by Kevin Walsh

The E.W. Bliss Machine Works building occupies the whole block between Plymouth, John, Adams and Pearl in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Between 1879 and c. 1900, Eliphalet W. Bliss erected three buildings for the manufacture of a vast array of machinery, cans, and other metal products.

After service in the Civil War, entrepreneur Bliss (1836-1903) settled in Brooklyn and in 1867 established a machine works which became the E. W. Bliss Company.  In his DUMBO factories, Bliss manufactured machines, tools, presses, dies, and sheet metal.  Bliss invented a machine for stamping out sheet-metal cans which were initially used for kerosene and paint.   In 1884, Dr. L. P. Brockett, the author of “The Manufacturing Industries of Brooklyn and Kings County” section of Henry L. Stiles’s History of Brooklyn, wrote that Bliss “has built up in a few years an immense business in machinery for drawing and stamping cold plates of tin, sheet iron, brass or copper, in all the required forms for household and manufacturing use.”  At the time, Brockett asserted, the factory building, occupying 27,000 square feet, was the largest of its kind in the world and employed between 300 and 350 people. By the early twentieth  century, the factory occupied 186,492 square feet and in 1912 employed 1,646 people in its DUMBO operations – 1,521 men and fifteen women. In 1906 the company briefly forayed into automobile production.

Note “Waring Envelopes” sign on the corner. The building has been converted to residential units.



Nirmal February 4, 2014 - 5:31 pm

Eliphalet …. what a name! glad it wasnt knocked down. another great piece of history, if you could sit and listen to these old buildings tell their life stories, what one would hear!

Jeff B. February 6, 2014 - 1:05 am

Interesting picture. Love the way the thin part of the shadow peaks/corresponds with top corner of the building. I’m guessing the shadow is from the Manhattan Bridge’s deck and a cable.

JP February 12, 2014 - 6:33 pm

I lived here, 135 Plymouth St. from 1991-1992, before it was officially residential (it was artists lofts with illegal live-ins), and there was a private waste disposal company on the first floor. Great views of the Manhattan Bridge (and overhead subway noise all night) and the down town Manhattan skyline (including, in those days, the WTC) from the windows on the left side of the photo.

George Dunne March 18, 2014 - 3:52 am

Bliss’ estate was located at Owls Head Park, Brooklyn.

Pure Bliss… | Archivist's Attic... June 8, 2015 - 10:30 am

[…] Share this:TwitterGoogleMoreFacebookLike this:Like Loading… […]

Cherry Edgerton-Bird May 30, 2017 - 7:31 am

Good Morning,
This is a wild shot! My naval father was sent to NYC by the British Navy to oversee the making of torpedoes during WW2 at the Bliss Company. In fact we lived at The Hotel Margaret (long gone) in Brooklyn. I am trying to find info on him and wonder if a naval address in the US would be helpful???
My mother, sister, and I (a baby) left in a naval convoy in August 1941.

Can you help?

Thanks, Cherry Edgerton-Bird


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.