Design for a Cocktail Shaker

Patent #98,855 by Solomon Forman
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Patented March 10, 19361,991,871

United States Patent Office


Design For A Cocktail Shaker

Solomon Forman, Brooklyn, N.Y., assignor to
Forman Bros. Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., a corporation of New York

Application December 23, 1935, Serial No. 60,245
Term of patent 3 1/2 years
To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Solomon Forman, a citizen of the United States and resident of Brooklyn, county of Kings, and State of New York, have invented a new, original and ornamental Design for a Cocktail Shaker, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming part thereof.

In the drawing, -

Figure 1 is a side elevation of a cocktail shaker showing my new design.

Figure 2 is a plan view of the same.

I claim, -

The ornamental design of a cocktail shaker as shown.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand on this 18th day of December, 1935.


Forman Bros.

by Stephen Visakay

Sol Forman, (1903-2001), designed and patented a classic geometric Art Deco cocktail shaker. His company Forman Brothers produced this in a variety of styles; in hammer tone, less the handle, with a Catalin handle, and with a Catalin finial. What’s not shown on the patent copy and one of the outstanding features of this shaker is the embossed bottom with fourteen recipes!

In 1920, at the age of 17, Sol joined forces with his brother and sister to start a small metal ware business in Brooklyn called Forman Brothers, later changed to Forman Family. Successful right from the start, they soon had a large factory in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. They produced stamped metal gift ware and serving ware for hotels, restaurants and the home using the new chromium plating process; teapots, plates, trays, pitchers, coffee percolators, sugar and creamer sets, and the like.

Sol Forman excelled at sales and frequently entertained customers across the street at Peter Luger’s steak house, opened in 1887 by a German immigrant. With a growing business, many days, this meant eating two lunches a day, and when a trade show was in town sometimes three.

As this part of Brooklyn went into an industrial decline in the late 1940’s with breweries and other nearby manufacturers closing up, Peter Luger’s steak house became the one lonely bright spot in the now quiet industrial area. It closed and went out of business in 1950.

In the mean time the Forman Family business was doing well, and where would Sol take his buyers for lunch? There was only one answer for Sol Forman; he purchased the restaurant at auction for the price of the land, he was the only one to show up that day for the sale.

The family would run Peter Luger’s, the scrubbed oak tables, chairs, bar, and back bar had been in the restaurant since it opened; they would do just fine, and are still there to this day. Sol appointed his wife as buyer for the business, hiring a retired meat inspector, Joe Dowd, to show her the ropes. Marsha Forman and Dowd went to the meat district twice a week, for the next two years, to make choices and stamp them “Peter Luger”. Marsha retired at the age of 80 and passed on in 1998 after 61 years of marriage. Today her daughter Marilyn Spiera carries on and uses the same original stamp to ink mark her selections.

The Forman Family business went into decline and out of business in the mid 1970’s at about the same time as the great International Silver Company in Meriden Conn. One of the chief reasons being, besides the economic slump of the time, was the imports of foreign competition selling at prices lower that their raw material price.

No matter; the Steak house was doing fine and some employees that ran machinery just started a new occupation across the street. Today even its biggest Manhattan competitors admit that Peter Luger puts out the best porterhouse in the world, sliced on a tilted plate, and served by a waiter with no time for chitchat. Indeed, the cult status of Peter Luger is such that it has, for decades, been the toughest reservation to get in New York; a wait of two or more weeks in not unusual. The upside is free parking in the empty factory lot across the street.

Sol Forman passed on in November of 2001, at the age of 98. He went to the restaurant every day and called each night to check receipts. If a man’s success can be judged by his doing one thing better than anyone else in the World, Sol Forman was surely among the great success stories of the food world. He showed that a man happy in his work can just about live forever. His is indeed a wonderful story. He leaves behind a large loving family, thousands of friends and customers, and as long as the restaurant continues, even into the next century and beyond, his magnificently designed Art Deco cocktail shaker will live even longer in museums and collections World wide.

Copyright. Stephen Visakay 2007

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