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San Francisco County







NATHAN, DOHRMANN & CO.--The firm whose name heads this article stands in the front rank of the most enterprising mercantile establishments of the metropolis of the Pacific coast.  Nathan, Dohrmann & Co. are the proprietors of the great china store of San Francisco, and carry a stock of china, glassware, lamps and art goods that cannot be surpassed in this State or the United States.  The history of this house dates back to the time of “small things” in this city, Mr. Blumenthal having opened the business in 1850.  He conducted it until 1858, and then sold to H. Hersch, who continued it until the time of his death in 1862; the property then passed into the hands of B. Nathan, who had been connected with the business some years previous.  In 1868 F. Dohrmann, who is now (1891) the resident partner, became associated with Mr. Nathan, and subsequently the firm was changed to Nathan, Dohrmann & Co., in which style it has continued since that time with uninterrupted success.

      In 1868 the business was removed from the corner of Kearny and Commercial streets to the corner of Kearny and Sacramento streets, where it was conducted until 1875; then it was moved to 130 Sutter street, and from time to time, as the business increased, store rooms were added until all the rooms from 122 to 130 are occupied, a space of 100 x 150 feet.  The first main division from Montgomery street up is devoted to staple goods, subdivided into departments; this floor also contains the offices of the wholesale department, and there is an annex where the immense correspondence is conducted; the head cashier’s office is also located in this part of the building, and near by is the private office of the members of the firm, over which a very commodious lunchroom for the employees is located.  The second division is devoted exclusively to decorated table china and cut glassware; this display is considered the largest and by far the richest in this line in the city, and it would not be easy to find its superior in the county.  The marking, packing and shipping system is perfect and is managed by competent hands.  The third division is devoted entirely to ornaments from all countries, including high-grade potteries, Italian art models, statuary and bronzes, parlor lamps and bric-a-brac of all descriptions.  The basement and warehouses extend 150 feet beyond the premises occupied by the store building and are connected by a track with Trinity street, where freight is unloaded; thence it is conveyed on a car to the opening rooms; the handling of goods is facilitated by several hoists and elevators, connecting the basement with the upper floors.  This store is probably the best criterion not only of the natural growth of San Francisco and its tributary country, but also of the development of a taste for the artistic article.  During the long history of this house it has never been closed a day except holidays, has never suffered from financial embarrassment, nor been burned out.  The first fifteen years of its existence the demand was principally for strictly useful things without regard to beauty, and consisted of crockery for boarding houses and saloons; but with the increase of wealth this demand changed in character, and the marts of every country of the world now furnish the stock that is shown to the patrons of this establishment.

      One of the partners resides permanently in Europe and attends to the selection and purchase of art and other high-class goods; the management of the business in San Francisco is in the hands of the partner residing here, assisted by the competent heads of departments, some of whom have been with the firm for a number of years past.  The number of employes is eighty-one, besides the glass engravers and porcelain painters who are exclusively employed by the firm.  The patronage of the house extends all over the coast to the islands of the sea, to South America, China and Japan.  It is, indeed, an honor to the proprietors and a credit to the commercial circles of San Francisco and the State of California.



Transcribed by Donna L. Becker.

Source: “The Bay of San Francisco,” Vol. 2, Pages 650-651, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.

© 2006 Donna L. Becker.




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