Carl Fischer
Carl Fischer Musical Instrument Co., 105 E. 16th St. off Union Square (1992)

Next to the Crown Coat Front sign is this sign for Carl Fischer Musical Instrument Co. (established 1872) and York Band Instrument Co. (established 1882).

Carl Fischer (1849-1923) immigrated from Germany as a young man and opened his music publishing business in 1872. His sons, Carl Jr. (18??-1912), Walter S. (1881-1946) and George (18??-1909), all joined the firm, but only Walter survived their father. He became a full partner in 1912 and president of the company for 23 years after Carl Sr.'s death.

On Carl Fischer's death the following brief notice appeared in the New York Times, 16 Feb. 1923, "Carl Fischer, nationally known music publisher and maker of musical instruments, died on Wednesday after a long illness at his home, 2,211 Broadway. He was 73 years old. As a young man Mr. Fischer came to this country from Germany and established his music publishing house in 1872. Until a month ago, in spite of his illness, he had been actively connected with with business. He left three daughters and one son, Walter, who was his partner."

A son-in-law, Frank Hayden Connor (1902-1977), became Walter Fischer's assistant in 1935, and then president after Walter Fischer's death in 1946. Under Frank Hayden Connor, Carl Fischer moved its uptown store on 57th Street into the former Chalif Building at 165 W. 57th St. (around 1947/48). This became the largest music store in New York (with its own concert hall) until it closed in 1959.

Frank Hayden Connor was succeeded by his son Walter Fischer Connor (1938-1996) in 1977, and Walter Connor was followed by F. Hayden Connor the great grandson of Carl Fischer, the founder.

The original business was located on East 4th St. Somewhat later they were on 4th Ave. (from 1880 to just after the turn of the century) and in a small building at 46-54 Cooper Square (until 1923). Click here for Carl Fischer ad from 1918. In 1923 Carl Fischer moved into their own 12-story landmark building at 56-62 Cooper Square where they remained until 1999.

In the 1930s Carl Fischer split effectively into two enterprises, Carl Fischer Musical Instrument Co. (dealing in musical instruments) and Carl Fischer Inc. (music publishing). The sign above refers to the musical instrument side of Carl Fischer. They were located here at 103 E. 16th St. for 20 years (approx. 1950 to 1970).

The York Band Instrument Co. began as J. W. York and Co. founded by James Warren York (1839-1927) in 1882 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Initially they imported musical instruments and sold them, then later (by around 1900) they began manufacturing their own instruments. The name was changed to York Band Instrument Co. in 1926. In 1940 the company was sold to Carl Fischer Musical Instrument Co. and became a subsidiary of Carl Fischer. In 1971 York was sold to Tolchin Musical Instruments and moved to Melville, N.Y.

For more of the history of the York Band Instrument Co. see John J. Swain's York research website.

This sign appears to date from the early 1950s.

As of 2008 Carl Fischer is still in business as music publishers, now located in the landmark Louis Sullivan building at 65 Bleecker St. Visit their web site at carlfischer.com. Their "About Us" page contains a summary of the company history.

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Beneath Carl Fischer on this wall is a sign reading Mogi Momonoi / & Co / Importers of / Japanese Goods (click for image). Mogi, Momonoi derived from an earlier business Mogi, Emanary & Co., importers, located in 1901 at 26 Beekman St. This company moved to 9-11 Barclay St., where around 1906 they became Mogi Momonoi & Co. The original Mogi was Kitaro Mogi, who lived in Yokohama, and was probably born ca. 1866. His name appears on numerous passenger lists of ships sailing from Yokohama to west coast ports like Seattle, San Francisco, and Vancouver between the years 1903 to 1921. The original Momonoi was Tatsuo Momonoi, again a citizen of Yokohama and probably born ca. 1868. He also traveled frequently across the Pacific Ocean to ports on the west coast between the years 1905 to 1928. Kitaro Mogi was succeeded in the business by his son, Kintaro Mogi (1889-?). Kintaro Mogi was of an age that required him to register for the World War I draft in 1917. He lived at the time at 563 W. 173rd St. and gave his employment as "Importer Mogi Momonoi & Co 105 E 16." The company moved from Barclay St. to E. 16th in 1915. They were here until 1931. For the next 10 years they had offices at 109 5th Ave. Tatsuo Momonoi is listed as president in Polk's New York City Directory dated 1933/34.

In 1920/21 Mogi Momonoi were described as "Importers of Silks, Art Linens, Handkerchiefs, Auto Scarfs, Hemp Braids, Buttons, Etc." In Jan. 1941 the New York Times (21 Jan. 1941, p. 37) reported, "Mogi, Momonoi & Co., Inc., importers of Japanese goods, will henceforth concentrate on pottery and earthenware on a case-lot basis and will eliminate lines of other merchandise it has carried ... The company plans to move from its present quarters at 109 Fifth Avenue to another location on the avenue around Twenty-ninth Street by the end of March." Whether this move took place is not known. The company was out of business in 1942 and they do not appear to have returned to New York after the war.

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An image dated 1933 on the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery shows that prior to Carl Fischer a sign painted in the same position contained the name MIZZY enclosed in a large oval (click for image). Mizzy were manufacturers of dental supplies. Mizzy himself was Albert David Mizzy (1883-1964), a native of Kyiv, Ukraine, who immigrated to the U. S. in 1900. In 1919 Albert Mizzy applied for a passport to travel on business for the firm of I. Stern & Co., manufacturers of dental gold specialties, as attested by the letterhead on their stationary (click for image). The letter was signed Isidor Stern, President, and states, "Mr. Albert D. Mizzy, secretary, treasurer and general manager of our company is authorized by us to sell and buy goods, establish agencies and secure agencies for us in Holland, Switzerland, France and England. We have known Mr. Mizzy since 1903 and he has held office with our company since 1912." There was also a dental supply side of I. Stern & Co. located at 1-3 Union Square West (click for letterhead at this address). Around 1923 Albert Mizzy seems to have bought out the dental supply side of the business and re-named it Mizzy Inc. In 1926 Mizzy Inc. moved to 105 E. 16th St. They were located here until 1944, and they stayed in business in New York until 1983. Albert Mizzy's son, Arnold Robert Mizzy (1911-1987), was the first husband of the actress, Gypsy Rose Lee. They were married in 1937 and divorced in 1941. In 1945 Robert Mizzy was involved in a lawsuit reported in the New York Times (7 Nov. 1945, p. 25). He was described there as "a dental equipment supplier."

I. Stern & Co. were founded by Isidor Stern (1862?-1943), who was born in Hungary and immigrated to the U. S. around 1866. He appears in the U. S. Census of 1910 living at 112 W. 116th St. with his wife, Jennie, 2 sons, Leo and Herbert, and 2 daughters, Amy and Helen. Stern is described as a manufacturer of dental supplies. By the 1920s I. Stern & Co. had split into two companies, I. Stern dealing in gold and other precious metals at 104-106 W. 116th St., and I. Stern Dental Supply on Union Square. Albert Mizzy seems to have bought out the dental supply side of the business, while Isidor Stern continued with the precious metals. Isidor Stern was succeeded in the business by his son, Herbert James Stern (1893-1984). (As an adult he usually used the name H. James Stern.) I. Stern & Co. stayed in business until around 1970. In its later years I. Stern & Co. was a subsidiary of Stern Metals Corp., producers of precious metal alloys for jewelry, dental and electronic applications. There was a also a Sterndent Corp. formed in 1965 that manufactured equipment such as dentist chairs in Mt. Vernon, NY. Sterndent was taken over in 1975 by the Dictaphone Corp.

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