by William H Ackley, who has a reputation for progressiveness.

Mr. Ackley keeps pace with all the newest methods, particularly those for the manufacture of the purest of products under the best sanitary conditions. He has recently installed machinery that has done away with much of the labor of human hands.

Mr. Ackley reports that although he is daily securing a large quantity of cider for the holidays there is such a demand for it that his delivery trucks are kept busy filling the orders of customers.

There was a P&A advertisement in the same December 17,1925 issue of the Hempstead Sentinel for Russet Apple Cider.

pa-ad

During the 1920’s the company was serving as the local Nassau County bottler for Ward’s “Orange (and Lemon) Crush as evidenced by a series of 1920 Brooklyn Daily Eagle” advertisements.

An August 16, 1929 advertisement in the Nassau Daily Review indicated that they served in a similar position for Schwepp’s Beverages as well. In fact, according to an August 11, 1933 advertisement in the Nassau Daily Review, by then they were handling “160 different items as distributors of various beverages.”

By the mid-1930’s the company had apparently changed its name to the Ackley Beverage Company. I’ve found shards of a bottle embossed Ackley Beverage Co, Hempstead NY on the base that includes a 1938 embossed date. The embossing is very similar to the Pflug & Ackley embossing.

33 Greenwich Street does not exist today nor can I find Prospect Street in Hempstead. The address would have been located near the intersection of Greenwich and Peninsula Blvd and was most likely acquired when Peninsula Boulevard was widened to its present configuration.

This business spanned the conversion from mouth blown to machine made bottles and I’ve found both types. Mouth blown ones include two blob tops,  a champagne style beer (12 oz) and a large 27 oz, and several 8 oz tooled crowns, one embossed with the year 1917, another with 1918 and still another with 1919. The dates appear within the slug plate, right below the trade mark.

Machine made finds include a 27 oz bottle embossed with the year 1926 and a 6 oz Orange Crush. The Orange Crush bottle has the P&A monogram and “Hempstead,”embossed on the base.

I’ve also found a small 6 oz machine made bottle embossed “Ackley Beverages Hempstead NY” that probably dates to the late 1930’s or early 1940’s.

On a final note, a Pflug and Ackley weather vane was recently offered for sale on the internet. It could actually be a portion of the one visible in the photograph of their bottling department and sales room.

 

Pichel & Schwab, 174 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.

pichel        

The business of Pichel and Schwab was first listed in the Brooklyn directories around 1897 as “liquors” at 174 Bedford Avenue. They are not listed in 1895. The business was listed in the various Brooklyn Directories up through 1920.  Most listings labeled them as either “liquors” or “wine merchants.”

1900 census records list Adolph Pichel, Jacob Schwab and his son Daniel, all living at 174 Bedford Avenue, so it appears they were the founders of the business.

Up through 1907 the business listed a single address at 174 Bedford Avenue, then in 1909 they added a second location at 1351 Fulton Street. Both of these addresses were listed between 1909 and 1914. The directory classifications generally labeled the Bedford Avenue location as “wholesale liquors” or “wine merchants.” The Fulton Street location was simply labeled liquors so it was probably the retail store.

The 1910 census records showed Adolph Pichel living on Bedford Ave and Daniel Schwab living on Fulton Street. Based on this I assume it was a relatively small operation with each living at or above one of the stores.

Over the years, they occasionally  listed other addresses as well including: Metropolitan Ave., corner of Graham and 48 Sumpter. I assume these were also retail locations.

In 1915 they dropped the Bedford Avenue address and just listed the single location on Fulton Street. By 1920 the business had moved to 278 Ralph Avenue, also in Brooklyn.

The business was almost certainly a victim of National Prohibition. The February, 1920 telephone book listed Pichel & Schwab, liquors, at 278 Ralph Avenue. Three months later, in the May listings, the business name had  changed to Pichel Products and 1920 census records listed Adolph Pichel’s occupation as “wholesale merchant – candy.”

Daniel Schwab was also included in the 1920 census with no occupation. By 1930 he was in the oil business

One of the products they were associated with was King David’s Monogram Whiskey. A Pichel and Schwab shot glass, exhibited on e-bay, advertised both the Bedford Avenue and Fulton Street addresses.

The building at 174 Bedford has recently been razed. In 2015 a new building was under construction there.

The bottle I found looks like a pretty common champagne style beer bottle. Based on the above research, it may have contained wine or at some point they also bottled beer. The bottle has a tooled blob finish (12 oz) embossed with the Bedford Ave address.

 

John Mullin, Far Rockaway, L.I.

mullin

John Mullin started in business prior to 1890 and continued into the first decade of the 1900’s. A small operation, his listing in the 1898 New York State Factory Inspectors Report indicated that he had 5 employees.

The business was listed in the 1890 Lain’s Business Directory of Brooklyn (Far Rockaway), White n. Mott Ave. The business was also listed under bottlers of lager beer, White n. Cornaga Ave, Far Rockaway in the 1899 and 1903 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens. He was not listed in the 1907 Trow Business Directory for the Borough of Queens.

He was also listed in the New York State Liquor Tax Holder Directory for 1898.

The 1903 business directory had an expanded advertisement stating “John Mullin Agent for James Everard’s Canada Malt Lager Beer and David Stevenson’s Brewing Co, Also Everard’s Ales and Porter. White near Cornaga, Far Rockaway”.

mullin-ad

According to the 1900 Census data he and his wife Mary also ran a boarding house on White Street in Far Rockaway.

White Street’s name has subsequently been changed to Beach 21st Street. Both locations listed above are on Beach 21st Street between Mott and Cornaga so they are most likely one and the same. Today, much of this block is vacant though there are some older buildings near Mott Ave.

All four bottles found are champagne style beers with tooled blob tops. The slug plate refers to Far Rockaway Long Island. This would indicate they were made in 1898 (the year Far Rockaway became part of NYC) or earlier. This makes sense as he was in business going back to at least 1890.

 

H. C. Muller, Far Rockaway, L.I.

The H stands for Henry C. Muller.

The business of Henry C. Muller was listed under bottlers of lager beer, Carlton Ave c. Guy, Far Rockaway in the 1899 and 1903 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens. He was also listed in the New York State Liquor Tax Holder Directory for 1898. The business was not listed in the 1890 Lain’s Directory for Brooklyn (Far Rockaway). Based on this information, the business likely started sometime in the mid  1890’s.

A small operation, the Report of The Factory Inspector for the State of New York, dated January 23, 1899, listed the business as having four employees

According to the November 15, 1903 issue of American Carbonator and American Bottler:

H.C. Muller, Far Rockaway, NY, makes high grade beverages and has many customers.”

The October 15,1904 issue of American Carbonator and American Bottler reported that H.C. Muller had sold his business to Henry Lutgens, however the deal must have fallen through because a month later, in the November 15th issue of the same magazine, there’s a letter to the editor stating that Muller was out of business and that the magazine should be sent to James VanBrunt.

It should be noted that in subsequent years VanBrunt was listed as a bottler with the same address as Muller. Van Brunt’s business is covered in another post on this site.  J. H. VanBrunt, Far Rockaway, L. I.

Carlton has been renamed Nameoke Avenue and Guy has been renamed Augustina Avenue. An old frame building on the northwest corner of Guy (now Augustina) that was recently demolished might have once accommodated the business. It’s now a vacant lot.

The single bottle found is a champagne style with a tooled blob top. It fits the 1890’s to early 1900’s time frame of the business.

 

E Matthews/E Matthews Sons, Hempstead, L I

matthews

According to the “History of Long Island” dated 1903, Elbert Matthews was a life-long resident of Hempstead. At the time of his death in 1891, he was proprietor of the Long Island Hotel and ran a business bottling soda and mineral waters. He ran the hotel for twenty years (dating it to 1871), but the story is not clear on how long he had the bottling business. The 1880 census lists Matthews as a manufacturer of soda water so it probably dates to the 1870’s as well. His widow managed the businesses from the time of his death until 1899 when two of his sons, Irvin A and Charles Seaman purchased it and changed the name to E Matthews Sons. As of 1903 the sons continued to run the business.

An article in the December 7, 1892 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle adds to this information:

Mary Matthews is the widow of the late Elbert Matthews whose success in the bottling of mineral waters brought him a fortune and an extended acquaintence in Queens County. Mr. Matthews died a year ago leaving his property to his wife. His real estate included the bottling establishment and the Long Island Hotel, a well-known hostelry in Hempstead Village. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Matthews employed a superintendent to run the bottling business and also concluded to run the hotel with the assistance of a hired man.

The August 1, 1947 issue of the “Nassau Daily Review Star” made mention of Matthews saying that at some point they took on a brewery agency and sold to all sections of Hempstead and North Hempstead. Takeover of the brewery agency had to occur prior to the sons purchasing the business in 1899 because I’ve found bottles embossed lager beer both prior to and after the name change.

The presence of the business in the brewing industry was confirmed by an advertisement in a 1906 edition of the Hempstead Sentinel. The advertisement stated that they were the sole agent and bottler (I assume in Hempstead) for S. Liebman’s Sons Light and Dark Lager Beers, Piel Bros., Anheuser Busch, Pabst Milwaukee and S. Liebman’s Sons Teutonic. The advertisement also stated that they were bottlers for all kinds of mineral water and dealers in all kinds of liquors. This advertisement is the first and only time I’ve seen the name “Nassau Bottling Company” associated with the business.

It’s not clear when the business ended, however in the 1910 census records neither son mentioned bottling as an occupation. In fact, both sons listed their occupation as “trucking.”

In the 1890 Lain’s Business Directory under Hempstead, E Matthews was listed under bottler, Main c. Centre and under hotel at 57 Main Street. The Hempstead Public Library has several historic photographs of the hotel, some after the blizzard of 1888. It was a three-story wood frame building not much bigger than a house with a canopy extending out over the sidewalk. According to the 1903 History of Long Island, “the object of the hotel was to maintain a cozy, home-like hostelery for the accommodation of the traveling public and for those who seek quiet and pleasant surroundings”.

Matthews may not have been the totally upstanding citizen that the Long Island History piece suggests. A June 14, 1889 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

The case of the people against Elbert Matthews of Rockville Centre, charged with selling liquor on Sundays, was tried for a third time yesterday before Justice DeMott, the jury for the third time disagreeing.

A total of five bottles have been found, all different styles:

  1. A Hutchinson embossed E Matthews.
  2. A champagne style (12 oz) with an applied blob finish embossed E Matthews, Lager Beer on a slug plate.
  3. A champagne style (12 oz) with a tooled blob finish embossed E Matthews, Lager Beer on a private mold.
  4. A champagne style (12 oz) with a tooled blob finish embossed E Matthews Sons, Lager Beer on a slug plate.
  5. A honey brown champagne style (12 oz) with a tooled crown finish embossed E Matthews Sons on a slug plate.

The first three date to before the sons took over the business so they’re pre-1898. The first two are probably early 1890’s. The third was found together with the fourth so they probably date to right around the take over date; say 1897 (E Matthews)-1900 (E Matthews Sons). The fifth is a crown top and dates to the early 1900’s.

Obermeyer & Liebmann Bot’g Dept., New York City

The founders of Obermeyer & Liebmann were Joseph Liebmann and David Obermeyer, both of whom were sons-in- law of Samuel Liebmann, who founded the S Liebmann’s Sons brewery in 1855.

According to his April 5, 1895 obituary published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Joseph Liebmann was born in Wurtemberg, Germany on September 8, 1938. He came to this country in 1859 and was engaged in the dry goods business in New York. In 1861 he married his cousin Fanny, the youngest daughter of Samuel Liebmann of Brooklyn.

Seven years later he came to Brooklyn and together with his brother-in-law incorporated the firm of Obermeyer &  Liebmann, brewers, situated between Bushwick Avenue, Forrest and Bremen Streets. The plant has grown extensively and is now one of the largest breweries in the metropolis.

Joseph’s brother-in-law, David Obermeyer, according to his December 17, 1887 obituary in the Brooklyn Times Union, was born in Germany in 1825 and came to the United States in 1852.

In 1868 he associated himself with Mr. Liebmann in business and commenced the business as brewers and malters, which has since become so large.

The business was listed in the 1871 Brooklyn Directory with an address of Bremen, near Forest. Later directories would include the more formal address of 67 Bremen Street

After the deaths of the founding partners the business passed on to their sons Theodore Obermeyer and Henry Liebmann. The Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914 named Theodore Obermeyer Pres and Henry Liebmann VP. The 1922 edition  of the same directory listed the same officers but listed the address as 50 Stanwix. It should be noted that Bremen Street was renamed Stanwix Street so I assume that the actual location remained the same.

Obermeyer & Liebman incorporated in 1889. The NY Times reported on January 16, 1889:

The firm of Obermeyer and Liebmann was incorporated today with a capital of $300,000 to operate in New York and Brooklyn in the manufacture of malt and malt liquors. The trustees are Joseph Liebmann, Theodore Obermeyer and Henry Liebmann.

It appears that the company began bottling their beers at the brewery sometime in the mid to late 1890’s This legal notice dated February 8,1893 and found in the March 3, 1893 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle made no mention of bottles and stated:

Obermeyer and Liebmann do hereby certify that they are engaged in the manufacture of malt liquor for sale in butts, hogsheads, barrels, half barrels, casks, quarter casks, or kegs with their name or other private marks respectively branded or stamped thereon. That the following is a description of the name used and other private marks or marks branded and stamped or to be branded and stampedthereon, to wit:

OBERMEYER & LIEBMANN, BKLYN NY

That the county in which such malt liquor is manufactured is the County of Kings – Dated February 8, 1893.

Another notice, this one dated September 10, 1900 and published in the September 21 and September 28 editions of several Brooklyn newspapers, included their embossed markings on bottles:

On some of said bottles; OBERMEYER & LIEBMANNS BOTG. DEPT.” arranged in a circle, in the center whereof is a symbol representing the sun, and under said arrangement the words “NEW YORK CITY REGISTERED.” and on the opposite side of said bottles a monogram composed of the letters “OL”

Over the years I’ve have found several bottles with blob finishes that have included this exact embossing.

   

The bottling notice goes on to mention the embossing of several independent bottlers as well so it appears their beers were not bottled exclusively at the brewery.

Whether these bottlers were exclusive to Obermann & Liebmann or bottled the brands of other brewers as well is not clear.

A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” indicated that Obermeyer & Liebmann remained open at the start of Prohibition making cereal beverages, but apparently hit hard by National Prohibition, they auctioned off many if not all of their store front properties in 1923. A notice for one such auction was published in the May 8, 1923 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Ultimately, in 1924, Obermeyer and Liebmann merged with Samuel Liebmann’s original company, S Liebmann’s Sons, and the combined business was renamed Liebmann Breweries, Inc.  Liebman Breweries was the name listed in the NY Telephone Directory by 1924.

Information on Liebmann Breweries, Inc., after the merger, is included in the post on this site entitled “S. Liebmann Sons Brewing Co.”

S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co.

Over the years I’ve found quite a few Obermeyer and Liebmann bottles  embossed with a sunshine face. They are champagne style bottles with a tooled blob finish from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and tooled crowns from the 1900’s to 1910’s. The tooled crowns lack the “OL” on the back.

I’ve also found a tooled crown with the company name embossed in a triangular form.

Finally, I actually found a machine made blob top (only one of two I’ve ever seen from this era).

S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co., N.Y.

liebman

In 1854 Samuel Liebmann, an established brewer in his native Germany, arrived in the United States and for the next 90 years he and his heirs operated a successful brewery in Brooklyn, New York. Over that span the business was listed in the Brooklyn Directories under the following names:

  • 1858 to 1868 – Samuel, and later his sons, were listed individually as brewers
  • 1869 to 1871 – S. Liebmann & Sons
  • 1875 to 1887 – S Liebmann’s Sons
  • 1889 to 1922 – S Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co.
  • 1924 and later – Liebmann Breweries, Inc.

A September 25, 1909 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle provided a snapshot of first year or two of the business.

Samuel Liebmann, founder of the firm of S. Liebmann & Sons, brewers, came to the United States in 1854 from Ludwigsburg, Wurtemberg, Germany, and with his three sons Joseph, Henry and Charles rented a small brewery in Meserole Street. In 1855 Mr. Liebmann, finding his plant to small, opened a much larger brew house on Forest and Bremen Streets, and from his comparatively small beginning it grew so fast that today the establishment, with its great buildings, occupies four city blocks, making the plant the largest and most complete in the East.

A June 15, 1895 feature on S. Liebmann’s Sons published in the Brooklyn Times Union documented the company’s early growth mentioning that their annual output had grown from 1,200 barrels in 1855 to over 165,ooo barrels in 1894. Another feature on the brewery, this one in the May 23, 1907  edition of the Staunton (Va) Daily Leader stated that by then the output had more than doubled again to 400,000 barrels.

This pre-prohibition growth in output certainly coincided with expansion of the physical plant which was demonstrated by an advertisement printed in the May 19, 1912 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It included a map depicting the size of the brewery in 1912 and stated:

This drawing shows the great space now occupied by the S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery, Brooklyn. 58 years ago it occupied but one small building.

Another advertisement, this one in February of 1909, actually showed a picture of their plant at the time.

The business not only grew through physical expansion but also through acquisition as well. The most significant was the Claus Lipsius Brewing Company in 1902. The January 5 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported the acquisition like this:

Joseph Liebmann of the firm of S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Company, told an Eagle reporter Saturday morning that some of the members of his firm had bought all of the stock of the Claus-Lipsius Brewing Company, but that there would be no change in the management or in the operation of the Claus-Lipsius Company…

The Liebmann Brewing Company is on Forrest Street and the Claus Lipsius Company is on Bushwick Avenue. The two plants are among the largest in the east and each is well equipped with modern machinery housed in fireproof buildings.

From the start, the business was a family run operation. After Samuel passed away in 1872 his sons Joseph, Henry and Charles assumed control serving as president, vice president and treasurer respectively. The 1895 Times Union feature described the role of each brother.

The whole business, we understand, is divided into departments, of which one of the above named gentlemen is the head. All work together in complete harmony, and the phenomenal growth of the business, placing it among the leading enterprises of its kind in this country, must be ascribed to systematic arrangement. Joseph Liebmann possesses rare financial talent; Henry, as superintendent, has been a mainstay to this company. Charles, a shrewd, deep man, possesses remarkable talents as an engineer, and also as an architect. The three brothers together make a most remarkable combination, and each can fill the position of the other.

The Times Union story went on to say that their sons, David, Julius, Adolph and Samuel were also involved in the business at that time.

Julius and Adolph are practical brewers, having studied in Europe and in this country. David has given his attention to the office, and Samuel is acquiring the art of brewing.

By 1913 the Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens listed this third generation of Liebmann’s as officers of the company and by that time a fourth generation was also involved.

The 1895 Times Union feature referred to their bottling department as a “departure from their regular line of business pursued for so many years by this company,” and it went on to say that it “had more than satisfied expectations.” Based on this statement, I have to assume that the company began bottling their beer at the brewery no too long before the story was written, maybe sometime in the early 1890’s. As far as I can tell, newspaper advertisements for their brewery bottled beer began appearing in the fall of 1896 further justifying this assumption. The earliest ad I can find was published in the October 31, 1896 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The bottling department that in 1895 had “more than satisfied their expectations,” had, by the early 1900’s, become the largest beer bottling establishment in the East.

According to the 1908 feature in the Staunton Daily Leader, that year, of the 400,000 barrels produced by the brewery, “no less than 65,000 barrels were bottled in their own bottling establishment.” This picture of their bottling operation was published in the October 5, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Times Union story also mentioned the menu of beers and ales being brewed and marketed by S Liebmann Sons in the late 1800’s.

Three kinds of lager are manufactured by this company, Regular, Rheingold, Wurzburger. In ales, at present use, a stock ale and a porter. These are sold in New York State, New Jersey, New England, the South and Cuba with shipments to all parts in bottled goods. Particular attention is called to the “Teutonic,” a concentrated liquid extract of malt and hops. This was placed on the market in October, 1894.

Originally marketed for medicinal purposes, Teutonic was referred to as “A Valuable Substitute For Solid Food,” and “Recommended and Prescribed By All Leading Physicians.” in this December 19, 1896 advertisement found in  the publication “Brooklyn Life.”

How long Teutonic was on the market as a malt and hops extract is unclear but it apparently didn’t last too long. In April, 1909 Liebmann ran newspaper advertisements announcing that they were now selling their Wurzburger beer under the Teutonic name.

Advertisements that followed in May of 1909 referred to Rheingold and Teutonic as their pale and dark beers respectively.

According to a November 20, 1937 story in the Brooklyn Citizen, the company’s signature brand, Rheingold, was adopted as the brand name from one of the Wagnerian operas at a time when the music of the famous Richard Wagner enjoyed its greatest popularity in this country.

When exactly that was is not clear to me. A story in the June 27, 1893 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle talked about Liebmann’s exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, mentioning Rheingold specifically, so it dated back at least that far.

The Liebmanns have acquired, during long years of experience, a thorough knowledge of the tastes of the beer drinking public and have developed from this knowledge the two brands so widely associated with their name, their Wurzburger dark beer and the Rheingold, their pale table lager.

The article goes on to say that:

The Liebmann lager was awarded a premium at the Centennial, in Philadelphia, in 1876.

Based on this it’s clear that the lager beer itself dates back at least to the 1870’s, and likely as far back as the origins of the brewery in 1855.  However, at this point the story refers to the beer as the “Liebmann lager” so whether it was actually branded as Rheingold in 1876 is open to interpretation.

A 1912 photograph of Moeschle’s Cafe in Ridgewood Queens indicated Rheingold was well accepted as a brand by that time.

liebman-photo

During Prohibition, a June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” stated that S Liebmann’s Sons were making ice, cereal beverages, root beer and cider. One such cereal beverage they were marketing was N-A-B which they described in advertisements as:

A new beverage made from the choicest products of the farm.

     

References to the N.A.B. Department of the S. Liebmann Brewing Company appear as early as the April 23, 1918 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Another product they attempted to market was called “Scotch Brew” Their advertisements called it:

A malt and hops brew, made by a rare Scotch formula that dates back to 1740 – yet within the law!

The company actually ran promotions to try and stimulate sales. One set of promotions offered a free bottle of Scotch Brew to New Yorkers on specific days.

As Sir Harry’s guest you’re invited to drink a bottle of Good Old Scotch Brew FREE with your lunch or dinner. In the hotels, clubs and restaurants of NewYork on Wednesday, November 22nd.

Later, another advertisement offered a free bottle to anyone buying specific products from grocery stores and delicatessens on May 2, 1923.

Hit hard by National Prohibition as early as May of 1922 S Liebmann’s Sons began auctioning off their retail/saloon properties. A story in the May 21, 1922 issue of the New York Times introduced one such auction.

S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Company will dispose of twenty-two Brooklyn properties consisting of stores, business buildings, flats, tenements and vacant lots, including ten corners at auction on Tuesday evening, May 23, at 8 o’clock, in the Brooklyn Real Estate Exchange, 189 Montague Street., by the Jere Johnson Jr. Company, auctioneers.

This advertisement associated with the auction appeared in the newspapers as well.

At least two more auctions of similar size followed, one in January of 1923 and the other in June of 1923.

In 1924 S Liebmann’s Sons merged with “Obermeyer and Liebmann” under the name of Liebmann Breweries, Inc. Obermeyer and Liebmann was founded in 1868 by two sons-in-law of Samuel Liebmann and located literally across the street from S Liebmann’s Sons. Information on Obermeyer and Liebmann prior to the merger is contained in another post on this site.

Obermeyer Liebmann Botg Dept., New York City

After the merger, Liebmann Breweries, Inc. according to an article in the February 7, 1926 edition of the Brooklyn Standard Union, was still “engaged in the manufacture and sale of near beer exclusively for the bottle trade.”

Their new Liebmann Breweries, Inc. trademarks included  one with”Liebmann Breweries” written in a semi-circle (used on kegs) and another with a circled “L.” (used on boxes). According to the trademark notices printed in several May and June 1933 editions of Brooklyn  newspapers the first was in use by the applicant since April 1, 1924. The second, apparently post Prohibition, was in use since April 7, 1933.

  

By the time National Prohibition was nearing its end Liebman had positioned themselves well for the sale of real beer again by absorbing much of the competition. According to a March 29, 1933 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle they had absorbed many famous brands of beer and breweries including Welz & Zerwick, George Ehret’s, Beadleston & Woerz and the Krumenaker Bottling Works and some 30 other brands and that “they will now be bottled as Liebmann’s.”

The March 29 story went on to say that at the end of March they began bottling and storing the real thing prior to the legal sale date.

It is at Liebmann’s Brewery, at 36 Forest St., that the floodgates of beer have been unloosed. Blessed with particularly ample storage space, the Liebmann brewers halted the making of near-beer on Friday and began bottling the real thing – to the extent of 3.2 alcoholic percent – yesterday. And, said Thomas Buechner, chief of the sales and advertising staff, the bottling will continue and the beer will be stored, at the rate of something like 2,500,000 bottles a week until the law says that it may be sold.

This April 7, 1933 advertisement in the New York and surrounding area newspapers welcomed Rheingold back after Prohibition.

Look for this picture in store windows about town. It is the sign of good beer – better beer than you ever had before. And when you see it step right in. Place your order for Rheingold. Remember there’s going to be a landslide and delay may mean disappointment. We want no friend of Rheingold to miss the first real treat in 14 years. Watch for the Rheingold sign in your neighborhood. Then be prompt.

In 1937 the brewery claimed to be celebrating its 100 year anniversary. (To accomplish this feat they had to reach back to Samuel Liebmann’s days in Germany.) A story commemorating  the anniversary in the November 20, 1937 edition of The Brooklyn Citizen demonstrated that the brewery’s physical plant and annual output was continuing to grow.

Liebmann Breweries, Inc., is now celebrating its one hundredth anniversary, a full century having elapsed since Samuel Liebmann, master brewer, founded his own brewery in Schmiedelfeld Castle, Germany, in 1837…

Now with a capacity of 1,000,000 barrels per year, the present plant of Liebmann Breweries, Inc. occupies an area of six city blocks in the heart of Brooklyn, and the present Rheingold beer is now available all along the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida. In the Greater New York area alone, the company operates six of its own distributing depots…

Throughout the summer two complete eight-hour shifts man the Liebmann plant. Of the total sales at the present time about thirty percent is package goods.

The story went on to say that it was at that time that Liebmanns introduced Rheingold “Extra Dry.”

The event will be marked by the introduction of a new beer, to be known as Rheingold Extra Dry Lager.

The new brew, according to Thomas Liebmann, advertising manager of the company, is an answer to an ever increasing demand for a “dry” beer for those who prefer this kind of beverage to beer having a sweet taste.

A series of introductory advertisements for Rheingold Extra Dry began appearing in the newspapers in November and December of 1937. This one appeared in the December 9, 1937 edition of the New York Daily News.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the demand for Rheingold Extra Dry was fueled in part by one of the most famous and successful beer promotions of all time, the Miss Rheingold Contest. In the contest, which ran annually from 1940 to 1964, entrants would be pared down to six finalists by a group of celebrity judges. Here’s the 1948 finalists.

Then the public at large, voting in bars, grocery stores and delicatessens up and down the east coast, wherever Rheingold was sold, would select the winner who would then participate in their advertising campaign over the next year. Here’s 1948 winner, Pat Quinlan in an advertisement.

An item in the September 21, 1957 edition of the New Yorker magazine  provided a good indication of how successful this advertising campaign was.

In what American election is the greatest number of votes cast? The answer is, of course, the Presidential election. In what American election is the next-greatest number of votes cast? The answer is the annual Miss Rheingold contest. In 1956, the vote totaled just over 23 million, this year it promises to be even bigger.

The demand for Rheingold resulted in Liebmann Breweries acquiring the John Eichler Brewing Company in 1947. The Acquisition was reported in the May 29 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Liebmann Acquires Eichler Brewing

Liebmann Breweries Inc., has acquired the John Eichler Brewing Co. of New York, an acquisition that will bring the Liebmann Breweries capacity to an estimated 2,500,000 barrels a year, Liebmann Breweries, Inc., announces. Liebmann brews Rheingold extra dry beer.

The purchase, according to Julius Liebmann, president of the Liebmann company, was due to the difficulties which the company has had in completing its postwar expansion program. Due to building operation difficulties, jurisdictional strikes and inability to obtain essential equipment, the company has not been able to expand as rapidly as demand has warranted.

As a result, Mr, Liebmann said, the company decided to acquire new capacity by direct purchase. Eichler Brewing with a capacity of about 500,000 barrels a year, has one of the best and most modern plants in the country, he added. Liebmann has no plans for bringing a new beer on the market as a result of the expansion, but will concentrate on meeting consumer demand for Rheingold, he said.

In 1950 they acquired John F. Trommer’s Orange New Jersey plant telling much the same story in the the (Passaic N. J.) Herald-News.

…Liebmann’s will extensively renovate the brewery and use it to increase production of Rheingold.

In 1964, after 100 plus years and four generations of ownership, the family sold the business to Pepsi-Cola United Bottlers.  The New York Daily News reported the sale in their February 29, 1964 edition

Bottlers Buy Brewery

Pepsi-Cola United Bottlers, one of the country’s largest independent soft drink bottlers, said it had bought the 110-year-old Liebmann Breweries for $26 million. Bernard Relin, president of Pepsi-Cola United, said his company had signed contracts with “major stockholder groups” of Liebmann and also offered to purchase all other common shares of the Brooklyn brewery.

After the sale the company name was changed to Rheingold Breweries, Inc.

Over the next ten years competition from national brewers and the cost of doing business in New York was taking its toll on the business and by 1974 Pepsico was threatening to shut it down. The situation faced by the brewery at that time was summarized in New York Daily News story on January 7th.

Richard I. Ahern, president and chief executive officer of Rheingold, claims the company has little choice, due to the $8 million loss it sustained last year.

“Its an unfortunate fact,” Ahern said, “that the large national breweries with their out-of-area plants and lower operating costs can actually deliver beer in the New York metropolitan area at lower costs than we can and still make profits.”

Another company spokesman pointed out that the cost of operating in the city was simply too high. The cost, he said, included labor, the delivery of materials and every basic operating expense, even the cost of electricity.

On a side note it wasn’t just Rheingold dealing with these economic realities. The story went on to say that since 1948, 13 NYC breweries had closed their doors and at the time the story was written, only Rheingold and Schaefer were still operating within the city limits.

Chock Full ‘O Nuts Corporation ultimately bought the brewery in 1974 but two years later, according to an Associated Press story:

ended production at its 122-year-old Brooklyn plant and will now operate from its newer, more economical brewery in Orange N . J.

The Orange, New Jersey plant closed a year later in 1977.

I’ve found quite a few S Liebmann bottles over the years, all embossed S Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co, so they date between 1889 and 1924. They include tooled blobs from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and tooled crowns from the 1900’s to 1910’s.

This July 7, 1907 advertisement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle listed the locations where Liebmann’s beers were being sold on Long Island at that time. Based on the size of the list its no wonder these bottles are turning up here.

One tooled crown embossed with a circled “SLS” matches the trademark depicted in a series of advertisements circa 1909.

     

I’ve also found a Liebmann Breweries, Inc. export style bottle with the post prohibition, circled “L” trade mark. The embossing on the sides and base exactly matches the description from  a Liebmann bottle notice from the June, 1933 editions of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

   

A. Liebler Bottling Co., 402 & 404 W 126th St, N.Y.

liebler      liebler-1      liebler-2

The A stands for Anton Liebler. Joseph Liebler, presumably the son, was also heavily involved in the business.

The “History of Commerce of NY 1891” highlighted the A. Liebler Bottling Co as a representative business house of NY at that time and provided the following information.

The manufacture of ginger ale, soda water and kindred beverages and the bottling of beer constitute, as it is scarcely necessary to remark, an extensive and highly important branch of industry in this city. The growth of the business has been especially notable during the past decade or two, and a number of big concerns have come into existence within the period indicated. Among those referred to may be mentioned that of the A. Liebler Bottling Co., Nos. 402 and 404 W. 126th Street, near Ninth Avenue, and that which no establishment of the kind in New York is more widely or more favorably known. They are bottlers and exporters of D.G. Yuengling Jr.’s extra fine lager beer, also manufacturers of superior ginger ale, sarsaparilla, club soda water, etc. and their trade is exceedingly large. The concern is the largest and leading one in the line indicated in Harlem, the bottling capacity being fifteen thousand dozen per day and the beer is exported all over the world. The lager put up here is of distinctly superior quality, noted for its purity, choice flavor, tone and general excellence, while the other products, which are maintained at a uniformly high standard, are unsurpassed by anything of the kind made in the city. The flourishing enterprise was started in 1876, the business being conducted at the present location about six years, and from the first the venture has been a positive and permanent success, the demand for the goods growing apace. The works occupy a three-story brick structure, 75 x 100 feet in dimensions, and are perfectly equipped in every department. Sixty in help are employed, with twenty wagons in regular service supplying customers throughout New York and environs, the trade in soft drinks being principally confined to this city and the country surrounding for a distance of fifty miles. A very large and first-class stock is constantly kept on hand, and all orders receive prompt attention, while the very lowest possible prices are quoted, exceptional inducements being offered both the home and export trade. Mr. Liebler, who is the general manager, is a gentleman of middle age and a native of Germany, but a resident of this city over a quarter of a century. He is a man of energy and enterprise, and is one of Harlem’s solid citizens, being president of the West End Co-operative Building and Loan Association.

The NYC Directories confirm the company’s start date. Liebler was first listed in the 1876-1877 NYC Directory as Liebler, Anton, beer, Lawrence and 9th. Shortly thereafter he began his relationship with the D G Yuengling Brewing Company. In the 1880-81 directory his address was listed as West 128th Street, corner of 10th Avenue, which also happened to be the address of the Yuengling Brewery.

The business incorporated in September of 1887 as the A. Liebler Bottling Co., with capital of $150,000. The 1888 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Willian J. G. Yuengling as president and A. Liebler as treasurer. Around this time they began listing their address as 402 West 126th Street. A year later, the 1889 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed John J. Schmitt as president but the relationship with Yuengling continued.

An undated post card advertisement shows several young guys drinking Yeungling from a Liebler case, having fun and being caught and scolded by an older woman, apparently either a mother or neighbor. The advertisement would not work today!

liebler-ad

The 1895 and 1897 editions of Goodwin’s Official Turf Guide, a horse racing publication, contained a Yuengling advertisement that stated: “Bottled for Hotels, the Trade and Families by A. Liebler Bottling Co., 402 & 404 West 126th Street, New York.”

It’s not clear how long Liebler was the bottler for Yuengling but it appears that they may have parted ways around 1912. That year Schmitt was no longer listed with the business in the Copartnership and Corporation Directories and the business capital dropped from $150,000 to $35,000. Joseph Liebler was listed as president and Anton Liebler as secretary.

Ultimately the business was one of the firms that consolidated to form the New York Bottling Co., Inc. According to the January 15. 1915 issue of the American Bottler:

A consolidation of the following prominent New York City bottling concerns took place on April 1: A. Ludorff, S.A. Ludin & Co., (New York Bottling Co), W.E. Seitz & Co., John F. Hughs, Henry Kracke (Globe Mineral Water Co) and the A. Liebler Bottling Co. The new company is called the NY Bottling Co., Albert Ludorff is president and J. E. Ludin is Tres.

The A. Liebler Bottling Co. remained listed under their name until 1916, after which they disappeared from the directories. Anton Liebler passed away sometime prior to 1921.

Anton’s son Joseph relocated just north of New York City to Yonkers, N. Y., and continued in the bottling business. A 1917 issue of the American Bottler covered his move:

The quarter-of-a-century old business of M.J. Cantwell, Yonkers, has been sold by Mrs. Sarah Cantrell to J.A. Liebler of New York City. The sale took place a few days ago. The reason for Mrs. Cantwell selling out was that her son Michael J Cantwell, who has been managing the business since the death of his father three years ago, wished to go into the electrical contracting business. The firm will run under the same name, and the same quality of service rendered  under the old management will be carried out. Mr. Liebler has been in the bottling business for over 25 years, being at one time connected with his father’s firm, A. Liebler Bottling Company. It was through this firm that he formed many business relations in Yonkers, where he is now well known. Mr. Liebler will take up his residence there shortly.

Today most of the area in the vicinity of 402 and 404 W 126th St is vacant. Small, older structures do exist (with garage door openings and offices upstairs) with addresses of 400 and 412 W 126th Street. These buildings could have been used by the business at one time (there’s very little distance between the two buildings and it looks as though they were connected at some point).

As far as I can tell, Liebler lived across the street from the bottling plant in a building he owned at 405 West 126th Street. A January 6, 1921 item in the New York Herald mentioned that his estate sold the building at that time.

The bottle I found is a champagne style tooled blob (12 oz) with the A. Liebler Bottling Co embossing so it dates between 1887 and the early 1900’s (probably a Yeungling??). I’ve also seen pre 1887 bottles on the Internet embossed A Liebler & Co. I’ve never seen a crown finish.