Sweeney / Pioneer Braid
Sweeney Sign Printing Co. / Pioneer Braids, 251 W. 19th St. (2003)

At the top Sweeney Sign Painting Co. located here 1916 to 1920.

Sweeney was William J. Sweeney born in Ohio Oct. 1882. He appears in the US Census of 1900 age 17, living with his father, Patrick J. Sweeney, a railroad conductor, in Dayton, Ohio. William J. Sweeney's occupation is listed as "Stenographer - Typewriter." By 1907 Sweeney had opened his sign painting business in New York at 432 E. 71st St. This business moved in 1910 to 410 E. 32nd St., and then again in 1916 to 251 W. 19th St. Sweeney himself lived in East Orange, New Jersey from around 1915. The business evolved into the Sweeney Lithographing Co. located in downtown New York from around 1926 until the early 1950s.

Pioneer Braids had an office and factory in this building from around 1916 to 1927.

The founder and president of Pioneer Braids was Harry Adlman (1869/70 - ?). Four of Harry's sons also worked in the business: Louis Adlman (1891-?), Joseph Adlman (1892-?), William C. Adlman (1894-1964), and Herman Adlman (1896-1974). Harry Adlman immigrated from Russia in 1884 and listed himself as "proprietor braid shop" in the US Census of 1910. At that time all four sons were living with him at 50 Crown St., Meriden, Conn. The Pioneer Braid Manufacturing Co. is first listed in city directories in 1912 at 149 W. 24th St. The last listing is in the 1928 telephone directory at 1225 Broadway. Meanwhile, the Adlmans were variously involved with a number of additional braid manufacturing enterprises, notably New York Braid (Wm. Adlman in 1912 and Louis Adlman in 1920), Pocahontas Braid (Joseph Adlman in 1916), Nemo Braid (Wm. Adlman and Louis Adlman both around 1925), and Apollo Braid (Harry Adlman in 1925).

New York Braid preceded the others by many years, founded around 1890 by Joseph Haberman. Haberman appears in the US Census of 1880 as "Haberman, Joseph, age 30, born Butenheim, Fat Dealer." Haberman, in addition to NY Braid at 101 Thompson St., had a hides, skins and tallow business on W. 38th St. (then at a later date at 621-625 W. 40th St.). Around 1920 Haberman's son-in-law Irvin Lissner (1876-?) succeeded him as president of NY Braid, only to be succeeded himself within a couple of years by Herman Adlman and Louis Adlman. NY Braid seems to have closed around 1927.

The term "braids" as used in the name is used in the garment industry to refer to various forms of woven decoration or ornament added to a garment. George E. Linton, The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, 4th revised and enlarged edition, 1973, defines braid as "Any material made from textile fibers used for binding or trimming in widths up to three or four inches. Braid may be woven, round or tubular, or plaited flat."

This ad for Pioneer Braid Mfg. Co. appeared in Women's Wear, 3 July 1920, when they were located at 251 W. 19th st.

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