Monday, July 23, 2018

The Queen City Macaroni Company

By Kelli Huggins, Education Coordinator

On September 23, 1904, the Queen City Macaroni Manufacturing Company was incorporated on Railroad Avenue in Elmira by three Italian immigrants, Charles Gargana, Jacob Patti, and Joseph Cili. The men made macaroni in Italy before immigrating here. Change was quickly on the horizon for the company.

Elmira Star-Gazette, April 13, 1905
In April 1905, the Star Gazette reported that the factory would be leaving Elmira for Watkins Glen. The Elmira factory was too small to support the number of orders placed and the owners were courted by the Watkins Board of Trade. The new factory was projected to employ 20 people and use 150-175 barrels of flour per month. One barrel of flour equaled about 250 pounds of macaroni (so they were expected to produced between 37,500-43,750 pounds of macaroni per month). 

Problems plagued the new factory. In June, the 5-year-old son of one of the proprietors got his arm stuck in a machine, mangling it to the point that amputation seemed a certainty. In July, the Queen City Macaroni company was in court. Albert Pecararo, the Watkins man who helped them secure their new factory building, claimed he was never compensated for his services. 

Elmira Star-Gazette, August 1, 1910
By 1910, the company was back in Elmira. They advertised 5 pounds of macaroni for 25 cents. They also sold imported goods, like cheese, olive oil, and olives.

In November 1911, the Ignatius Gross Company of New York City sued them for $105.32 and for goods purchased. That same month, the Italian Importing Company, also of NYC, sued them for $64.33 in unpaid fees for materials purchased. They failed to pay their taxes in 1912 and 1913. The company doesn’t show up in the city directory or the newspapers after that.

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