Alfredo Thiebaud

Alfredo Thiebaud (December 13, 1939 – September 19, 2014) was the founder and president of Delicioso Coco Helado, known for its coconut flavored ices. He was born in Honduras in 1939. By the 1960s he had immigrated to the Bronx and opened the business that recreated a dessert popular in Latin America and the Caribbean. The business started in the kitchen of his  apartment. He would eventually added more flavors such as cherry and mango. Alfredo employed workers and supplied vendors with pushcarts that he built himself in his factory basement. These employees became his family, as well as the Bronx community… Read More

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Leonard Eppig, brewery owner

Leonard Eppig (March 4, 1839-April 9, 1893) was born in Grosswallstadt, Bavaria. He came to New York on the S.S. Rotterdam and settled in Brooklyn at the age of 15. He learned to brew while working for Michael Seitz, a Brooklyn brewer. In 1866, he and a partner formed the Hubert Fischer & Leonhard Eppig Brewery. Ten years later, he bought out his partner and it became simply the Leonard Eppig Brewing Co., but traded under the name Germania Brewery. The brewery was located at Central and George streets. His firm was noted for continually improving or adopting the latest… Read More

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John Eberhard Faber, pencil maker

John Eberhard Faber  (December 6, 1822 – March 2, 1879), was a German-born American manufacturer of pencils in New York. His father, George Leonard Faber, was a descendant of the famous Faber family, one of ancient lineage in Bavaria engaged in the profession of manufacturing lead pencils. John moved to NYC in 1848 and opened a stationery store at No. 133 William Street in 1849.  The store was moved to 718-720 Broadway in 1877. He explored ways to improve the pencil and in 1852, realized that the red cedar available in America was ideal for lead pencils. In 1861, he opened the first lead… Read More

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Robert Gair, cardboard box inventor

Robert Gair, a Scottish-born immigrant, invented the folding carton in 1890 in Brooklyn. He was a printer and paper bag maker in the 1870s. He invented the paperboard folding carton by accident: a metal ruler normally used to crease bags shifted in position and cut the bag. Gair found that by cutting and creasing paperboard in one operation, he could make prefabricated cartons. He ultimately got into the corrugated fiberboard shipping container business in the 1900s.   Before cardboard, he served in the Civil War and returned to NYC to open a paper factory on Reade Street in Manhattan. He moved to Brooklyn after his cardboard became popular and he needed… Read More

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Joseph Mason and Ernest Von Au, “The Candy Men”

Mason and Von Au had a factory that manufactured Mints and Candy Bars as Mason, Au and Mangenheimer Candy in 1885 at #20 Henry Street, at the NW corner of Middagh in Brooklyn. The company was founded in 1864. By 1880 Mason and Au were joined by Emil Zollinger, and the name changed to Mason, Au & Zollinger. Two of their most popular candies were Mason Peaks, a coconut-chocolate combination (like Mounds) and  Mason Mints, a chocolate-covered mint patty (like today’s Peppermint Pattie). Mason also made Dots, a fruit or cinnamon-flavored gumdrop, and Crows, a licorice-flavored gumdrop. Both are still… Read More

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Arbuckle Brothers, coffee entrepreneurs

Brothers John and Charlie (died 1891) Arbuckle moved to Brooklyn in 1881 to become the greatest coffee roasters of their generation in the 1860s. By the early years of the 20th century, their operation in Dumbo received, stored, roasted and packaged more coffee than any other company in America. Arbuckle invented a machine that efficiently roasted, ground, and packaged coffee into small bags for mass distribution throughout the country. Prior to this innovation, coffee beans had to be sold unroasted from barrels and were easily spoiled. These beans burnt easily as they were roasted at home. Their first national brand… Read More

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