A museum of Larkin memorabilia
Image courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum
Larkin aficionados interested in learning more about the company and its products can visit the Larkin Gallery that opened this summer on the ground floor of the Larkin Center of Commerce at 701 Seneca Street. Developed by Larkin and Frank Lloyd Wright devotee Sharon Osgood, Larkin expert Jerry Puma, and architect Patrick Mahoney, the gallery contains an astonishing diversity of Larkin products from the early twentieth century. These include twenty different soap products as well as balms, nail polishes, and selected items of Buffalo Pottery including china plates, cups, bowls, and tankards, all with painted scenes by unknown artists. There are products that may have originally been offered as premiums such as floor clocks, floor lamps, Chautauqua desks with mirrors, and Morris chairs. A massive laundry iron could have doubled as a doorstop. Audio fans will cherish the Symphonola wind-up record player and Symphonola records that sold for fifty cents each. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Larkin danced to the music of the Symphonola. Also on display are Larkin paints, enamels, varnishes, razor strops, clothes wringers, home medicine kits, and a wooden carpet sweeper. And don’t miss the original drawings for a mural that was painted for the doomed Larkin Administration Building. Food products include coffee, spices, puddings, baking soda, and table salt. We know that Mrs. Larkin was interested in philosophy, spiritualism, and the occult and so to honor the memory of Hannah Frances Hubbard Larkin (Frank), a handsome case displays a biography of Frank’s contemporary, the Greek/Armenian mystic and spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff, with whom she was surely familiar. As an added attraction, the walls of the building lobby outside the gallery are filled with photographs of the Larkin Company and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo history.
Read more about the history of Larkin here.