Eckstein & Kass

Eckstein & Kass / Pollack & Feldman, 158 W. 29th St. (2003)

Eckstein & Kass were furriers, located here from 1918 to 1921. This ad for Eckstein & Kass appeared in Fairchild's Women's Wear Directory, July, 1919. The partnership started in 1913 and lasted until 1930. Mark Eckstein (1888-1977) was born in New York and appears in the 1900 US Census under the name Michael when 11 years old and living with his parents in Jersey City, NJ. At the time of the 1910 census he was now called Mark, age 21, and his occupation was listed as "salesman, fur." Nathan Kass (1889-?) was an immigrant from Russia (born Pinsk 5 Sept. 1889, immigrated c.1907). Both men registered for the World War I draft in 1917 when they were in business together at 31 W. 26th St.

After the demise of the partnership in 1930, Mark Epstein went into clothing manufacture with Irving Moskowitz as Moskowitz & Eckstein at 252 W 38th St. Nathan Kass stayed in the fur business, forming a new partnership with Harry Kass (1882-1967?) (probably his brother - they lived together at 850 E. 181st St., the Bronx in 1917). At the time of the US Census of 1930 Nathan Kass, Harry Kass and Mark Epstein all lived within a block of each other on Delamere Place (also known as E. 23d St.) in the Midwood section of Brooklyn just south of Brooklyn College.

Pollack & Feldman were Benjamin Pollack and Julius Feldman. Feldman was born 14 Dec. 1888 Pinsk, Minsk, Russia and immigrated to the US in 1906. Pollack & Feldman manufactured muff beds and other furrier's supplies. They were in business together from around 1915 to 1920, and they were located here at 158 W. 29th St. approx. 1918-1920. An unsigned article appearing in the New York Times 18 Sep. 1904 explains that muff beds "were not beds for the muffs to sleep on, but the soft feathery foundations for the fur to be sewed on." Then, quoting a manufacturer, the article explained that "muff beds are stuffed with various and sundry things that vary their cost. Some with tiny chicken feathers, some with rabbit hair, and some with down. The most expensive muff beds are stuffed with down."

At the top of this same wall are more readable signs: Click for image. These are:

(1) L & B Fur Co. The L and B were two Jacobs: Jacob W. Lipman (1878-?) and Jacob Biener (1890-1966). Lipman was born in Russia, immigrated c.1890, and had a company called J. Lipman & Co. "coats" on E. 8th St. by around 1906. Biener, usually called Jack Biener, was born in New York and appears in the U S Census of 1910 living with his father, mother and 5 brothers and sisters on East 116th St. Jack's age is listed as 21 and his occupation as "Commercial Traveller, Cloak Factory." His father is Louis Biener, an immigrant from Austria in 1886.

The two Jacobs first went into business together as Lipman & Biener c.1912. The business manufactured coats and suits and was located on East 11th St. near University Place. By 1917 this business had moved uptown to 32 E. 31st St. Around 1918 Lipman and Biener formed the L & B Fur Co. For two or three years both businesses existed concurrently at this same address. Then in 1922 L & B Fur Co. moved to the location of the sign above, 158 W. 29th St., and the cloak business shut down. L & B Fur stayed on W. 29th St. until 1926. They had a 7th Ave. address for a couple of years, then closed around 1929.

(2) Jacob Benjamin / Furs & Skins. Jacob Benjamin (1876-1971) started out on Bleecker St. around 1906. He was born in Russia, immigrated to the U. S. 1889/90, and became a naturalized citizen in 1904. He was located in a number of loft buildings in the garment area from the period 1917 to 1950, and had his business here at 158 W. 29th St. from 1921 to 1931.

(3) S & I Berger / Mfg Furriers. S & I Berger were Samuel Berger (1888-?) and Isidor Berger (1879-?). There is 9 years difference in age, but it is likely Samuel and Isidor were brothers. They both were born in Austria and immigrated 1902. Their partnership as manufacturing furriers began in 1920, and they were located at 158 W. 29th St. from 1921 to 1924. The business continued for many years after (until 1983). In 1936 the business name changed to S & H Berger, when Samuel's son, Harold Berger (1917-1983), replaced Isidor.

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