Westpfal Cutlery
Westpfal Cutlery - Tools, 107 W. 30th St. (2003)

The first listing for Westphal Frederick, cutlery, 181 E. Houston, in New York city directories came in 1876. The claim "Est. 1874" is quite possible, then. The trajectory that led from 181 East Houston Street in 1876 to 107 West 30th Street in 2003 involves several jumps and starts.

The sequence goes as follows: 1876 Frederick Westpfal, 181 E. Houston
1877Westpfal & Biehn, 181 E. Houston
1878Frederick Westpfal, 109 Rivington
1888Frederick Westpfal, 132 Essex
1901Frederick Westpfal, 194 E. Houston
1906F. Westpfal, 186 E. Houston
1915F. Westpfal, and Fredk. Westpfal & Bro., 186 E. Houston
1927F. Westpfal, and Fredk. Westpfal & Bro., 26 W. 31
1932F. Westpfal, and Fredk. Westpfal & Bro., 4 E. 32
1934Fredk. Westpfal & Bro., and Henry Westpfal & Co., 4 E. 32
1963Henry Westpfal & Co., 4 E. 32
1990Henry Westpfal & Co., 105 W. 30
2002Henry Westpfal & Co., 107 W. 30
2015Henry Westpfal & Co., 115 W. 25
noteThis last date is very approximate: somewhere between 2002 and 2015

The original Frederick Westpfal (ca.1843-1900) died age 59, 28 Sept. 1900, but his birthdate is uncertain. It is given as February, 1843, in the 1900 U. S. Census, but his naturalization petition dated 9 October 1876 gives his age at that time as 31 (1845) and also states that he emigrated from Germany in 1866, sailing from Hamburg, when he was 23 years old (1843).

The F. Westpfal recorded in the Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of the State of New York, For the Year Ending November 30, 1899, was a modest enterprise employing an average of 10 men whose work week consisted of 55 and 1/2 hours.

After the original Frederick Westpfal died in 1900, the business was carried on from that time by his widow, Louisa Westpfal (1853-1909?), and then four sons, Frederick Westpfal Jr. (1873-?), August Westpfal (1874-1934), Henry Westpfal (1876-?), and Albert Westpfal (1880-?).

All four of the Westpfal brothers registered for the World War I draft in 1918, but only Frederick and Henry Westpfal said that they were employed at Frederick Westpfal & Bro., 186 East Houston St. August Westpfal had his own business at 160 East 28th St., and Albert Westpfal was a commercial traveler for Wiebusch & Hilger, Ltd., at 110 Lafayette St. (Wiebusch & Hilger was a venerable New York hardware company founded by Frederick Wiebusch and Ernst Hilger in 1864.)

When August Westpfal died in 1934, his three brothers were all still alive. At this period of time Fredk. Westpfal & Bro. was located at 4 East 32nd Street, and consisted of Frederick Jr. and his brother, Henry Westpfal. Albert Westpfal had gone his own way. It seems that there was contention between the brothers. Women's Wear Daily, 5 Oct. 1933, for instance, reported, "Frederick Westpfal Co. filed suit yesterday in Supreme Court for an injunction to restrain Albert W. Westpfal from selling blades to fit standard fur knife handles that are alleged to be an imitation of blades made by the plaintiff bearing the name 'Evernu.' ..."

The generation that followed this second generation of Westpfals is difficult to sort out, particularly since given names like Frederick, Albert, August, Henry, etc. were repeated in the succeeding generations. Albert Westpfal was still alive in 1942, and had his own cutlery business at 155 W. 29th St., which means that he was not part of the succession that led to the business at 107 West 30th St. in 2003. Henry Westpfal appeared in the 1940 U. S. Census, age 63, living in Queens. He was the brother to Frederick Westpfal Jr. when Fredk. Westpfal & Bro. began in 1915. Also, presumably he lent his name to Henry Westpfal & Co. that began in 1934.

The current (2015) Westpfal shop on 25th St. sports a pair of scissors over the front window.

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