Ok, so just who the heck is Ed Hanna and how does he fit in with a site about phoobooths?

If you happen to be from Utica, NY. you already know the answer to this, but for those of you that don't, let me enlighten you...

Edward Arnold Hanna was born in Utica on April 7, 1922, 1 of 7 children of immigrants from Lebanon. His father, was a carpenter who later became a home builder, building contractor and owner of a lumber yard as well as dabbling in real estate.

Ed had several jobs as a boy, like being a paperboy, working in a grocery store and picking vegetables on summer vacations. He left the Utica Free Academy just before his junior year, went to work and then joined the Marines. He was wounded in the war in the Pacific and received the Purple Heart. He returned to Utica and in 1947 and married.

Hanna opened a candy store which turned into a candy factory that producing a popular bar called Coconut-Treat and was distributed throughout the Northeast.

I dug a bit more into the Hanna history and tried to find if I could get a bicture of the Hanna Building as it looks today and was very surprised! The picture was posted by a real estate company of pretty much a vacant lot covered with debris. As it turns out 103 Pleasant St. in Utica NY. became the home of Manny's Cheesecake Factory which in turn became a local icon for outstanding baked goods until it burnt down in 2011. I wonder if anyone in Utica knows that, that is where their infamous Mayor began his empire?
In the late 1940s, he caught the photography bug and became a local distributor for coin-operated, automatic photo studios where one sat on a stool behind a curtain, deposited a quarter, and got a strip of four photos.

In 1951, Hanna became a distributor of a direct positive photo line for Eastman Kodak in Rochester and later became one of its consultants. He was also the distributor for Ansco film and after acquiring the secret formula to Auto-Photo chemicals he tweaked it and manufactured his own line of photo booth chemistry. The company operated as Photo Reproduction Masters out of the "Hanna Building" at 103 Pleasant Street in Utica NY.

That evolved into the Hanna Manufacturing Corp., a company that produced a variety of products, from photo chemicals and rope ladders to ice-cream machines, stainless steel kitchen items and vending machines under the banner "Creamatic Corp". Like the Vine-O-Lite which distributed 2 x 2 pic plastic sleeves for your photobooth strips for 10 cents, and a machine that vended St. Christopher Medals. I have a flyer from him for a machine that he was developing called the "Big Shot" that actually did 16 x 20 prints, there was no picture of it in my files and although I know prototypes were made and tested, I cannot find if it actually ever went into production. He also started a photo booth pen pals business called Photo Pals where you would send in a photo of yourself and a bit of money and they would send it and your letter off to a member of the opposite sex.

Ed was a colourful character and the most important thing to him was customer service! He always shipped orders the next day, the same if possible and had a "hotline" direct to his house should you ever need emergency help.

As I dug into the story of Ed Hanna I was quite surprised by the other stuff that I found out about him. As it turns out Ed had an affinity for public service and served as State Parks Commissioner, Assemblyman and later was the 2 time Mayor of Utica, NY. And from what I have read he handled the jobs with the same zest as he did with his business dealings.

My family had a business relationship with him from the early 60's and the last letter we would receive from him was dated 1986.
The St. Christopher Medal Vendor
Letter from W.G. Allen Auto-Photo Inventor
Big Shot Ad Card
Big Shot 16" x 20" Ad