The Dannenhoffer Glass Works were located here on Himrod Street, Brooklyn, from 1912 to 1935. The business was founded in the 1870s by the brothers, John and Nicholas Dannenhoffer. John Dannenhoffer (1833-1889) was the elder brother. Nicholas Dannenhoffer (1839-1920) was the younger. They were born to a German-speaking family in what was then the province of Lorraine in France, and emigrated to the U. S. in 1861. They did farm work in the Albany NY area, and then in 1872 moved to New York City and entered the glass making business in Brooklyn. In 1880 Dannenhoffer & Co. was located on Throop Avenue on the corner of Gerry St. Lain's Business Directory of Brooklyn for 1890-91 listed "Dannenhoffer John Glass Works (The) 58 Rutledge" under Glass Manufacturers. Trow's Business Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1899 listed "Dannenhoffer John, 387 Harman." From approximately 1899 to 1912 they were located on Harman St. In 1912 they moved to Himrod St.
The Fourteenth Annual Report of the Factory Inspector of the State of New York for Year Ending November 30, 1899 reported Dannenhoffer Glass Works as employing an average number of 21 workers of whom 3 were female and 5 were males under the age of 18. A normal work week was 59 hours.
The Dannenhoffer family is described at length in Schlegel's German-American Families in the United States, The American Historical Society, New York, 1918. This is available on the internet in google books. This work also has photographic portraits of John Dannenhoffer, and two of John Dannenhoffer's sons, John L. Dannenhoffer and Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer.
John Dannenhoffer's biography in Schlegel's German-American Families in the United States, reads, "John Dannenhoffer, son of John and Angelika (Jung) Dannenhoffer, was born at the family home in the town of Rahlinger, what was then the province of Lorraine, France, November 17, 1833. He acquired his educational training in the Volks-schule of his native town, and upon being confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith at the age of fourteen, he became engaged in assisting his father in the cultivation of his farm and vineyards. He later gave up farm work, and decided to learn the trade of glass manufacturing, and spent most of his time trying to perfect himself in the various arts and devices of that trade. In order to secure greater opportunities in his new chosen trade, he decided to emigrate, in company with his brother, Nicholas, to the United States, and soon after settling their family interests they secured passage on the sailing vessel "Helvetia," which was bound from Havre, France, and after a voyage of sixty days arrived at Castle Garden, New York City, in the year 1861, which was at the beginning of the Civil War. Upon their arrival here, and not being able to secure employment immediately, they set sail on the river boat to Albany, and there they found work on a farm in Bloomingdale. After working at farming for some time they returned to Albany, and there to Mentes Station, working on different farms in both places. John Dannenhoffer had husbanded all his earnings, and decided to return to New York City, where he found employment in the Russo & Walter Glass Works. After the death of one of the partners, the firm name was changed to Fowler, Crampton & Company, with whom he remained for some time, and in 1872 his industry and economy having secured for him some capital, soon enabled him to begin business on his own account, admitting into partnership his brother, Nicholas, and John N. Huwer, under the name Huwer & Dannenhoffer. They continued in this business of glass manufacturing up to 1871, when John and Nicholas established the Williamsburg Flint Glass Works at the corner of Throop avenue and Gerry street, in Brooklyn, where they successfully continued in this line of enterprise up to 1882. During this time John Dannenhoffer had performed many experiments for the purpose of improving the process for manufacturing opalescent glass, and when his efforts resulted successfully, and his experiments proving satisfactory, he became engaged in the manufacture of this kind of ware, continuing in that department of trade up to April 4, 1889, when his life's labor ended in death. Mr. Dannenhoffer married, in the borough of Brooklyn, Regina Remlinger, who was a native of the town of Ingeberg, province of Lorraine, and of this union were born eight children ... "
Nicholas Dannenhoffer's biography in Schlegel repeats much of the same information, "Nicholas Dannenhoffer, son of John and Angelika (Jung) Dannenhoffer, was born at the family home in the town of Rahlinger, in what was then the province of Lorraine, France, April 3, 1839. He received his educational training in the Volks-schule of his native town, and soon after being confirmed, he became engaged in assisting his father on his farm until he reached his seventeenth year, at which time he decided to learn the trade of glass making. About this time, in company with his brother John, he decided to emigrate for the United States, and upon settling his family affairs and interests he went to Paris, France, and from there he corresponded with his brother John, and when he learned that his brother was also about to sail for the United States, they both secured passage on the sailing vessel "Helvetia," and after a voyage of sixty days they arrived at Castle Garden. Upon his arrival here, he went with his brother on the Hudson boat to Albany, where he found employment on the same farm where his brother was employed. He also went back to Albany with his brother, and from there to Mentes Station, where he worked for some time on the road. He next went with his brother to New York City, and there found employment in the same firm of Russo & Walter Glass Works. He then became a partner with his brother John, and they first established a glass manufacturing plant at Maujer street, under the firm name of Long Island Flint Works. They then removed to Morgan and Remsen streets, Williamsburg, where they founded, in 1873, the Long Island Glass Works. In 1876 Nicholas Dannenhoffer erected a new establishment at Throop and Gerry streets, where he remained for five years. He started a new building at McKibbin street, under the firm name of Williamsburg Flint Glass Works, which firm he turned over to a stock company when his eldest son, Aloysius, died. He retired on account of illness in 1895, but is still at the present time (1917) a shareholder of this concern. Married, in 1868, in Brooklyn, Catherina Huwer, born in Saraunsberg, province of Lorraine, March 24, 1846 daughter of John Nicholas and Elisabeth (Amrein) Huwer ... "
The town referred to as Rahlinger in these accounts seems to be the current (2017) village of Rahling in the départment de la Moselle in northeastern France.
Two sons of John Dannenhoffer continued the business after his death in 1889. These were John Louis Dannenhoffer (1871-1910) and Nicholas Ludwig Dannenhoffer (1872-1916).
These photos of John L. Dannenhoffer and Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 1907.
On John L. Dannenhoffer's death, the following appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 15 Nov. 1910, pg. 7, "The passing away of John L. Dannenhoffer is indeed a sudden shock to his many friends and business associates. He died on the morning of November 14, at 6 o'clock, from pneumonia, contracted in working about the large plant of the Dannenhoffer Glass Works on Himrod street. Mr. Dannenhoffer was a resident of the Eastern District for his entire life. He and his brother Nicholas L., were left by their father upon his death, about twenty-five years ago, with the care and running of their plant, where opalescent glass is manufactured. At that time the business was confined to one small building, which by persistent efforts and business ability, they have developed until it is now the largest opalescent glass manufactory in the United States. The father, John Dannenhoffer, was known as the best color producer in the world. His blending of the different chemicals through which the various colors are made, was something short of marvelous. Upon his death he left these formulas to his sons - John L. and Nicholas L., who have kept up the reputation and standard of their product. The business will be conducted by the surviving brother, Nicholas E. [sic] Dannenhoffer, up to the same standard as heretofore. John L. Dannenhoffer was 39 years old at the time of his death, and is mourned by many associates in the business and banking world. He was a liberal giver to charity, and his loss is mourned especially by the parish of St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church."
John L. Dannenhoffer's biography in Schlegel reads, "John Louis Dannenhoffer, son of John and Regina (Remlinger) Dannenhoffer, was born at the family home in the Eastern District of Brooklyn, January 23, 1871. His early educational training was acquired in the All Saints' Parochial School in Throop avenue, Eastern District of Brooklyn. Upon graduating from the parochial school, he next pursued a course of study in the Reiss Commercial College in the city of Brooklyn, and upon completing his commercial studies the young student entered upon a collegiate course in the study of chemistry. After continuing in this branch of study for some time, he finally decided to take up the more practical duties of a business life, and at the early age of eighteen entered his father's glass manufacturing establishment, and under his tuition acquired a practical knowledge of the various details and techniques of the manufacture of opalescent glass. He continued actively identified with his father's establishment and counting room up to the death of the latter, and was later engaged in the manufacture of their special products in opalescent glass with his brother, Nicholas Ludwig. In this undertaking, the Dannenhoffer brothers met with a marked degree of success, the wares of their establishment having found a ready market throughout the length and breadth of the country, and the name of Dannenhoffer became everywhere regarded as being synonymous with honest methods in all their business transactions. John Louis Dannenhoffer died at his home in the borough of Brooklyn, November 14, 1910. His remains were interred in the St. John's Cemetery at Middle Village, Queens county, Long Island. John Louis Dannenhoffer was married, in the borough of Brooklyn, November 11, 1902, by Reverend Father Farrely, in St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church at Linden street and Nicholas avenue, to Julia Mary Borghard. She was born in the borough of Brooklyn, January 14, 1877, daughter of Henry and Lena (Rausch) Borghard. ..."
On Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer's death, the following appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 20 Feb. 1916, pg. 58, "Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer of 1934 Greene avenue, died yesterday at his home, at the age of 43 years. He was head of Dannenhoffer's Glass Works and well known in the Eastern District. He is survived by his wife, Katherine Dannenhoffer. Funeral services will take place Tuesday at 10 a. m., at his late residence, and thence to St. Aloysius Church, Onderdonk avenue and Stanhope street. Interment will be in St. John's Cemetery."
Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer's biography in Schlegel is similar to that of his brother, "Nicholas Ludwig Dannenhoffer, sixth child and third son of John and Regina (Remlinger) Dannenhoffer, was born at the family home in the Eastern District of Brooklyn, May 26, 1872. His early educational training was acquired at All Saints' Parochial School, then located at Throop avenue and Thornton street, in the city of Brooklyn, from which institution he graduated, and upon being confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith, he was sent by his parents to the Reiss Commercial College in the city of Brooklyn, where he pursued a course of bookkeeping and commercial training preparatory to entering his father's office and glass manufacturing establishment, and under his guidance and tuition young Dannenhoffer acquired a practical knowledge of the various details and technique of the manufacture of opalescent glass. He remained actively identified with the Dannenhoffer establishment, and in 1910, after the demise of his brother, John Louis, Nicholas Ludwig assumed the entire management of the Dannenhoffer concern. Nicholas Ludwig Dannenhoffer died February 19, 1916 in the borough of Brooklyn, and his remains were interred in St. John's Cemetery at Middle Village, Queens county, Long Island. Married, in the city of Brooklyn, August 11, 1896, Katherina Maria Grasche, born in the city of Brooklyn, July 29, 1869, daughter of Caspar and Christine (Fleck) Grasche. ... "
A third generation Dannenhoffer at Dannenhoffer Glass Works was Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer's son, George Bernard Dannenhoffer (1899-1968). A short sketch in Schlegel reads, "George, born in the borough of Brooklyn, December 23, 1899. He received his educational training in the St. Aloysius' Parochial School, and after being confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith, he next became a pupil in Public School No. 71, and next pursued a course of study at the Heffley Institute at 243 Ryerson street, in the borough of Brooklyn. At present (1917) he is learning the art of opalescent glass manufacturing in the Dannenhoffer establishment." George B. Dannenhoffer registered for the World War I draft in 1918 when his occupation was "Color Mixer, Dannenhoffer Estate, 330 Himrod, Ridgewood, Queens, NY."
"Opalescent Glass is a glass which has zero opacity and which has opal gemstone tones. It was found in pressed glassware in 1870 in England during the Victorian times but was first made in America in 1897 in Indiana and Pennsylvania. They are translucent wares named for opal gemstones. Pitchers with pretty patterns are the most popular among items made with Opalescent glass." (Yundle, Inc., accessed 2017-03-12).
"Opalescent Glass - Is created when one or more colors mixed with opal white glass to produce varying degrees of opacity. It is rolled by machine or hand rolled to produce glass of uniform thickness. One sheet may contain as many as five colors. Patterns include double rolled, granite, ripple, and mottled. Wispy opals have light, feathery streaks of white opal." (charactersteins.com, accessed 2017-03-12).
"Opalescent Stained Glass ('American glass'): Glass developed in the late 19th century by John LaFarge and Louis C. Tiffany, in which streaks of color, when fused, give a milky, iridescent appearance." (buffaloah.com, accessed 2017-03-12)
Dannenhoffer was not always opalescent glass. Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers and First Hands in All Lines, Buyers' Guide 1905 - 1906, pg. 477, categorized the products of "Dannenhoffer Glass Wks., Jno., 389 Harmon" as "Cathedral; Rough Plate; Tile; Rough; Ribbed; Figured Rolled Plate."
Copyright © 2017 Walter Grutchfield