Hammacher Schlemmer is a retailer and mail order dealer founded in 1848. They claim to be the oldest continuously published catalog in the United States
, with a claimed annual catalog circulation exceeding 30 million. It is based in Niles, Illinois. The company is owned by the heir of J. Roderick MacArthur, the founder of the Bradford Exchange, who purchased Hammacher Schlemmer in 1980.
Hammacher Schlemmer first began as a hardware store at 221 The Bowery, where it remained from 1848-1859. It later moved to 209 The Bowery, remaining from 1859 to 1904.The famous yellow fever plague of 1822, ascribed to impure water, desolated lower Manhattan
and caused business and terrified inhabitants to move out of town to Greenwich Village
. As there was no individual water supply, water was furnished by numerous wells with pumps — some in the middle of Broadway