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Kaufman and Sons Saddlery, of New York City.

August 28, 2018

 

 

 

Old-School Makers of Saddles... and *exceptional* equestrian jackets in tweed!

Kauffman & Sons Saddlery was founded in 1875, in New York City--a move that might seem odd in the era of the automobile, but which made perfect sense when horses were the main form of transport in New York. Kauffman's initially supplied the harnesses to the fire-engines and police-carts of New York City's Fire and Police Departments, but quickly expanded into the provision of equestrian items for individual use.

 

Quickly distinguishing themselves from other saddlers by the quality of their goods Kauffman's quickly became the premier saddlery in New York. This reputation stood it in good stead. When other tack shops and saddlers were closing as the horse was replaced by the car Kauffman's flourished. It did so not by securing an increasing share of a declining market, but by recognizing that as horses became less of a necessity and more of a luxury offering the very best equestrian equipment possible would be the way to secure the patronage of the old-money families for whom horses continued to feature in their everyday lives.

 

Indeed, in 1947, when Ike Kauffman died, his obituary noted that Kauffman's was not only the largest saddler in the United States, but had as its customer base "some of the most prominent families in the nation". This focus on old-money continued for the rest of the firm's existence. In 1975, for example, it was noted at the Address given when the firm was presented with New York's Citation of Business Merit that it had served the city's "horsey set" for 100 years.

 

It was a measure of Kauffman's success that the business moved to a wonderful Beaux-Arts building on East 34th Street in 1925, expanding its offerings when others were closing. It remained at this location until 1991, when it moved to Park Ave. Alas, although the Park Ave location was larger than the East 34th Street store (a mark of confidence in the firm's continued success) on the retirement of Bernard Kauffman--the third generation to run the firm--in the middle of the decade it closed its doors.

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