Obituary: Samuel Briskman: The New York Times, February 16, 1967

Briskman-obit-NYT-Feb-16-1967 Samuel Briskman, an Inventor And a Philanthropist, Is Dead

Creator of Pinking Shears Headed Cardiac Center–Ran Fund Dinners

Samuel Briskman of 880 Fifth Avenue, inventor of the pinking shears and president, since 1953, of the New York Cardiac Center in Yonkers, died of a heart attack Tuesday in Miami Beach.

Mr Briskman's invention, which he patented in the early nineteen-thirties, proved to be a revolutionary cost saving device in the textile business. The scissors with a serrated edge, cut a zig-zag course across the material which prevented its ravelling.

Not only did clothing manufacturers and garment have widespread use of the instrument, but throughout the world the pinking shears became an integral part of many women's sewing kits.

Mr. Briskman got the idea for the shears as a young married man when his bride, Minna, once told him to bring home a bread knife for the kitchen. He bought two, much to Mrs. Briskman's consternation, but from tinkering with the knives came the basic patent.

Home Founded by Hershfield

The original site of the New York Cardiac Center was in Hillburn, N.Y. The home for persons convalescing from heart attacks was founded in 1946 by Harry Hershfield, the humorist and cartoonist, and the late Alfred J. McCosker, the radio executive.

Mr. Briskman, who was active in philanthropic affairs most of his life, was a charter member of the board of governors. As president he supervised the removal of the home from Hillburn to Greystone in Yonkers. [Was in the way of the New York Thruway.] Greystome was part of the estate of Samuel Untermyer. It had been the home of former Gov. Samuel J. Tilden.

During Mr. Briskman's presidency a $1-million, 93-bed structure was built and put into use. The center provides specialized convalescent care and rehabilitation. [Building is at 919 North Broadway, and is now the Richmond Children's Center.]

Brought to U.S. as Child

Mr. Briskman came here as a child with his family from Kiev, Russia. They settled on the Lower East Side, and he once recalled that to help the family he sold Christmas cards at a corner stand.

He followed a varied career. At one time he produced shows, with Phil Silvers, the comedian, among others. Mr. Briskman later headed a bus company that operated between New York and South Jersey.

After obtaining a patent for the pinking shears, Mr. Briskman opened a small plant on Greene Street, called the Pinking Shears Corporation. Later he expanded the business in a 5-story factory at 102 Prince Street.

For many years he sponsored an annual Christmas party for neighborhood children at the nearby Mercer Street police Station. Each summer he sent the youngsters for a day's outing on a Hudson River excursion boat.

Mr. Briskman was a close friend of the late Senator Robert F. Wagner and continued the association with former Mayor Robert F. Wagner, whom he first knew as a boy. Last night Mr. Wagner said:

"He was a very successful man in his field, but he always sought to help those that needed assistance, both young and old."

Mr. Hershfield, who worked closely with Mr. Briskman in raising funds for the cardiac center, described him as "a dedicated man seeking to provide for the good of the sick and unfortunate."

Mr. Briskman was the mainspring of the yearly $100-a-plate dinners in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to raise money for the center. He was widely known to newspaperman [sic]. Through his efforts the Newspaper Reporters Association of New York City and The Inner Circle, an organization of political and City Hall reporters, sponsored rooms at the center.

Student of Jewish History

Mr. Briskman was an entusiastic scholar of Jewish history and had an extensive library on the subject. He had a summer home at Atlantic Beach, L.I., and was a founder and trustee of the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach. He was an active yachtsman, operating a 70-foot cruiser here and in Florida.

Besides his widow, he is survived by a son, Arthur; a daughter, Mrs. Harold Slote of Scarsdale, N.Y. and five grandchildrem

A funeral service will be held at 11:30 A.M. today ay the Riverside, Amsterdam Avenue and 76th Street.