Leonard Furniture
Leonard Furniture, 117 E. 24th St. between Park Ave. South and Lexington Ave. (2002)

The Leonard Furniture Co. located at 4130 Park Ave. at 175th St. in the Bronx, had a factory showroom in this building on E. 24th St. in the mid-1950s.

For an earlier (1988) image of Leonard Furniture click here. The sign seems to have changed very little in 14 years. The bleeding through of some earlier signs at the top has become perhaps a bit more prominent.

Above the Leonard sign one can read (dimly) "Fleischer & Co." (cut by the window), then right beneath, bleeding through the Leonard sign, "Human Hair Goods" (click here for close-up). In fact Joseph Fleischer (1879-1948), a dealer in hair goods was located here from around 1915 to some time in the 1930s. He appears in the US Censuses of 1920 and 1930 living at 170 Windsor Place, Brooklyn - in 1930 as Fleischer, Joseph, age 45, born Germany (immigrated 1905, naturalized 1913), Proprietor Beauty Parlor, with wife Josephine 45, daughter Doris 22, and son Paul 21. He registered for the World War II draft in 1942 still living at 170 Windsor Place, age 62, born 26 June 1879, Stanislau, Austria.

According to Fleischer's obituary in the New York Times (30 March 1948, p. 23): "Born in Vienna, he had lived in this country since coming here on his wedding trip in 1902. The son of a hairpiece manufacturer, Mr. Fleischer learned the trade under his father's instruction. His later years before crossing the ocean were spent in various similar establishments and as makeup man and hair stylist with two opera companies. In New York he started at Simonson's, a leading beauty and hair-dressing shop. Two years later he and two partners opened their own business, which Mr. Fleischer eventually took over."

At an early date (1909 to 1911) Fleischer was in business with a fellow Austrian immigrant, Samuel Bonat (1880-1949). Samuel Bonat immigrated in 1904 and became a naturalized citizen 11 April 1911. He was in business with his brother, Harry Bonat (1887-1949), as Samuel Bonat & Bro., importing beauty parlor supplies, from around 1913 into the 1940s. The Bonats were natives of Tarnow, Poland. After the death of the brothers the business (which had also been known as Bonat & Bonat Inc. and Bonat Permanent Waving Machine Co.) branched out even further into Bonat Inc., Bonat Export Corp. and Bonat Distributors Inc. In the early 1950s these operations moved to Paterson, N. J.

As of March 2004 successors to Joseph Fleischer continue in business (Wigs, Toupees & Hair Goods) at 14 E. 38th St.

Just below Joseph Fleischer's Human Hair Goods is another faded sign: Ball Engraving Co (click here for image). Ball Engraving were in business in New York from 1911 to 1978, and they were located here on E. 24th St. 1926 to 1941. This ad for Ball Engraving appeared in the New York Times Jan. 1950 when the company was located at 203 E. 12th St. George N. Ball (1872/73-1956) appears in the U. S. Census of 1910, age 29, living with his wife Edith at either a hotel or boarding house on E. 46th St. By 1920 they have their own home in Lynbrook, Nassau County, Long Island. Then in 1930 they are living in White Plains, Westchester County. The couple now have a daughter, Alice, age 9.

Also on this wall: Clay / Adams / Laboratory / Surgical / Supplies (click here for image). They were importers of surgical instruments and laboratory equipment. From 1916 until his death in 1935 this was an enterprise of Robert Louis Toplitz (ca1851-1935). Toplitz also ran a company called Frances Roberts Co. which dealt in hair goods. Born in Germany, Toplitz immigrated to San Francisco, Calif. in 1869. There he was engaged in the wholesale millinery business from around 1887 until the early 1900s. By 1910 he had relocated to New York, where he appears in the U. S. Census of that year, boarding at 142 W. 72nd St. with his wife, Frances. Frances Bouillon Toplitz (b. Detroit, Mich., 6 Feb. 1874, d. Los Angeles, Calif., 6 Nov. 1957) was awarded a medal by the French government in 1921 for services she rendered to the Refugee Bureau of the American Red Cross in World War I. Clay-Adams was located at 117 E. 24th St. from 1927 to 1931. Frances Roberts Co. was here at the same time, although they seem to have closed around 1929. The origin of the Clay-Adams name is obscure. Possibly there was a Mr. Clay and a Mr. Adams before Robert L. Toplitz became proprietor. The name Frances Roberts Co. is easier to figure out, these being taken from the Toplitzs' first names. In 1964 Clay-Adams became a division of Becton, Dickinson Co. (a medical technology company) Clay-Adams re-located to Parsippany, New Jersey around 1969/70. As of 2004 there was still a listing in the New York telephone directory for Clay Adams Division of Becton Dickinson Co. in Parsippany.

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