1938 New York Sun Article

On December 31, 1938, the New York Sun published an article on Charles F. Biele and Sons. Below is the text of the article and here are scans of the full page and the article. The business that Charles F. Biele and Sons did with several of the individuals and instituitions mentioned in the article are included on this website and there are also notes on several below the article.


December 31, 1938


Biele Company Since 1867 Has Served Both Collectors and Museums

The Charles F. Biele & Sons Co., calling itself simply "artisans in metal, glass and wood" and usually referred casually as makers of show cases and vitrines, is far from being as humdrum as it sounds. A going concern since 1867, at 33-39 Bethune street for the last twelve years, it has been in the Greenwich Village neighborhood for forty years.

Museums from Massachusetts to California use Biele show cases. Important private collectors, such as Benjamin Altman, Charles L. Freer, E. S. Harkness, Childs Frick, Michael Friedsam, John Gellatly, have called upon Biele for special cases; President Roosevelt for his ship model collection; Theodore Roosevelt for his Japanese art objects, and the present John D. Rockefeller.

Mr. Biele is a registered architect, and personal supervision of individual orders seems to have been the keynote of his success. From the raw materials, every step of the work progresses under one roof - with 40,000 square feet of space devoted to metal working, woodworking, glass polishing, grinding and finishing equipment.

Biele has made cases for the Metropolitan for more than thirty five years and for the Morgan Library going back to the elder J. P. Morgan. The dealers in paintings, sculpture and antiques bring their special show-case problems to the old firm. Special orders may call for anything, insetting a carved stone sculptured fragment in a wood background and building a case around it, for an art gallery; a pair of doors (just finished) for Chinese porcelain cabinets for Mr. Rockefeller's Park avenue home; a recently made glass cabinet for the Bell Telephone Laboratories to house a piece of railroad track, so mounted that when one breathes upon it a pointer turns and marks the deflection of the steel; a bronze and glass casket for the cathedral at Santo Domingo.

The last, delivered in 1937, was made to fit over the ancient lead casket which Santo Domingo claims contains the bones of Christopher Columbus. Visitors at the Cunard office, at 25 Broadway, gaze at a one-ton model of the S.S. Majestic, housed in a bronze and glass show case made by Biele, about twenty two feet long, and itself weighing about a ton, with a chassis of structural steel and teakwood sliding platform.

Moldings in all commercial metals, copper, bronze, brass, aluminum, chromium, nickel-silver and stainless steel, used in everything from baby carriages to hearses; special glass and metal shower-bath doors for ocean liners; and elaborate mirror and shelf arraignments for dressing rooms are among their manifold products.