San Francisco County







THE WEST COAST FURNITURE MANUFACTORY,--This institution, which is the oldest and probably the largest manufactory of household furniture on the Pacific Coast, dates its origin back to 1859, when Mr. L. Emanuel, present senior partner of the firm, started a small shop for making what was known as “pony” bedsteads on a part of the ground now occupied by the Grand Hotel. In the fall of 1860 he moved into Hobbs, Gilmore & Co.’s mill, on the corner of Market and Beale streets, at the same time adding to his line of manufacture several other styles of bedsteads, cots, cribs and extension tables. The steady growth of business made it necessary to have more room, and in 1864 or 1865 he removed into Miller & Hawley’s mill on Tremont Street, and leasing a lot in the rear of the mill, fronting on Beale Street, from Commodore C.K. Garrison, he erected a building thereon for workshops and offices, obtaining his power from Miller & Hawley. Business still increased so that by the later part of 1868 still larger premises were demanded; and his brother Mr. E. Emanuel, joining him, they leased property on Berry Street fronting on the bay. They drove piles in the bay in which they built a mill, factory and engine room, and had their store on the opposite side of the street, occupying about 200 feet on the north and 250 feet on the south side for their several buildings and lumber yard. In 1869, four months after they started their factory, the entire plant was destroyed by fire, involving a loss of between $40,000 and $50,000. The brothers immediately re-built, on land made by filling in the bay, two factory buildings 120 x 50 feet each, with an engine room and dry house in the rear; and on the north side erected a varnish shop 30 x 120 feet, which was subsequenently enlarged, and a brick warehouse 210 x 50 feet, two stories high. They then extended there range of goods so as to included a general line of household furniture, chamber seats, etc. Near the close of 1879 Goodwin & Co., who had been the principal customers to handle Emanuel Brothers’ productions in San Francisco failed; and in order to provide for the sale of their goods in the city the brothers opened a retail store in the same premises formerly occupied by Goodwin & Co., at 319 Pine Street. They carried a large stock, including upholstered goods, and did a prosperous business. Their ground lease on Berry Street about expiring, they leased from Senator Sharon the West Coast factory, and on January 1, 1881, they removed into their present commodious quarters on Fourth and Bryant streets. Senator Fair wishing to tear down the building in which their retail store was situated, they removed their stock, in 1882, into the Bancroft building, 725 Market street. On April 30, 1886, their store was burned, by which they suffered a loss of about $80,000. After the fire they determined to conduct their business all at one place, and have had their store in the same building with the factory ever since. The style of the firm is the West Coast Furniture Company, L. and E. Emanuel being the proprietors. The building is in the form of the letter T, one part being 275 x 50 feet, and the other 355 x 50 feet, the whole three stories in height.

      In addition to a general line of high-grade furniture, the West Coast Company make a specialty of the manufacture of wood mantels, and store and bank fittings. The firm employs 150 men, and pay out in wages $80,000 to $90,000 annually.

      The Emanuel Brothers are natives of London, England. They went to Australia in 1852, during the gold excitement in that country. Two years later they sailed for South America, attracted by the reports of the discovery of rich gold mines on the Amazon River. Arriving in Peru to find the bubble had already busted, they decided to come to California, arriving in 1854. Mr. L. Emanuel is sixty-one and Mr. E. Emanuel is fifty-six years of age. That they are honorable and successful business men is evidenced in the large industry and trade they have built up, despite the heavy losses before noted.


Transcribed by Kim Buck.

Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, Page 616, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.

© 2006 Kim Buck.


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