Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co., 136 Madison Ave. at 31st St. (2003)

In 1955 Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co. Inc. had factories in Thompsonville, Conn.; Summerville, Ga. and Amsterdam, NY. They sold "wool carpets and rugs, fibre rugs, tapestry carpets, axminster, velvet, wilton, punched jute, patent back & oriental types; also plain colored and figured broadloom & cotton rugs" (quoting Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers).

The Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co. came about as a merger of the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Co. and Stephen Sanford & Sons in 1929.

The Bigelow Carpet Co. was founded in 1849 by the brothers Erastus Bigelow (1814-1879) and Horatio Nelson Bigelow (1816-1868). The Bigelow brothers had formed the Clinton Co. in Lancaster, Mass. in 1838 to produce weaving looms, and the Bigelow Carpet Co. was an expansion from that business. Their first New York office was located in downtown Manhattan (51 Chambers St.) in 1866. They moved uptown to Fifth Ave. around 1900, then to Madison Ave. around 1915. It was about this time that they merged with the Hartford Carpet Co. to create the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Co.

The Hartford Carpet Co. (1854-1914) derived directly from the Thompsonville Carpet Manufacturing Co. of Thompsonville, Conn., whose carpet weaving mills passed down to the Bigelow-Hartford Co. (1914-1929) and to Bigelow-Sanford. Many of these mills still exist (as Bigelow Commons rental housing), and a prominent Bigelow sign graces one of them (as of Nov. 2003) looking west out over the railroad tracks and the Connecticut River. In 1895 The Hartford Carpet Co. erected its own building for its New York office at 41 Union Square West. An obscure sign on the south wall of this building reads Hartford Building, and may very well be the oldest painted sign on this web site, since it was probably painted the year the building opened, 1895. (For entrance signs on the Hartford Building see 17th Street.)

This advertisement for the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Co. appeared in the American Wool and Cotton Reporter, March 1919. In 1919 Bigelow-Hartford's New York office was located at 25 Madison Ave. The established date, 1825, refers to the Thompsonville Carpet Co., established in 1828 by Orrin Thompson in Enfield, Connecticut.

Stephen Sanford & Sons derived from a carpet manufacturing plant founded by John Sanford (1803-1857) in Amsterdam, N.Y. in 1844. This factory was destroyed by fire in 1849. John Sanford's son, Stephen Sanford (1826-1913), rebuilt the business. Then in the 1870s he was joined by his two sons, John Sanford (1851-1939) and William C. Sanford to form Stephen Sanford & Sons. Both of the John Sanfords as well as Stephen Sanford were elected to the US Congress, and all three biographies appear in the Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949. In 1890 Stephen Sanford & Sons' New York City outlet was located downtown at 364 Broadway. They moved to 29 Union Square around 1900, then to Fifth Ave. a few years later.

The Bigelow-Sanford entry in Sweet’s Architectural Catalogues, 1933, reads, Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co., Inc. / Since 1825 - Weavers of Carpets and Rugs to Contract Specifications and for the Home / Main sales office 136 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y. The service offered you by Bigelow-Sanford’s Contract Department is complete. Starting from the time when a building is in the blue-print stage, it follows through to the laying of carpets or rugs on the floors. This comprehensive service to architects, builders and decorators is yours to call upon. You may use it in whole or in part. Get in touch with any of the above branches whose personnel is trained to work with architects and builders on all carpeting questions. The Bigelow Weavers logo is included in the article.

In 1955 Harvard University Press published a history of the Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co. titled Broadlooms and Businessmen by John S. Ewing and Nancy P. Norton. This is an excellent source for information on the early years of the carpet industry in the US.

These signs are on the back of 136 Madison Ave. - i.e., on the west wall along 31st St. Bigelow-Sanford was located here from 1932 until the mid-1970s. At the top is the company trademark in gold on royal blue showing two hands tying a weaver's knot with the words "Woven by the Bigelow Weavers."


Three signs up from Bigelow-Sanford is a sign for Bailey Green / & Elger / Buttons (click for detail). Bailey, Green & Elger were importers of buttons and novelties. They were located here at 136 Madison Ave. from 1925 to 1969. Bailey was Ezra B. Bailey (1856-1929), born Connecticut, lived in Mt. Vernon, NY from at least 1900 until his death in 1929. Green was Samuel Green (1861-1916). Green seems to have originated the business around 1900 when it was located at 503-507 Broadway (between Broome and Spring Sts.). Around 1902 Green was joined by Harry Elger (1860-1920). Bailey came in about a year later. Green died in 1916 when the company was located at 248 4th Ave. His death notice (New York Times, 30 Jan. 1916, p. 17) reads in part, "Samuel Green, a member of the firm of Bailey, Green & Elger, importers of buttons at 248 Fourth Avenue, Manhattan, died at the Palmer House in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday from pneumonia, and the funeral will be held at his late residence, 73 Second Place, Brooklyn, this afternoon." Elger died in 1920 with the notice (Times, 7 Nov. 1920, p. 22): "Harry Elger, 60 years old, of Bailey, Green & Elger, importers of buttons and novelties in Manhattan, died in the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital on Thursday after an operation for mastoiditis. His home was at 79 Monroe Street, Brooklyn." Ezra Bailey's notice (Times, 9 Feb. 1929, p. 24) credits him with founding the company: "Ezra B. Bailey of 172 Park Avenue, Mount Vernon, founder of Bailey, Green & Elger, at 136 Madison Avenue, died Thursday night at the Mount Vernon Hospital." This advertisement for Bailey, Green & Elger appeared in the journal, Fabrics, Fancy Goods and Notions, March, 1910.

After leaving Madison Ave. the company was located at 115 W. 40th St. until they went out of business in 1974.


At the top just below Backer Building is a sign for Leon Jobin / Dresses (click for detail). Leon Jobin (1861-192?) was an immigrant from France in 1877. He appears in the New York City Directory for 1888 as a fruit dealer, but soon became an embroiderer. His embroidery business was located at several downtown addresses such as Canal St. and Crosby St. from 1892 to 1905, then on W. 34th St. from 1905 to 1912. In 1912 he moved to 153 Madison Ave. and began dealing in dresses. Probably this involved both manufacturing and importing. They were located here at 136 Madison Ave. from 1917 to 1922. The business closed in 1927. By this time Jobin had probably died. His widow, Genevieve Partlin Jobin (1862-1941), is listed in the U. S. Census of 1930 living at the family home in East Orange, NJ. Jobin's son, Louis Leon Jobin (1896-?), was an officer in the business in the early 1920s. He seems to have tried to continue after his father's death. There is a single listing in the New York telephone directory in 1930 for Louis Jobin dresses. By 1942, when Louis Jobin registered for the World War II draft, he was working for Johns Mansville Corp. in Summit, NJ.


Among the black smudges at the bottom of the stack is a sign for H R Mallinson / & Company (click for detail). H. R. Mallinson were silk manufacturers. The founder was Hiram Royal Mallinson (1871-1931). His obituary in the New York Times (13 May 1931, p. 25) carries the headline Hiram Mallinson Dies In His Office and includes a great deal of detail about who was present when he collapsed, what family members hurried to his assistance, etc. His office at the time was not 136 Madison Ave. but the Textile Building at 299 5th Ave. Regarding his career, the story includes the following: ""Mr. Mallinson's business career began approximately forty years ago in Utica, N. Y., where he was born on July 26, 1871. He attended public school there. All of his business interests settled about the textile industry, and he later became a member of the board of directors of the Silk Association of America. After spending a few years in Utica, where he was employed in a store, and working in the West as a junior salesman, he came to New York, and for five years was associated with Pelgram & Meyer. He then became associated with M. C. Migel, and later acquired an interest in Mr. Migel's business, continuing it upon the latter's retirement. He took Mr. Hanson [E. Irving Hanson] into partnership in 1915, and in 1918 they incorporated the firm. During the period of Mr. Mallinson's management his firm became one of the most important silk-manufacturing companies in the United States." The story mentions Mallinson's wife, "the former Linda V. Migel," apparently an interest he acquired about the same time as his interest in her father's business. They were married 24 Nov. 1896.

This ad from The American Cloak and Suit Review, Jan. 1915, announced the name change from M. C. Migel & Co. to H. R. Mallinson & Co..

Also associated with H. R. Mallinson was Eugene Irving Hanson (1878-1955). Born in Newark, N. J., Hanson became president of Mallinson after Hiram Mallinson's death. After Mallinson closed (1936?), Hanson was vice-president of Stunzi Silks and later vice-president in charge of sales for Hafner Associates, textile manufacturers.

This ad for H. R. Mallinson & Co. appeared in The American Cloak and Suit Review, Nov. 1917.

This ad for Mallinson's Silks and Fabrics deluxe appeared in the New York Times 22 Mar. 1925.

A short sketch of H. R. Mallinson & Co. can be found on the Textile Society web site.

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