The long-gone ironworks of an older Manhattan

You don’t always notice them underfoot as you walk down New York’s sidewalks. But these old manhole and coal chute covers—the ones with the name and address of the ironworks company that created it—provide clues about an older, vanished city.


Take this one above, made by the homey-sounding I. Claman Stove Repairs company. It was spotted on Washington Place in the West Village.

I. Claman was located at 94 Orchard Street, an address now occupied by a craft brewery that caters to a young, social, moneyed crowd.


B. Masor & Co. used to make manhole covers like this one, found off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, at 721-31 East 133rd Street.

I’m not sure if the address is for Manhattan or for the Bronx. Either way, the business is kaput.


Abbott Hardware, once at Columbus Avenue in the West 90s, created this coal hole cover. It’s still part of the sidewalk on St. Luke’s Place off Seventh Avenue South.

But the days of upper Columbus Avenue housing an ironworks company are long over. The old tenements there were razed decades ago to make way for big-box apartments—strangely all in the same shade of beige.

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5 Responses to “The long-gone ironworks of an older Manhattan”

  1. pinto1247 Says:

    now most made in India as you probably know.

  2. snoh Says:

    That seems to be “Barnet” Masor and the address is definitely in the Bronx’s Port Morris section.
    BTW – do you recall the exact location of that coalchute cover? I need to see it for myself!

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Good detective work! The B. Masor cover is on Morris Avenue and I think 178th Street, a couple of blocks from the Grand Concourse, not Fordham Road–my error.

  4. snoh Says:

    Cool! Found it. What would I do without good ole Google Map?!

  5. Sam Goldberg Says:

    Just found this…a subject I’m a little nuts about buy would like to share my “original” images Have always been interested in how the many manholes eventually become one with the streets and visa versa. I’m sure there many mysteries.

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