The Cluett Building is a mid-block structure that runs through to 18th St. with the addresses 19-23 W. 18th St. as well as 22-28 W. 19th St. The building was constructed in 1901/02 as the New York headquarters of Cluett, Peabody & Co. of Troy, N. Y. They were collar and shirt manufacturers and created the Arrow brand of detachable shirt collars. According to the Free Dictionary, "About 1905 the company began an advertising campaign that featured an idyllic young man wearing an Arrow shirt with the detached collar... Hundreds of printed advertisements were produced from 1907 to 1930 featuring the Arrow Collar Man. The fictional Arrow collar man became an icon and by 1920 received more than 17 thousand fan letters a day."
Arthur James Weise, The City of Troy and its Vicinity, Troy, N. Y.: E. Green, 1886, writing about the city of Troy, N. Y., includes a rather detailed history of the earliest origins of the company: "Geo. B. Cluett, Bro. & Co's Monarch shirt and Crown collar and cuff manufactories, two, five-story, brick structures, each 150 by 100 feet, are on the west side of River Street, between Jacob and Hutton streets. Each spacious department, from the stock-room to the laundry, is furnished with the latest appliances for making and finishing the firm's goods for the market. From 1851 to 1873, the house made only collars and cuffs; the Crown collars and cuffs of recent years acquiring special fame throughout the United States. In 1873, the firm's successful shirt-business was inaugurated, having had its inception in the invention of the Patent Bound Bosom shirt, popularly known as the Monarch shirt. The most noted of the different Cluett collar and cuff patents are the Reinforced Band Collar, the Entire Seam Collar, the Uniform Seam Collar, and the Entire Seam Cuff. In 1851, Maullin & Blanchard, manufacturers of collars, began the business at No. 282 River Street, succeeded, in 1856, by Maullin & Bigelow, and they, in 1861, by Maullin, Bigelow, & Co.; George B. Cluett, a clerk in the manufactory from 1854, becoming a partner. On the dissolution of the partnership, in 1862, Joseph Maullin and George B. Cluett formed the firm of Maullin & Cluett. On the death of the senior partner, in 1863, the firm Geo. B. Cluett, Bros., & Co. was formed; the partners being George B. Cluett, J. W. A. Cluett, and Charles J. Saxe; J. W. A. Cluett having held a clerkship with the former firms from 1852 to 1857. On Charles J. Saxe's withdrawal in 1866, Robert Cluett became a partner, having been a clerk in the establishment from 1862. In 1874, R. S. Norton, for five years the travelling agent of the firm, became a member of it. The business was conducted, from 1862 to 1874, at No. 390 River Street; from 1875 to 1880, at Nos. 74 and 76 Federal Street; in 1880-81, at No. 556 Fulton Street and at Nos. 13, 15 and 17 Sixth Street. In 1881, the firm moved to the new building, Nos. 441, 443, and 445 River Street, and in 1884, occupied the other, Nos. 447, 449 and 451 River Street." Weise includes an image of the Geo. B. Cluett, Bro. & Co. buildings in Troy (click for image). A similar image from Weise' later Troy's one hundred years, 1891, shows a Cluett, Coon Co. building to the immediate right of the two earlier structures (click for image).
Cluett's earliest presence in New York City is represented by listings in Trow's New York City Directory in 1874 and 1875. Apparently the company had a sales room at 694 Broadway in these years. Associated with this New York branch were the three brothers, John William Albert Cluett (1833?-1899), George Bywater Cluett (1838-1912), and Robert Cluett (1844-1927). This advertisement referring to the 694 Broadway address appeared in the Troy City Directory in 1875.
These three were primary in forming George B. Cluett, Brother & Co., that later became Cluett, Peabody & Co. They were born in England and followed their father, William Cluett, to Troy, N. Y. in 1850. William Cluett was a book dealer whose business evolved into a music business, William Cluett & Son, in the U. S. This advertisement for William Cluett's Cluett & Sons appeared on the front cover of the 1875 Troy City Directory.
Quoting from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, 1880: "George B. Cluett was born Nov. 21, 1838, in Wolverhampton, England, and came to Troy with his parents, William and Ann Cluett, July 19, 1850... At the age of sixteen, in the year 1854, he became a clerk for Maullin & Blanchard, collar-manufacturers, in whose employ his brother, J. W. A. Cluett, had been since 1852. This firm was established in 1851, and employed as their first clerks the Cluett brothers. In 1857, J. W. A. Cluett joined his father in business under the firm-name of William Cluett & Son. George G. [sic] Cluett retained his position as clerk, until 1861, when, upon the death of the senior member, a new firm was organized, with the title of George B. Cluett, Bro. & Co., consisting of George B. Cluett, J. W. A. Cluett and Charles J. Saxe, J. W. A. Cluett having dissolved partnership with his father at the same time. In 1862, another brother, Robert Cluett came into the business as clerk, and in 1866, upon the withdrawal of Mr. Saxe, he became a member of the copartnership."
Cluett returned to New York in 1883 as George B. Cluett, Brother & Co. This company changed to Cluett, Coon & Co. in 1891, and then Cluett, Peabody & Co. came into being in 1899. They moved into their new building at 22-26 W. 19th St. in 1902 and stayed until 1912. Various divisions of Cluett, Peabody & Co. maintained offices and show rooms in New York through 2002. In 2004 Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. acquired the Arrow Shirt brand. As of Oct. 2009, Cluett, Peabody (a subsidiary of Phillips-Van Heusen) is now known as Cluett American with offices at 48 W. 38th St., New York.
The Peabody in Cluett, Peabody & Co. was Frederick Forrest Peabody (1858-1927), born in Northfield, Vermont, 4 July 1858. He was a member of Coon & Co. when founded in Troy in 1879 and also of Cluett, Coon & Co. He died in Santa Barbara, Calif., 23 Feb. 1927. A notice in the New York Times, 24 Feb. 1927, p 23, read, "Santa Barbara, Cal., Feb. 23 - Frederick Forrest Peabody, former President of Cluett, Peabody & Co., collar manufacturers of Troy, N. Y., died tonight at his home here."
Concurrent with George B. Cluett, Brother & Co. in Troy was another collar manufacturer, Coon & Co. According to Landmarks of Rensselaer County by George Baker Anderson, 1897, this company was "established in 1856 by John H. Coon and H. W. Cole," and became Cole, Coon & Co. in 1859. In 1868 "J. H. Coon, W. H. Reynolds and Daniel W. Coon founded the firm Coon, Reynolds & Co." W. H. Reynolds died in 1879. "In that year the firm of Coon & Co. was founded by J. H. Coon, D. W. Coon, H. C. Statzell and F. F. Peabody, the last two members having held important positions with the preceding firm." Coon & Co. then merged with George B. Cluett, Brother & Co. in 1891 to create Cluett, Coon & Co.
This ad for Cluett, Coon & Co. appeared in The North American Review, 1891.
The early career of Daniel Wells Coon (1843-1937) is traced in Who's Who in New York: a biographical dictionary of contemporaries, 1911, "Manufacturer; b. Gloversville, N. Y., June 10, 1843, and ed. in schools there. At 18 became interested in a collar business at Troy. N. Y., in which John H. Coon, a brother, was a partner; after three years in that business went West on account of impaired health, and established a woolen business. After 5 years returned East and established collar and cuff firm of Coon, Reynolds & Co., Philadelphia, soon establishing branches at N. Y. City and Chicago, under name of Coon & Co.; returned to Troy, N. Y., 1888, and by consolidating business of Coon & Co. with that of George B. Cluett, Bros. & Co., formed firm of Cluett, Coon & Co." In the U. S. Census of 1930, Daniel W. Coon, a widower, age 86, lived in Pasadena, Calif. His death was reported in the Fresno Bee, 9 June 1937, "Daniel W. Coon, 93, retired collar manufacturer who said he originated the trade name Arrow Brand, died today at his residence here. Born in Gloversville, N. Y., he was a member of the firm of Cluett-Coon and Company of Troy, N. Y., retiring from it in 1899 and succeeded by F. F. Peabody. He came to Pasadena in 1910 and is survived by five children and nine grandchildren."
On a side wall of the Cluett Building: Wenglinsky / & Sons / ... / Waist Band / Co (click for image).
These are the remaining fragments of a sign for the American Waist Band Co., located here from 1920 to 1929. They were a garment "trimmings" business, the term "waist band" defined in Webster (1913) as, "The band which encompasses the waist; esp., one on the upper part of breeches, trousers, pantaloons, skirts, or the like." The founder was Mendel Wenglinsky (1867-?), and the company was also known as M. Wenglinsky & Sons. The sons initially were Max Wenglinsky (1889-?) and Isidore Wenglinsky (1891/92-?). Later a third son, Samuel Wenglinsky (1894-?), also joined the firm. All were immigrants from Russia/Poland around 1900/1902. When they registered for the World War I draft in 1917, Max and Isidore specified their birthplace as Petrokow, Russia. This was the modern Piotrkow, Poland, located approx. 26 miles southeast of Lodz. Samuel Wenglinsky specified Belchatov, Russia, which is the modern Belchatow, Poland, slightly west of Piotrkow. In 1920 Mendel Wenglinsky applied for a passport in order to travel back to Poland to settle family affairs. An attachment to the application reads in part, "I have in the City of Belchakov (near Pietrikow) my aged father, 80 years old, an aunt, 70 years old, a sister, 50 years old and several neices [sic] and nephews..." This was written on stationery with the letterhead, M. Wenglinsky & Sons (click for image), where a previous address, 56 W. 24th St., had been marked out, and "19-23 W. 18th St. 22-28 W. 19th St." added. In April 1920 the 18th/19th St. address would have been new. American Waist Band Co. (aka M. Wenglinsky & Sons) were in business from 1911 until 1960.
< previous || next > index map signs by date signs by name see what's new