Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  Was Philadelphia Cream Cheese originally made in Philadelphia?
No. In 1880 the Empire Cheese Company of Edmegson, NY began producing cream cheese. The distributor of the product named it "Philadelphia."

Source: Phila. City Paper, Mar. 14-20, 1997
2.  Who were the Pep Boys?
The Pep Boys (Manny, Moe, and Jack) were actually Emanual Rosenfeld, Maurice L. Strauss, and W. Graham Jackson. The three men came up with the name "Pep Boys" while sitting on cases of Pep Valve Grinding Compound.

Source: Phila. Inquirer Magazine, 9/15/96, p. 4
3.  Who invented root beer?
Native Americans were the first to brew root or herb beer, but the product we know today as root beer was invented by Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia druggist. Hires first manufactured it in 1866, and it was dispensed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

Source: Temple Review, Spring 1991, p. 23
4.  When was the first Automat opened, and when was the last one closed?
The first Automat was opened by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902. Customers could buy food directly from windowed compartments. The last Automat closed April 9, 1991, at 42nd St. and Third Ave. in New York City.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 4/11/91
5.  Who introduced the first commercially-produced cupcake?
The TastyKake Company of Philadelphia introduced the first commercial snack cake in America in 1914.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 5/11/89
6.  What was the first insurance company managed by African Americans?

The African Insurance Company of Philadelphia is the first known black insurance company. It was established in 1810. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

7.  When was the Curtis Center of Philadelphia built?

The Curtis Center, located on 6th Street between Walnut and Sansom, was built in 1910 by Edgar V. Seeler. The Curtis Center was once the Curtis Building which was the home of the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.40-41, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

8.  What is a Wishniak?
It is a black cherry soda made by Frank's Beverages. The founder's son thought the drink similar to a Balkan fruit cordial called "Vishnaik".

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 07/24/92
9.  When was Frank's Beverages founded?
It was founded in 1895 by Jacob Frank and was located at 6th and Moore Streets in Philadelphia. In 1990 it was sold to C and C Cola.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 07/24/92
10.  Where and when was the first bubble gum developed?
Bubble gum was developed in 1928 in Philadelphia by Walter Diemer. The Frank H. Fleer Chewing Gum Co., which produced it, called it Dubble Bubble Gum.

Source: Phila. Daily News 06/23/99, p. 35
11.  For how long have Goldberg's Peanut Chews been made in Philadelphia?
The Goldberg Candy Company started making peanut chews in 1920; the company itself was started at the end of the last century.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 6/23/99, p.35
12.  Who first had the idea to sell candy in bar form?
It was Milton Hershey, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who in 1894 first came up with the idea of marketing his chocolate in bars.

Source: Temple Review. Spring 1991.
13.  What Philadelphia business is the oldest ice cream company in the United States?
Bassett's has been making ice cream since 1861. It was founded by Louis Dubois Bassett who had an ice cream stand at 5th and Market Streets.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.104, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P
14.  When was the first savings bank founded in the United States?

The first Savings Bank to receive money on a deposit was the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society in Philadelphia. It opened for business on December 2, 1816 and was chartered February 25, 1819.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.245, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

15.  Where in Philadelphia was there a film studio which produced more than 2,500 films?
That would be the Lubin Manufacturing Company at 20th Street and Indiana Avenue. The Lubin studio, run by Siegmund Lubin, was most active from 1910-1914, and it produced westerns, dramas, comedies, documentaries and educational films.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 05/05/2995
16.  When did the Tasty Baking Company introduce the Krimpet?
The Krimpet was introduced in 1927.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 8/27/2000
17.  Who were the founders of the Tasty Baking Company in Philadelphia?

The Tasty Baking Company was formed in 1914 by Philip J. Bauer and Herbert Morris. By 1922 the company was such a success that they acquired a new headquarters at 2801 Hunting Park Avenue in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.12:12, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

18.  What is Philadelphia's Savoy Company?

Founded in 1901 by Philadelphia doctor Alfred Reginald Allen, it is an amateur acting troupe that performs Gilbert and Sullivan musicals for charity. Their first performance was Trial By Jury at the Merion Cricket Club on May 4th, 1901. In 2006, the Savoy Company performs The Yeoman of the Guard.

Source: Ferguson, William Cramp. Savoy annals; a History of the Savoy company, 1901-1940. Philadelphia: The Savoy Company, 1940. 782.81 F381S See also The Savoy Company. 2006.