It all began in 1916 when Michael Feinberg started sweeping floors and polishing silver for a retail Antique Silver Shop on Madison Avenue in New York.
After serving in the United States Army in World War I, he returned to this firm, Norman of London. In the early 1920s he was sent out on the road as a travelling salesman, the first person to sell antique silver on the road. His job was more of an educator to the stores he visited imparting his vast knowledge of the hitherto virgin territory.
In 1931 making $135.00 a week, a large sum in those days, he was asked to take a pay cut to $35.00 a week. With a wife and two children he showed the strength of character to state for that amount of money he would form his own company.
On March 1st 1931 Michael Feinberg, Inc. Was formed with an English partner as the prime buyer in London and Michael Feinberg opening his first wholesale showroom at 14 west 47th Street in New York. In 1935 the firm was reformulated with an additonal English partner and the name was changed to Feinberg English Silver.
In 1949, this partnership was dissolved and on March 1st 1949 Michael Feinberg, Inc was reincroporated. The new firm consisted of Frank Feinberg, his brother, who had been with him from the 1920s at Norman of London and then through all the vicissitudes of the depression, and Arnold Feinberg, Michael’s son who had started in 1939 working part time after High School and throughout his college years at New York University.
The firm which remained essentially a static antique silver purveyor, first at 22 Wst 48th Street and in 1967 with a move to 233 Fifth Avenue, continued to maintain a reputation for the highest quality saleable antique English silver and silver-plate.
Throughout this period Arnold Feinberg was the prime seller for the firm, driving about the country with a station wagon loaded with cartons and valises calling on dealers, large and small. Interspersed with this “peddling” were two say sample room setups in hotels.
In 1970 Michael Feinberg retired, turning over the full operation of the firm to Arnold. At that time, Arnold and his wife, Betty, decided to ease the strain of just selling antiques by venturing into the reproduction field. Unfortunately, all the quality factories were tied up with firms such as William Adams, Eisenberg and Lassano, National Silver, etc. But by perseverance and searching the Feinbergs slowly managed to assemble a respectable reproduction line – and with the demise of each of their competitor firms were able to pick up the quality products to create the Michael Feinberg aura.
In 1974, the firm moved into its first small showroom in 225 Fifth Avenue. That same year, Marvin Feinberg, the grandson of Michael and the son of Betty and Arnold entered the business. He had graduated from the University of Cincinnati where he studied antiques under Dr. Carol Macht, the Curator of the Cincinnati Art Museum. To enhance this education, for the betterment of the firm, he spent a summer between his junior and senior years working for an antique dealer in London. Upon his graduation he spent a further six months working in an antique shop and in various factories learning the rudiments of the silver manufacturing process.
Upon his return, he added the new blood to create ever more successes and growth for the corporation. As President of Michael Feinberg, Inc he oversees a corporation with a national sales force, a corporation with over 3000 SKUs, a corporation which has never lost sight of its founder’s credo to sell only quality, and a firm which today still imports all of its product from Europe.
As Michael Feinberg, our founder, Father and Grandfather said when he visited our showroom in 1984, a few months before he passed away, “We’ve come a long way.”