Lalance & Grosjean Stamped Tin Factory
In 1850, Florian Grosjean started a small importing business in New York City and partnered with Charles Lalance. Grosjean brought in sheet metal and cooking utensils from Europe, when the American hardware market was dominated by manufactured goods from Europe. Lalance and Grosjean opened a small pioneer factory in New York City and finding themselves successful, were forced to look for a larger facility.
In 1860, Grosjean began purchasing real estate in Woodhaven and gradually accumulated lots in the original Sharpe Chisel factory block through the beginning of 1866. This area is described as being between Atlantic and 95th Avenues, 91st and 92nd Streets and is known today as Ozone Park.
The Lalance and Grosjean factory started a great growth period of Woodhaven Village. As the factory grew, so did the thriving community. Hotels, shops, churches, a market and a school were established in the village. By 1873 the village of Woodhaven was important by Long Island standards.
In 1876 a devastating fire consumed all the wooden buildings of the Lalance and Grosjean plant. The setback was only temporary and was rebuilt with modernizing and enlarging the facilities. Lalance and Grosjean was said to be the most popular cooking utensil company in the United States with an international market as well.
By 1882, the factory employed 500 people. The village of Woodhaven was comprised of about 175 houses and had a population of 1,122. By 1893, the population had climbed to 6,000 people supported by 14 churches and 4 schools.
By 1899, Woodhaven Village would have registered the largest expansion of its population when Lalance and Grosjean increased the number of their employees from 1,300 to 2,100.
In the late 1920's Lalance and Grosjean switched their production line from the original enameled "agateware" to a newly popular type of kitchen utensil called "Crusader Ware". In order to accomplish this changeover, nearly all of the original factory machinery was replaced with new equipment.
In 1955, Lalance and Grosjean went out of business after nearly a century of manufacturing in Queens County. The unused buildings still stand today as what is now know as Ozone Park.
Lalance & Grosjean Kitchen Utensils
Credits: Queens Historical Society, Ellen Fletcher Rosebrock, Queensboro Public Library