Huyler’s Candy Tongs

Previously in this blog, I have written a post about bon-bon tongs ( https://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/is-it-impolite-to-use-my-bon-bon-for-a-tete-a-tete/ ) and I have written about Holmes & Edwards producing flatware using a gold aluminum alloy manufactured by the Waldo Foundry ( https://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/table-wares/ ).  So when I came across some tiny little candy tongs marked “Waldo HE”, my interest was piqued.

Candy Tongs Marked "Huyler's"

Candy Tongs Marked “Huyler’s”

I had never seen the Holmes & Edwards “Waldo HE” mark on flatware other than the “Rialto” pattern.  These dainty little tongs have serpentine handles with beading and swirls…not any design that I had seen before.  And I was not familiar with the name “Huyler’s”.  So I had my work cut out for me. As it turns out, Huyler’s chocolate and candy company was once the largest and most prominent chocolate maker in the United States.  And I didn’t know this?  Amazing.  But, I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut and when I was a child “the” place to go for chocolate and also ice cream was the Louis Sherry store.  It was oh so elegant…marble soda fountain and adorable little tables and chairs.  There were all kinds of exotic flavors of ice cream, marvelous sundaes and a huge variety of candy and chocolates.  It wasn’t the kind of place you visited every day, but when you went there, it was an event.  So who was Huyler?  John Seys Huyler was born on June 26, 1846 in New York City.  His father, David, owned a bakery and ice cream shop on Jane Street in Greenwich Village.  When he was 17, John began making and selling candy out of his father’s store.  The candy he made was a molasses chewing candy which was popular at the time.  He began distributing small samples accompanied by literature which read “Huyler’s genuine old-fashioned molasses candy, fresh every hour, and recommended by doctors and physicians for coughs and colds.”  Soon the entire city was eager for Huyler’s candies.   In 1876, at the age of 30, John S. established his own shop, the first Huyler’s candy and confectionary store, located at 869 Broadway in New York. At this location, the front of the store had a few small tables and a pair of scales to weigh the candy. A small room at the back of the building served as the factory. The business began with John manufacturing the candy, and selling it over the counter himself, assisted later by a single sales girl. At what could have been just another small-scale candy making establishment, John S. Huyler distinguished his business with an innovative marketing strategy. As a way to attract interest in the candy, Huyler located a candy puller in the front store window, so that people walking by would stop and watch the candy being made. In a brilliant strategy, this not only assured customers that their candy was fresh, but watching the candy being made before their very eyes also enticed people to stop and pick up a bag or box of Huyler’s candies.  What marvelous marketing strategy! John S. Huyler died in 1910.  The following 1914 article from The National Magazine, Vol. XLI, looked back at Huyler’s forty years in business.  It’s well written and extremely interesting.

1914 National Magazine Article on John S. Huyler

1914 National Magazine Article on John S. Huyler

Page Two....

Page Two….

Page Three...

Page Three…

Last Page

Last Page

Did you catch that on page two…over 1,600 different types of candies manufactured!!!  The cleanliness of the factory (if you had sweaty hands you were sent home) and the quality of the ingredients…does this sound like amazing candy or what? The following picture came from a 1908 “The Edison Monthly”.  The article in this magazine discussed the use of electricity for lighting and power in the Huyler factory.

From the 1908 Edison Monthly

From the 1908 Edison Monthly

Inside of Huyler’s West 42nd Street store in Manhattan circa 1905:

West 42nd Street Store

West 42nd Street Store

An 1890 ad (see the tongs on the counter near her left hand):

Huyler's Ad Circa 1890

Huyler’s Ad Circa 1890

The following composite image was put together from photos which were kindly provided to me by a woman in the Netherlands who found these tongs in a thrift shop there.  It is believed that these Huyler tongs were given out at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  You’ll note that the image at the top partially shows “Huyler’s”.  The “e” after the “l” certainly looks like an “r”.  If you look at the advertisement above, you’ll see a similar “e” and you could certainly mistake the name for “Huylrr’s”.  But look at the word “Candies” at the top of this ad, that “e” also looks like an “r”.  Actually, even the “n” in “Candies” looks like a “u”.  I’d love to know how these tongs made their way from Chicago to the Netherlands and end up in a thrift shop.  But they have a new home now and they are being admired and appreciated.

Candy Tong Huylers

In the 1899 ad below, the woman is using tongs to remove a piece of candy from the box.

Advertisement in 1899 Parisian Illustrated Review

Advertisement in 1899 Parisian Illustrated Review

I believe that the tongs shown below would have been flat (unfolded) and included inside the box of chocolates:

Two Different Types of Huyler's Tongs

Two Different Types of Huyler’s Tongs

Retailers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s quite frequently offered “premiums” as an enticement to prompt potential buyers.  However, the following 1911 article states that Huyler’s “denied all employment of the premium idea”.  But the article goes on to describe that Huyler’s attached trade cards and novelties to the outside of their boxes (not including it within the box)…therefore claiming these were not premiums. 

1911 Coffee & Tea Industries Magazine Article

1911 Coffee & Tea Industries Magazine Article

There was a trade catalog circa 1900 entitled “Sweet Things From Huyler’s” which is currently available at Abe Books here: http://www.abebooks.com/Trade-Catalogue-Sweet-Things-Huylers/9770705612/bd  A brief description of the catalog follows: “N.d., circa 1900. 12mo. 32 pp. plus wraps. Catalog particularly highlights the packaging, which could come in decorative tins as well as decorative cardboard and baskets, and also gift wrapped. Also shown are toys and other souvenirs that were sold alongside the candies and chocolates the large chain business was famous for throughout the nineteenth century. Interspersed throughout are drawings of the Huyler business, its headquarters and other stores, its various manufacturing activities, etc. Huyler’s, founded in 1874, grew to become a major chain, with many branches not just in New York City, where at the time this catalog was issued, had nineteen branches in the city, but also around the country. The business was bought out in the mid-1920s. Its headquarters were on Irving Place and 18th Street.” Were these Holmes & Edwards Waldo tongs included in that catalog?  I don’t know.  Were they only a prototype?  Possibly.  Were they made to present to employees upon retirement or for some other special purpose?  Could be.  All I know is that I can’t find another one of these tongs any place.

Huyler's Tongs and Spicy Pepita & Sour Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark from KerryCan's Etsy Shop

Huyler’s Tongs and Spicy Pepita & Sour Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark from KerryCan’s Etsy Shop

These tongs are for sale at my Etsy shop here (SORRY, THEY HAVE SINCE SOLD):   https://www.etsy.com/listing/163280725/huylers-bonbon-chocolate-candy-tongs That absolutely scrumptious (believe me, I know) dark chocolate spicy pepita and sour cherry bark shown in the picture above can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KerryCan  Click on “Handmade Artisan Candy” on the left side to see all of her wonderful candy offerings and browse through the rest of her shop to view a wide assortment of vintage linens and more. And the brown transferware plate that the spicy bark and tongs are displayed on can be found here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/75995724/aesthetic-brown-transferware-serving-set  

Since I originally published this post, I came across the following obituary article on John S. Huyler and have included it here: New York Observer Oct 1910 pg422

New York Observer Oct 1910 pg424

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This entry was posted in dark chocolate spicy pepita sour cherry bark, etsy vintage, holmes & edwards, Huyler's Candy Chocolates Bonbons, John S. Huyler, John Seys Huyler, tongs, waldo, WaldoHE and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Huyler’s Candy Tongs

  1. KerryCan says:

    Another beautifully researched post–it’s really interesting how Huyler conducted business! And thanks for the kind words about the candy you got from me–that chocolate is honored to be in the same photo with those gorgeous tongs!

  2. Pam Parker says:

    Enjoyed reading this! John S. Huyler was my 2x great grandfather.

    • David Lindler says:

      Nice to read about. My grandfather was Frank dek Huyler the second . email me if you get this. I would like to find out how we are kin

  3. Thank you for this interesting post! I stumbled across it when I was trying to find information about a candy tong I discovered in a thrift shop yesterday, in the Netherlands. It is a real beauty and dated 1892. I found out that it was handed out or sold at the Chicago World Fair in either 1892 or 1893 to remember the 400th anniversary of Columbus arriving in America. I would send you a picture if I knew how to do that here 🙂 I found a link to a similar one here: http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/sterling-silver-sugar-tongs-1893-1545578647

    • queenofsienna says:

      Claudia, thanks very much for your comments. I agree, it is a real beauty (if it’s similar to the one in the Worthpoint link). You can also send me a photo at queenofsienna@gmail.com if you’d like. I haven’t seen a Huyler’s tong in this pattern before. I’m glad that you were able to read about John Huyler. He was quite an amazing man…he could make fine candy and knew how to market it! Thanks again, Susan

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