Samuel Morris Frank (1874-1943) was born in New York City at 216 East 79th St. on 14 November 1874. He was trained by his father, Morris Frank (Frank & Weis, pipes, 57 Leonard St. and 313 E. 22 St. in 1890), a manufacturer of briar pipes, and worked for William Demuth & Co. as a young man, then founded his own business in 1900. His obituary in the New York Times, 14 Oct. 1943, p. 21, read,
"Samuel Morris Frank of Deal, N. J., widely known president of S. M. Frank & Co., Inc.,
of New York, dealers in smokers' articles, died Tuesday in the Hotel Alrae, 37 East
Sixty-fourth Street, after a short illness. His age was 68.
Born in New York, he had been identified with the smoking-pipe industry for half a century. He got his early training with his father, Morris Frank, one of the early manufacturers of imported briar.
After several years with William Demuth & Co., Mr. Frank organized his own concern in 1900. In 1922 he purchased the Manhattan Briar Pipe Company from the American Tobacco Company. In 1937 he also became president of William Demuth & Co., Inc.
Mr. Frank was a pioneer in the development of the use of filters in pipes and perfected a number of improvements.
He leaves a widow, Mrs. Elsie La Boiteaux Frank, and a son, Samuel M. Frank Jr."
Initially located downtown on Pearl St. and on Broadway near Duane St., S. M. Frank & Co. moved uptown to 17th St. in 1904, then to this building with entrances on both 21st St. and Broadway in 1912, where they remained for about 10 years. The sign, then, dates from this period, possibly as early as 1912 and no later than 1922.
The earliest recorded location of the S. M. Frank pipe factory was 292 Ave. B in Manhattan in 1903. This was their factory until the late 1910s, when they moved to 168 Southern Blvd. in the Bronx. In 1937 they left this location when the city took possession of a portion of the property in order to widen adjacent streets. At this time they negotiated with the William Demuth Co. which had a factory at 84-10 101st St. in Richmond Hill, Queens. Not only did they move their manufacturing to the Richmond Hill factory, they also bought the Demuth Co., which became a subsidiary of S. M. Frank & Co., with Samuel M. Frank as president. Click here for view of Demuth / Frank factory in Richmond Hill. Click here for inscription above the entrance.
Samuel M. Frank died in 1943, but the business continues to this day (May 2010) in Peekskill, N. Y. Their history (written mostly in 1977 by Bill Feuerbach III, an officer of the company) is found on their website at www.smfrankcoinc.com. S. M. Frank & Co. had offices in New York City until the early-1970s (their last location was at 745 5th Ave. near 57th St.. They sold pipes and other smoking related products, both of their own manufacture and also imported items.
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