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Everlast Metal Products Corporation

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Everlast Metal Products Corporation[edit]

Everlast Metal Products Corporation
Type
Corporation
Founded 📆1932 - 1961
Founder 👔
Headquarters 🏙️New York
Area served 🗺️
Key people
Louis Schnitzer and Nathan Gelfman (Founders)
Products 🎛️ 🧴Metalworks
Members
Number of employees
Website[Lua error in Module:WikidataIB at line 665: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). ] 
address
telephone

Everlast Metal Products Corporation[1] of New York City, were manufacturers of aluminum giftware operating between the 1930's to 1960's[1]. Aluminum giftware became fashionable during the economic depression of the 1930's (The great depression) as an alternative to more luxury metals like silver.

Company History[edit]

Louis Schnitzer (1894-1966) and Nathan Gelfman ( 1892-1982) were brothers in law, who had emigrated to America from the Russian city of Kiev in the early 1920's. Both had been experienced metalworkers back in Kiev, which at the time was the third most important city of the Russian Empire, and the major centre of commerce and trade[2]

The brothers in law had a silver housewares business situated in Brooklyn, called Western Silver Works, Inc. They specialised in polishing and plating silver. Later this became the Western Silver Novelty Company. As the Great Depression took a hold of America in the late 20's and 1930s, the demand for consumer products fell. People disposable income dropped as citizens struggled just to get by. With few buyers for silver products, Schnitzer and Gelfman decided to try working with the more affordable and modern metal, aluminum. Decorative aluminum giftware was very popular as it was lightweight, affordable, didn't tarnish like silver and it came in many different patterns. In 1932, the men formed Everlast Metal Products Corporation and began producing high quality hand-forged aluminum giftware.

By 1933 the Everlast Metal Products Corporation was producing simple hand-hammered aluminum homewares bearing Repoussé motifs ranging from the primitive to the well-conceived. In 1936, they were joined by Jack Orenstein (1903-1997), an influential figure in art and gift wares merchandising, and embarked on numerous collaborative ventures, such as one with Russel and Mary Wright, yielding a wider range of more sophisticated designs.

Everlast also collaborated with Douglas Maier, Georges Wilmet and Russel Wright for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 1940 exhibition, "Contemporary Industrial Art". By 1941, Everlast was rapidly gaining a dominant position in the aluminum gift wares industry, still with predominantly handmade items.

During the World War II era, the company became highly mechanized when it was commandeered for war materiel production. An interesting story is that when German troops advanced into Austria in the late 1930s, Everlast was instrumental in the relocation to the United States of the Austrian Goldscheider firm and personnel, famed for work in bronze, porcelain and ceramics. Until about 1948, the merchandising of Goldscheider items was under the auspices of a Goldscheider-Everlast partnership. Goldscheider also produced a small "Goldcrest" ceramic line specifically for Everlast.

Everlast reentered the art and gift wares industry in late 1944, Everlast resumed its pursuit of creative collaborations, such as the adaptation of George Baker's "Malay Bambu" Weil Ware motif for its highly successful "Bali Bamboo" line.

The company thrived between the 1930s and 50s, however in the early 1950s, a decline in the creative energies of the firm coincided and few new effective designs. There was also diminishing consumer interest in decorative aluminum, in the early 1950s plastic Tupperware sales and popularity exploded, metal giftware was forgotten as people went plastic. Everlast struggled to remain in business throughout the 1950s and closed its doors in 1961.

There Aluminium giftware was stamped with “Hand Forged Everlast Metal” with an anchor and an arm holding a hammer and a number below. Although Everlast is most closely identified with its forged aluminum gift wares bearing more than 100 different motifs using 15 different marks, it also produced other lines such as Neocraft color-anodized aluminum starting in 1938, Plymouth Ware hand-forged copper circa 1939-1941, and, in the late 1940s, the inexpensive Harmony House line for Sears.

  1. 1.0 1.1 WENDY MOONANMARCH, "ANTIQUES; The Metal Of the Masses, Valued Now", The New York Times, 12 March 2002
  2. Citation needed


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