Artcraft Fluorescent Lighting Corporation
|Industry||Lighting (Ranked #2 - Fluorescent fixtures - 1939-1954)|
|Founded||1939 - 2002 (63 years)|
|Headquarters||Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States|
Number of locations
|New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC|
|United States (mostly east of the Mississippi)|
|Louis Levy, President</td></tr>|
|Products||Fluorescent fixtures, Neon Signs, Electric Fans</td></tr>|
|Revenue||11pxUS$ (In 1947) 2 million annually, ($50 million annually in today's terms)</td></tr>|
Number of employees
Artcraft Fluorescent Lighting Corporation was one of the three most influential business forces in fluorescent lighting fixture development and production in the United States from the commercial introduction of the fluorescent lamp at the 1939 World's Fair and was the pioneer of hidden showcase lighting in the world. They were considered the "Cadillac" of the industry.
Louis Levy started the business from money earned by assembling radios when he was about 20 years old. He was very intuitive. Louis Levy and Max Wittenberg started the Artcraft Fluorescent Lighting Corporation about 1940. Mr. Wittenberg managed the business, sales, and accounting office and Mr. Levy managed the manufacturing, fixture development, and production department. Fluorescent lighting was very new to consumers, businesses, and professionals, who were familiar with incandescent lighting. The transition to this newer form of lighting was not easy.
The benefits of fluorescent lighting were lower operating costs, more light for the same power input, and less maintenance. The idea took hold. The company had over 200 employees at the factory and branch offices. Starting about 1959, neon signs also were manufactured. The company began selling fixtures in the New York City area. They opened showroom offices in Manhattan, and then in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA about 1947, and began making and selling display cases and electric fans. Some customers opted for being on the installment plan, which was a growing trend then. Sales and manufacturing skyrocketed by the mid-1950s east of the Mississippi, and many other companies were beginning to make fixtures. Max Wittenberg died in the late 1950s and Mr. Levy continued operations with a new partner until about 1968 when he sold the corporation. He was interested in going into the finance business. The company remained in existence until about 2002 in Brooklyn, NY.
[1948 Advertisement in Electrical Consultant magazine]
The corporation grew over time and was at its pinnacle in 1952. Artcraft received the prestigious "AAA" Dun & Bradstreet rating many times. Fewer than 10% of US corporations ever attain that status. While overseeing Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, Profit & Loss Statements, banking correspondence, extension of credit to customers together with two full-time accountants and five to seven bookkeepers and support staff, among other duties, it was apparent the corporation was a profitable entity with Louis Levy and Max Wittenberg being the sole owners. Company stock offerings were becoming popular, and issuance began with the employees yet not on the major exchanges. Very few businesses had that credit rating for an extended duration, analogous to a 5A, ER3, 1 rating today. Royal Philips Electronics, with approximately $500 million in annual sales, followed by Artcraft Fluorescent Lighting Corporation, and Globe Lighting, originating from New York City. 
Past officers included: Louis Levy—President, a pioneer of fluorescent light fixture manufacturing, Max Wittenberg—Secretary and Treasurer, Jay Stern—Vice President, Bernard Luger—CFO, Chief Financial Officer, William Fishkin—General Counsel. Previous locations and operations were at Brooklyn, NY (original factory), New York, NY, Manhattan (showroom), Philadelphia, PA (showroom & sales office), and Washington, DC (showroom & sales office). See visitor traffic to this page last month.
Industrial Directory of New York State, 1949ed, 1953ed 3468, pp. 638, 684
Lighting - Interior Lighting- Artemide (Firm), 63-64, 1953, p. 82
Lighting - Interior Lighting- Artemide (Firm), 53-54, 1948, p. 392
Mark Stanley Rea, PH.D. FIES, Editor-In-Chief (c. 1993), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, New York, Part IV Lighting Applications, Lighting Handbook Reference & Application (8th ed.), pp. 517–749, ISBN 0-87995-102-8 (previous editions published under title: IES lighting handbook)
"United States Library of Congress", Business Reference Desk Collection, archives of New York City corporations (Washington, DC), April 1997
Arthur A. Bright and Rupert Maclaurin (1943), Economic Factors Influencing The Development and Introduction of The Fluorescent Lamp, The Journal of Political Economy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, [MIT], University of Chicago Press 51 (No.5), pp. 429–450
Moody's Dividend Record - Artcraft Fluorescent Corp., 7% partie, pfd, 1948, p. 143
Luger, Bernard (May 1995), "Documenting a corporation", Sillman family private collection [Past United States Health Education and Welfare, Regional Inspector General for Audit (1966-1985), Region 3] 1: 2
Zaslowsky, Esq., Daniel (May 1995), "An era a long time ago", Sillman family private collection 2: 3
Levy, Paul (October 1998), "son of Louis Levy, Early industry leaders in New York City", Sillman family private collection 3: 4
Sillman, Suzanne (August 1996), "daughter of Louis Levy, An employee's perspective", Sillman family private collection 4: 5
Sillman, Richard (January 2011), "grandson of Louis Levy, A retrospective", Sillman family private collection 5: 6