Source: My Etsy Shop - Little Vintage Cottage
Aren’t these adorable? I bet many of you remember your mom or grandmother having them when you were young right? Well, I know that these are pretty collectible so I decided to do a little research on them because I was curious to know more about them.
These are Gurley candles and they were produced by Gurley Novelty which began in Buffalo, New York in 1939. Gurley Novelty was part of W&F Manufacturing Company, owned by candle maker Franklin Gurley. The Gurley line of candles was first commissioned by a company called Socony Vacuum Oil Company (now ExxonMobil) as a way to recycle and reuse the excess paraffin that was a by-product of the oil refinery process. They were ahead of their time with this recycling effort weren’t they?!
The very first products were marketed under the name “Tavern” and consisted of wax lips and teeth (eww) as well as small candle figures in fun holiday shapes like ghosts, pilgrims, and Santa Claus'. In 1949 the Tavern brand was purchased by Mr. Gurley who then changed the name to the Gurley Novelty Company.
Most of the candles were made for specific holidays and even though they have wicks they were not really intended to burn but instead just to collect for fun holiday displays. The smaller candles were sold individually out of a shallow, cardboard display box. The sets and larger candles were sold in sealed paper boxes and most had a round, paper Gurley label attached to the bottom.
These cute candles were inexpensive at .10 cents each for the small 3 ½” figures, packs of two for .29 cents, and threes for .49 cents! The larger candles rarely went above .99 cents.
If you collect these (or want to start a fun collection) here's a tip... don’t reject one just because it may be a little dusty or dirty, you can clean them by wrapping a piece of panty hose around your finger and gently buffing in a circular motion. Don’t rub too hard though or the color may come off the wax. You can practice by doing a small area on the back. Small crevices can be done with a Q-tip dipped in soapy water.
Here are some more adorable candles that I found from some fellow Etsy sellers:
Source: Flint Creek Vintage - Etsy
Source: The Children's Room - Etsy
Source: RSW Vintage - Etsy
Source: Vintage Jewels and More - Etsy
Source: Old Green Canoe - Etsy
And here are some fun ways that people have displayed a Gurley candle collection.I just love these first two displays of Halloween candles!
Source: Chippy Shabby - Blog
And old pans as display shelves?! Genius!!
Source: Country Living
Displaying some under a cloche is such a great idea! I can see a whole little village under a very large cloche!
Source: Every Day Vintage
Aren't they adorable? Do you have any vintage Gurley candles?
Martha Stewart.com. (n.d.). Festive Candles. Retrieved October 17, 2013 from, http://www.marthastewart.com/270511/festive-candles
Wikipedia.org. (2013). Gurley Novelty. Retrieved October 17, 2013 from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurley_Novelty