A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 02, 2006
“First to Conquer Living Space” (Castro Convertibles)
Castro Convertibles is a New York City company that began on West 21st Street. It advertised heavily in a new medium called television, and it sold a product perfect for New York -- the space-saving convertible sofa bed.

"First to Conquer Living Space" is a famous slogan, as is "So easy a child can do it" and "Who's tops in the convertible line? Castro Convertibles!" The Castro Convertible jingle is still widely remembered by New Yorkers of a certain age.

19 December 1948, New York Times, pg. 58 ad:
Castro
131 West 21st St.
Custom-crafted Decorator Sofas and Chairs
Occasional Furniture . Lamps . Draperies

20 April 1958, New York Times, pg. 34 ad:
CASTRO THE CONQUEROR
OF LIVING SPACE!

6 August 1969, New York Times, pg. 44:
The Castro convertible jingle bounces along about being the first to conquer space -- living space, that is.

25 August 1991, New York Times, pg. 42:
Bernard Castro, Inventor, 87, Dies;
Founder of Convertible Sofa Chain
By DENNIS HEVESI

Bernard Castro, the man who "conquered space -- living space, that is" -- by inventing and selling more than 5 million Castro Convertible sofas, died yesterday at his estate in Ocala, Fla. He was 87 years old.

Mr. Castro died of cardiac arrest, said his daughter, Bernadette, who became famous in New York as the little girl who opened the sofa with the "feather-lift mechanism" in commercials during the early days of television.

Mr. Castro, an immigrant from Italy who never finished high school, was a genius not only at designing a piece of furniture vital to people in space-cramped apartments during the Depression, but at marketing his product.
(...)
In 1931, after saving $400, he opened his own shop in a loft on 21st Street. At the time, the only sofa that might be termed convertible was a clunky piece of furniture called a davenport. "It looked like a folded-up bed, and it was hard to open," Ms. Castro said.

11 June 1993, New York Times, pg. B5:
But now, after decades of boasting that its sofas were "the first to conquer living space," as the Castro jingle of the 1960's put it, the saga of the Castro family's involvement with convertible sofas will unfold no more. Last month, Bernadette Castro -- who assumed the mantle after her father died two years ago -- sold the Castro Convertible trademark, the rights to the feather-lift mechanism and the factory's remaining inventory to a California-based chain of sofa-bed stores, Krause's Sofa Factory, which is part of the Worth Corporation. The plant in New Hyde Park, which employs 65 people, is to close this summer.

(Trademark)
Word Mark CASTRO CONVERTIBLE
Goods and Services (EXPIRED) IC 020. US 032. G & S: SOFA-BEDS. FIRST USE: 19480400. USED IN ANOTHER FORM AND SINCE AUGUST 1931 ON "CASTRO.". FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19480500
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Design Search Code
Serial Number 71598885
Filing Date June 10, 1950
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0602715
Registration Date March 1, 1955
Owner (REGISTRANT) CASTRO DECORATORS, INC. CORPORATION NEW YORK 131 W. 21ST ST. NEW YORK NEW YORK
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Disclaimer THE WORD "CONVERTIBLE" IS DISCLAIMED APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN.
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)-IN PART
Affidavit Text SECT 15.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19750301
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Distinctiveness Limitation Statement AS TO "CASTRO"


(Trademark)
Word Mark FIRST TO CONQUER LIVING SPACE
Goods and Services (EXPIRED) IC 020. US 032. G & S: FURNITURE-NAMELY, BEDS, SOFAS, DAVENPORTS, UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE, SOFABEDS, AND CHAIR BEDS. FIRST USE: 19590800. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19590800
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 72427814
Filing Date June 20, 1972
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0962027
Registration Date June 26, 1973
Owner (REGISTRANT) CASTRO CONVERTIBLE CORPORATION CORPORATION NEW YORK 1990 JERICHO TURNPIKE NEW HYDE PARK NEW YORK
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD

(Trademark)
Word Mark WHO'S TOPS IN THE CONVERTIBLE LINE, CASTRO CONVERTIBLES
Goods and Services IC 042. US 101. G & S: RETAIL FURNITURE STORE SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19590100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19590100
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 73660779
Filing Date May 14, 1987
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 19, 1988
Registration Number 1484770
Registration Date April 12, 1988
Owner (REGISTRANT) CASTRO CONVERTIBLE CORPORATION CORPORATION NEW YORK 1990 JERICHO TURNPIKE NEW HYDE PARK NEW YORK 11040
(LAST LISTED OWNER) CC FURNITURE, INC. CORPORATION ASSIGNEE OF NEW YORK 200 NORTH BERRY STREET BREA CALIFORNIA 92621
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record PASQUALE A. RAZZANO
Prior Registrations 0558718;0602715;0839979
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "CONVERTIBLE LINE" AND "CONVERTIBLES" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL-2(F)
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


Posted by Barry Popik
Work/Businesses • (3) Comments • Thursday, March 02, 2006 • Permalink


Just thought you’d enjoy my recollection of an unforgewttable jingle:

Who was the first to conquer space?
It’s incontrovertible,
The the first to conquer living space
Is the Castro Convertible!

Who conquers space with fine design?
Who saves you money all the time?
Who’s tops in the convertible line?
Castro Convertible!

Posted by JT  on  04/03  at  08:48 AM

I have had a casto convertable coffee table for more than 30 years. still works as great as the first day we bought it. Purchased in 1969 in Syacuse Ny for our first home( apartment). We love the convience of using it as a coffeetable then as a dining table .The functionality was so wonderful that it could be changed from one level to another easily and quickly. I have now passed it down to my son who has his own place and has little space for entertaining may guests. Now he has a table where he can serve a nice dinner or just relax on the floor and play cards. Wish we could find anotherone again for our use

Posted by betty  on  09/14  at  10:21 AM

I recently viewed several variations of your vintage pop-up coffee table on ebay.  One of them was listed as a mahogany table.  Most of the models I have seen were formica.  Do you have pictures or a list of the styles that were available at that time?  Was the mahogany table veneer over plywood or solid mahogany?  The table was a great design!  When I was younger I used to enjoy your factory clearance sales here in Ocala.

Posted by E. Wilson  on  01/06  at  12:25 PM

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