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Fred. Diecke & Co., Beims & Zehlein
Fred. Deicke, 1870s-1890s; Fred. Diecke & Co., (Diecke & Beims) 1890s-1900s; Beims & Zehlein (aka Beims & Zhelein) 1900s-1930s, Brooklyn, New York
Associated Builders
Fred. Diecke & Co.

Frederick O. Diecke, (b. Feb. 1838-d. Apr. 5, 1919) born in Germany emigrated to the United States in 1859. He served as an infantryman in the Civil War from May 1, 1861 until August 7, 1861 (listed as Fred John Diecke, resident of Brooklyn, Kings County). His service gained him his US citizenship. (His pension was stopped due to his death on April 5, 1919.)

The 1880 US Census lists Frederick O. Diecke, (b.1838-d. 1919) born in Germany, occupation wagon manufacturer. Spouse Helen M. Diecke (b. 1841 in Germany) and one child, William F. Diecke (b. 1863) App. To Wagon Mfg.

The 1892 NYS Census lists Fredrick Diecke, born in 1838 (age 54) in Germany, now a US citizen, residence Brooklyn, Kings County, occupation wagon builder. By that time his wife had passed away, but the 1900 US Census reveals he remarried. His second wife was another German immigrant, Meta A. (b. Jun 1849) Diecke, who emigrated in 1884. Frederick’s occupation at the time was again wagon manufacturer.

Sometime prior to 1900 Diecke took in a junior partner named Charles Beim, a skilled wheelwright who had emigrated to the United States at the end of the Civil War, the firm was renamed Fred. Diecke & Co. at the time.

Beims was a partner in the firm starting sometime in the 1890s, a display advertisement from the January 1900 monthly bulletin of the Pratt Institute Free Library, Ryerson Branch, Brooklyn, NY reads:

“FRED. DEICKE & CO., Fred. Deicke & Chas. Beims - Wagon and Truck Manufacturers, 67 to 73 KENT STREET, Bet. Franklin & West Sts., Greenpoint, L. I. & Brooklyn, E. D. - TELEPHONE CALL 181 GREENPOINT.”

Shortly thereafter Diecke retired and his share in the firm was acquired by Charles Zhelein, of whom no census or genealogical information could be found, other than his home address, 68 Java St., Brooklyn.

Born in Feb. 1858 Charles Beims emigrated from his native Germany in 1876 (1885?), marrying Mary (b. Jul. 1859) ??? in 1888. Mary was born in New York to German immigrants. To the blessed union was born four children; Charles jr. (b. Jul. 1890); Joseph (b. Jul. 1894); Catherine (aka Kate, Katie) (b. Nov. 1898) and James (b. 1902) Beims.

The 1900 US Census lists Charles Beims sr.’s occupation as wheelwright, states he emigrated in 1876

The 1905 NY Census lists Charles Beims sr.’s occupation as wheelwright, Charles jr.’s occupation, painter. States Charles Sr. had been in the US for 21 years. The 1905 New York State and 1910 US Census no longer list Joseph, so it’s assumed he passed away shortly after 1900.

A members directory of the Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Manhattan, published in the February 1911 issue of Carriage monthly list the firm as 'BEIMS & ZEHLEIN'.

The 1913 NYS Register of Factories shows 21 male employees, and lists the firm as Beims & Zehlein, 67-73 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Charles Zehlein’s home address circa 1918 was 68 Java St., Brooklyn, NY.

Beims & Zehlein was active through at least 1928-29. By that time Charles Beims Sr. had passed away, and his wife Mary was listed as Charles Zehlein’s partner. Their listing in a 1920s directory of automobile body manufacturers follows:

“BEIMS & ZEHLEIN (Wagons, trucks and commercial auto body builders and general repairing) Gen. Offices, 67 Kent St., Brooklyn, NY. Factory. 73 Kent St.,Brooklyn, NY; Partners, Charles Zehlein and Mary Beims; Mgr. Charles Zehlein.”

Ocala, Florida automobile collector George Albright sent in a photo of a surviving coachbuilder’s plate which is pictured to the right:

“BEIMS & ZEHLEIN, Manufacturers of Wagons, Trucks and Commercial Auto Bodies; 67-73 Kent St., Brooklyn, NY.”

© 2012 Mark Theobald -, with special thanks to George Albright.






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