A Proud Part of Buffalo for 150 Years
Buffalo in the early 1800’s was a place of emerging industry and commerce. According to city records, among the inhabitants were:
Three tin and coppersmiths,
Three wheelwrights and coachbuilders,
Two chair makers,
Five boot and shoemakers,
One tobacco manufacturer,
Fifty-one carpenters and joiners,
Nineteen masons and stonecutters,
Three butchers, and
One brush maker, our very own Ernst P. Young.
“Industrially, Buffalo, it would seem, is giving evidence of its diversity and destiny.” (quote from city archives)
The Early Days
With the help of a local historian, we've come to find that the Jung name (later changed to Young) and Y&S brush making goes back to as early as 1853. Archived Buffalo City Directory records from the 1850's list a brush maker named Valentine Jung residing on Batavia Street near Walnut. Sometime in the early 1860's, Valentine is joined by Frank Jung, and together they begin a brush making enterprise serving the local industries. By the mid 1860's, the name has been changed Young, and a machinist and industrialist Ernst is added to the business.
Moving to the Corner of Cherry & Spruce
Ernst P. Young had his hand building brush business out of a small downtown studio off Main Street, serving the needs of early local tradesmen and passers by. Always the shopkeeper and entrepreneur, he moved to a building on the corner of Cherry and Spruce Streets, in Buffalo’s German and “fruit” district (named after the streets bearing the names of different types of trees). The original building, and still the company's location today, included a retail storefront, living quarters, manufacturing space and a horse barn & carriage, used for street selling and wagon deliveries throughout the city.
Young & Swartz, Incorporated
A gentleman named Ben Swartz married Ernst’s sister Katherine Young, and joined the brush business. Ben learned the brush business and he and Ernst became business partners incorporating Young & Swartz in 1866. Capitalizing on the growth of Buffalo - “The City of Light’s”, Young & Swartz, Inc. expanded operations to include a production “shop” and retail storefront, welcoming small business owners to "stop in" while also delivering manufactured goods to the emerging grain, steel and automobile industries. As Buffalo grew, so did Y&S.
The Winzig Family
John Winzig, a prominent Buffalo photographer in the early 1900’s married Pauline Young, oficially connecting the Winzig family name to Young & Swartz. Raphael Winzig Sr., after returning from WWI, became a brush maker and salesman and worked alongside Mr. Young running the company. His sons Earl (Bud) and Raphael Jr. (Ray), along with sister Jane, also worked at “the shop” and upon his passing, took the leadership reins in the early 50’s. As business grew and the neighborhood changed, the building campus was expanded to include additional office, manufacturing and warehouse space.
In the late 70’s, Ray Jr.’s oldest son Paul joined the company and took control of the manufacturing, bringing automation and new engineering ideas to the company. Working side-by-side with Ray, Paul now runs the company, overseeing all retail, wholesale and specialty manufacturing business and operations, along with Logistics & Customer Relations Director Brian Deeds. Special emphasis is on custom engineering, manufacturing systems and customer problem solving.
Proud to be Celebrating 150+ Years
Today Young & Swartz, Inc., remains as one of only a handful of Buffalo companies still operating 150 years later and proud charter members of the ABMA.