Luggage Industry on the Lower East Side

Luggage Industry on the Lower East Side

The Lower East Side of Manhattan has a long and fascinating history, with immigration, poverty, and industry all leaving their marks on the neighborhood. One lesser-known aspect of this history is the role that luggage played in the area's development.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Lower East Side was home to a thriving manufacturing industry, with factories producing everything from clothing to furniture. One particularly important industry was the manufacture of luggage, which was driven by the growing popularity of travel.

Luggage manufacturers in the Lower East Side produced a wide range of products, from simple leather suitcases to elaborate trunks with intricate designs. Many of these manufacturers were Jewish immigrants who had arrived in the United States from Europe, bringing with them a tradition of high-quality craftsmanship.

One of the most famous luggage manufacturer in the Lower East Side was the Mendelsohn Luggage Company, which was founded in 1890 by Samuel Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn's trunks were also known for their durability and were particularly popular with the military.

As travel became more common in the early 20th century, luggage manufacturers in the Lower East Side continued to thrive. However, the neighborhood's industrial base began to decline in the mid-20th century, as factories moved to other parts of the city or overseas. Many of the luggage manufacturers in the Lower East Side were forced to close as a result.

Today, the Lower East Side is a vibrant neighborhood with a rich cultural history. While few of the old luggage manufacturers remain, their legacy lives on in the durable and stylish luggage that we use today. And for those interested in exploring the history of luggage and manufacturing in the Lower East Side, there are still a few landmarks worth visiting, including the former Hartmann Trunk Company building on Grand Street.

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