Lion Brand Yarn filed for trademark registration 7 March 2003 as "Knitting and Crochet Yarns, Machine Thread" claiming first use in 1945. The registrant was Orchard Yarn and Thread Company, Inc. doing business as Lion Brand Yarn Company Corporation New York, 34 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Lion Brand Yarns have their current (Oct. 2007) corporate headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey. For more on their history visit www.lionbrand.com. Their ABOUT US page includes "Famous for Quality Since 1878 / Founded in New York City, Lion Brand Yarn Company is a 135 year-old brand that has been family owned and operated for 5 generations. The company is devoted to inspiring and educating knitters and crocheters with yarns, patterns, how-tos and ideas that elevate their yarn crafting experience."
This ad for Lion Brand Yarns appeared in the Ladies Home Journal, November, 1904.
Lion Brand Yarns were the product of the venerable New York drygoods company, Calhoun, Robbins & Co., organized in 1858 and in business until the late 1930s. Their connection with Lion Brand yarns are represented by this ad from 1904, this one from 1912, and this one from 1922.
The history of Calhoun, Robbins was told in this article from Notions and Fancy Goods, January, 1915, when they moved from downtown at 408-410 Broadway to midtown at 895-897 Broadway, "The removal of the business of Calhoun, Robbins & Co. from 408-410 Broadway, where they have been located for the past forty-seven years, to the building formerly occupied by Lord & Taylor, at Broadway, 19th and 20th streets, marks a noteworthy epoch in New York's commercial development. ... Seventy-five years ago the business of Calhoun, Robbins & Co. was born, the same year witnessing the advent of Adams Express Company and the Cunard Line of ocean traffic. ... In 1840, Calhoun & Vanderburgh, the firm consisting of John C. Calhoun and George E. Vanderburgh, commenced business at 135 Pearl street and 88 Beaver street, New York, a district which was at that time the dry goods center of the city. Most of the goods handled were imported, for in those days even infant industries in New York were few and far between. In 1845 the business of D. M. Knight & Co. was established at 53 Cedar street, the firm consisting of D. M. Knight and A. S. Robbins. In 1850 the firm of Calhoun & Robbins was formed, being a combination of the old firm of Calhoun & Vanderburgh and D. M. Knight & Co., the firm members being John C. Calhoun, O. G. Walbridge, A. S. Robbins and William M. Isaacs. The business was located at 6 Vesey street; later it was moved to 26 Vesey street, where it remained until 1867. In 1867 the business was moved to 410 Broadway, then well uptown, occupying the premises with which all their customers are familiar, and where the house has remained forty-seven years. ..."
Moses King's Photographic Views of New York, 1895, has a photo of the Calhoun, Robbins store downtown on Broadway between Walker and Canal Sts. This can be seen in google books.
Among others who founded Calhoun, Robbins Co. was Aaron Swain Robbins (1825-1904). His obituary, New York Times, 6 July 1904, pg. 9, read, "The store of Calhoun, Robbins & Co., the sole surviving Yankee notion jobbing house, was closed yesterday on account of the death of the senior member of the firm, Aaron Swain Robbins. Mr. Robbins died on Sunday at his home, at Douglaston, L. I., from lockjaw, the result of an accident a week before. Aaron S. Robbins was one of the oldest merchants in New York, the length of his business career having been equaled by few, if any, of his survivors. Mr. Robbins was born in Brooklyn in 1825, and in the early forties became identified with the firm of D. M. Knight & Co., whose place of business was on Vesey Street. After the death of Mr. Knight of that firm, Mr. Robbins, with John C. Calhoun, Olin G. Walbridge and William M. Isaacs, formed a partnership under the firm name of Calhoun, Robbins & Co. This was Jan. 1, 1858, since which date this firm has continued in active business. Mr. Robbins is survived by Mr. Walbridge, who is now the sole member of the original firm, Mr. Isaacs having retired many years ago. The surviving partners of the firm are Olin G. and Robert R. Walbridge, Mathew H. Beers, William F. King, John T. Young, James A. Smith, and Charles R. Pitt, Jr. Mr. Robbins's death will make no difference in the conduct of the business, as the partnership agreement provides that in the event of the death or retirement of any of the partners his interest shall be taken up, pro rata, by the surviving partners."
Another founding member of Calhoun, Robbins was Olin George Walbridge (1826-1907). His obituary notice in the New York Tribune, 18 May 1907, pg. 7, read, "Olin G. Walbridge, senior member of the firm of Calhoun, Robbins & Co., No. 485 Broadway, died early yesterday morning from heart disease at his home, No. 37 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn. He was born in Burlington, Vt., in 1824, and came to New York soon after becoming of age. In 1854 he married Miss Anna H. Ryckman. Mr. Walbridge was vice-president of the Pacific Bank and a director of the Manhattan Life Insurance Company and the New York Rubber Company. He leaves a wife, one daughter, Mrs. Annie W. Brown, of Meadow Wood, N. J., and six sons, one of whom, George O. Walbridge, is a director of the Brooklyn Real Estate Exchange, and another, John H. Walbridge, a trustee of the Brooklyn Trust Company. The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock at his home. The burial will be at Greenwood." (Note: from other sources it would seem Olin Walbridge was born Sept. 1826, not 1824, and it was in Bennington, Vt., not Burlington.)
Some time in the 1930s the Lion Brand trademark passed from Calhoun, Robbins to the Joseph Blumenthal Company. This company, located at 34 Orchard St., was also known as the Orchard Thread Co. In 1938 the New York Times, noted their move, "Joseph Blumenthal Company and its Orchard Thread Yarn Company division have moved to larger quarters at 54 Canal Street." A year later, "The Lion Brand Yarn Company has been formed at 1,270 Broadway to deal in imported yarns to the department store trade," and then in 1940, "The Joseph Blumenthal Co. and Orchard Thread Co. have changed their names to the Orchard Yarn and Thread Co." For a while the Lion Brand Yarn Co. and the Orchard Yarn & Thread Co. had separate locations at 1270 Broadway and 54 Canal St. In 1985 both moved to 34 W. 15th St., where they were still listed in the Manhattan telephone directory as late as 2008.
The founder of Joseph Blumenthal Co. was Joseph Blumenthal (1879?-1957). In 1942 he registered for the World War II draft as "Joseph Blumenthal, age 62, living at 8792 21st Ave. Brooklyn, NY, born 15 July 1882, Liptz, Russia, employed Self, 54 Canal St., NY, NY." His brief obituary in the New York Times, 14 August 1957, pg. 25, read, "Joseph Blumenthal, president of the Orchard Yarn and Thread Company, Manhattan textile converters, died Monday in his home at 8792 Twenty-first Avenue, Brooklyn. His age was 78. He leaves his wife, Gussie; four sons, Isidore, Bernard, George and Samuel; four daughters, Mrs. Sadie Berner, Mrs. Augusta Maron, Mrs. Mollie Levine and Mrs. Roselind Elbaum, and two brothers, Sam and Hyman."
Joseph Blumenthal was followed at Orchard Yarn & Thread Co. and Lion Brand Yarn Co. by his son, Isidor Blumenthal (1909-2003). On his death in 2003 the following appeared in New York Times, "Blumenthal - Isidor. The Lion Brand Yarn Company and Orchard Yarn and Thread Company, Inc. mourn the loss of our president and patriarch. Serving as president from 1958 until his death on December 9, 2003, he built these companies into leading suppliers of quality knitting and crocheting yarns throught the United States. ..."
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