|. . | . . 1900's . . | . . Harry Ptak marries Sylvia Nortman,1915.
Together they begin to raise a family in rural Poland.
|. . | . . 1920's . . | . .
Harry & Sylvia's fourth child, Paul Ptak, is born on the same day as his mother's 28th birthday, April 1, 1926.
Paul PtakGrandma Sylvia always said he was the best birthday gift she could have ever hoped for.
|. . | . . 1930's . . | . .
Thanksgiving Day, 1936, Sylvia and her children land on Ellis Island, NY, reuniting with Harry, who had arrived in 1928 to establish his shoemaking business and obtain visas for his family.Throughout the 1930's Harry works long hours in NYC's Lower East Side to give his family the necessities for life in America.
Standing from left: Saul, Leo, Clara, Leo Ingwer, Rubin, Paul Ptak. Seated: Sylvia & Harry Ptak
Clara Ptak, the first of Harry and Sylvia's children, marries Leo Ingwer in 1939.
|. . | . . 1940's . . | . .
During the 1940's, Paul and his two older brothers, Leo and Rubin, serve overseas in the armed forces for the United States during WWII.
Paul Ptak, in front of his father's shoe repair shop, H. Ptak Shoemaker, on 5th St & Ave B, NYC
Paul Ptak, U.S. Navy, circa 1944
|. . | . . 1940's continued . . | . .
Grandma Sylvia is the hero of the family story. During the time her three sons were fighting in the war, they faithfully sent home the majority of their pay to their parents, often accompanied by a note for mom to buy herself a new dress. As was recalled, years later she revealed that she had worn the same dress everyday for nearly four years. She had stashed all the money her sons had sent under her mattress!
Paul Ptak - Okinawa 1945 just prior to the final battle of WWII
Upon their return from the war, Paul's two brothers went to work for their brother-in-law, Leo Ingwer, while he attended college under the GI Bill.
Though Sylvia loved Leo Ingwer like her own son, it had always been her dream that her sons would not work for anyone but themselves. When Paul completed his education, he received an employment offer from a large NYC corporation. At the time he was eager to accept it. But Sylvia intervened, and presented him with the lump sum of the funds that had been stashed under her mattress, along with the strict instruction that this money was to be used to build a business with his brothers. Shortly thereafter, he was on his way to fulfilling his, and his mother's, lifelong dream. Paul Ptak joins with his brothers and forms a company!
|. . | . . 1950's . . | . .
In the 1950's. Paul Ptak becomes the first member of the family to graduate from college, earning a BBA in Business Administration.
Paul's graduating class-2nd row, far leftHe quickly puts his skills to use and the company's first catalog, an 8 page black and white, is printed and distributed to jewelers in NYC's Diamond District and throughout the United States in 1953. Full color catalogs become a family tradition and are produced on average every other year over the next 50 years.
Paul Ptak writing an order at the company's 47th Street showroom, circa 1956
|. . | . . 1960's . . | . .
Paul Ptak marries Marilyn Braunstein in the early 1960's. In 1968, they announce the birth of their son, Gary Ptak. Gary's arrival is also welcomed by his sisters, Margie and Holly.
Paul & Marilyn Ptak, wedding day
|. . | . . 1970's . . | . .
Throughout the 1970's, business continues to be brisk and the company grows. Gary becomes a regular on the 47th Street showroom floor whenever school was on break: running errands, getting to know people in the trade, and learning about metals, stones and jewelry.
Gary-Just before first trip to 47th Street
From left to right: Rubin, Clara, Paul, Leo Ptak, Sylvia Ptak, (seated)
|. . | . . 1980's . . | . .
During the 1980's Gary goes off to attend college in New Orleans, LA, continuing to work at the company while on breaks from school.
An evening with Paul Ptak.
At Paul's home from left to right: Paul, Rubin (standing), Leo Ptak, & Leo Ingwer
|. . | . . 1990's . . | . .
By the late 1980's into the mid 1990's the three original brothers had retired. The new generation of the Ptak family was now running the company. Specifically, Gary Ptak headed the creative and customer service departments, manufacturing higher end, gemstone and custom work.
Paul & Gary Ptak
Gary with beloved canine companions Zigaboo and Funky Tchoupitoulas
Grandma Sylvia passes away only three months shy of her 100th birthday in 1998.
|. . | . . 2000's . . | . .
With the turn of the new century, Gary is the first in the family to become a Graduate Gemologist after completing studies with GIA.
February 15, 2003, Gary marries the love of his life, recording artist Elyse Spies.
. . | . . 2000's continued . . | . .
In the following months, Gary embraces a unique opportunity to establish his own company and open manufacturing facilities in the picturesque Village of Mamaroneck, NY. Shortly after Gary’s departure from Ptak Bros. Inc, the assets of the company are sold to an unrelated company, now called "Ptak Bros. Jewelry Inc."
. . | . . 2000's continued . . | . .
In 2004, Gary Ptak, LLC opens for business.Committed to core values of quality, service, and American Pride Gary Ptak, LLC manufactures exclusively in the United States of America. All merchandise is Made in USA, by American workers.
April, 2006 begins a new chapter in the family history book, as Gary's bride Elyse delivers the first of a new generation: Carter Ellis Ptak is born to the proudest of parents.