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Bommer Brothers is Formed

Emil Bommer was born in 1854 on Broome Street in lower Manhattan. Emil was bright, ambitious, and frugal. During his youth, Emil developed a talent as a lithographer. He was able to become a highly successful artist using lithographic methods for commercial advertising. By attending night school, Emil Bommer was able to earn a degree in "Perspective Art" from Cooper Union in 1875. In later years Emil was to be an instructor in architecture and drawing at this prestigious New York institution. Emil traveled to Europe when he was in his early twenties and was able to amass a significant sum of money with his artistic and commercial abilities. He continually sent financial aid to his father. Unfortunately, while on a trip through Ireland, Emil had all his savings stolen. As a result he worked in Dublin as a cartoonist for a local paper and saved enough money to return to the United States by 1878. Emil's father, Lorenz, continued to have financial difficulty, so Emil went to work for Currier and Ives in order to earn enough capital to assist financially with his father's venture. Emil was successful in convincing Currier and Ives to devote some of their efforts toward commercial advertising instead of concentrating all effort on pure art. As a result, at the age of twenty-five, Emil had succeeded in saving more than $100,000. This was in addition to the amounts he had already invested in his father's concern. By 1893, Emil proposed to his father that a partnership be formed. Lorenz agreed but stipulated that the partnership should include Emil's two half brothers William and Anton.

Thus the partnership Bommer Brothers was formed. The new company moved to a new location on Jay Street in Brooklyn. Emil continued to devote much of his spare time to commercial art. The following year Lorenz Bommer died at age 78. Shortly after his father's death, Emil purchased Anton's share of the company. In addition to his business interests with commercial art and manufacturing, Emil established a real estate firm. Before long he was a significant landowner in Brooklyn. His real estate ventures led him to concerns with social issues, specifically the plight of the local urban youth. In 1903 he turned concerns into action and used some of his real estate to establish a free community playground. All at his own cost, he landscaped, outfitted, equipped and hired supervision for the youth facility. The playground was Emil Bommer's vision, and a model for future facilities developed throughout the city of New York. Two years later, Emil married for the first time at age 51, and within a year, his only child, Marie Anna, was born. New York’s mayor, Fiorello La Quardia, finally honored Emil Bommer posthumously in 1938 for his philanthropic activities.

Between 1894 and Emil's death in 1935 Bommer Spring Hinge Company, as the company became known, grew rapidly. William, Emil's second stepbrother, decided to sever his connection with the company in the late 1890's. William continued to serve the company as architect and developer of the company's new manufacturing facility on Classon Avenue in Brooklyn. The original building was constructed in 1900 with five additions completed by 1910. The entire building was six stories high, and had over 200,000 square feet of floor space upon completion. In his latter years, Emil Bommer, traveled extensively throughout the world with his wife, daughter Marie Anna, and stepdaughter Louise. Fluent in seven languages, Emil promoted his products and established sales agents for Bommer spring hinges on every continent. During this period, the company also patented many products and won numerous honors and 23 citations at World Fairs and Expositions worldwide. Throughout the world the name "Bommer" became, and remains, synonymous with spring hinges.

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