There’s a very interesting home in Glen Ridge with a long history, reaching back to 1912 and the sinking of the Titanic. 138 Ridgewood Avenue, formerly owned by Sam Joseph, Luxury Home Specialist and Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Montclair office, is the home known in town as the “Titanic House.”
“I purchased the home with no knowledge that it was originally built and owned by Henry Blank, a survivor of the Titanic. I was drawn to the Georgian style architecture and the home’s fine details.”
The April issue of Gaslamp, the Glen Ridge Historical Society’s quarterly newsletter, tells the story of Henry Blank, a very successful jewelry manufacturer in Newark. He traveled often to Europe, to meet with watch movement manufacturers and stone dealers. He embarked on one of those trips on board the ill-fated Titanic’s maiden voyage. He was on the first lifeboat that left the ship and thus survived. Most of his European purchases went down with the ship, but he was able to remove some valuables.
In later years, Blank was vilified for having been one of the men on a lifeboat when so many women and children had perished. He often defended himself against those who spoke ill of him; as he explained what happened, he was chosen to enter lifeboat #7. Every woman and child in that area of the ship was encouraged to board the lifeboat. But there were not enough woman and children to fill it. Many woman refused to leave without their husbands. Of the 65 openings in lifeboat #7, only 20 were occupied. The crew then turned to the men to find oarsman, and Henry was chosen.
After being informed about the history of this unique mansion, Sam began to collect memorabilia from Henry Blank and the Titanic. He has a letter composed by Henry on his company’s letterhead thanking Lieutenant Samuel Meyerowitz, 5th Precinct, Newark for his kind telegram congratulating him on his survival.
He also has Blank’s pocket watch and his cigar knife, both engraved with his initials, which Henry had in his possession on the Titanic. The watch is a C. H. MEYLAN, Brassus. Charles-Henri Meylan was a highly esteemed and eminent watchmaker who worked in both Switzerland and America. He manufactured his own line of watches and also collaborated with the American Waltham Watch Co. Meylan held three American patents which protected his innovative repeater designs which were used in the rare Waltham repeaters.
Sam Joseph specializes in Glen Ridge properties and is very aware of it’s unique history. Call him today if you are interested in selling or purchasing in this gas lite community.