The sign claims "established 1900," but the first listing for a Harold Hamblen "fish" in the New York city directories occurs in 1916. This was the wholesale fish market for Harold Edwin Hamblen (1892-1984) located at 1614 2nd Ave.
Hamblen appears in the US Census for 1930 as Harold Hamblen age 38 born New Jersey and living at 43 Courter Ave., Maplewood, NJ with his wife Irene age 36 and sons Wesley 9 and Harold Jr. 2. His business is described as "wholesale sea food."
The business moved to 1st Ave. in 1925, and then to the address above on 9th Ave. at the corner of 15th St. 20 years later in 1945. In 1966 they left this location for the South Street Seaport area where they stayed in business until the mid-1970s.
The sign, then, dates between 1945 and 1966.
A photograph in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York shows the Harold E. Hamblen sign ca. 1978. The Hamblen sign hovered over the well known Old Homestead Steakhouse. This is a photo by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr., who did the photographs in Margot Gayle's Cast-Iron Architecture in New York (1974).
An earlier occupant of this space was a sign for DeWinter & Stewart / G. N. Savage & Co. / Dressed Poultry. This company was located at 62 9th Ave. from 1926 to 1939, and their sign can be seen in several vintage images from the New York Public Library. These span the years 1932 to 1941.
DeWinter was John Christian DeWinter (1866-1928). He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 30 Dec. 1866, the son of John DeWinter, himself a produce dealer in New York City. The elder John DeWinter was born July 1833 in Belgium and immigrated to the U. S. in 1850. He is found in the U. S. Census reports of 1870, 1880 and 1900, living in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was in business in New York as DeWinter & Vogel (Christian Vogel) (1871-1872), DeWinter, Heerdt & Vogel (William Heerdt) (1873-1875), DeWinter & Brown (Charles Brown) (1876-1878), Brown, DeWinter & Brown (Charles, Edward A. and William J. Brown) (1879-1885), and Brown & DeWinter (Charles Brown) (1885-1898). He then formed DeWinter & Co., poultry with his son, John C. DeWinter.
Illustrated New York: The Metropolis of To-Day, 1888, wrote the following regarding Brown & DeWinter, "Commission Merchants, Fruits and Vegetables, No. 321 Washington Street, corner Jay Street. - One of the oldest-established and most popular wholesale produce commission houses of this city is that of Messrs. Brown & De Winter. The partners, Mr. Charles Brown and Mr. John De Winter, handle consignments to the best possible advantage, having been engaged in business since 1866, and achieving a record accorded only to those whose transactions are based upon the strictest principles of commercial honor..."
History and Commerce of New York, 2nd edition, 1891, wrote similarly a few years later, "Wholesale Commission Merchants, Poultry, Game, Eggs, Apples, Potatoes, Dressed Hogs, Calves, Etc., No 321 Washington Street. - This firm began operations in 1866, and have since developed very large and influential connections, and a very extensive trade, their annual transactions now footing up the handsome figure of a half million dollars... The co-partners are Messrs. Chas. Brown and John De Winter. Mr. Brown is a native of New Jersey, and an active member of the Mercantile Exchange. Mr. De Winter is a native of Holland, and has lived in the United States thirty-five years."
DeWinter & Co. were located at 321 Washington St. and 334 Greenwich St. from 1898 to 1912. The elder John DeWinter seems to have died in the mid-1900s. Trow's New York City Copartnership Directory for 1906 lists as directors John C. and M. E. DeWinter. M. E. DeWinter was John C. DeWinter's wife, Margaret Elizabeth DeWinter. DeWinter & Stewart were formed out of DeWinter & Co. in 1913.
This ad for De Winter & Co. appeared in The Egg Reporter, vol. XII, No. 12, 20 Dec. 1906.
Stewart was William McCallum Stewart (1868-after 1941). He was born 23 Sept. 1868 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lived in New York and was engaged in the produce business by 1899. He had his own poultry business, W. M. Stewart & Co. from around 1904 until 1913, when Stewart & DeWinter were formed. In 1921 Stewart filed a passport application with an attached affidavit signed by John C. De Winter, declaring that he had known William Stewart for the past 25 years. If this number is precise, then the younger DeWinter knew Stewart by the mid-1890s.
G. N. Savage was George Newby Savage (1876-1947), born 11 April 1876. He registered for the World War I draft in 1918 when living at 2787 Boulevard, Jersey city, New Jersey, and employed as a poultry dealer with DeWinter & Stewart, 321 Washington St., New York City. He still lived at 2787 Boulevard, Jersey City, in 1930, when he was recorded in the U. S. Census as age 53, Merchant, Poultry. George N. Savage has the distinction of having a short obituary notice in the New York Times where his middle initial is given as "W" instead of "N." The notice, 24 March 1947, p. 25, reads, "George W. Savage, a director and former executive secretary of the Marketmen's Association of the Port of New York, died Saturday night of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Montclair, N. J. At his death he was an officer of Charles L. Poole & Co., poultry and egg dealers, 6 Harrison Street, New York."
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