J. S. Blank
J. S. Blank & Co., 112 Madison Ave. at 30th St. (1987)

As of approximately 2002 J. S. Blank & Co. were located on the 7th floor at 112 Madison Ave., at the corner of 30th Street. They were manufacturing men's neckwear at this address since 1928. The business began in 1923 on East 30th St. In 1925 principals in the company were Joseph Sichel Blank (1878-1956), Moses Rosenberger (1873-?) and Max Schact. Joseph Blank appeared in the US Census of 1930 as age 51, born New York, "part owner neckwear factory," living at 124 Bay 28th St., Brooklyn, with his wife Julia 38, daughter Ruth 15, son Joseph Jr. 11, and mother Rosanne 78.

Joseph Blank's obituary appeared in the New York Times, 21 April 1956, reading, "Joseph S. Blank, a manufacturer of men's neckwear here for fifty-five years, died yesterday at his home, 55 Central Park West. He age was 77. Mr. Blank, a graduate of City College, founded J. S. Blank & Co. of 112 Madison Avenue in 1923. Previously he had been with the firm of Louis Auerbach, which was dissolved. Surviving are his widow, Julia; a son, Joseph S. Blank Jr.; a daughter, Mrs. Ruth Nusbaum of Hollywood, Fla.; a brother, Jesse; a sister, Mrs. Pauline Spencer, and three grandchildren."


To the left of J. S. Blank is Edgar S. Bibas / Cravats. Bibas (1872-1936) was involved in the neckwear business from as early as 1901, primarily with Bibas & Eisenstaedt (Abraham L. Eisenstaedt) from 1905 to 1910.

Edgar Bibas appears in the US Census of 1880 at the age of 8, living on E. 42nd St. with his father, Samuel Bibas 41, "importer of cigars," born Spain, mother Lea 35, sister Laura 6 and brother Percy 4. Bibas also appears in the 1920 US Census as age 47, manuf. neckwear, living at 645 West End Ave., and the 1930 US Census as age 58, manufacturer, neckwear, living at 322 Central Park West, New York City. Living with him in 1930 are his wife of 5 years, Alice Blanche Bibas, age 43, and V. H. Bibas, described as brother-in-law, age 45. (Actually V. H. Bibas is Edgar Bibas' brother, Vivian Herbert Bibas, born 25 Apr. 1881, New York City.)

A classified ad in the New York Times of Sept. 1, 1946 reads: "Opers, hemming, facing men's neckwr; hi rates, pleas cond. Edgar Bibas, 112 Mad Av."

When Bibas closed for business in 1955, Gimbels and Saks 34th St. both ran ads offering for sale the cream of the crop from "one of America's oldest and finest makers ... the Edgar Bibas Tie Company, famous for 90 years!"

The Bibas sign is a relatively recent one: Bibas moved to this address in the early 1930s. The company remained at this address until it closed in 1955.


There are a number of additional signs below Bibas and Blank on this wall (click for image) including:

Two signs down from Bibas Cravats, South Seas Trading Corp (click for detail). This sign is painted over an older sign, now unreadable. South Seas Trading was in the lingerie business. They imported goods from the Philippines and probably other parts of South East Asia. They began around 1932 and were located initially at 127 Madison Ave., then later here at 112 Madison Ave. from 1942 until the early 1950s. They were still listed in the Manhattan telephone directory in 2002 (at 152 Madison Ave.), but had dropped out by 2005.

Polk's 1933-34 New York City Directory listed Ovsay Lipetz (1894-1984) as proprietor of South Seas Trading Corp. He was an immigrant from Lithuania and registered for the World War II draft in 1942 when he was 47 years old, lived at 20 East 35th St., and was employed at South Seas Trading Co., 112 Madison Ave., New York City.

Polk's 1940 copartnership directory of New York City listed both Ovsay Lipetz and Elijah Lipetz as officers at South Seas. Elijah Lipetz (1896-1974) was probably Ovsay Lipetz's brother. He was an immigrant from Lithuania and registered for the World War II draft in 1942 when he was 46 years old, born 11 April 1896, Kovno, Russia (i.e., Kaunas, Lithuania), lived at 3990 Saxon Ave., the Bronx., and was employed at South Seas Trading Co., 112 Madison Ave., New York City.


Michael Addison & Bro. / Silk Underwear & Slips (click for detail). When Michael Adelstein (1890-?) registered for the World War I draft in 1917, he wrote "Changed to Addison" at the top of the form. He did, in fact, change his name to Michael Addison around this time. From around 1914 he was proprietor of the Paradise Undergarment Co. at 38 E. 21st St. and 24 W. 30th St. By 1919 Michael Addison is listed as president of Paradise Undergarment, silk underwear, at 49 W. 23rd St. The company name changed to Michael Addison & Bro. in 1924, and this company moved to 112 Madison Ave. a year later. The "Bro." was Michael Adelstein/Addison's brother, Samuel Adelstein (1898-?). Samuel Adelstein became sole proprietor around 1929 when the name changed again to Addison Underwear Co. Samuel Adelstein appears in the 1930 US Census, age 31, "Proprietor Silk Underwear," living with his wife Lillian 29 and son Michael 7 at 124 W. 79th St. Michael Addison appears, age 38, "Broker, Stocks", living at the same address with his wife Viola.

The Adelstein brothers were the sons of Hyman Adelstein (born Poland/Russia 1865, immigrated 1887), who for many years was a partner with Abraham Avrutine (born Russia 1866, immigrated 1890?) first in an iron foundry (from 1896 to 1913) and later as real estate brokers (1914 to 1930s). Abraham Avrutine, in turn, was the father of Samuel and Herman Avrutine, manufacturers of ladies' dresses at the National Garment Co. at 34-36 W. 32nd St.

Addison Underwear stayed in business on Madison Ave. until the late 1940s.


Just above Michael Addison and beneath Morton Weisman Headwear on the right is a sign for Mitchell Bros (click for image). Mitchell Bros. manufactured ladies underwear. The brothers were Robert Mitchell (1872-1953), Louis Mitchell (1880-1943), and Samuel Mitchell (1883-1967). All three were the sons of Wolf Mitchell (ca.1837-1919) and were born either in Mogilev, Belarus or Odessa, Ukraine. The Russian/Ukrainian name was Michlin. The family immigrated approx. 1891, and they are listed in the U. S. Census of 1900, living on Monroe St. downtown on the East Side. Robert and Louis are identified as soldiers and Samuel as a clerk. In 1903 Robert and Louis became naturalized citizens, when they were running a restaurant on West Broadway (near Thomas St.). The youngest brother, Samuel, seems to have become an underwear manufacturer first. He is listed in the New York city directory in 1905 as "underwear" at 49 Allen St. In the 1910 U. S. Census the three brothers all lived at 1812 Clinton Ave., Bronx, and all gave their occupations as "Manufacturers, Underwear." In 1920 Samuel Mitchell applied for a passport. Attached to the application was a letter signed by Louis Mitchell, Pres., Mitchell Bros., stating, "Our Mr. Samuel Mitchell is preparing to go to Cuba for the purpose of securing representation for our lines in Cuba." (Click for image of the Mitchell Bros. letterhead.) At that time Mitchell Bros. was located at 594 Broadway. They moved from 594 Broadway to 112 Madison Ave. in 1925. They were at this address only until 1927. The company stayed in business until around 1990.


This is the west wall of 112 Madison Ave., viewed from 30th Street. For signs on the south wall of this same building click here.

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