Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nielsen Jewelers Part 1

Last month, Mark Hicks emailed me a photo (left) of an old eyeglasses case that he found while cleaning out his garage. He wondered if I had any information about Dr. Walter S. Nielsen, the optometrist's name on the label.

Turning to vintage Lorain City Directories for information, I was surprised to learn that Dr. Nielsen's business was the predecessor of Lorain's present day Nielsen Jewelers.

The original Nielsen jewelry company – H. P. Nielsen – was one of Lorain's oldest businesses, appearing in the oldest city directory (1891) at the library. According to later ads, the company dates back to 1877.

In the 1903 directory, the business was located at 307 Broadway.

The 1912 directory listing gave a detailed description of the business, advertising "Watches, diamonds, jewelry, cut glass, fine china and watch repairing." In that same directory, son Harry was listed as a salesman at the store, and son Walter was still a student.

By 1919, H. P. Nielsen had retired, and the business became H. P. Nielsen Sons, with sons Harry and Walter in charge of the business.

Here's a city directory ad from 1931. Note that 'optometrists' was now listed as part of the firm's description.

In 1937, Harry Nielsen opened his own jewelry store, with the end result of Lorain having two Nielsen jewelry stores, both offering optometry.

Here's the listings for both stores as they appeared together on the same page of the 1937 city directory.

Next: The rest of the story


Mark said...

Wow - Thanks!

-Alan D Hopewell said...

My grandfather used to get his glasses there.

Emily said...

I have my grandmother's wedding ring and the box from HP Nielsen Jewelers at 419 Broadway in Lorain.

It's so interesting to read about this.

Thank you-