A handpainted crest attributed to Albrecht's from Zirovnice

This article traces the Albrechts from Žirovnice, Bohemia, Czech Republic. Žirovnice was the designated center for pearl button manufacturing for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Allegedly the castle in the village belonged to the Albrechts (hence the crest). In fact the castle today contains a pearl-button museum. Frank Albrecht (1838-1917) sent his son, John (1867-1918), in 1891 to New York City either to find a location for the family's pearl button factory or to oversee its installation. The family - Marie (Vondracheck) Albrecht (1841-1904), Joseph (1868- aft 1930), Frank (1871-1921), Antoinette (1872-aft 1930), Marie (abt 1876-aft 1930), Stanislauv (1877-1956), Ferdinand (1882-?) and Albert (1886-1914) - followed the following year.

The castle in Žirovnice, Czech Republic


Castle Žirovnice. Originally it was a Gothic castle founded here in the second half of the 13th century. It had a triangular layout with a round tower and the chapel on its southern side. In the end second half of the 14th century it was enlarged and fortified. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was continuously being reconstructed and it was finally rebuilt into the chateau. In 1910 the town bought it and the town museum was located here. In the 1960’s the chateau burnt down, but it was quickly and completely restored. A lot of owners changed there. The Šternberk family – one of the most important proprietors – owned it from 1693 till 1910. "...Pearl button makers. Excellent showing has been made in that other distinctively Cech industry, the pearl button manufacture. Though neither as old as cigar making — it was introduced here by workmen from Zirovnice, in Bohemia, after the passage in Congress of McKinley's protective tariff — nor as voluminous (it gives employment to not more than 1,500 or 1,600 operatives), pearl button making has contrived to school not only factory hands but factory bosses as well. The number of Cech manufacturers is 67, located as follows: Connecticut (West Willington, Stafford- ville, Higganum), 6; New Jersey (North Bergen, Secaucus, Little Ferry, Cliffside, Guttenberg, New Durham), 20; Illinois (Chicago), 1. Of the 40 plants in Greater New York, 19 are situated in Manhattan, 12 in Winfield, 7 in Astoria, 1 in Maspeth, 1 in Islip. These 67 concerns represent an investment of from $1,500,000 to $1,750,000: 12 manufacturers have invested $25,000 and over; 15 manufacturers have invested $10,000 to $20,000; 15 manufacturers have invested $5,000 to $10,000; 25 manufacturers have invested $1,500 to $5,000. Several of the smaller manufacturers do not employ", Statement by Joseph Wodicka, Secretary of No. 141 of the Cigar Makers' International Union of America. "any outside help, relying solely upon members of their own families for labor". The number of operatives is 1,550. In normal times this figure would be considerably higher. **The volume of business as based on statistics for 1920 is between $3,000,000 and $3,500,000, and it represents, says Mr. W. E. Schwanda, "slightly less than one-half of the total value of ocean pearl buttons produced in the United States. ..." THE CECH (BOHEMIAN) COMMUNITY OF NEW YORK BY THOMAS CAPEK (1921)

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