28 March 2012

The Faded Ad Wall on West 36th: Weber Original Blouses

By some miracle, a entire building wall of faded ads at 70 W. 36 Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues has survived. There are more than a half dozen, positioned like building blocks, one on top of another, along the edge of a building just to the left of Keens Chop House. Most advertise once thriving garment companies in the area, now all vanished.

I've looked at these ads many a time. The other day, while gazing up on them again, and feeling thankful that they were still there, I was gripped by a desire to know more about the companies whose names were painted on the brick. So I've decided to decode each ad, one by one.

I'll start with one of the simplest and most clearly readable from the street. Weber Original Blouses. I like how each of the three words has a different font and a different personality.

You'll see Weber blouses advertised by vintage clothing shops on the Internet today. The company was only at this address from 1948 to 1959, after which they moved to Seventh Avenue. So I'm guessing that's when the ad dates from. The business survived until the 1970s. The outfit seems to have dealt in the then-popular man-made fabrics of nylon and dacron. Who founded it, I could not discover. I guess people don't really care that much about recording for posterity who created some little blouse company in Manhattan in the mid-20th century.

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