If you were a child in the 50s or 60s you might remember Gurley holiday candles decorating your house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Buffalo’s Gurley Novelty Company started in 1939 as part of candlemaker Franklin Gurley’s W&F Manufacturing Company Inc. A large oil company commissioned W&F Manufacturing to reuse excess paraffin produced as a by-product of the oil refinery process and the novelty candle product line was born. The company’s products included wax lips and teeth and small candle figures. In 1949 Gurley broke the novelty candle business away from W&F and operated the business as the Gurley Novelty Company.
The Gurley Novelty Company continued to manufacture these small novelty candles with specific holiday themes. Although the candles included a wick, they were marketed as small figures for holiday displays. The candles were sold through department stores and dime stores, such as Woolworth’s. Their popularity peaked in the 50’s and 60’s. Today these candles are considered collector items. You are lucky if you still have these to display during the holidays!