Manufacturing

Schoellkopf, Jacob Frederick

Jacob Frederick Schoellkopf immigrated to the United States in 1842 and through a combination of thoughtful, strategic decision-making and a fair dose of luck, built a family empire in and around Buffalo, New York, that he passed down to his son and grandsons. Trained in Württemberg as a tanner, he took major risks in the U.S. by venturing into commercial sectors in which he had no knowledge or experience. Yet, by working closely with native-born Americans who were experts in these fields and by sending his children back to Germany for further education, he found himself on the cutting edge of a number of fields including hydroelectric power generation and aniline dye production.

Schoenhut, Albert Frederick

In 1872, six years after emigrating from Württemberg, Albert Schoenhut began manufacturing toy pianos in a workshop in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. By the turn of the twentieth century, the A. Schoenhut Company had become one of America’s leading toy producers – and one of the few to export to Europe. Today, the toy pianos, dolls, and novelty items produced during the company’s pre-World War I heyday are prized by connoisseurs, auctioneers, and aficionados.

Singer, Isaac Merritt

The son of a German immigrant, Isaac Merritt Singer was the man behind one of the sewing machine patents that succeeded within an extremely competitive market in the mid-1850s. Since the eighteenth century, inventors had designed sewing machines to serve the needs of tailors and for various industrial purposes. However, inventors had struggled to develop a machine appropriate for domestic use. Singer contributed to the sewing machine trade with important technological advancements and also with the development of a marketing system capable of selling sewing machines around the world.