The faded ad for a candy maker on Prince Street

On a walk down Prince Street at that magical time in the late afternoon when New York City’s faded ads seem to appear with some clarity, I noticed white lettering in a crack between two tenements.

“Specialists in (for?) Chocolate,” the white letters read. The rest of the ad was too blurry to make out, but the word “chocolate” looks like it’s on the last line as well.

The address of the tenement that featured the ad is 178 Prince Street, between Thompson and Sullivan. Was there a chocolatier or chocolate factory at this spot at one time?

Sure enough, the answer is yes. The company, Garnier & Fuerfile, advertised themselves in Confectioner’s and Baker’s Gazette in 1899 as “manufacturers and jobbers of” candy, with a factory and storeroom at 178 Prince Street.

Garnier & Fuerfile was located in what could be called a former candy manufacturing district. The Tootsie-Roll factory was nearby at 325-329 West Broadway. Heide’s licorice and jujubees were produced at 84-90 Van Dam Street. And a chocolate moulds company had its headquarters at 159 Bleecker Street.

I’m not sure when these French-sounding candy makers began occupying 178 Prince Street, nor when they left the premises. But the faded ad remains—a sweet sign to come across.

[Second image: Confectioner’s and Baker’s Gazette]

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6 Responses to “The faded ad for a candy maker on Prince Street”

  1. Clyde Says:

    Chocolate, eh? Fortunately, the Easter bunny left me some M&M’s. Love these faded ads.

  2. Tony Towle Says:

    There is a logical way of getting closer to a beginning date for Garnier & Fuerfile’s occupancy of 178 Prince, which would be to know the year 176 Prince went up. If, say, that year was 1889, G&F’s ad would have to have been painted before that date, when it would have been visible from the street.

  3. Doug Douglass Says:

    Decades later 159 Bleecker was the Circle in the Square Theatre.

  4. ironrailsironweights Says:

    Not only is the Internet far from a treasure trove when it comes to information about the company, there’s nex to nothing about the distinctive Fuerfile surname.

    A 1915 New York census record shows a George Fuerfile, born c. 1863, and Elizabeth Fuerfile, born c. 1866, both in Queens. Also living in Queens, probably their children, are William (1887), Harry (1890), and Minnie (1890, Harry’s twin?) In the Bronx are Edward (1888), Florence (1887), Edward Jr. (1914), Gordon (1911), and Stephen (1908). Edward Sr. probably was another one of George and Elizabeth’s children.

    Given the ages I’m going to guess that George was the candymaker along with a partner named Garnier.* What with so few references to the company it probably did not last long and none of George’s children took it over. George gets one more mention, in a Masonic publication from 1900. It appears that he was a member in New York, but there’s no mention of his occupation.

    Outside of New York the only significant search result is from the Ironwood (Michigan) Daily Globe for October 15, 1932:

    “Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Fuerfile of Wittenberg, Wis,, and Rudolph Wohlfeil of Shepley, Wis., are guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Dorpat, South Mansfield street, for the week end.” Eugene might have been yet another one of George and Elizabeth’s children, and he left New York sometime prior to 1915. Finally, I found a mention of a writer named Fuerfile, no first name given, in a psychological publication from 1963. Other than that, the surname seems to have vanished, I don’t know why.

    * = searching for “Garnier” is pointless as it yields countless results for shampoo.

    Peter

  5. ytfnyc Says:

    One circumstance that can lead to old faded signs standing out a bit more than usual is a prolonged period of dampness. After several days of misty rain and high humidity, the faces of bricks become saturated and darken a bit, but less so where the paint from the signs remains. The result is a subtle level of contrast added to the signage.

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