Spotlight Artifacts

gurley candles

Gurley Novelty Company
Buffalo, NY
Paraffin Wax

Rebecca Justinger

The Gurley Novelty Company of Buffalo, NY started as the W & F Manufacturing Company. Created in 1927 by Franklin Gurley, the W & F Manufacturing Company was a confectionery company that produced all kinds of candies, chocolates, and wax novelties. In 1939, Mr. Gurley was approached by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, now known as ExxonMobil, to create a line of decorative novelty candles to help use up the excess paraffin wax that is created as a by-product from refining oil. The candles were made in Mr. Gurley’s manufacturing plant in Buffalo and sold under the name Tavern Novelty Candles. It was not until 1949 that the company was renamed The Gurley Novelty Company. The new line of wax decorations was quite successful, and by the late 1940s, a vast majority of Gurley’s profits were a result of his novelty candles.

The Buffalo History Museum has several holiday Gurley candles in our collection. They are in excellent condition because they were never lit. These pop culture pieces from the 1950s and 1960s were rarely purchased as practical candles. Instead, consumers saved them and used them to decorate their homes during the holidays. As a result, Gurley Novelty candles are popular collectibles as so many remain intact. The most sought after are the Halloween and Christmas themed pieces, while Thanksgiving turkeys and pink Easter rabbits also remain popular with collectors.


  1. Hi, Jill,

    Great question! When W & F Products, Inc,, the makers of Gurley candles, ceased production and closed in February of 1994, they were located at 2299 Kenmore Avenue in Kenmore, NY. They were previously located on 245 Seneca Street and on Pennsylvania Avenue in Buffalo. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi my name is Mary I live in the state of Connecticut collect a lot of Gurley candles I was wondering if you could come up with a female vampire in this day and age it seems only right I think Dracula needs a friend I thank you for listening to me have a safe and wonderful holiday season and remember where I masks

  3. Small world. I have four angels made of Gurley in my possesion. They were a gift to the family in Norway from my grandpa`s brother back in 1954 when he visited his family in Norway. Himself was living in Dekalb County, Illinois. The angels are in very good condition and kept as family jewels.

  4. Do you have any information about the Suni Candle Division, W&F Manufacturing Co, Buffalo NY 14204. I have a Santa that is the exact mold as a Gurley Candle Santa I have. No where on the internet can I find any information about the Suni Candle Co. Did they buy the Gurley molds? I know the molds now belong to the Vermont County Store, but where does Suni come in? Thanks for any information you can give me!

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