Nassau Smelting & Refining Works derived from B. Lowenstein & Bro. located at 13th Avenue and 28th St. from around 1897. (The B was Benjamin Lowenstein and the brother was Moses Lowenstein.)
This advertisement from the New York Tribune, Jan. 1897, specifies B. Lowenstein and M. Lowenstein as proprietors. The business was recently relocated to the "foot 28th St. (North River)."
Benjamin Lowenstein (1863-1941) was born in Wallau near Wiesbaden, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1883. He founded his metal smelting and refining business at 4 Desbrosses St. shortly after arriving in the US.
The business moved to West 16th St. in the mid 1890s. Then in 1903 the address was West 29th St. between 11th and 13th Aves. (In the 1890s and 1900s 13th Ave. was a street that extended southeast from the bottom of 12th Ave. (which ended at 30th St.) down to around Gansevoort St. It met 11th Ave. at 14th St.)
Quoting the New York Times (August 17, 1941) obituary for Benjamin Lowenstein: "Between 1886 and 1890, when the Mergenthaler 'type impression' machine, forerunner of the modern linotype machine, was being introduced into this country, his company came into prominence by furnishing metal, known as 'Nassau linotype metal,' for the new device."
In 1900 Benjamin Lowenstein founded a second metal processing business, the Tottenville Copper Co. on Staten Island. He retired in 1931 when both companies merged with Western Electric. By 1941 both plants were operating on Staten Island as the Nassau Smelting and Refining Company. Inc.
The sign above likely dates from the period 1903 to 1906, when the company relocated to this corner of W. 29th St.
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