By Karen Zautyk
Back in the early part of the 20th century, Max Lazarus, a jeweler in Macon, Ga., with the assistance of another local businessman, invented a machine for cleaning mechanical watch parts.
This was fairly revolutionary because, until then, watches had to be cleaned by hand, with each of the hundreds of moving parts removed from the timepiece, laid out on a swath of leather, cleaned and then reassembled.
Seeking new economic opportunities, Lazarus eventually moved north and with his son, Max Jr., opened a watch-cleaning business on Clay St. in Newark.
“Business was booming, and they needed a larger place,“ said James Lazarus, grandson of the founder. That place they found at 577 Elm St. in Kearny, where the company, L&R manufacturing, has been located for 60 years.
L&R actually has four buildings in town, three on Elm and one on John Hay Ave., off Schuyler. Today it serves a global market, producing ultrasonic cleaning systems, solutions and accessories for surgical and dental instruments, military weapons, first-responder breathing apparatus, and various sophisticated industrial applications.
And, yes, watches and jewelry.