J. Pirkl, 1610 8th Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y., 2010
Somewhat cryptic in its address, "246 Dr St Br" turns out to mean 246 Driggs St., Brooklyn.
J. Pirkl was John Pirkl (1842-1926?), and his iron foundry was located at 246 Driggs St., Brooklyn, approximately 1887. Driggs St., now known as Driggs Ave., is located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. A map dated 1907-1908 on the New York Public Library Digital Collections shows Driggs St. terminating near the intersection of Meeker Ave. and Morgan Ave. From approximately 1888 to 1892 Pirkl's Iron Works were located at 149 Driggs St. This is the address cited in Eugene L. Armbruster's Brooklyn's Eastern District (completed 1928), p. 148.
John Pirkl's passport application dated 9 March 1900 stated that he was born 29 Nov. 1842 in Landskron, Austria. He emigrated to the U. S. on the steamer Erin from Liverpool 1 Sept. 1869, and was naturalized in Brooklyn 30 Sept. 1880. His residence at that time was 160 South 2nd St., Brooklyn. He appears in the U. S. Census reports of 1880, 1900 and 1910. In 1880 he was 38 years old, born Germany, and his occupation was transcribed as "Makes Iron Railings." In 1900 he was 58 years old, born Nov. 1842, Austria, and his occupation was "Architectural Iron." He lived at 160 S. 2nd St., Brooklyn, and a son-in-law, Leonard G. Schnepf, lived with the family. In 1910 he lived on Highland Boulevard in the borough of Queens. He was 67 years old, a widower, and his son-in-law was now named George L. Schnepf. Both men gave their occupations as "Manufacture Iron."
The Pirkl Iron Works were located on Driggs St. approx. 1887 to 1892, then moved close by to North 10th St. near Union Ave., where they stayed until 1912. The Trow Business Directory for the borough of Queens, 1912, listed the John Pirkl Foundry Co. located at Orchard St. near Boulevard, Long Island City. Officers were John Pirkl, Waldemar Jansen, and George L. Schnepf. Orchard St. and the Boulevard were located in what is now Astoria, Queens. Orchard St. is now 26th Ave. and the Boulevard is now 4th St. More on these street name changes can be found on Kevin Walsh's Forgotten New York website. A map dated 1906 on the New York Public Library Digital Collections shows the New York Steel & Wire Co. at the intersection of Orchard and Boulevard. The Pirkl stay in Astoria seems to have been brief. There was a John Pirkl Construction Corp. located at 16 Frost St. from 1915 to 1922. This address is back in Williamsburg, very close to the Driggs St. and North 10th St. locations.
This advertisement for John Pirkl appeared in the exhibition catalog of the American Institute of Architects, Brooklyn Chapter, 1905. At that time Pirkl foundries were located on N. 10th St. and on Union Ave. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. A map from the G. W. Bromley Atlas of the Borough of Brooklyn dated 1907 may be showing the Pirkl Iron Works on the far left along Union Ave. between Withers and Frost Sts. This is available on the New York Public Library Digital Collections.
G. L. Schnepf, identified as Vice-Pres. and Treas. at the John Pirkl Iron Works was Leonhard George Schnepf (1868-1939), Pirkl's son-in-law. Schnepf often reversed first and middle names and was recorded in the 1910 and 1920 U. S. census reports as George L. Schnepf. A passport application dated 1907 identified him as Leonhard G. Schnepf, age 39, born 4 March 1868, Ulm, Germany, emigrated from Hamburg 2 May 1888, naturalized Brooklyn 26 Feb. 1898. A short obituary notice in the New York Times, 14 March 1939, read, "Mount Vernon, N.Y., March 13 - G. Leonhard Schnepf, retired official of structural iron and steel companies in New York and former director for thirty-five years of the William Tell Glee Club of Brooklyn, died here today in his home at the age of 71."
Throughout his life John Pirkl secured numerous patents for designs and inventions, including "Design for a Gate" dated 20 Feb. 1883, "Design for a Window Guard" dated 25 Aug. 1885, "Design for a Window Guard" dated 1 May 1888, "Anchor or Supporting Plate" dated 25 Sept. 1894, and "Centrifugal Pump and Water Wheel" dated 1 Sept. 1908.
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