Simoniz and S & E Motor Hire, 520 W. 20th St. (2002)

These signs are on the back of the building at 520 W. 20th St., viewed here from 19th St. The sign to the right reads
S & E / Motor / Hire Corp. / 520 W. 20 St. / Commercial / Automobile / Rentors. Click here for clearer view.

S & E Motor Hire moved into their 20th Street location in 1925. Likely, this sign dates from around that time. The S in the company name was Albert Saxe and the E was either Walter Emanuel or George H. Engelhard (maybe both), who founded their car rental agency in 1923 in a garage on West 96th Street.

S & E Motor Hire left this location in the mid-1950s and went out of business a few years later. A photo by Percy Loomis Sperr dated 1932 in the New York Public Library's Digital Collections shows a sign for S & E Motor Hire on the 20th St. end of the building.

Simoniz is a cleaning and polishing wax developed in Chicago around 1910 by George Simons. It came in both paste and liquid form for "any painted, lacquered, enameled, or porcelain surface, as on automobiles, furniture and the like" (quoting Simoniz's trademark registration). It was marketed in New York from around 1922 by Simons Mfg. Co. at the Simoniz Service Station located at 215/17 West End Avenue. Click here for 1922 Simoniz ad. Somewhat later a Simoniz Co. was organized and the Simoniz Service Station moved up West End Ave. to 68th St. Click here for 1934 Simoniz ad.

Simoniz is still being sold. Visit for more of the history of this product.

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