by Kevin Walsh

PROFESSIONAL football had its AFL from 1961-1970, when the New York Jets won their only Super Bowl when they weren’t even part of the senior-circuit National Football League. But Brooklyn had the AFL long before it was known as a football league, with another AFL… American Food Laboratories… at #860 Atlantic Avenue where it faces Clinton Avenue.

What kind of food was concocted in the American Food Laboratories? Ice cream flavoring. Since this was the 1940s and 1950s when only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry were the most-consumed ice cream flavors, that’s what was offered to ice cream makers by the AFL. Here are a couple of magazine ads that would make a Saul Bass or Milton Glaser proud.

I was meandering around Fort Greene and Prospect Heights in August 2021, crazed from the insanely high dewpoints which had soaked my shirt through by 10 AM, when I spotted the “American food Laboratories” painted sign on its old building. Now, I went to high school in these parts for four years in the Super 70s and had never before glimpsed it. My powers of observation were not finely honed until I hit my 40s.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Peter May 13, 2022 - 7:39 am

They seem to have vanished without leaving an Internet trace,

Kevin Walsh May 14, 2022 - 11:36 pm

I found the ads in the internet. I have news. In 50 years, I will probably have no internet trace.

Peter May 15, 2022 - 7:46 am

The person who does the 14to42 page, or used to do it as it hasn’t been updated in years, always had information on the companies that had the old signs, but that must have taken a huge amount of work. Things like examining old census records and corporation filings. I don’t know how he found the time.

Kevin Walsh May 15, 2022 - 10:00 pm

That’s the Indispensable Walter Grutchfield


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