Garvin Machine Co., Spring St. at Varick St., New York, 2004
The original Garvin, machinist, was Hugh R. Garvin, born Maine, ca. 1830. At the time of the U. S. census of 1880, Hugh R. Garvin lived in New York at 210 E. 49th St., Manhattan. With him at this home were four sons: Eugene E. Garvin (1856-1916), George K. Garvin (1859-1919), Frank W. Garvin (1861?-?), and Fred Garvin (18 years old in 1880). The eldest son, Eugene Garvin, took over his father's business in 1879/80 and named it E. E. Garvin & Co. E. E. Garvin & Co. were located on Centre St. until around 1890 (click for E. E. Garvin ad from 1888). Then they moved to 9 Laight St. (click for E. E. Garvin ad from 1890), and shortly after the move to Laight St. the business was re-named Garvin Machine Co. (click for Garvin ad from 1892).
This advertisement for Garvin appeared in the New York Tribune, Jan. 1897. By this time they had moved to Spring St. on the corner of Varick.
This advertisement for Garvin is taken from the journal, Machinery, Feb. 1913, p. 156.
The 1880 U. S. Census (non-population schedules) recorded E. E. Garvin, Machinists with $15,000 capital and raw materials valued at $25,000. They employed an average of 60 men, and paid annual wages of $30,000. Skilled workers were paid $2.50 a day and ordinary laborers $1.25. The factory was in operation full time 12 months of the year. The ordinary day was 10 hours. And annual production in the past year was valued at $60,000.
The Trow New York city directories list Hugh R. Garvin as a partner in E. E. Garvin & Co., at least for the first few years (through 1888). Also listed is the mysterious Martha Garvin, who may have been Hugh Garvin's wife (her name is Marg in the 1880 census). Starting in 1887 Eugene Garvin's younger brothers, George Garvin and Frank Garvin, join the list. These three brothers constitute the partners when the company was re-named Garvin Machine Co. (1891).
In 1896 the Garvin factory on Laight St. suffered a disastrous fire. The New York Times, 7 March 1896, p. 8, reported, "The double six-story factory of the Garvin Machine Company, in Laight Street, which was burned down in the great blizzard of 1888, and which again suffered a lost of $250,000 by fire a month ago, was totally wrecked in the fire of yesterday morning, which started on the premises of the Bernard Uhlman Embroidery Company, in the adjoining building, also a six-story structure, occupied jointly by the embroidery firm and the Henry Radam Microbe Killer Company, which was also burned out."
Garvin did not return to Laight St. Instead, they moved in 1897 to the building in the photo above, 137-141 Varick St. (northwest corner of Spring St.). They were in business here until the mid-1920s.
Among the second generation Garvins that took over the business in the late 1910s were three sons of George Garvin: Hugh Roy Garvin (1885-1970), Burr Kennedy Garvin (1889-?) and Frank W. Garvin, Jr. (1893-?). Another second generation Garvin was Warren Garvin (1881-?), a son of Eugene E. Garvin. Warren Garvin was president when the last entry for Garvin Machine Co. appeared in Polk's 1925 New York City Directory.
Copyright © 2001 Walter Grutchfield