A mysterious store sign reappears in Flatiron

The upside of new construction is that old bits and pieces of the city come back into view.

At 1165 Broadway, a landmarked 1867 building (below, in 1900) currently being transformed into coop, a shadowy color sign has reappeared.

“Smith’s” the sign says. The logo next to it reads “Guaranteed never to rip” and includes an image of the biblical Samson and a lion. A smaller tagline reads “wear like Samsons . . . made?” That fourth word is hard to figure out.

So what was Smith’s selling? The phrase “guaranteed never to rip” was used in ads for cheap suits decades ago. But the mention of Samson, known not for cheap suits but his ability to rip a lion in half, makes this ad a mystery.

[Second image: NYPL]

Tags: , , ,

17 Responses to “A mysterious store sign reappears in Flatiron”

  1. A mysterious store sign reappears in Flatiron | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate A mysterious store sign reappears in Flatiron […]

  2. Sandra Wapner Says:

    my guess for smith’s http://interbrandllc.com/our-brands/smiths-workwear

    On Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 1:42 AM, Ephemeral New York wrote:

    > ephemeralnewyork posted: “The upside of new construction is that old bits > and pieces of the city come back into view. At 1165 Broadway > , a > landmarked 1867 building (below, in 1900) currently being transformed into > coop, a shadowy color sign has reappeared. “Smith’s” the sign sa” >

  3. mitzanna Says:

    Work overalls.

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    That’s it! Thanks for solving this mystery. Now, why Samson?

  5. Gioell Says:

    I suspect the fourth word is “hair” – Samson’s strength.

  6. Michael Leddy Says:

    Here’s the Brooklyn Overall Company in 1921, with a trademark that reads “Wears like Samson’s Hands”:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=x5uQAAAAMAAJ&dq=wear%20like%20samson%20overalls&pg=PA612#v=onepage&q=wear%20like%20samson%20overalls&f=false

    But the word on the sign doesn’t look like “hands” to me.

  7. Michael Leddy Says:

    Sorry for the ungainly link, but I didn’t want to include a shortened one that wouldn’t identify what you’d be clicking on.

  8. Mirtika Says:

    Could be “Made by Hand To Wear Like Samson’s”?

    Meaning if they used the phrase “Wears like Samson’s Hands” previously, then customers would be used to the connection of Samson/Hands and Don’t Wear Out/Are Strong overalls.

  9. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    No problem! I think this comes close, but it just doesn’t look like an “n” in Hands where an “n” should be, no? That word really looks like “made”

  10. Zoé Says:

    I think it looks like ‘MADE’ like Ephemeral said. Which is still confusing. (Unless you like cryptic poetry).

    Lol! that painting in the medallion portion. If you squint it’s a Rockabilly type dancing w/ Ann Margret. (Tiny phone screen).

    I think we should call a biblical scholar to tell us exactly what it means 😉

  11. Tom B Says:

    I wonder if it is work gloves?

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Michael’s link above seems to show that the phrase about Samson’s Hands is part of an ad for overalls….

  12. David H Lippman Says:

    Must have been found while they were working in there.

  13. Eric Steiner Says:

    If I may say so, what a dreadful glass box now rising out of it

  14. sandra wapner Says:

    smith’s work wear (still in business)

  15. Mara Cates Bragar Says:

    My family’s company founded by the Boshnack’s from Belarus. Overalls and more overalls. There’s a Berenice Abbott photograph with poster ads, as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: