16 January 2012

Q: Can phallic chandeliers also be mothers?

"So — the first waldorf school was named after a cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The waldorf salad got its name from the Waldorf Hotel in New York (later the Waldorf Astoria), where it was created. But were there any connections between the cigarette factory in Stuttgart and the hotel in New York? Incidentally, the company that owned old cigarette factory in Stuttgart also bore the name Astoria — The Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company — though nowadays the factory is occasionally mentioned only as the Waldorf cigarette factory. (I believe? I may be mistaken here though.) And the waldorf schools, as far as I know, never adopted the entire name Waldorf-Astoria.

And, more importantly, what happened to the Waldorf cigarette factory? My google searches didn't bring up anything but a very brief history of the factory itself on wikipedia. I may have come across more substantial information at some point in the past, but I cannot remember.

The Waldorf Hotel, opened in 1893 according to Wikipedia, clearly predates the Waldorf school. The salad, likewise, was a creation of the 1890s. The Waldorf Hotel closed for relocation, merged with the Astoria Hotel and opened as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1931.

The Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company, on the other hand, was established by Emil Molt — the anthroposophist who would later be involved with Rudolf Steiner in setting up the first waldorf school — and colleagues in 1906. It had been named after John Jacob Astor (1763-1948) from a German town called Walldorf. He had emigrated to the US and become enormously wealthy. Molt's Waldorf-Astoria cigarette company went out of business in 1929 — that is, before the joint Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York had even been opened.

To make the story more complicated, the Waldorf-Astoria hotel had originally been two hotels, both of which were established by descendants of the same rich emigrant John Jacob Astor, whom the cigarette company had been named after. As already mentioned, the Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893. The other hotel — the Astoria — was established four years later. By this time, it seems, the family had adopted the name of John Jacob Astor's home village, Walldorf, though with another spelling: Waldorf.

The Waldorf-Astoria Tobacco factory may have ceased to exist in 1929, but the tobacco brand remained in production, during many years manufactured by a company called Remtsmaa. The Waldorf schools are still around. When the Stuttgart school had been established by Molt and Steiner in 1919, Molt was manager of the cigarette company, and he and the company provided the building space the school needed."


"OK, Zooey, first correct a typo here. You've got JJ Astor living to be 185!

"It had been named after John Jacob Astor (1763-1948) from a German town called Walldorf."

So, JJ the First dies on March 29, 1848. But then William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor, is born two days later, March 31, 1848, and that day straddles Steiner's death day of March 30! Wee Willy Waldorf is the son of JJ the Third, and he is the Waldorf half of the famous Hotel.

Wee Willy's cousin, JJ the 4th, is the Astoria half. But JJ the 4th is probably most famous for going down with the Titanic in 1912. But before he died, he put his wife into the lifeboat. She was 5 months pregnant with JJ the 6th (there's a reason it's not the 5th) and he is considered a Titanic survivor even though he was a fetus at the time.

Then Wee Willy Waldorf Astor dies in October 1919 just a month after the first Waldorf School opens. How karmi-cosmic the timing!

The school opened on Sept. 7, 1919 with 256 pupils in eight grades; 191 of the pupils were from factory families, the other 65 came from interested families from Stuttgart, many of whom were already engaged in the anthroposophical movement in that city.

In the following years, a numerical balance between the factory workers' and outside children was achieved; it had been an explicit goal of the social three-folding movement to create a school that bridged social classes in this way.
For the first year, the school was a company school and all teachers were listed as workers at Waldorf-Astoria, by the second year the school had become an independent entity." 


Re: Willy Waldorf & the Cigarette Factory

"Thanks Tom! Unfortunately I was not just informative, I was misinformative.
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel existed much earlier than I thought when I wrote
the post yesterday! It means the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel existed, under that
name, before the cigarette company."


1 comment:

Sweet Charles Sherrell said...

Not penises - shrimp with snow peas.