Hicksville Bottling Co., Hicksville, N. Y., “ROXY”

 

Long Island New York’s Hicksville Bottling Company had its roots with the mineral water business of a man named Edgar Davis. When Davis started the business is not clear, however, bottles produced for the Hicksville Bottling Company in the 1940’s and 1950’s include the phrase “Since 1873,” so it’s possible that it’s inception extended back that far.

 

A September 4, 1886 local newspaper story specifically referenced Edgar Davis as a bottler so it’s clear he was up and running by the mid 1880’s.

In 1894, brothers-in-law William F. Staude and Charles Fassbender purchased the business from Davis. The transaction was announced in the May 12, 1894 edition of a Huntington, New York newspaper called “The Long-Islander.”

William F. Staude of the Roadside Hotel and Charles Fassbender, collector for the Ulmer Brewing Company have bought out the mineral water business of Edgar Davis and have leased the old Pahde property where they will carry on a bottling business on a large scale. Both young men are sons in law of August Fleischbein, proprietor of the Grand Central Hotel and are well-known. We wish them success.

As far as I can tell their initial location was near the Hicksville train depot on the northeast corner of East Marie Street and Railroad Avenue. A map, circa 1914, confirmed their plant was located there by that time.

Not just associated with mineral water, this advertisement, published in the September 21, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union also labeled them as beer bottlers and wine and liquor dealers.

The advertisement specifically mentioned Ulmer Cabinet Beer. According to Fassbender’s April 12, 1922 obituary published in the Brooklyn Standard Union he worked for Brooklyn’s Ulmer Brewery from 1880 to 1920.

During his forty years connected with the Ulmer Brewing Company, Mr. Fassbender advanced himself from clerk to personal collector for Brooklyn and Long Island. He also handled a considerable portion of its real estate dealings with its various agencies.

So, it’s no surprise that the company not only bottled Ulmer beer, but almost certainly bottled it from the start in 1894. Recognizing that their father-in-law, August Fleischbein, owned Hicksville’s Grand Central Hotel including its 600 person capacity hall, it’s also likely they had an immediate market for their products.

Staude passed away in 1917 and Fassbender ultimately sold the business in 1921. The sale was reported in the August edition of the American Bottler.

HICKSVILLE BOTTLING PLANT CHANGES HANDS

The Hicksville Bottling Co., at Hicksville, Long Island, has been purchased by Jac. Friedman, who was formerly connected with the Christ Wagner Bottling Co., of Java Street, Brooklyn. Charles S. Fassbender was the former owner of the plant, which he had successfully conducted for a number of years.

Polish immigrants, the Friedman’s apparently operated the business as a family affair. In addition to Jac (Jak), 1930 census records indicate that Eli Friedman, likely his brother, as well as Jak’s two sons, Louis and William, were all involved in the business. Census records in 1940 continued to associate the Friedman’s with the business.

It was the Friedman’s who, during Prohibition, began utilizing the name “Roxy.” They trademarked the name in 1930, but their application indicated that it had been in use since July 1, 1926.

After Prohibition they were back in the beer business as evidenced by this May 26, 1937 advertisement in the New York Daily News listing them as a Brooklyn and Long Island distributor for the Fidelio Brewery. By then the company had apparently moved, listing their address as 10-2 Lenox Avenue in Hicksville.

Another advertisement, this one published in the March 17, 1939 edition of the Nassau Daily Review named them as a distributor for New York City’s John Eichler Brewing Company as well.

The company, as well as the Roxy brand, endured well into the 1950’s and possibly longer. As late as 1957, this July 21 New York Daily News advertisement listed “Roxy – dietetic” (halfway down the second column) as a beverage made with Sucaryl.

           

The bottle I found is machine made with the Hicksville Bottling Co. name embossed on the bottom. The name “Roxy” is embossed on both sides in a style matching the patented trademark.

      

The bottle was likely made in the late 1920’s or 1930’s, and certainly no earlier than July, 1926 when the trademark application declared it was first used.

The company also used the Roxy name on siphon bottles as evidenced by this item recently offered for sale on the internet.

 

Bay Shore Bottling Co., Bay Shore, L. I., N. Y.

This advertisement published in  several editions of Babylon’s South Side Signal between August and November, 1896 identified the Bayshore Bottling Company as a carbonated water manufacturer that produced mineral water, as well as soda, sarsaparilla, ginger ale and root beer.

They also bottled beer as evidenced by this July 7, 1907 advertisement published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that listed the company as a local bottler for Brooklyn’s S. Liebmann Sons brewery (3rd on the list).

A story published in the April 20, 1978 edition of the Islip Town Bulletin identified the proprietor as Lou Smith and listed the company’s location as the “northeast corner of Union Blvd and Fourth Avenue.” The story went on to describe the end of the business.

Lou Smith grew old, as we all do, and when his sons expressed no desire to continue the business, he sold it to Charles Mecklenberg along with the boarding house which went with the property. The year was 1919…

Upon purchasing the Bottling Plant a gas station was erected and a regular oil and kerosene depot emerged.

The story mentioned a boarding house associated with the property. Census records listed Lewis (sometimes Larvis, sometimes Louis) Smith’s  occupation as “hotel proprietor” in both 1900 and 1910. That being said, it’s almost certain that the hotel and bottling operations were connected (which was common back then) and operational from at least the mid 1890’s to 1919.

1870 Census records listed Lewis Smith’s mother, Caroline, with the occupation “selling liquors,” so it’s possible that the roots of the business date back much earlier than the 189o’s.

Courtesy of Google Earth, its evident that today the northeast corner of Union Boulevard and Fourth Avenue remains an operational gas station.

The bottle I found is the Hutchinson style with a tombstone slug plate that fits a late 1800’s to early 1900’s time frame.

Thanks to Howie Crawford, President of the Long Island Antique Bottle Association, for pointing me in the direction of the 1978 Islip Town Bulletin story.