The Griffon Cutlery Works was founded in 1888 by Albert L. Silberstein (1866-?). They manufactured razors, nail files and a great many types of scissors, including (as the signs say) pinking shears, nippers and manicure sets, as well as "Ladies' Button Hole" scissors. Their trademark registration also mentions embroidery scissors, poultry shears, barber shears, tweezers, pushers, blackhead removers and nose scissors.
Originally located on Broadway (until around 1915), then at 74-76 Fifth Avenue, they moved into this building on West 19th Street in 1920 and remained here until 1968. They also had a factory and branch outlet in Solingen, Germany.
These signs, painted by Harry Middleton of the Mack Sign Co., date from 1939 or later. (For more on Mack Sign Co. see the Mack page.) A view along 19th St. from 7th Ave. made by Percy Loomis Sperr, 6 May 1939, shows this building before the current signs were painted. Sperr's photo can be viewed on the New York Public Library's Digital Collections. Later in the 1940s Griffon renamed itself Griffon Cutlery Corp. instead of Griffon Cutlery Works. So "Corp" was painted over the word "Works" in the bottom right.
During the 1960s and for a time after they left New York for Inwood, NY, Griffon Cutlery maintained a showroom at 385 5th Ave.
For the current (Nov. 2002) condition of this sign click here. A great deal of detail and most of the color has been lost in the intervening years.
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