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Broadway Automobile Exchange, Jandorf Automobile Co.
L.C. Jandorf & Co. 1880-1901; New York, New York; L.C. Jandorf Bicycle Co. , East Orange, New Jersey 1899-1900; Jandorf Bicycle and Export Co., 1900-1901; Broadway Automobile Exchange, 1903-1912; Jandorf Automobile Company, 1912-1935; New York, New York
Associated Firms
Jandorf Packard Sales, 1935-1945; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Jandorf Motors Co., 1945-1960s; East Orange, New Jersey

Louis C. Jandorf was an entrepreneur who was ahead of several trends, doing well in them. Before the turn of the century,he was well known in New York City as a successful bicycle dealer. In 1900 his firm was one of the first in the country to specialize in used automobiles. He also pioneered the trade in new and used automobile coachwork.

Louis C. Jandorf was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in May of 1868 to Pfeiffer and Rachel (Shineberg) Jandorf. Pfeiffer, a jeweler by trade, was born in Hengstfeld, Germany on December 11, 1833 to Refen Lippmann (b. Jan. 25 1805-d.Nov. 19 1874) and Baesle (Feldenheimer) (b. Jul. 19 1807-d.Apr 2, 1866) Jandorf.

Born in Florida during March of 1846, Louis’ mother, Rachel (Shineberg) (b. Mar. 1846-d.Aug 5, 1917), married Pfeiffer on November 11, 1863, shortly after which they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio were he established a jewelry store. To the blessed union were born 8 children as follows: Grace, Sadie, Elsie, Clarence, Horace H. (Harry), Louis C., and Blanche Jandorf – all of whom were born in Cincinnati.

Sometime around 1880 Pfeiffer Jandorf relocated his business to Manhattan and his family followed. By that time Louis had become infatuated with the bicycle and the enterprising young man established his own bicycle shop at 279 Lennox Ave. His first mention in the press came via the following new item in the Nov. 21, 1891 issue of The Sporting Life:

“Not Guilty,

“NEW YORK, Nov. 14. L. C. Jandorf, a bicycle dealer at 279 Lenox avenue, arrested for purchasing a stolen wheel owned by Charles A. Stanbach, of the Riverside Wheelmen, was honorably-discharged in the Harlem Police Court on Thursday.”

Business was sufficient to enable Jandorf’s marriage to Anna V. Brown (b. Jan 1870 –d. May 1909) in early 1893. On October 1, 1893 the newlyweds were blessed with the birth of a son, Sidney Ralph Jandorf (b. Oct. 1, 1893–d. Mar. 1981).

In late 1895 Jandorf relocated to Manhattan’s Bicycle Row as reported in the ‘Cycles and Cyclemakers’ column of the December 26, 1895 issue of the New York Times:

“A downtown repair shop of some extensiveness in equipment and capacity has been needed for over a year, and Louis Jandorf, in establishing on eon the second floor of his new place at 321 Broadway, has the true idea. The agency for the March cycles has been given to Jandorf.”

Although their main line was Linnwood, Jandorf distributed other brands which included Czar, Halladay, Mach-Davis, Rambler and Stormer, and offered their own line of bicycle tires. The ‘Cycles and Cyclemakers’ column of the January 15, 1896 issue of the New York Times announced the firm’s appointment as a Szar and Rambler dealer:

“In addition to his lines of Linwoods and Mach-Davis cycles, Louis Jandorf has taken on the Czar and Rambler wheels. The repair shop upstairs over his new quarters, at 321 Broadway, has already begun to give promise of future popularity.”

Jandorf’s reputation was such that his visit to the 1896 New York Bicycle & Automobile show – held at Madison Square Garden - was recorded in the January 26, 1896 issue of the New York Times.

A fire struck Jandorf’s bicycle shop at 8:04 A.M. on Dec 17, 1897, after which he relocated his operations to 23 Barclay St., corner of Church St. A separate firm, the Jandorf Bicycle and Export Co., 86 Warren St. New York, New York was organized around that time, although their exact line of work is unknown.

The January 22, 1899 issue of the New York Times listed the firm as an exhibitor at the 1899 New York Bicycle & Automobile Show, which was held at Madison Square Garden. The 1900 US Census lists Louis C. Jandorf occupation as “bicycles”. The 1900 Annual report of the factory inspectors of the State of New York list the firm with 12 employees.

In 1900 Jandorf liquidated his bicycle business and went into the used car business, being one of the first firms in the country to specialize in previously enjoyed motorcars. The L.C. Jandorf Bicycle Co., a $2,000 New Jersey Corporation was dissolved by unanimous consent on August 14, 1900. The 1901 edition of Trow’s New York City directory of co-partnerships and corporations lists two firms, both dissolved, as follows:

“Jandorf Cycle & Export Co. TN, further inf. refused, 23 Barclay. Jandorf, L.C. Bicycle Co., dissolved; 23 Barclay.”

Jandorf located his new business in the heart of Manhattan’s automobile row at 1780 Broadway, which provided its moniker, the Broadway Automobile Exchange. A pair of classified ads published in the March 17, 1903 New York Times follow:

“Automobiles wanted! Spot cash paid for same; What have you? 1780 Broadway, Telephone 3105 Columbus.”

“Broadway Automobile Exchange 1780 B’way, near 58th St. Telephone 3105 Columbus, AUTOMOBILES Bought, Sold and Exchanged.”

Not only was Jandorf the first firm to specialize in used automobiles, he was also the first to establish a trade in new and used automobile coachwork. Business quickly expanded to the point where larger facilities were required, and Jandorf relocated to 151 W. Fifty-first Street, a block east of Broadway at the intersection of W Fifty-first and Seventh Avenue. The November 14, 1903 issue of the New York Times reported the lease as follows:

“Ernest F. Hafner of the office of George A. Bowman has leased to L. Jandorf of the Broadway Automobile Exchange the four-story building at 151 West Fifty-first Street for a term of years.“

The Columbus Auto Exchange took over 1780 Broadway when Jandorf relocated to 151 West Fifty-first Street, and in 1908-1909 the building was razed by the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Co. who constructed a modern 12-story office building and garage on the property, which remains standing today.

Although Jandorf had been in the used car trade for a couple of years, the Broadwya Automobile Exchange wasn’t formally incorporated until mid-1904 as reported in the July 23, 1904 issue of The Automobile:

“Broadway Automobile Exchange; New York City; capital $2,000. Incorporators L.C. Jandorf, H.H. Jandorf, John Brown and H.E. Harkins.”

They were also listed in Trow’s 1905 directory as follows:

“Broadway Automobile Exchange NY. (Louis C. Jandorf Ргеs., Horace H. Jandorf, Sec.) Capital $2,000. Directors Louis C. & H. Jandorf; John Brown; 515 7th ave.”

By that time Jandorf’s booming used automobile, coachwork and tire business had acquired additional facilities at 245-247 West Forty-seventh Street as well as the former showroom and garage of Smith & Mabley, the November 30, 1905 issue of The Motor Way reporting:

“L.C. Jandorf, a dealer in second hand cars, has rented the two buildings at Seventh avenue and thirty eighth street, New York, formerly occupied by Smith & Mabley.”

Two years later Jandorf vacated their 245-247 West Forty-seventh Street garage and salesrooms, removing to 230-245 West Fifty-Sixth Street as reported ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the September 26, 1907 New York Times:

“The Gross & Gross Company has sold the lease of 245 and 247 West Seventy-seventh Street, now occupied by the Broadway Auto Exchange, to the Maxwell-Briscoe Company; also the lease of 211 West Eighty-seventh Street to the Franklin Automobile Company. The same brokers have also leased the northerly store in the Aerocar Building at the northeast corner of Broadway and Seventy-third Street to a Mr. Truehart; also to the Broadway Automobile Company the westerly half of the Fifty-Sixth Street Garage Building, containing about 23,000 square feet; also the store in the Smith & Mabley Building, 1765 Broadway, for the O.B. Potter Trust to R.M. Owen & Co.”

The move was also mentioned in the October 31, 1907 issue of The Automobile:

“The Broadway Mammoth Automobile Exchange is now located in its new and absolutely fireproof building, 230-245 West Fifty-sixth street, New York City, where it has an up-to-date salesroom and thoroughly equipped repair shop. The first and second floors are used for showrooms, the third floor for the supply department, and the fourth floor for the repair shop and body factory. Manager L. C. Jandorf has surrounded himself with a corps of able and trained assistants to make visitors welcome.”

Jandorf’s listing in Trow’s 1909 Directory follows:

Broadway Automobile Exchange (NY) (Louis C. Jandorf. Pres. Horace H. Jandorf, Sec. Capital, $2000. Directors Louis C. & Horace H. Jandorf, John Brown; 239 W. 56th St.

The March 24, 1910 issue of The Automobile reported on another increase in Jandorf’s real estate:

“Cross & Brown Company sold for Aline D. Elliott and J.S. Dickerson to Louis C. Jandorf, president of the Broadway Automobile Exchange, the northeast corner of Eleventh avenue and Fifty eighth street, New York, a two story and basement factory building on a plot 100’ by 100’. After extensive improvements the purchasers will occupy the premises for the manufacturing end of their automobile business.”

Personal tragedy stuck the Jandorf family on May 22, 1909 when Anna V. Jandorf, beloved wife of Louis C. Jandorf passed away. Shortly after Anna’s death Jandorf married Kathryn Knowles (b. 1889-d. 1933), as reported in the September 29, 1909 New York Times marriage announcements:

“Jandorf-Knowles. At Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, by the Rev. John Howard Melish, Kathryn Knowles, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Knowles of Glen Cove, L.I., to Louis C. Jandorf of New York.”

By the end of 1909 an increase in Jandorf’s used coachwork inventory necessitated the placement of the following classified advertisement, transcribed from the December 7, 1911 issue of the New York Times:

“LIMOUSINE CLEAN-UP SALE. 200 BODIES, every style, mostly new. $75, $100, $125, $150, $200, $250, $300, $400, $500, $650, $750, up to $1200.

“ALL THE BEST MAKES. Such as: Brewster, Rothschild, Cole-Woop, Locke, Demarest, Packard, Pierce, Peerless, Quinby & C., &c.

“Every Job must go, don’t wait. WE CAN FIT ANY CHASSIS. Saving you big money. Also Taxis &c. LARGEST BODY DISPLAY IN N.Y. Best finish, trim and painting: complete job. ‘ARENA’ 124 to 130 West 56th (Body Dept. Of Broadway Auto Exchange.) L.C. Jandorf, Pres.”

The 1912 New York State Industrial Directory listed Jandorf’s 854 Eleventh Ave. factory as having 89 male employees, so it’s assumed his total payroll was significantly higher than that, as he was currently operating out of 5 separate facilities; 42 West Sixty-second Street, 854 Eleventh Avenue, 124 to 130 West Fifty-sixth Street, 230-245 West Fifty-sixth Street and 1763-1765 Broadway.

For reasons that can only be guessed at, Jandorf reorganized in early 1912, forming the Jandorf Automobile Company as reported in the March 14, 1912 issue of Motor World:

“New York City - Jandorf Automobile Co., under New York laws with $10,000 capital to deal in automobiles. Corporators; Louis C. Jandorf, 116 Riverside Drive; Howard R. Bliss, Richmond Hill; Sidney S. Meyers, 520 West 114th street. New York, NY.”

For the next few years, the firm’s advertisement included the following identifier “Jandorf Auto Co., Successors to Broadway Auto Exchange.”

The ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the April 29, 1913 New York Times reported on a major business development that provided the firm with a very desirable Manhattan address, Broadway at Columbus Circle:

“Old U.S. Motor Co. Building Leased.

“The old United States Motor Company building at 4 to 8 West Sixty-first Street, running through to 5 and 9 West Sixty-second Street, has been leased by the Jandorf Automobile Company for a period of years. There are seven floors to the building, each having about 15,000 square feet of floor space. Fish & Marvin, in conjunction with Cross & Brown, negotiated the lease.”

The May 1, 1913 issue of Motor World provided more details:

“Jandorf Leases U.S. Motor Building.

“After lengthy negotiations which at one time were declared off but which subsequently were renewed the Jandorf Automobile Co. dealer in used cars of 42 West 62d street, New York City, has leased the building on West 61st street occupied by the late United States Motor Company as headquarters. The signing of the lease gives the Jandorf company the whole building one floor of which already was held on lease and the more or less scattered business now will be housed under the one roof. The lease for the building which is seven stories in height with a floor space of 200 x 75 feet on each floor, was signed by C.G. Stoddard and Louis Jandorf. Jandorf's place on 62d street has been taken by the Cadillac company.”

Jandorf’s Westside factory at Eleventh Avenue was also leased out as reported ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the May 3, 1913 New York Times:

“The Cross & Brown Company has leased for the Jandorf Automobile Company the entire building at the northeast corner of Eleventh Avenue and Fifty-eighth Street to the United States Rubber Company for a term of years.”

Business must have been sufficient to enable Jandorf to purchase a Long Island mansion. The ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the Nov. 11, 1913 New York Times reporting:

“Baroness Marie Van Haeften Hatch of Holland has sold her country place, situated on the north shore of Manhasset Bay, at Port Washington, to Louis Jandorf, who will occupy it for his Summer residence. S. Osgood Pell & Co. were the brokers.”

The massive United States Motor Co building proved too much for the firm and the November 22, 1913 issue of Automobile Topics announced he was planning on relinquishing his lease:

“Jandorf Gives Up United States Motor Building

“L.C. Jandorf, New York's famous second hand dealer, has decided that too big a business is perhaps worse than none at all. Jandorf has long been the clearing house for the New York trade and his business has grown to such an extent that upon the removal of the general offices of the Maxwell Motor Company Inc. to Detroit, he leased the large building at Broadway and Sixtieth street, originally the headquarters of the United States Motor Co. Second hand cars have however been coming in on him so fast and his stock has become so large he has practically decided on a general grand clearing sale and will probably restart in the second hand business in a moderate way and try to keep it within bounds. The big building has been leased to Sol Bloom, a distributor of musical instruments, and Jandorf incidentally is said to have been handed quite a fat sum for his lease hold.”

The December 20, 1913 issue of Automobile Topics announced that the U.S. Motor Co, building was to be turned into a novel in-car entertainment facility:

“United States Motor Building to Be Amusement Palace

“The next step in the history of the former United States Motor Co building on Sixty-first Street near Columbus Circle, New York City, will be its transformation into an amusement palace. The building which is being given up by Louis Jandorf the used car dealer is to be remodeled to some extent and will have a different form of entertainment on each floor. There will be ball rooms, skating rinks, restaurants and everything but a theater. The roof will utilized as a roof garden and it is stated that in order to draw motorists the large car elevators will be retained and used to carry parties to the roof in their cars, undisturbed. A number of men are behind the project, including Sol Bloom, George M. Cohan and Sam Harris.”

Shortly thereafter, John D. Cogan, the head of Jandorf’s coachwork department left the firm to branch out on his own, the January 1914 issue of The Carriage Monthly reporting:

“John D. Cogan, until recently superintendent of the Jandorf Automobile Co., New York, has leased the property at 214 and 216 West Sixty-fifth Street for five years at an annual rental of $7,000. Mr. Cogan will carry on a general automobile business and build automobile bodies for all chassis. There will also be a used car department and tire department. Prior to his connection with the Jandorf company. Mr. Cogan was with the firm of Rothschild & Co., New York City.”

A news article in the April 24, 1914 New York Times reveals that Jandorf continued to use portions of the former U.S. Motor Co. building at least into mid-1914:


“Motor Car Backs Into Elevator Shaft, Taking Four Men With It

“Four men were injured, none of the seriously, last night when an automobile fell down the elevator shaft in the garage of the Jandorf Automobile Company, at 3 West Sixty-third Street. The Auto Was Wrecked. The injured men were Samuel Simon, a chauffeur of 560 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn; Edward McAvoy of 531 West Fifty-Third Street, George Rosenstock of 643 Cauldwell Avenue, the Bronx; and Samuel Aronson of 255 Vernon Avenue, Brooklyn. They all went to their homes after treatment at the Polyclinic Hospital.

“The automobile had just backed into the garage, and Simon was turning it around to take its proper place, when in backing the rear of the machine plunged into the elevator shaft. The elevator was at the top of the shaft at the time, and the auto pitched back and fell to the bottom of the shaft, eighteen feet below. The men were thrown from the seats but were not thrown out of the tonneau.”

Jandorf's listing in Trow's 1915 Directory of Directors:

"Jandorf Automobile Co., NY: Louis С. Jandorf, Pres.; Howard R. Bliss, Sec.; Capital $10,000. Directors: Louis С. & К.К. & S. Jandorf; 1761 B’way."

After his 1915 graduation from the Cornell University Law School with a LLB degree (undergraduate law degree) Sidney R. Jandorf, Louis’ son, joined the management team of the Jandorf Automobile Company.

A New York Dealers supplement included in the January 1, 1916 issue of The Horseless Age provided a short biography and photograph of the senior Jandorf:

“Another veteran of the industry though in a branch distinct from that followed by Mr. Johnston is Louis Jandorf, head of the company bearing his name, located at 1763 Broadway. Mr. Jandorf, like many others, is a graduate from the bicycle business. Since 1900 he has specialized in the sale of used cars and has prospered through the establishment of a reputation for fair and square dealing.”

Jandorf soon returned to prosperity following the U.S. Motor Co. debacle and in 1916 leased the property located adjacent to his 1753-1755 Broadway flagship showroom, the ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the March 25, 1916 New York Times reporting:

“The Cross & Brown Company has leased the store at 1751 Broadway to the Jandorf Automobile Company for O.H. Potter properties, Inc.”

At about the same time Jandorf placed a series of ads in the automobile trades, the following display ad was placed in the October 19, 1916 issue of The Automobile:

“The Lowest Prices Ever Quoted for HIGH GRADE AUTO BODIES. Complete line at rock bottom prices: LIMOUSINES, SEDANS, LANDAULETS, COUPES, TOURINGS. Special attention paid to out of town inquiries. Full details photos and prices on request. Write Now! JANDORF Automobile Company, 303 WEST 59th STREET, NEW YORK. FORD SIZE TIRES 30x3, Non Skid, First Grade. MILEAGE GUARANTEE, REMOVED, $7.00 Each. JANDORF AUTOMOBILE CO. 1761-3 Broadway, 303 W. 59th St., New York City.”

The ads were placed in anticipation of his withdrawal from the second-hand automobile body business, which was announced in the October 26, 1916 issue of The Automobile:

“Louis Jandorf is going out of the automobile body selling field. A sale was held Oct. 17 at the New York building.”

Evidence suggest that the October 17 sale was unsuccessful which prompted the placement of the following classified ad in the November 15, 1916 issue of the New York Evening Telegram:

“Closing Out Winter Bodies

“Any Half Fair Offer Will Take

“Limousine, landaulets, coupes, taxis, &c . in stock, low as $25, $50, $75, &c.

“Jandorf Automobile Co., Body and Sundries Departments, 303, 305 W. 59th St., n'r B'way.”

Apparently Jandorf still had bodies remaining, and the following ad was placed in The Automobile offering used bodies for as low as $5:

“GREAT SALE OF AUTO BODIES - An Opportunity For Quick Action. We announce one of the most important sales of new and rebuilt auto bodies that we have ever inaugurated. Every type of body is included and the list includes many fine examples of the coach builders art at the lowest prices ever quoted. Touring Bodies, Race Abouts, Coupes, Roadsters, Limousines, Landaulets and Sedans. PRICES AS LOW AS $5.00. Values that mean big savings. If you will call we will be pleased to show you the full line and quote you prices. LET US KNOW YOUR REQUIREMENTS. We can save you money. Large stock of windshields, racing seats and tanks. Photos and full descriptions by mail. JANDORF AUTOMOBILE COMPANY Telephone 2476 Circle; 1763 Broadway, New York City, N.Y.”

With the absence of imported chassis caused by the European conflict, Jandorf enjoyed a good business during the late teens and early twenties, a fact backed up by a noticeable lack of advertising in the New York papers during the same period. Only the tragedy of a fire provided the automobile trades with a newsworthy item, the December 3, 1921 issue of Automobile Topics reporting:

“Jandorf Has A Fire.

“Damage generally estimated at $75,000 was caused to the building and stock of the Jandorf Automobile Co., well-known in New York circles, when a fire out in the basement of the Jandorf Broadway store Tuesday of this week. The fire was largely confined to the basement where a stock of tires was kept. The fumes from the burning rubber not only gave firemen considerable trouble but spread over an area of several blocks.”

Following the fire Jandorf relocated down the street to 1739-1743 Broadway, the ‘In The Real Estate Field’ column of the August 19, 1924 New York Times reporting:

“Putnam Properties Inc., Robert E. Simon, President, has purchased the leases covering the property at the southwest corner of Broadway and Fifth-Sixth Street, known as 1739-1743 Broadway, 228-241 West Fifty-sixth Street and 237-241 West Fifty-fifth Street. The plot has a frontage of 104.6 feet on Broadway and 1193.9 on Fifty-Sixth Street and extends as an ‘L’ to Fifty-fifth Street, where it has a frontage of 75 feet, having an area of about 21,000 square feet. The building are occupied by the Colt Stewart Company, Louis Jandorf, dealer in used cars, and the Times Square Auto Supply Company.”

The firm is listed in the 1930 White-Orr’s Manhattan Classified Business directory under automobile dealers as follows:

“Jandorf Automobile Co., Inc., 1739 Bway.“

Tragedy struck the Jandorf family for a second time during the summer of 1933, the August 3, 1933 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“EXPLOSION FATAL TO MRS. JANDORF; Manufacturer's Wife Dies After Blast of Gas Stove in Long Island Home. 2 SERVANTS BADLY HURT. Maid and Butler Burned Trying to Save Employer, Who Lit Match Near Full Tank.

“SANDS POINT, L.I., Aug. 2. -- Mrs. Katheryn Knowles Jandorf, wife of Louis C. Jandorf, the former automobile accessory manufacturer, died today in Port Washington of burns she received on Monday afternoon when a tank of propane gas exploded in her home here and injured her, her maid and the butler. The latter two, Robert and Sarah Rader, are in the Doctor’s Sanatorium in Port Washington in a serious condition also suffering from burns received when they tried to put out the flames on Mrs. Jandorf’s clothing.

“Nothing was known of the accident until Mrs. Jandorf’s death today. According to the story told the police, Mrs. Jandorf was directing the maid and butler in removing an empty gas receptacle and connecting a full one, that being used the type of gas equipment used for cooking in the fourteen-room house. While the air was still charged with the gas that had escaped Mrs. Jandorf is said to have struck a match to try the stove.

“The stove exploded and the oven door blew off, felling Mrs. Jandorf and igniting her clothing. The maid and butler, also struck by flying bits from the shattered stove, tried to wrap Mrs. Jandorf in a rug and their own clothes took fire.

“They succeeded after some time in extinguishing all the flames without calling the Fire Department. Then the butler summoned an ambulance. Mr. Jandorf was not at home at the time.

“Mr. Jandorf was at one time the best-known dealer along Automobile Row when goggles and veils went with motoring. He and Mrs. Jandorf were married on Sept. 28 1909. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Knowles of Glen Cove. She was 42 years old.”

By 1935 the Jandorfs had relinquished their Manhattan flagship and relocated their sales operation to New Jersey where they held the Packard franchise for Elizabeth, New Jersey and surrounding Union County.

Louis C. Jandorf passed away midway through 1952, the May 3, 1952 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“Louis C. Jandorf, vice president of the Jandorf Motors Co., of East Orange, N.J., died on Thursday in Miami where he was vacationing. Mr. Jandorf, whose home was in West Orange, was 86 years old. He entered the automobile sales field in 1905. He founded the Jandorf Company with his son, Sidney R. Jandorf, in 1945. His son is the only immediate survivor.”

© 2012 Mark Theobald -







Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

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