Food and Drink

Spotlight Artifact: Popcorn HandCart

handcartStarting in the mid-1960s, a Greek immigrant named James Eoannou purchased his friend’s concession pushcart and began selling popcorn, peanuts, and corn-fritters in North Buffalo neighborhoods. He later moved to Delaware Road and began servicing the suburban neighborhoods in the Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore. One of the signals that summer had come to Buffalo was the arrival of the popcorn man. James was a full-time cook for the Buffalo Athletic Club and loved to go for long, rambling walks. He decided to put his walks to good use and bring some joy to children, and often the adults, of these neighborhoods. 

The wooden handcart is painted red, white, and blue and has glass windows and a glass door to access the popcorn compartment. The cart was made by A. Elsinghorst, at the Elsinghorst Building located on 138-140 Broadway in Buffalo. This wonderful addition to our collection, donated to us by Mr. Eoannou’s family, includes the original tarp for covering the goods in the cart, two denim aprons, with three pockets, that were worn by James, and 40 red, white, and blue paper popcorn bags of varying sizes. The handcart is a great Buffalo summertime memory. 

Rebecca Justinger
Registrar

*This article was featured in the Summer 2017 issue of “The Album,” The Buffalo History Museum’s quarterly newsletter.

On This Day: January 24, 1935

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Can of Banner Extra Dry Premium Beer, brewed, canned and packed by George F. Stein Brewery Inc., Buffalo, NY

On this day (OTD) in 1935, the first can of beer was sold in Richmond, Virginia by the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company; 91% of the consumers approved of the canned beer and as they say, the rest is history.  Historically, Buffalo has always been an alcoholic-beverage-loving city – just take a look at the Google maps Buffalo Drinking Map from 1828 to present day that Amy Miller, from our Library, created.   We have numerous beer bottles in our Collection that were used by many of the local brewers throughout Buffalo’s history, but in celebration of the ‘beer can’ theme today, we scanned through our database, Past Perfect, to see what we could find.

Donated in 2011 by Mr. Phillip DiFrancisco, this can of Banner Extra Dry Premium Beer was brewed, canned and packed by George F. Stein Brewery Inc..  The owner of the brewery, Mr. George F. Stein, was born in Germany in 1865, learning how to brew in Bavarian breweries until 1885, when we moved to Buffalo, N.Y. as an employee at the Lang brewery.  He would go on to work for the International brewery and the Clinton Star brewery before starting the Germania Brewing Company (located at Broadway and Bailey avenue) from 1892-1909 with his father-in-law, Conrad Hammer.

bannercan_backFrom 1909 until 1918, Stein operated Stein’s Ale Brewery in Medina but returned to Buffalo as the brewmaster of the Binz brewery at 797-807 Broadway Ave.  In 1920, Prohibition closed all breweries but Stein purchased the Broadway Ave. building in 1928 and began manufacturing liquid malt, concentrated malt and syrups to sell to bakeries as the Broadway Blending Company.  When beer was legalized in 1933, Stein began to brew beer again at the George F. Stein Brewery Inc. until his death in 1938.

After 25 years of successful business, the George F. Stein Brewery Inc. was purchased by the Leisy Brewing Company (Cleveland, OH) and closed shortly thereafter.