Image courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.
Image courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.

Looking Backward: The Larkin Company

by / May. 30, 2018 9am EST

The Larkin Company grew from a small soap maker in 1875 to the manufacturer of hundreds of household products, occupying nearly 65 acres of floor space and employing more than 2,000 Buffalonians by 1915. As its fortunes rose, the Larkin Company employed multiple employee welfare initiatives that were progressive for their time. These programs intended to grow the financial, educational, health, and leisure benefits of employees, and bond “Larkinites” to one another and the company. Depicted here is one of the Larkin Company’s “Americanization” classes, developed during the First World War to bring education and job training to its growing immigrant workforce. “This instruction,” claimed a 1918 company publication, “must eventually lead to better employees, better citizens, fewer accidents, better jobs, more prosperity, and bigger American Larkinites.”