Gustav Schoepfer, Taxidermist Supplies, and the Cottage Restaurant were both located in this building on West 32nd St.
Gustav Schoepfer (1891-1988) originally opened his business on E. 95th St. in Brooklyn in 1916/17. Schoepfer manufactured, exported and imported glass eyes and other items for toy makers, opticians and taxidermists. He also dealt in furriers' supplies and tools. Click here for Schoepfer ad from 1917. Interested parties were instructed to take the "Broadway-Carnarsie Elevated to Avenue L" in Brooklyn where they would find "Glass Eyes For All Purposes, Also Glass, Metal and Celluloid Beaks." The eyes were for milliners (you put them on ladies' hats?), dolls and stuffed toys. The beaks were for taxidermists.
Schoepfer opened his first store in Manhattan at 106 East 12th Street around 1921. He was located at 221 W. 33rd St. in 1923, at 49 W. 39th St. in 1924, and at 16 W. 36th St. in 1926. He was located here at 132 W. 32nd from 1931 until 1939. The sign, then, must date from the 1930s.
As of June, 2003, G. Schoepfer, Inc. still exists (in Cheshire, Conn.) as a major supplier of glass and acrylic eyes; optical goods and optometrists equipment and supplies. You can visit their website at Schoepfer Eyes (Manufacturing Glass and Plastic Eyes For Over 96 Years! (as of 2006)).
The first Cottage Restaurant (referred to as a 'tea room') was located on Lexington Ave. near Bloomingdale's (58th St.) from around 1924, consisting of George H. Rice, pres.; Irvin Forest, v-p; and Miriam F. Rice, sec-treas. George H. Rice was born in Mississippi and his wife, Miriam, in Louisiana. Their ages are given in the 1930 US Census as 29 and 28 respectively.
The Cottage Restaurant above opened at 132 W. 32nd St. in 1926 and stayed here until the early 1970s. This sign, like the Schoepfer beside it, likely dates from the 1930s.
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