Pottier & Stymus

Pottier & Stymus was one of the top cabinetmaking firms in the last third of the 19th century and they produced furniture in the Neo-Grec, Renaissance Revival, Egyptian Revival, and Modern Gothic styles. The Glenmont estate in New Jersey provides examples of the rarer Modern Gothic furniture produced by the firm.

August Pottier was born in Coulommiers, France in 1823 and became an apprentice to a wood sculptor in Paris. He immigrated to New York in 1847, initially working for E. W. Hutchings and Son. He formed a partnership with Gustave Herter in 1851 that was dissolved soon after it began.

Pottier & Stymus supplied furniture to the President's office and the Cabinet Room in the White House in 1869.

By 1871 their factory occupied a full block on Lexington Avenue in New York and in 1872 it became their headquarters and showroom. P & S at the time employed 700 men and 50 women. Their new building was six stories tall and occupied half of a city block across the street from the present site of Grand Central Terminal. The book, "Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age" describes the first storys showrooms as:

a museum containing over 400,000 [sic] articles, including furniture of every variety of pattern, and of the most elaborate workmanship. In a vast Hall of Models, bronzes, fixtures, among other items, were exhibited, many of which were said to have been executed by the firm. Smaller galleries were intended to show the effect of complete sets of furniture, and upon the desire of the purchaser, they are transformed, as if by enchantment, into an elegant drawing-room, a bijou of a boudoir, a stately dining-room, or a more modest library.

In 1883 the building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue was completed but burned 5 years later with a loss of $200,0000. An interesting note is that the firm was in liquidation at the time and was insured for $100,000.

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Other References

Victorian Cabinetmakers