R A Bachia
R. A. Bachia & Co. Manufacturers of Fine Havana Cigars, 43 W. 16th St. (2003)

Richard A. Bachia (1857-1930) was the second of three generations with this same name. The first Richard A. Bachia served in the Union army in the Civil War. He enlisted as a lieutenant colonel in 1861 at the age of 38 and received a commission in Company S, 87th Infantry Regiment, New York, on 27 Nov. 1861. He was made a prisoner of war in August 1862 at Manassas, Va., paroled on 16 Sept. 1862, and discharged on 13 Oct. 1862. His widow, Mary E. Bachia, appears in the U S Census Veterans Schedules of 1890, living in Brooklyn with the following under Bachia's Disability Incurred: "Blood poisoning & chronic diarrhea. Came home on a/c of sickness."

The second Richard A. Bachia (1857-1930) began making FINE HAVANA CIGARS in 1884, and did not move into this building on 16th Street just off Sixth Avenue until 1913. The business closed in the early 1920s. This Richard Bachia appears in the 1870 US Census age 13 living with his mother, Mary E. Bachia, in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn. Ten years later, still living with mom in Brooklyn, Richard is described as "tobacco mer". He married Emily F. Reilly at the Church of the Nativity, Brooklyn, 26 Oct. 1890. His son was the third generation Richard Bachia, born Richard Augustus Bachia 6 Oct. 1897. When Richard Bachia Jr. (1897-1967) registered for the World War I draft, age 20, he was living in Bayshore, Suffolk County, N. Y. and was working as assistant manager at R. A. Bachia, 47 W. 16th St., NYC.

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Also visible clipped slightly on the left in this photo is the sign for The Globe Cloth Sponging Works. (Click here for somewhat clearer image.) "Cloth sponging" is a process defined in George E. Linton, The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, 4th revised and enlarged edition, 1973, as "A part-shrinkage, by dampening with a sponge ... given to woolen and worsted cloths ... before cutting to insure against a contraction of the material in the garment." Globe Cloth Sponging was originally Globe Cloth Examining, Sponging & Refinishing Works located at 156 Grand St. around 1901. They relocated to 39 Bond St. by 1903, then moved to 43 W. 16th in 1913. The business was a partnership between Solomon Brill and Abraham Vergesslich. They remained here on 16th St. until 1917/18. In 1918 Abraham David Vergesslich (born 18 August 1877) registered for the World War I draft, describing his employment as "Cloth Sponging, Self [employed], 132 West 14th St. NY."

The business in 1918 on 14th St. would have been the Royal Cloth Sponging Co., also known as the Royal Onyx Shrinking Works. Royal Cloth Sponging moved to 107 W. 25th St. in the early 1920s. By this time Abraham Vergesslich had changed his name to Abraham Fergess (sometimes spelled Ferges, or Ferger or even Fergus). He appears under this name in the 1930 US Census age 51 born Germany "Sponger Clothing," living at 390 Riverside Drive with his wife Rose and 2 daughters Evelyn and Jean. There is an Abraham Ferges in the Social Security Death Index born 15 Aug. 1879, died Feb. 1967, who may also be Abraham David Vergesslich...

Meanwhile, Sol Brill had left cloth sponging and become the owner of a string of motion picture theatres and the head of an investment concern, Meserole Securities Co. Brill's theatres began with a small nickelodeon called the Broadway Theatre at 700 Broadway, Brooklyn in 1904. "This was said to have been the first motion picture theatre in Brooklyn" (Quoting Brill's obituary in the New York Times, 27 Jan. 1932, p. 21). At the time of his death Sol Brill owned 15 theatres in the New York area. Brill's sister, Rose, was Mrs. Rose Fergess, Abraham Vergesslich's wife (after the name change), and Brill's wife was Sadie (i.e. Sarah) Vergesslich Brill (she died in 1960). She is listed in her death notice in the New York Times as the sister of Abraham Ferger.

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On the top right in the photo above is a sign for Bias Binding Co / Bias & / Straight Cut Fabrics (click for detail). This company was in business from around 1904 to 1972. Originally located on W. Houston St., they were at 43 W. 16th St. from 1914 to 1917. The founder was Albert W. Trischett (b. 10 Feb. 1866, d. 16 Dec. 1927). Prior to Bias Binding Albert W. Trischett was in business with his father, Robert Samuel Trischett, at 145 Elm St. Petitions in Bankruptcy (New York Times, 29 April 1904, p. 11) reported: "Albert W. Trischett, residing at 956 Teller Avenue, has filed a petition in bankruptcy individually and as surviving partner of the firm of R. S. Trischett & Son, formerly manufacturers of ribbons at 143 and 145 Elm Street, from 1887 to 1892, after which he carried on business alone as Trischett & Co. His total liabilities are $7,380, of which $6,164 is from debts and $1,216 individual debts. R. S. Trischett, the senior partner, is dead." Albert Trischett's father was in immigrant from Prussia and appears in the 1880 U. S. Census, living in Manhattan, with his wife, Rosa (born Hamburg), three daughters (ages 15 through 18) and son, Albert, age 14. Trischett père is listed as Samuel Trishet, age 54, and all of his children were born in New York. So he must have immigrated before 1862/63.

Albert Trischett had his own family, consisting of his wife, Clara Reichmann, and two sons, D. Jesse Trischett (1891-1929) and Samuel Seymour Trischett (1894-1944). Jesse Trischett followed his father into the business, but died a short two years after his father. Seymour Trischett went to medical school and practiced as a physician. However, he also worked at Bias Binding. He is listed as president of Seamless Bias Binding Co. (another name for the company from approximately 1930 to 1950) in Trow's 1933/34 New York City Directory. On his death in 1944 the employees of Bias Binding put a death notice in the New York Times (24 May 1944, p. 19) expressing sorrow at the passing of their employer and friend.

The name Bias Binding implies that the company manufactured a specific kind of fabric used for bindings in clothing manufacture. A binding in this sense is defined in the textile dictionary at Resil Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. as "A narrow fabric, woven, braided or knitted, used to protect, support, or improve the appearance of a seam or edge." This same website defines bias binding as "The process of making a product by cutting, woven, wide fabric at an oblique direction to warp and weft. 'True bias' is at an angle of 45° from both warp and weft. Most bias bindings are regularly spaced joins governed by the width of the original wide fabric, but if converted from tubular fabric, joins are avoided. Bias bindings do not fray and will stretch, and they are thus suitable for binding seams and conforming to curved contours."

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These obscure smudges at the bottom of the stack seem to read: Stillman & Stillman / Raincoats. The proprietors were Max Stillman and Jacob Stillman, raincoat manufacturers. The business was short-lived. They appear in the Manhattan telephone directory in 1912, and then in 1913 the New York Times announced a bankruptcy sale: "In the matter of Max Stillman and Jacob Stillman, individually and composing the firm of Stillman & Stillman, Bankrupts. Notice is hereby given that the personal property belonging to the estate of the above-named bankrupts, consisting of rubberized cloth for making raincoats, gents', misses', and ladies' raincoats, unfinished raincoats, office fixtures, machines, tables, safe, and a complete plant and equipment for the manufacture of raincoats will be sold at public auction ... at No. 43 West 16th Street, the Borough of Manhattan, City of New York, on the 28th day of August, 1913, at 10:30 in the forenoon of that day."

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