Allen Gellman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Allen Gellman
Born April 19, 1906
Fegyvernek, Austria-Hungary
Died September 13, 1967
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality United States
Other names Adalbert Béla Gellman
Occupation jewelry manufacturer
Known for association with Groucho Marx
Awards Election to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, 1956

Allen B. Gellman (born April 19, 1906, Fegyvernek, Hungary – died September 13, 1967, Los Angeles, California) [1] was a jewelry manufacturer and first sponsor of You Bet Your Life, the radio (and later TV) program hosted by Groucho Marx. Gellman was elected to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans in 1956.

Early years and career[edit]

Allen Gellman was born as Adalbert Béla Gellman. He emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1930, aged 24 and became a naturalized citizen on January 11, 1939. He worked as a machinist, attended night school, and began manufacturing costume jewelry.[2]

Gellman and a partner, Joseph Weiss, owned and operated the Illinois Watch Case Company in Elgin, manufacturing compacts and cigarette lighters, and the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Company in Batavia, making farm equipment. In 1941, with the government restricting commercial production in order to allocate material and manpower to war production, Gellman and Weiss needed a government contract. Gellman met Henry Garsson in Washington outside a congressman's office. When Garsson described his requirements for the manufacture of shells, Gellman agreed to provide the means to fill them.[3]

Garsson and his older brother, Murray Garsson, had started a munitions contracting business in 1941. A Kentucky Congressman, Andrew J. May, chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee during World War II, facilitated the Garssons’ enterprise.[4][5]

After the war, a Senate investigating committee reviewing the Garsson's munitions business discovered evidence that May had received substantial cash payments and other inducements from the Garssons.[6][7]

Inventor[edit]

Gellman held patents for lighters, compacts, filler valves, and a container for personal items.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] Gellman's inventiveness extended to his office desk, which he designed with hidden elevators and pivoting drawers, giving him fingertip control over everything inside.[19]

Groucho Marx[edit]

Gellman, president of the Elgin American Company, maker of watch cases, cigarette lighters, and compacts, was the first sponsor of You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx’s radio program, on ABC Radio and CBS Radio from October 1947 to January 1950.[20][21] This company is unrelated to the Elgin National Watch Company.

Later life and death[edit]

Gellman was elected to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, 1956.[22][23] He died from cardiovascular disease, aged 61.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allen Gellman on findagrave.com
  2. ^ "'Rags to Riches' Plaques Awarded to Eight Men". Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); May 11, 1956
  3. ^ When War Profiteering Hit Batavia. The Garsson - May Connection. The Batavia Historian. Batavia Historical Society. Batavia, Illinois. Vol. 38 No. 1. January 1997
  4. ^ Time magazine, "Handy Andy", June 9, 1947.
  5. ^ THE CONGRESS: Murray Garsson's Suckers. TIME. Monday, August 12, 1946
  6. ^ Time magazine, "Still Calling Yankel", July 29, 1946.
  7. ^ When War Profiteering Hit Batavia. The Garsson - May Connection. The Batavia Historian. Batavia Historical Society. Batavia, Illinois. Vol. 38 No. 1. January 1997
  8. ^ PYROPHORIC LIGHTER US Pat. 174806 - Filed January 3, 1955, United States Patent Office. Allen B. Gellman, Glencoe, Il1. Application January 3, 1955
  9. ^ COMPACT. US Pat. 2990054 - Filed September 18, 1958 AB GELLMAN
  10. ^ FILLER VALVE. US Pat. 3285298 - Filed September 11, 1963 AB GELLMAN
  11. ^ Pyrophoric lighter. US Pat. 2865185 - Filed January 28, 1957. AB Gellman
  12. ^ FUEL VALVE. US Pat. 3286741 - Filed June 24, 1963 ab gellman
  13. ^ CARRYALL. US Pat. 2825345 - Filed March 1, 1956, ab gellman
  14. ^ GELLMAN LIGHTER. US Pat. 3222894 - Filed July 23, 1962. AB Gellman
  15. ^ GELLMAN Pyrophoric Lighter, US Pat. 2957328 - Filed April 10, 1957, AB Gellman
  16. ^ CONTAINER FOR PERSONAL ITEMS. US Pat. 2720208 - Filed August 20, 1952, AB Gellman
  17. ^ GELLMAN Lighter. US Pat. 3134251 - Filed December 27, 1960. AB Gellman
  18. ^ Allen B. Gellman on Google Patents
  19. ^ Ultramodern Desk. Popular Mechanics. April 1950, p. 138
  20. ^ Charlotte Chandler, Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends (Doubleday, 1978) p. 190
  21. ^ Groucho Marx, The Groucho Letters: Letters From and to Groucho Marx (Simon & Schuster, 1967) p. 311
  22. ^ "Winners Of 'Rags-To-Riches' Horatio Alger Awards Named", The Sun, April 22, 1956
  23. ^ 1956 Horatio Alger Award Winner