Weber's Mustard — turning back time to the 1950s
Updated: May 12, 2020
Restored slides reveal the Weber family at work and play
Weber’s Mustard has been a beloved Buffalo company since its founding at the Broadway Market in 1922. Today, nearly 100 years later, their manufacturing plant is based in South Buffalo, where they continue to ship products all over the world.
Co-founder Joseph C. Weber left the business to his granddaughters after his passing in 1984. Several years ago, photographer Steve Desmond was given more than 1200 personal slides from the Weber family. Most were dated between 1951-57, although some date back to the 1940s.
“There were 12 metal boxes filled mostly with travel slides, faded and out of focus,” Desmond said. “Last fall, I began looking at them and discovered about 200 family photos. I edited those down to the best 70 or so.”
From there, he culled the collection further. Using modern technology to enhance old slides, Desmond set about to meticulously restore these images. He estimates he spent more than 160 hours editing 44 photos. Some took about 30 minutes, but others required nearly a full day’s work.
“There’s one photo of the family in the kitchen. I had to rebuild the walls, the ceiling, and the dishes. I spent almost seven hours on that.”
These photos reveal the day-to-day life of an upper class family — from their home along Lake Erie in Hamburg, N.Y, to the fashions, styles, and automobiles of the mid-20th Century. Color slides in that era were rare, used only by the wealthy.
“In 1935, Eastman Kodak released Kodachrome film,” Desmond said. “This was the first color film commercially available to the public. That year, the cost of a roll of film and processing was the equivalent of $54 today — expensive and out of reach for the average person. For the next 30 years, only the wealthy could afford to take color photographs. My dad was a photographer in high school and didn’t start taking color photos until the 1960s.”
As we celebrate the holidays, join us on this trip through the past…
(And scroll to the end of the photo essay for a radio interview about this story...)
The Christmas spirit
Traveling Lake Erie, the Atlantic Ocean, and Europe
Cars of the Era
Lounging at home
© 2019 photos by Steven D. Desmond
WECK Radio Interview
On February 1, 2020, "Buffalo legend" Steve Desmond appeared on WECK radio to discuss the history of Weber's Mustard, Buffalo Tales, and this photo feature. The interview lasts 16 minutes, and can be heard by clicking the link.
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