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Guide to the Records of Peter A. Frasse & Co.
  MS 2189

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Luke Meagher

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 02, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Peter A. Frasse & Co. Records
Dates: 1818-1977 (bulk dates 1878-1977)
Abstract: The records of Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc. include minutes, administrative and personal correspondence, financial records, and audit reports. The records document the internal workings of a New York City manufacturing company engaged in tool, machinery, steel, aluminum, and stainless steel production and distribution, and bicycle, automobile and defense manufacturing.
Quantity: 1.67 Linear feet (1 box and 8 volumes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 2189

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Historical Note

1816 Henri Frasse opens his shop at 95 Fair Street
1849 Henri Frasse dies. Peter A Frasse, Henri's son, takes over and renames his father's business.
1868 J.M. Montgomery joins Peter A. Frasse's operation as a partner, and the company becomes known as "Peter A. Frasse & Co." The company produces tools such as twist drills, machine screws and files
1876 J.M. Montgomery leaves the Frasse business and founds "J.M. Montgomery & Co."
1878 Peter A. Frasse & Co. produces vises, forges, lathes and other blacksmith's and moves into a new building at 95 Fulton Street
1891 Peter A. Frasse and Peter A. Frasse & Co. is incorporated
1897 Peter A. Frasse & Co. produces bicycles, bicycle supplies, steel tubing, and tubing parts
1898 The company moves to #94 Fulton Street
1900 Peter A. Frasse & Co. becomes the sole eastern distributor for Shelby Cold Drawn Seamless Steel Tubes, a product used for bicycle frames
1901 The company focuses on producing automobile parts, and discontinues the manufacture of bicycles and bicycle parts
c. 1901-1903 Peter A. Frasse & Co. establishes a business connection with Poldi Steel Works of Austria
1906 The Tube and Steel departments move to 142 and 144 Worth Street
1909 The Tool and Supply departments moved to 130 and 132 Worth Street and Branch offices open in Philadelphia at 407 Commerce Street, and in Buffalo at 50-52 Exchange Street
1910 Peter A Frasse and Co. builds new home office quarters at the northwest corner of Canal and Sullivan Streets
c.1910-1914 Peter A. Frasse & Co. establishes business connection with Hans Renold, Ltd., of Manchester, England, the oldest and largest manufacturers of driving and transmission chains. The company also established business relationships with Duetsche Waffen-und Munitions fabriken of Berlin, makers of steel balls; the Union Gesellshaft fur Metallindustrie, Frondenberg-Ruhr, Germany, makers of bicycles chains; William N. Brunton & Sons, Musselberg, Scotland, makers of music wire and drill rods
c.1914 The Frasse company begins shipping steel to aircraft industry
1914 First World War begins. Commerce between United States and Austria ceases, and Peter A. Frasse & Co. discontinues agency of Poldi Steel Works
1916 Frasse Steel Works is built in Hartford, Connecticut
1920 The company disposes of remnants of its hardware and tool business and commits entirely to the distribution of metals
1925 Frasse Steel Works sold to Union Drawn Steel Company and Peter A. Frasse & Co. becomes a distributor of their cold drawn carbon bars in New York and Philadelphia
1927 Peter A. Frasse & Co. begins carrying stainless steel products
1935 Peter A. Frasse & Co. begins carrying stainless steel bars produced by the Rustless Iron and Steel Corporation. Frasse begins close association with Superior Tube Company
1938 Peter A. Frasse & Co. installs its first IBM equipment
Late 1930's-1945 Peter A. Frasse & Co. focuses on meeting defense industry demand
1946 Peter A. Frasse & Co. opens plant at Syracuse, New York
1951 New plant built at Syracuse, Peter A. Frasse & Co. consolidates four smaller plants into one custom-designed center at Lyndhurst, New Jersey
1953 Peter A. Frasse & Co. builds larger plants in Buffalo and Hartford
1954 Frasse becomes a distributor of aluminum for Reynolds Metals Company
1964 At the Philadelphia branch, Peter A Frasse & Co. installs state-of-the-art materials-handling system, a completely automated master control system. The company constructs new office building in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and purchases Cambridge, Massachusetts facilities of Ward Steel Company, adds stainless steel and aluminum products to product line produced there.
1965 The Peter A. Frasse & Co. plant in Hartford is enlarged

Citation: The information on the history of the Peter A. Frasse & Co. was derived chiefly from "One Century in Business, 1816-1916" and "Frasse: The story of Peter A. Frasse & Company, Inc." Both documents written and published by Peter A. Frasse & Co.

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Scope and Content Note

As described in "One Century in Business" and "The Story of Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc.," Peter A. Frasse and Co. began as a mechanical shop and tool import business owned and operated by Henri Frederic Frasse, a Swiss immigrant to New York City. Frasse's shop was located at 95 Fair Street, later renamed Fulton Street. During the first decades of the nineteenth century Frasse's business prospered and his reputation grew due in large part to the assistance he was known to have provided Robert Fulton in perfecting the steamboat and other inventions.

Upon Henri Frasse's death in 1849 the business was taken over by his son Peter A. Frasse and the company's name changed accordingly. The name of the business was changed again in 1868 to "Peter A. Frasse & Co." when John M. Montgomery joined Frasse as a business partner.

Peter A. Frasse & Co. incorporated in 1891 following the death of Peter Frasse and adapted to new technologies over the latter part of the nineteenth century, capitalizing on the production of bicycles and, into the twentieth century, the lucrative automobile industry. The Frasse company grew considerably during the first half of the twentieth century by attending to the defense industry demands of the time.

Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc. continued doing business into the postwar period, shifting its focus to the considerable new civilian demand, increasing the size and number of its factories and facilities, modernizing production via automation, and introducing new products such as aluminum and stainless steel.

The records of Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc. document the activities of the business from 1816 to 1978, with the bulk of the records falling between 1878 and 1977. The records include minutes of the Board of Directors and Stockholders meetings; administrative and personal correspondence; financial records and audit reports. The New York City-based company manufactured and distributed tools, machinery, steel, aluminum, and stainless steel, and was engaged in bicycle, automobile and defense manufacturing.


The collection is organized into the following three series:

  1. Series I. Financial Records, 1818-1928
  2. Series II. Minutes, 1891-1977
  3. Series III. Corporate History, ca. 1916-1966

The materials are arranged chronologically within each series.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Banks, Haig & Lindars
  • Barnett, Russell B.
  • Beakes, C.H.C.
  • Becker, Frederick O.
  • Bergen & Willvonseder
  • Briggs, John (d. 1905)
  • Brion, Adolphe
  • Brion, Lester, Jr.
  • Brion, Lester
  • Embler, W.
  • Frasse, Charles F. (d. 1892)
  • Frasse, Henri Frederic (1781? - 1849)
  • Frasse, Henry Frederic (1818 - ?)
  • Frasse, Peter A.(1822 - 1891)
  • Fulton, Robert (1765-1815)
  • Hager, Theodore W.
  • Hawe, Matthew
  • Howe, J. Lloyd
  • Howe, John (d. 1901)
  • James A. Hudson
  • Lossing, Benson J.
  • Montgomery, James M.
  • New York Law Journal
  • Norrish, Burnham & Co., Inc.
  • Stacy, Roscoe C.
  • State of New York
  • The Gutta Percha & Rubber Mfg. Co.

Document Type

  • Account books
  • Audit Reports
  • Autographs
  • Financial Documents
  • Government records
  • Holographs
  • Legal documents
  • Minute Books
  • Official documents

Subject Organizations

  • Autocar Company
  • Deutche Waffen-und Munitions fabriken
  • Frasse-Electric Steel
  • Hans Renold, Ltd.
  • Henri F. Frasse & Son
  • James M. Montgomery & Co.
  • Peter A. Frasse & Co., Inc.
  • Peter A. Frasse & Co.
  • Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company
  • Poldi Steel Works
  • Reynolds Metals Company
  • Rustless Iron and Steel Corporation
  • Shelby Steel Tube Company
  • Union Drawn Steel Company
  • Union Gesellshaft fur Metallindustrie
  • William N. Brunton & Sons

Subject Topics

  • Aeronautics, commercial.
  • Aircraft industry.
  • Airplanes - materials.
  • Automobile industry and trade - parts - prices.
  • Automobile industry and trade - supplies industry.
  • Automobile industry and trade - United States - history.
  • Bicycle industry - United States - history.
  • Blacksmithing - equipment and supplies.
  • Blacksmithing - tools and implements.
  • Immigrants - United States - history - 19th century.
  • Machinery - history.
  • Mechanical engineering - history.
  • Steel industry - forging industry - steel forging industry - United States - history.
  • Steel tube industry.
  • Steel tubes.
  • Technological innovations - United States - history.
  • Tools - anvils.
  • Tools.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days. Researchers on site may print out unlimited copies from microfilm reader-printer machines at per-exposure rates. See guidelines in Reading room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Peter A. Frasse & Co. Records, MS 2189, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Financial Records, 1818-1928

Scope and Contents note

This series contains the accounts of Henri Frasse, founder of Peter A. Frasse & Co.from 1818-1851 and the accounts books Peter A. Frasse & Co. from 1878-1880. This series also contains five Auditor's Reports of Peter A. Frasse & Co. This series is divided into two subseries.

Subseries 1: Account Books, 1818-1880

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains the accounts of Henri Frasse, founder of Peter A. Frasse & Co., from 1818-1851 and the accounts books Peter A. Frasse & Co. from 1878-1880. Henri Frasse's accounts transactions with or concerning Aaron Burr ("Colonel Burr") and Robert Fulton, who engaged Frasse's skills in perfecting the steamboat and other products. This volume, not in original binding, appears to be incomplete. The Peter A. Frasse & Co. (1878-1880) volumes are indexed.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: [1] The Accounts of Henri Frasse
Box: [2] Account Book of Peter A. Frasse & Co.
Box: [3] Account Book of Peter A. Frasse & Co.

Subseries 2: Auditor's Reports, 1909-1928

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains five auditor's reports of Peter A. Frasse & Co.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Auditor's Reports
1909, 1919, 1923, 1925, 1928

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Series II: Minutes, 1891-1977

Scope and Contents note

This series contains minutes of stockholders and Board of Directors meetings of Peter A. Frasse & Co. The minutes of the stockholders' meetings contain the by-laws of the company as written, amended and approved by the stockholders. Loose documents interleaved in the volumes were removed and foldered in chronological order. They include correspondence, notes, legal documents, and financial documents.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Volume: [4] Minutes
Volume: [5] Minutes
Volume: [6] Minutes
Volume: [7] Minutes
Volume: [8] Minutes
Volume: [9] Minutes
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Documents interleaved in "Minutes, 1891-1907"
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Documents interleaved in "Minutes, 1908-1915"
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Documents interleaved in "Minutes, 1915-1925"
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Documents interleaved in "Minutes, 1935-1945"
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Documents interleaved in "Minutes, 1974-1977"

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Series III: Corporate History, ca. 1916-1966

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of two corporate histories written and published by Peter A. Frasse & Co. These narrative booklets explain and illustrate the history and progress of Peter A. Frasse & Co.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 "One Century in Business, 1816-1916"
Box: 1 Folder : 7 "Frasse: 1816-1966, The Story of Peter A. Frasse & Company, Inc."

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