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For a long time, I’ve been intrigued by the Fleischhauers and the fact that in their records, they described themselves as glassblowers and manufactured thermometers. In my own family tree, it is a unique trade, but also shows an aptitude for science, chemistry, and craftsmanship. It also represents a dedication to an small enterprise when large manufacturing companies provided stiff competition against artisans and small businesses like those of the Fleischhauers. My curiosity led me to investigate this from many angles and how it shaped their experience of leaving Germany to seek out opportunity in New York City.

 

 

My great, great grandfather Franz Emil Fleischhauer left for American in 1890 with his parents, Friedrich and Hermine (Hiegersell), and two sisters, Ida and Annie. [1] The emigration papers for Franz, shown above, state he was born 10 May 1873 in the village of Stüetzerbach. He received permission to emigrate from Prussian officials in the city of Erfurt on 14 June 1890. [2] Stüetzerbach lies in the Ilm-Kreis district of the German state of Thuringia.

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Map of Thuringian States [1890]. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I quickly learned that the connection to glassblowing and the creation of medical instruments was not a coincidence, but a trade deeply connected to the area of Germany in which they originated. Stüetzerbach was a central hub for innovation in the manufacturing of glass, responsible for the first German thermometer, lightbulb, x-ray tube, and vacuum flask.[3] It is certain that the Fleischhauers were working with the top of their industry. The deep traditions of glass manufacturing in Stüetzerbach dating back to the 17th century suggests why they wouldn’t give up their employment as artisans to work for larger manufacturing companies.

 

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A glassblower in his studio. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I created tables showing chronologically where the Fleischhauer family lived in New York and what they stated for occupation, because there are subtle differences. They did move several times within the five boroughs, so it helped me to better organize the data I had collected. This information also demonstrates that a diversity of genealogical sources that can tell you something about what occupation your ancestor held.

Friedrich Fleischhauer (born 5 Nov 1851 – d. aft 1920) Occupations

 

Name Date Occupation Source
Fred [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1892 Artist 1892 NY State Census, Brooklyn, 38th Election Dist., 18th Ward, page 7
Fred   [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1897 Engraver 1897 Lain’s Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1900 Glass Engraver 1900 US Federal Census, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, roll 1067, Ed 517, page 10A.
Fredk (Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1904 Engraver 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1906 Engraver 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1906 Glass Engraver Naturalization Petition, U.S. Dist. Court, Eastern Dist. of NY, 7 Aug 1906, vol 95, page 53. Witness is John G. Burgtorf, Clerk at 70 A. Linden St. Brooklyn
Fredk [Friedrich] Flesichhauer 1907 Engraver 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1908 Engraver 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Frederick (Friedrich) Fleischhauer 1920 Thermometers (self) 1920 US Census, Brooklyn, ED 1294 [?], sheet 15 A

Franz Emil Fleischhauer (10 May 1873 – 25 Apr 1948) Occupations

 

Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1895 Glass blower City of NY, Dept. of Health, Cert. of Birth (1895), no. 6192, Franz J. Fleischhauer
Frank (Franz Emil) Fleischhauer 1897 Glass blower 1897 Lain’s Brooklyn Directory, transcription
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1898 Glass blower Naturalization Petition, Kings County Court, petition no. 4808D, 4 Mar 1898. Witness is August Rommel, a wine dealer living at 413 Evergreen Ave., Brooklyn
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1900 Thermometer Manufacturer 1900 US Federal Census (adjacent to Friedrich)
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1902 Thermometer Manufacturer George Upington, Upington’s General Directory of Brooklyn, (1902), p. 291

 

Frank Fleischhauer 1903 Thermometers, 111 Himrod George Upington, Upington’s General Directory of Brooklyn (1903), p.316
Franz Fleischhauer 1903 Glassblower 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Flesichhauer 1904 Thermometers, 111 Himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1904), p. 316
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1905 No occupation 1905 NY State Census, Brooklyn, Election Dist 24, Block C, 20th Assembly District, page 26.
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1906 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1906), p.350
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1907 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1907), p. 315
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1908 Thermometers, 111 himrod Upington’s Brooklyn Directory (1908), p.325
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1920 Thermometer Manufacturer (runs own business) 1920 US Census, Queens, New York, roll 1234, ED 322, p. 21B.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1948 Thermometer Manufacturer City of New York, Department of Health, Death Certificate, 1948, no. 3927

 

Friedrich Fleischhauer’s List of Addresses

 

Name Date Address Source
Fred (Friedrich) Flesichhauer 1892 38th Elec. Dist., 18th Ward, Brooklyn 1892 NY State Census
Fred (Friedrich) Fleischhauer 1897 225 Woodbine Ave., Brooklyn Lain’s Brooklyn Directory (1897), transcription
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1900 157 Cornelia St. Brooklyn 1900 US Federal Census
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1902 157 Cornelia St. Brooklyn 1902 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1904 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich Fleischhauer] 1906 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Friedrich Fleischhauer 1906 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn Naturalization Petition.
Fredk [Friedrich] Flesichhauer 1907 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Fredk [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1908 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Frederick [Friedrich] Fleischhauer 1920 1188 Hancock St., Brooklyn 1920 US Federal Census

 

Franz Emil Fleischhauer’s List of Addresses

 

Name Date Address Source
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1895 360 Hamburg Ave., Brooklyn (later renamed Wilson Ave.) Birth Cert. of Frank J. Fleischhauer
Frank (Franz Emil) Fleischhauer 1897 138 Grove St., Brooklyn Lain’s Brooklyn Directory (1897), transcripton
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1898 138 Grove St. , Brooklyn Naturalization Petition.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1900 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1900 US Federal Census
Frank Fleischhauer 1903 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Fleischhauer 1903 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1903 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1904 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1904 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1905 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1905 NY State Census
Franz Emil Fleischhauer Sep 1905 89-36 187th place, Queens (husson and prospect ave.) “Schoolboy Killed in Train Accident.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tue 19 Sep 1905.
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1906 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1906 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil]

Fleischhauer

1907 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1907 Brooklyn Directory
Frank [Franz Emil] Fleischhauer 1908 157 Cornelia St., Brooklyn 1908 Brooklyn Directory
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1930 89-36 187 Place, Queens 1930 US Federal Census, Queens, New York, roll 1610, ED 401, page 9A.
Franz Emil Fleischhauer 1948 89-36 187 Place, Queens Death Certificate

 

Some of the Brooklyn City Directories showed that Franz had a place of business at 111 Himrod St. in Brooklyn from 1903 – 1908. The only clue I could find about this address was that a gold pen maker named F.M. Stark ran his business here at the same time as Franz Fleischauer.[4]

How well off were the Fleischhauers for a family owned small business? The census records may provide some insight to their success, because as genealogists know, the US Census required the head of household to provide information about their income and property. Homeownership was valued greatly among Germans and when they arrived in the U.S., sought to buy a home as soon as possible.[5] The 1900 US Census shows that within a decade of living in their adopted homeland, the Fleischhauers were homeowners living at 157 Cornelia Street in Brooklyn.[6] In 1920, having moved to the borough of Queens, they also owned their home at the corner of Husson and Prospect Ave., which is today 89-36 187th Place.[7] In 1930, the same home was valued at $15,000, which was well above average compared to other homes in their neighborhood.[8] The depression surely had an impact, but to my surprise in the 1940 Census, the Fleischhauers still managed to own their home. However, the value had dropped to $9,000.[9] Evidence suggests that the Fleischhauers were able to keep themselves afloat as self-employed people.

The Fleischhauer family’s aptitude for making glass instruments carried on to there children. My great-grandfather Frank Fleischhauer (1895-1991) also made thermometers and other glass instruments. He was particularly bright and studious, practicing academics till the end of his days and had an affinity for repurposing another man’s trash into his own treasure. He graduated from the Pratt Institute in 1929 with an award for proficiency in chemistry.

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Frank Fleischhauer wins an award for Chemistry from Pratt Institue. Brooklyn Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY), Friday, 23 Mar 1929, page 2. Source: fultonhistory.com

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Frank Fleischhauer’s certificate from the Pratt Institute for completing the Evening Course in Technical Chemistry.

The best part of the story is that when my cousin found my blog and contacted me, I received a wealth of family papers, photos, and heirlooms concerning the Fleischhauers, including the actual thermometers they manufactured. While I don’t know their exact provenance, I can say they are connected to a deep heritage of glass making and represent an important part of my paternal family history.

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Thermometers manufactured by the Fleischhauer family.

 

[1] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QVPJ-7QZH : accessed 29 April 2016), Franz Fleischhauer, 10 Jun 1890; citing NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 549, list no. 816, passenger no. 525-29, (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

[2] There appears to be a discrepancy on the date Franz received permission to emigrate (14 Jun 1890). According to the passenger manifest, he would have arrived 4 days before he received permission to emigrate (10 Jun 1890), so the dates wouldn’t make sense.

[3] Innovative Labor Systeme, “Home,”: accessed at http://www.microsyringes.com: 28 Apr 2016. For a more detailed history of prominent manufacturers and glass blowers in Thuringia, visit The Cathode Ray Tube Site (http://www.crtsite.com/glassblowers.html)

[4] Walden’s Stationer and Printer (New York, NY), 25 Jan 1904, page 4: accessed at Google Books. Mr. Stark noted in response to the author’s query regarding his business that production had sorely outgrown the size of the facility and was looking for more room.

[5] The Advocates for Human Rights. “Immigration Library – German Immigrants to the United States,” (accessed at http://www.energyofanation.org/4e667f77-e302-4c1a-9d2e-178a0ca31a32.html?NodeId=: 28 Apr 2016).

[6] Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 1900 US Federal Census, roll 1067, ED 517, p. 10A, household of Frank Fleischauer.

[7] Assembly Dist. 4, Queens County, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, roll 1234, ED 322, p. 21B, household of Frank E. Fleischauer. Steve Morse’s website provides a list of all the street name changes in Queens. See Steve Morse, “Street Name Changes* in Queens, New York,” (accessed at http://www.stevemorse.org/census/changes/QueensChanges2_161to271.htm: 28 Apr 2016).

[8] Hollis, Queens County, New York, 1930 US Federal Census, roll 1601, ED 401, p. 9A, household of Frank Fleischhauer.

[9] Hollis, Queens County, New York, 1940 US Federal Census, roll 2740, ED 41-1075, p. 6A, household of Frank Fleischhauer.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “Fleshing out the Details of the Flesichhauers [part 1],” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 28 Apr 2016. https://fletcherfamilytree.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/fleshing-out-the-details-of-the-fleischhauers-part-1

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