Advance Waist
Advance Waist Co., 31 E. 31st St. (2006)

The Advance Waist Co. manufactured waists here from 1915 to 1921. Owners were George Washington Kohn (born Maryland, 2 Dec 1879) and Jacob Harold Schattman (born New York, 5 May 1880). Kohn's wife, Fannie Kohn (born Romania ca. 1885/86, immigrated ca. 1896), was also an officer in the company.

Near the top of this wall is a sign reading Parisian Mfg Co / Ladies & Misses / Dresses (click for image). Parisian Mfg., founded by Harry Mintz (1894-1945), came into being around 1905 at 97 Wooster St. After several other locations Parisian Mfg. landed at 31 E. 31st St. in 1915, where they stayed until 1924. This ad ran in the New York Times Aug. 1923. This one ran in the Times Jan. 1925 after the company moved to 224 W. 35th St. Harry Mintz was born in Russia and immigrated to the U. S. in 1891. Mintz died in 1945, but the company continued until around 1950. This want ad from 1948 has them located at 1400 Broadway. At least two of Harry Mintz's sons, Jack Mintz (1894-1992) and Benjamin Mintz (1901?-1950) were also involved in the business.

An image among the New York Public Library's Digital Collections catches a glimpse of this wall in 1931 when the following signs appear beneath Parisian Mfg:

E & J Weinberg / Silk Blouses: E & J Weinberg were the brothers, Emanuel Weinberg (1886-?) and Julius Weinberg (1892-?). Emanuel Weinberg was born 16 March 1886 at 262 East Houston St., New York City. His father was William Weinberg (1860-?), a barber, who was born in Hungary (later Czechoslovakia), immigrated in 1878 and became a naturalized citizen 9 October 1888. In 1900 the family lived at 279 E. Houston St. and consisted of William Weinberg, his wife, Minnie, and their five children, Emanuel, Julius, Nettie, Isidor (later called Irving) and Sidney. The same family group appears in the 1910 U. S. Census living at 1785 Madison Ave. near 117th St. in the area called Harlem. All of the children were in one way or another involved in the family businesses. Emanuel Weinberg's wife was named Cecile, and the family named one of the businesses after her: Cecile Blouse Shop. This may have started as a retail outlet, but seems to have changed to manufacturing when it was renamed Cecile Costumes Inc. When Emanuel Weinberg applied for a passport in 1920, attached were documents with letterheads for both E & J Weinberg and Cecile Costumes. E & J Weinberg were located at 31 E. 31st St. from 1923 to 1925.

Superior / Petticoat Co: The Superior Petticoat Co., silk undergarment manufacturers, was founded by Jacques Morris Perlman (1878-1947) in 1909. Perlman, an immigrant from Russia, applied for citizenship in 1903, when he stated that he had entered the country 2 July 1891 and gave his occupation as "cloakman." He was listed in Trow's New York City Directory of 1903 as "Perlman Jacques M cloaks 24 Cath h 216 Clinton," Cath being Catherine St. downtown on the East Side. The original Superior Petticoat Co. was located at 440 Broadway (near Howard St.). In 1911 this business moved to 126 W. 22nd St., and then in 1924 to 31 E. 31st St. In the early 1920s Perlman seems to have sold out Superior Petticoat and to have established his own company, J. M. Perlman, Co., commission merchants. J. M. Perlman Co. were listed in the Manhattan telephone directory from 1921 to 1926. In the U. S. Census of 1930 Perlman gave his occupation as "none." In 1942 he registered for the World War II draft when employed at the Modern Industrial Bank at 332 E. 149th St., Bronx. Superior Petticoat, now run by Sol Friedman and Oscar Cohen, were located here at 31 E. 31st St. from 1924 to 1933. Oscar Cohen (1896-1975) was born in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to the U. S. in 1907. He registered for the World War I draft in 1917 when employed as a clerk at Superior Petticoat Co., 126 W. 22nd St. He applied for citizenship in 1930 when living at 1804 Grand Concourse, the Bronx. And he registered for the World War II draft in 1942, age 45, when living on Central Park West. In 1934 Superior Petticoat moved to 105 Madison Ave., where they stayed in business for the next 50 years (1934 to 1983)!

R E Baldry / Silk Petticoats: R. E. Baldry, Inc., manufactured petticoats and negligees here from 1921 to 1931. The proprietor, Robert Edward Baldry (1883-1967), was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, 28 March 1883. In 1910 the U. S. Census recorded him living at the Hotel Gloster, 312 Mason St., San Francisco, Calif. His occupation was "barkeeper saloon." The Hotel Gloster is described in a visitors' guide to San Francisco, published 1913 by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce as "Hotel Gloster. O'Farrell and Mason streets. $1.50 a day with private bath; $1.00 without, for either one or two persons. Cafe in connection. Sample rooms for commercial travelers." This sounds like reasonable, but hardly high-class living. Yet Baldry seems to have entered a world of some social standing when he moved to New York. In 1915 he married Dakota Wenonah Reich (1888-1951), born Covington, Kentucky, 7 Sept. 1888. She was a niece of Emil Reich, a noted Hungarian historian and philosopher. The marriage was announced in the New York Times (28 April 1915, p. 13), and listed in the Brooklyn Blue Book and Long Island Society Register, 1916. In 1922 Dakota Reich (now Mrs. Robert E. Baldry) published a genealogy of her family entitled Genealogy of the Haines, Rogers, Austin, Taylor, Garwood, Reich and Hunt Families (Brooklyn, N. Y., 1922). The family were early (17th century) colonists of New Jersey. Robert E. Baldry seems to have come to New York originally as a representative of the Weil-Kalter Mfg. Co. (petticoat manufacturers) of St. Louis, Missouri. He had a partnership with Herman B. Gottlieb, Baldry-Gottlieb Mfg. Co., around 1919-1920, then started his own company, Robt. E. Baldry, Inc., which was in business until around 1939.

Epstein's / Silk Underwear Epstein's was also known as Epstein Bros., the brothers being Albert Epstein (1889-1982) and Bernard Epstein (1894-1986). The company was located here at 31 E. 31st St. from 1922 to 1927. This ad for Sheer-Celo Lingerie manufactured by Epstein Bros. appeared in Women's Wear Daily in 1927. Both brothers registered for the World War I draft in 1917 when they lived with their father, Simon Epstein, at 792 Greene Ave., Brooklyn. Albert was 28 years old and described himself as an attorney and hotel manager. Simon Epstein was a hotel keeper. Albert may have been helping out. Bernard Epstein was 22 years old in 1917, and his occupation was listed as "Jobber, Own Business." Bernard spent his life as a salesman and manufacturer of clothing, while Albert more often was listed as a lawyer. His death notice in 1982 mentions that he was a graduate of the Columbia University School of Law in 1912.

Early in his career, Bernard Epstein spent some time in Georgia and found a wife, Minnie Cohen, there. In the 1920 U. S. Census the couple were in Elberton, Georgia, living with her father, Joseph Cohen, a dry goods merchant. A short while later the brothers started Epstein's at 31 E. 31st St. In 1925 Bernard Epstein lived on St. Johns Place in Brooklyn with Minnie and two small children, while Albert Epstein lived with his father, Simon, now at 238 W. 106th St., Manhattan. In the 1930 U. S. Census Bernard Epstein was recorded as Burney Epstein, and he used this form in his business name after the demise of Epstein's on 31st St. Burney Epstein, Inc., was incorporated in 1935 and leased space in 307 W. 36th St. the same year. This ad for Burney Epstein dates from 1936. In 1942 Bernard Epstein registered for the World War II draft when he had his own knitwear and sportswear business, Burney Epstein & Co., located at 1410 Broadway.

Crompton / Corduroys / Velveteens The 1889 map of Crompton, Rhode Island (located about 20 miles south of Providence), in the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library (click for image) shows two large Crompton Co. textile mills with smoke billowing from tall chimneys. These mills, located on the banks of the Pawtuxet River, specialized in the manufacture of corduroy. Crompton is described in Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, produced by the Federal Writers' Project in 1937, "CROMPTON (alt. 160; Town of West Warwick), 10.1 m., is a village whose activities center, for the most part, around the Compton Company, makers of corduroys and velveteens. The office entrance to the Crompton Company Mills (Remnant Room open) is indicated on State 3 (R). Manufacturing was begun on this site in 1807, in a stone mill called the 'Stone Jug' by the workers, erstwhile farmers, who were unaccustomed to such limited quarters. The village, first called Stone Factory, was renamed in honor of the Englishman, James Crompton, who came here in the 1820's to give advice on improved machinery. Velvet manufacture was added to the cotton industry in 1885, a circumstance that gave rise to a nickname for the locality - 'Velvet Village.' At present the Crompton Company bleaches and dyes velvets and corduroys that are made in Virginia and Georgia. Many of the mill workers are Swedish."

In New York Crompton was preceded by Henry Kupfer & Co. Kupfer were importers of woolens and velveteens who re-located to 31 E. 31st St. in 1915. This company had a long history stretching back into the 1860s in New York, but shortly after their move to 31 E. 31st St., they were succeeded by the Crompton Co., who around this same time were re-named Crompton-Richmond. This advertisement from the New York Times (Oct. 1916) for Velveteens summarizes the whole story: Successors to Henry Kupfer & Co. / Selling Agents for the Crompton Mills / Established 1807 / Manufacturers of Corduroys and Velveteens. A similar advertisement approximately a year later (New York Times, Sept. 1917) does not mention the history. The Richmond in Crompton-Richmond was Frank Eddy Richmond (1877-1951). He was born 16 Dec. 1877 in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from Brown University in 1899 and joined the Crompton Co. shortly afterward. He served for many years as treasurer and president of the Crompton Co. and was named chairman of the board in 1944. Years earlier he was president of Henry Kupfer & Co. in 1916, and president of Crompton-Richmond in 1917.

Crompton, followed by Crompton-Richmond, were located at 31 E. 31st St. from 1916 to 1931. In 1932 they moved to 1071 6th Ave. at the northwest corner of 41st St. This colorful advertisement for Crompton Sky Leader Corduroy appeared in Life Magazine 18 Aug. 1947. This advertisement appeared in Life, 22 Sept. 1947, with the company address, 1071 Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave.).

All of these signs seem to have been painted over and were virtually unreadable by 2002. A fragment of the name Weinberg appears here beneath the Dresses in Parisian, and a few letters from the name Baldry may be here, but there is considerable overpainting.

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