John Eberhard Faber, pencil maker

John Eberhard Faber  (December 6, 1822 – March 2, 1879), was a German-born American manufacturer of pencils in New York. His father, George Leonard Faber, was a descendant of the famous Faber family, one of ancient lineage in Bavaria engaged in the profession of manufacturing lead pencils. John moved to NYC in 1848 and opened a stationery store at No. 133 William Street in 1849.  The store was moved to 718-720 Broadway in 1877. He explored ways to improve the pencil and in 1852, realized that the red cedar available in America was ideal for lead pencils. In 1861, he opened the first lead… Read More

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Robert Gair, cardboard box inventor

Robert Gair, a Scottish-born immigrant, invented the folding carton in 1890 in Brooklyn. He was a printer and paper bag maker in the 1870s. He invented the paperboard folding carton by accident: a metal ruler normally used to crease bags shifted in position and cut the bag. Gair found that by cutting and creasing paperboard in one operation, he could make prefabricated cartons. He ultimately got into the corrugated fiberboard shipping container business in the 1900s.   Before cardboard, he served in the Civil War and returned to NYC to open a paper factory on Reade Street in Manhattan. He moved to Brooklyn after his cardboard became popular and he needed… Read More

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William Hooker, surveyor and engraver

William Hooker was a surveyor and engraver. He mapped early 1800s NY. He published maps of New York City in 1824. In 1827 he published the Pocket Plan of 1827, map of Brooklyn. His map was the first to have the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church on High Street, established in 1818, the oldest African American church in Brooklyn. His map highlighted points of interest in Brooklyn, including not only the Places of Worship like AME, but libraries, schools, markets, banks, insurance companies, lodges, gardens, and hotels. Mr. Hooker’s published maps of Manhattan (then just known as New York City)  still… Read More

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Alex Elowitz and Stan Fox, Coney Island business men

Alex Elowitz began working as a change boy in a Coney Island arcade when he was 12 years old. He went to the army and upon returning opened the Playland Arcade in Coney Island with his brother, Stan Fox in 1949. The first Playland Arcade was on 20th Street and the Boardwalk in the Washington Baths building. Playlands at 15th Street and the Boardwalk and 12th Street and the Boardwalk (where Nathan’s is now) followed. They opened 4 and the last was demolished in 2012 after being abandoned for about 30 years. Alex and Stan bought the business from the surviving Katz… Read More

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John Eberson, theater designer and owner

John Adolph Emil Eberson (1875–1954) was a European born American architect best known for the development and promotion of movie palace designs. He was born in Austria-Hungary and studied electrical engineering at The University of Vienna. In 1901, he traveled to the United States through NYC, but ended up in St. Louis. He started as an engineer with a small company, but eventually joined with Johnson Realty and Construction Company, a theatre architecture and construction company. Eberson and Johnson traveled around the eastern part of America, promoting opera houses in small towns. Once the town was persuaded to build an opera house, Eberson would… Read More

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Arthur D. Ebinger, bakery owner

Arthur D. Ebinger was the president of the Ebinger Baking Company, a company he formed with his brothers in the early part of the 1900s. The company, which ceased operations in 1972, had been a distributor of cakes and breads to thousands of customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Mr. Ebinger was born in Manhattan in 1889. His family moved to Brooklyn a few years later and his father opened a small bakery there. Mr. Ebinger went to Chicago, where he studied at the School of Milling and Baking and then returned to Brooklyn to help… Read More

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Charles Denson, Coney Island Historian

Charles Denson is executive director of the nonprofit Coney Island History Project, which has created an oral history archive and sponsors educational exhibits, school programs and performances. He is the author of Coney Island: Lost and Found, named 2002 New York Book of the Year by the New York Society Library. Mr. Denson grew up in Coney Island and began documenting his neighborhood as a boy, a passion that continues to this day. A writer, photographer and art director, he began his career in 1971 as a photographer for New York magazine and has since worked as art director for numerous publications. (source: Coney… Read More

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