Albert Lord Belden.

The fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea online

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Online LibraryAlbert Lord BeldenThe fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea → online text (page 19 of 34)
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erate priced goods with marked success; in the latter
year he ceased making small furs, and engaged largely
in the manufacture of buflFalo, Chinese dog and goat

He was prominently identified with various socie-
ties, including F. and A. M., Arion Society and other
organizations of Brooklyn.

He died August 25, 1895.



Philip Weinberg, whose useful life exceeded the
allotted span of three score and ten years, was a man of
unblemished character, one whose word none ever
doubted, and a fur merchant of much more than average
ability. None was more orthodox in his religion than
he; and yet he was not more orthodox in his religion
than in his business; his was a life of faithful prayer,
and practiced righteousness.

More successful furriers there may have been ; but
not better men.

Mr. Weinberg began his career as a wholesale fur
manufacturer in New York in 1855, locating in William
Street, the center of the trade at that time. He devoted
his attention to the manufacture of strictly dependable
goods, that is, good throughout, the best in fur, f urnish-



ings, and workmanship consistent with the selling price.
In those days the quality of the fur was considered more
important than the "style" in which it was made up;
the consumer wanted a "fine fur," not a flashy lining —
the real thing, not bargains ; furs were not so generally
worn, nor so common as at present.

Mr. Weinberg was fully conversant with condi-
tions, but was not content to merely meet them by pro-
ducing something "just as good" as those of the first
line; he sought, rather, to make the quality standard,
and in carrying out his purpose won his way into the
confidence and sustained custom of the best houses of
the period, and scored permanent success.

His business steadily increased, and as the years
rolled by larger and larger premises were occupied in
abiding prosperity.

Louis Clark, Jr., became associated, as full partner,
with Mr. Weinberg in 1867, under style Ph. Weinberg
& Company, and for twenty-two years, until its dissolu-
tion, the firm occupied a leading position in the fur trade
of New York, and was held in the highest esteem at
home and abroad.

Mr. Louis Clark, Jr., was upright, just, self respect-
ing and respected by all who knew him socially or in
business ; a man "true as steel," whom to know was an
honor, and whose early death caused profound regret.

Philip Weinberg died June 12, 1907, aged seventy-

Louis Clark, Jr., died August 20, 1907, in the fifty-
fifth year of his age.



M. Prentice Whitcomb occupied a prominent posi-
tion as a fur manufacturer in New York from 1854 to
1868; for the first three years he was in partnership
with George C. Treadwell, and from January, 1857, to
May, 1868, alone; he retired in the latter year. Mr.
Whitcomb died at his home in Springfield, Vermont,
December 8, 1879, aged fifty-four.


An association with the above title, the latest co-
operative movement among manufacturing furriers in
New York City, was organized September-October,
191 7; the purposes comprehend all mercantile matters in
any way aflfecting the interests of the members, atten-
tion centering importantly upon credits.

First officers chosen are: Julius Spirer, president;
Emil Goodman, vice-president; Joseph Moscoff, secre-
tary ; Dana Flaxman, treasurer.

General offices are at 1269 Broadway, New York.



PED FOX — Walking.

RED FOX — Running-

V ^ •« ^ *^ ^


Fur bearers in passing over muddy banks of
streams, dusty roads, lake shores and in the uncrusted
snow mark the surfaces with their shapely feet; these
tracks reveal to experienced hunters and trappers the
nature of the animal and the direction pursued. The
fur-bearers leave a different trail when walking and
running, but the single foot prints are the same under all


Joseph M. Bossak, born in New York City, No-
vember, 1 89 1, is a meritorius representative of the
younger generation of fur merchants who by their
general activities evidence their determination to fully
maintain all that is best in the traditions of the trade,
and to develop to the utmost the lessons of time and
experience, presaging progress toward higher and
grander achievements in the department of mercantile
endeavor to which they devote their lives. It is a
gratifying condition that such is the character, in the
main, of the young men engaging in leading positions in
the fur trade in these later years.

Mr. Bossak was graduated from the High School
of Commerce in 19 10, and in the autumn of that year
entered upon his career in the fur business in the employ
of Albert Herskovits & Son, giving close and studious
attention to the raw fur department of the business ; he
remained with the firm one year, and then established
in his own interest in association with George N. Struck,
under style : Struck & Bossak, dealing in raw furs and
ginseng, with warerooms at 131 West Twenty-fourth

In 1913, Mr. Struck withdrew, and Joseph M. Bos-
sak, receiving his younger brother, Arnold H. Bossak,
into partnership, continued, incorporating the business
under title: Struck & Bossak, Inc. The trade of the
house, extending to all parts of the United States and
Canada, met with encouraging success, and in order to


3os;epfj iW. JBojijfafe


effectively meet all requirements of the trade, shippers
and manufacturers, the business was removed February
I, 191 5, to the present commodious premises at 146-148
West Twenty-eighth Street.

Mr. Bossak is an honored director of the Raw Fur
Merchants' Association of the City of New York, and
commendably manifests an intelHgent interest in every
movement tending to augment the welfare of the fur
trade in America of which he is a valued member.

Mr. Bossak is laying deep and broad foundations
upon which it is reasonable to assume that a mercantile
superstructure, worth the extreme cost in sustained
effort, will be securely built in the unfolding years of
ensuing peace.



There are more manufacturing furriers in Phila-
delphia than any other city in the United States, except-
ing New York and Chicago; they are, however, mainly
retail or custom furriers; many of them make high
class furs, and have very attractive stores.

From time to time Philadelphia merchants have
undertaken to handle raw furs exclusively, but only for
brief periods; a number of furriers, particularly those
on Arch Street, buy raw furs brought to the city by
trappers from nearby sections in the collection season.

Down to the close of the nineteenth century an at-
tractively fitted, furnished and well lighted fur store
was the rare exception to the rule in the city of Penn;
nearly all "emporiums" in which furs were exclusively
sold were small, dark and rather dingy, doubtless due
in part to the fact that during the "good old summer
time" they were closed to business — the doors were
quite generally left open during the day to admit air,
but not in anticipation of garnering even transcient
trade. It will readily be perceived that the fur selling
season was decidedly restricted in point of time, and
will explain why only the most proficient furriers in
Philadelphia continued in business for anything like an
extended period.

Conditions have greatly changed; today the fur
shops in the city, and the number is large, rank among



the best appointed, and most attractively stocked in the
country, and an all-year business is the rule.

John Davis began the manufacture of furs at retail
in 1833, and was more than usually prosperous. He was
an upright merchant and enjoyed the confidence of a
large clientele. In due time he admitted his sons into
partnership, with satisfactory results. The business
was discontinued March 10, 1902.

J. A. Stambach opened a small furrier's business
in 1840, conducting at the outset a custom trade; his
excellent workmanship was widely recognized, and for
fifty-eight years he steadily progressed, finally advanc-
ing to first place. He retired December 31, 1898.

Edward S. Mawson was actively engaged in manu-
facturing and retailing fashionable furs in Philadelphia
from 1850 to 1890; he was well known in the trade both
at home and abroad. Mr. Mawson died April 6, 1890.

Gabriel Shoyer established a manufacturing and
retail fur business in Philadelphia in 1867; he was a pop-
ular man and a furrier of more than ordinary ability
and enterprise, and duly attained a position of leading
rank in the trade. He died November 22, 1891.

Leo L. Cohn has been successfully engaged in the
manufacturing and retail fur business in Philadelphia
since 1875, ^^^ is still active at the "old stand."

In former years practically all the fur stores were
on Arch Street, a center not greatly improved archi-
tecturally "unto this day"; at the present time the
modern and model establishments are noticeably present
on Chestnut and Walnut Streets, and here and there all
around town.


For many decades Baltimore, Maryland, has been a
busy center for the collection of raw furs during the
trapping season, and each year a number of merchants
have found it profitable to handle the peltries secured in
the surrounding territory ; a few of the merchants deal
in raw furs exclusively, but a larger number handle pel-
tries in connection with farm produce, terrapin and
other sea food. The regular collection of raw furs in-
cludes fox, opossum, raccoon, mink, skunk, muskrat and
a few other skins, but muskrat is the article received in
largest quantity, the animal abounding in the nearby
marshes and in the lowlands swept by the tides.

Baltimore is also a leading market for the sale of
muskrats for food, thousands of carcasses being sold
and consumed annually.

There is a remarkably good business in manufac-
tured furs at Baltimore, which is efficiently taken care
of by some thirty, enterprising furriers, and a larger
number of department and specialty stores.

For half a century Robert Quail Taylor, individ-
ually and in association with efficient partners, con-
ducted a fur business at Baltimore not surpassed in
character and extent at any time in the Monumental
City. He began in 1843 with a capital of seven hundred
dollars, and in later years sold single garments for a
much larger amount. In 1868 William W. Pretzman
and G. E. S. Lansdowne became identified with the bus-
iness, and full partners on February i, 1879. Mr. Tay-
lor died June 23, 1895.

L. Kraus has been a reliable and successful manu-



facturing furrier at Baltimore since 1864; his business
has grown by degrees, even as the city has expanded,
and enjoys the same excellent reputation, and is as well
known as the monuments.

The number of furriers in the city has greatly in-
creased in recent years, with "honors even," and equal
opportunity for all to attain gratifying success.


The following are included in the record, not be-
cause remarkably great — "patient continuance in well
doing," constitutes the attainment of greatness in the
realm of business — but they are given place because de-
serving of mention in that wherever they have pitched
their tents they have materially elevated the standard of
the fur industry, established a new center, and aug-
mented the consumption of rightly named and thor-
oughly reliable furs.

It is a long way back to the eighteenth century, but
we trace our march thither in noting the history of the
oldest house, under one name, in the fur business of the
United States; during all the years it has been at the
same place, Poughkeepsie, N. Y.

In 1799 Tunis Van Kleeck established in the hat
and raw fur business in the above New York town, con-
tinuing until 1 83 1, when he was succeeded by his son,
Albert Van Kleeck, who remained actively engaged until
1866, when the business was transferred to his son,
Edward Van Kleeck, who conducted it alone until Feb-
ruary I, 1890, when he admitted his brother, Frank,
under style, Edward Van Kleeck & Co., until November
13, 1890, since which date it has been successfully car-
ried on by Frank Van Kleeck.


L. Benedict, a merchant of the old school, estab-
lished at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1815, in the manufacturing
and retail fur business which abides to the present day
in the succession of Benedict & Mueller, a firm well
known locally and in the larger markets.

John Galligher, who was born at Zanesville, Ohio,
August 14, 1822, on attaining his majority entered the
fur and hat business of his father, and in 1850 became
sole owner, and so continued to 1883, when he took his
sons, John and Louis C. Galligher, into partnership ; on
December 30, 1895, he died in the sixty-fourth year of
his age. The business has since been successfully con-
ducted by John and L. C. Galligher, who have built up
an extensive trade in raw furs and ginseng.

Milton Tootle, born in Clarksburg, Ohio, 1823, en-
gaged in the raw fur business at the age of twenty, as
the outcome of considerable experience in trapping in
the immediately preceding years. He was very enter-
prising, and secured warehouses in Omaha, Nebraska,
Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and in 1849 niade
his main house at St. Joseph, Missouri, meeting with
success at all places, and amassing a fortune of more
than three million dollars. He died January 2, 1887.

Joshua A. Cotrell established at Albany, N. Y., in
1830, what eventually became, and remains, the best
known fur house in that city. In 1855 he took in his son,
Edgar Cotrell, as a clerk, and four years later as a part-
ner; in 1867 Daniel Leonard was admitted into partner-
ship, and in 1878 the firm name was changed to Cotrell &


Leonard; the firm has continuously enjoyed the respect
of the trade at large.

Joshua A. Cotrell died February i6, 1878, in the
seventy-fourth year of his age. Edgar Cotrell died
April 14, 1890.

T. S. Paddock conducted without any set-back an
ever progressing fur business at Cleveland from 1836 to
1 89 1, occupying the same store during the entire period.
He died January 4, 1891, aged seventy-seven. The
stock was purchased by Halle Brothers, who continued
the business for a time at the "old stand," but who now
occupy one of the handsomest stores in the new business
section of the city.

Charles H. Paulson, a business man of extreme
efficiency and integrity, established a fur house in Pitts-
burgh, Pennsylvania, in 1837. The business grew slow-
ly but surely, and has always been regarded as one of
the most substantial mercantile enterprises in the city.
It remains to the present day, Paulson Brothers being
the successors.

Ezra W. Boughton opened a modest fur business,
manufacturing and retailing, at Troy, N. Y., in 1842;
he made it a rule to never misrepresent an article, and
quickly gained the confidence of a host of fur wearers,
not only in Troy, but in Albany and the adjacent coun-
try. He died October 29, 1902, aged seventy-eight.

George Scherer opened an up-to-date fur store in
Albany in 1848, and for more than half a century occu-


pied a prominent position in the business life of that
historic fur center. He died March 5, 1908, in the
eighty-third year of his age. The business is continued
by Charles Scherer, his son, who was for some years in
partnership with his father.

Henry Martin, a man of marked intelligence and
business ability, established a fur business at Utica, N.
Y., in 1857, manufacturing and retailing, and in the sea-
son buying raw furs in quantity. He was very popular
and public spirited, and for a term was Mayor of the
city. He died April 26, 191 5. The business was incor-
porated in April, 1905, as Henry Martin Company; the
officers are: Edwin H. Martin, president and treasurer;
Margaret Martin, vice president; John N. Corbett, sec-

Hiram Willard opened a raw fur business in Mar-
shalltown, Iowa, in 1864, and by uniform fair dealing
with the smallest as well as the largest shippers, built up
a solid trade, which for all round reliability ranks among
the very highest in the country. Mr. Willard in due
course took his son into the business, and later it was
changed to the present style, H. Willard, Son & Com-
pany. The business comprised hides and raw furs ex-
clusively until 1 9 10, when fur tanning and manufactur-
ing departments were added, covering complete lines of
men's and ladies' fur goods.

Hiram Willard died in 1906, and the business was
then taken over by his son-in-law, Charles H. Hull; in
191 1 William B. and Albert F. Hull were admitted,
under style H. Willard, Son & Co.


Balch, Price & Co., have for approximately half a
century maintained the leading position among the man-
ufacturing furriers of Brooklyn, N. Y. During the en-
tire period they have, with ever increasing success, de-
voted their energies to the production of fur garments
and small furs of the choicest quality, including sables,
foxes, seal, mink and other fashinonable and costly

Joseph Pladwell conducted the wholesale manufac-
ture of fur gloves in Brooklyn, N. Y., for more than a
generation prior to his death. May 14, 1878. He was an
exceedingly conscientious furrier, and instead of seek-
ing to become the largest manufacturer in the country,
made dependable quality the standard of his produc-
tions. Following his death the business was continued
by his widow and sons under style, J. Pladwell's Sons.

John M. Cooper, Bainbridge, N. Y., is progressing
toward the half-century mark as a buyer of raw furs,
of which he has no superior as a judge, and whose rep-
utation for honesty and fair dealing is faultless. He is
exceptionally public spirited, and the best laws for the
seasonable protection of fur-bearing animals, and the
wise regulation of the raw fur business, ever written
upon the statute books of New York State are directly
-due to his tireless efforts and effectual influence.

Udelmer C. Adams established in the manufactur-
ing and retail fur business at 128 South Salina Street,
Syracuse, N. Y., in 1870, under style Stevens & Adams;
following the death of Mr. Stevens in 1893, Mr. Adams


purchased the interest of his late associate and con-
tinued the enterprise alone, and in his own name, until
1910, when the business was incorporated under title,
Udelmer C. Adams Company, with which Mr. Adams
remained actively identified, as president, up to the time
of his death, November 28, 1916.

Mr. Adams was exceedingly conscientious, han-
dled only reliable goods, and never permitted an article
of fur to be sold under the slightest misrepresentation
as to name or quality — and the fact was widely known,
and a sufficient reason for his success.

G. R. Hunnewell, Auburn, Maine, is the oldest
established and largest raw fur dealer in the State. He
began buying furs in his youth, and has kept at it with
remarkable success. His knowledge of furs, including
the several points that count in determining value, is
not surpassed, and in the course of his experience he has
purchased some of the finest skins found on the conti-
nent, and hundreds of thousands of the commoner pelts.

Hull Foster, Jr., began buying raw furs at Athens,
Ohio, in 1872, and in the more than forty years of his
active connection with the trade, always at the same
place, has consistently endeavored to elevate the busi-
ness, and has gained for himself a high reputation for
ability and integrity. H. Z. Foster, his son, is now asso-
ciated with him in the business.

Adolph Rauh, though born into the fur business,
gained his personal success in practically all branches of
the trade by unwearied industry. In 1874 he entered


the fur business in the employ of his father, Frie Rauh,
at Nueremberg, Germany, devoting his attention to the
raw fur department ; about three years later he was en-
gaged by the old established Leipzig house, Lomer, Do-
del & Co., and when that concern was dissolved in 1880
he was transferred to a similar position with G. Gaudig
& Blum, Leipzig, by whom he was sent in 1883 to their
New York branch to become their raw fur buyer. He
remained with the house until 1890, in which year he
was employed by R. Schoverling to buy raw furs and
sell dressed and dyed skins ; four years later he was sim-
ilarly engaged by Asch & Jaeckel, and in 1896 went with
the Transatlantic Fur Company as western traveler.
In May 1892, in association with Paul Richter, Mr.
Rauh purchased the manufacturing and raw fur busi-
iness established at Butte, Montana, by Robert Koene;
in May, 191 3, he took over the entire business, and suc-
cessfully continued alone until 191 7, when he was suc-
ceeded by Richard P. Hoenck.

William Grabowsky, who is an exceedingly capable
furrier, established a fur business at Pittsburgh, Penn-
sylvania, in March, 1875, manufacturing for particular
retail custom. On September i, 19 14, he admitted into
partnership his son, John Rudolph Grabowsky. The
concern handles furs of real merit, and spends money
freely and wisely in making the fact widely known.

L. H. Schlosberg, Portland, is the largest exclusive
manufacturing furrier in the State of Maine; he occu-
pies an entire four-story building on Congress Street,
and makes a feature of the manufacture of the best


class of furs, selling to retail and wholesale trade. The
business was established in 1894, and its continuance to
date very plainly evidences its values to the community.

A. E. Burkhardt began his career in the fur busi-
ness in Cincinnati in 1866, opening in a small way with
limited means, but with unlimited enterprise, and a
determination to mount by merit to the topmost round
of the ladder. From the beginning he dealt in raw furs,
of which he was a superior judge, and also manufac-
tured furs of approved quality, scoring ever increasing
success for more than two decades ; a career so brilliant,
for which nothing in business ventures of promise was
too great, naturally invited some reverse in a trade sub-
ject to great advances and retrogressions by the varying
whims of fashion, instability of climatic conditions, and
the inescapable effect of unfavorable years in general
business; but though experiencing a period of depres-
sion, which exceedingly few in any branch of trade have
escaped, Mr. Burkhardt was undaunted, heroically met
and mastered the condition, arose again and is still on
deck as the most energetic and progressive raw fur
merchant in his city. For some years past he has been
ably assisted by his son Carl Burkhardt.

Coloman Jonas and John Jonas, under style of
Jonas Brothers, established as furriers and taxidermists
at Denver, Colorado, in 1908, and have continued with
marked success. Both members are exceptionally effi-
cient taxidermists, and fine specimens, heads and entire
animals, have been mounted by them for sportsmen and
furriers throughout the west and northwest, and more
remote sections.


The Seattle Fur Sales Agency was incorporated in
June, 1906, at Seattle, Washington, with F. M. Wood-
ruff as manager. The first sale of the concern was held
July 18, 1906, and comprised a collection of good Alaska
raw furs — the principal articles offered in all succeeding
sales to date. The Agency has been a success under the
management of F. M. Woodruff, and has been of in-
calculable advantage to many collectors of large and
small lots in Alaska, who have thus been enabled to
readily market their furs at better figures than they
formerly realized by selling their furs at home, or ship-
ping to unknown concerns soliciting shipments by mail.



class o^




iSeto |9orfe Jf ur Auction

The New York Fur Auction Sale Corporation held
an auction sale of raw furs October 15-19, both dates
inclusive, at which the offerings comprised:

Fisher 414

Sea Otter 2

Wolverine 272

Bear 786

Marten 3,888

Mole 71,069

Ermine 42,998

Wolf i^,72y

Chinchilla 846

Raccoon 31 ,806

Civet 8,599

Otter 1,532

Kolinsky 13,685

Nutria 43»3i8

Badger 5,372

Mink 43,462

Muskrat 600,086

Online LibraryAlbert Lord BeldenThe fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea → online text (page 19 of 34)