Wednesday, August 20, 2008

158 West 27th Street painted sign

I'm fascinated by these painted signs in New York, surprisingly durable artifacts of an earlier age. Below is some backround info on the companies listed.

I'm not sure whether to crop the image or leave the raw edges that display the technique. I underlayed yellow ocher for the old morter, splatter painted red on top, and then painted the bricks using the edge of piece of watercolor paper soaked in a deep reddish black. The lettering was done on top with a white colored pencil.




Stemmerman Photo Craft Laboratories located here from 1913 to 1918. William H. Stemmerman (1867-1951) was a druggist and physician in Passaic, New Jersey where the original Laboratories was located around 1911. In the early 1930s the name changed to Taylor Photo Co. By then they were located at 117 E. 24th St., where they remained until the mid-1960s.

David Blustein & Bro. was founded around 1905 by the brothers David and Isidor Blustein. David (age 34 in 1910) immigrated from Russia in the 1890s living in Manhattan (West End Ave. in 1920) and later on Long Island. The business was located here from 1913 until 1948. In 1940 the name was changed to Blustein Furs. American ginseng has been exported to China from New York since 1784 when the first U.S. ship, the Empress of China, arrived in the Pearl River Delta.

National Waist Mfg Co / Silk Blouses was in business from 1913 to 1921, located here at from 1918 to 1921. Proprietors were Joseph Mirman (1860-?) and his son, Louis Mirman (1886-1959). Both men were immigrants from Russia ca. 1892. Joseph Mirman was in the candy store / stationery business from around 1900. Louis Mirman worked in these businesses around 1907-08, then got into clothing manufacture and was probably the more active partner in National Waist Mfg. Co. Waists, short for shirtwaists, are among the first mass produced clothing for women. They were blouses designed to be worn with a long skirt. In the early 1900s there were more than 500 waist factories in the city employing more than forty thousand workers, mostly immigrants, in horrible working and living conditions. The awful working conditions and the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory would give impetus to the founding of the trade union movement in New York.

Credit Trading Corp / Commission Merchants / Raw Furs & Skins was probably a financial institution founded by furriers, who had a furs and skins department located here in the late 1920s. Credit Trading Corp. was in business from 1925 to 1938. Most of this time the main office was located at 128 W. 31st St. The "furs & skins" department was located at 158 W. 27th St. from 1928 to 1929. Furs and skins have been exported from New York (or New Amsterdam) since the arrival of the first Western colonizers, including Jacob Astor, the first U.S. multi-millionaire.





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