Gen X at 40

Canada's Favorite Blog


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Gordo -

Interesting that you'd post this the same day Brian Tobin declines to enter the Grit leadership race ... :-)

Sounds like a fabulous place, Alan.

Alan -

Perhaps not "fabulous" in that is is somewhat austire. Entirely without a marketing plan going beyond its end of town, though. Less than a lunch counter, too, really. What really struck me was how it and the bars and the area was (and obviously for some time had been) based around walking. We really have no neighbourhood bars in Canada - except maybe Newfoundland. In the Maritimes, say, you would have family corner stores every five to ten blocks but most retail was even then on a main street. When I see these areas you realize that there is a smaller scale to "local" in some places.

GR -

Upstate NY was built on hots and frozen custard, Alan.

Gordo -

the description sonds very muhc like my favourite fish & chip joint in Kingston: Frank's on Barrie Street. Unfortunately, it closed after Frank died last year.

portland -

tobin's first prize hots - you can't make stuff like that up. beautiful, just beatiful.

Alan -

Here is a review of a similar but much more upscale joint in Glens Falls.

Jill -

I am looking at some family history and am researching a member of my family who may have started Tobn's Hots. It was originally called Rochester Packing Company and I don't know much else. if you know anything else about the founder please send me an e-mail



Anybody out there know of any TOBIN FIRST PRIZE advertising signs??????????????????????????????

jaby -

actually tobins first prize was my great grandfather, Bill Tobin's business

Alan -

That's cool - when did it begin?

carolyn -

Tobin's First Prize came to be in May, 1924. It was called Albany Packing Company at that point. Fred Tobin, president of the Rochester Packing Plant, purchased 3.75 acres in Albany, and began the venture with several other men. The VP and general manager, Wilson Codling, was my grandfather, and I have his scrapbook documenting Tobin's genesis - newsapaper announcements, stockholder letters, ads, annual reports etc. I lent this to a woman who's family worked there over the years. She was going to create a website using all this stuff I lent to her - part of a research(?) project for SUNY Albany. Beth Dellarocca might have been her name. She brought it all back to me after one year...I just never found any of her work as of yet.

christine -

Is this the same Tobins that used to sell the champagne cured hams??? We haven't been able to find any ham that ever measured up since Tobins!!

Christian Mathiesen -

F.M.Tobin & W.C.Codling opened 2 meat plants, one in Rochester (ARPICO) and one in Albany (FIRST PRIZE). they opened under 2 companoes in case one failed, it would not grag down the other. Both made it and later were joined together as Tobin Packing but esch used their trade names with the Albany one as first prize. They ended up owning 5 seperate companies, Fort Dodge and Esterville Iowa and a holding plant in New Jersey. They were at one time the 7th largest meat pscking company in the USA. They always offered quality meats not cheap priced, which paid off.

Marilyn Tobin Carson McDonnell -

My grandfather was Frederick M. Tobin and yes, he started with Rochester Packing Company and then it was called Arpeako and then Tobin's First Prize Packing. Bill Tobin was a relative but did not start the company. They had plants in Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Miami, Fl. He died at age 92 in Bal Harbor, Fl. My father, Edward H. Carson became President and Chairman before my grandfather died. My mother was Mary Tobin (daughter of Frederick M. Tobin)

Robert Norris -

As U know My name is Robert Norris,,,, Mr. Fred tobin did marry an Irene,( sorry but unable to recall married name),,, but was my aunt Irene Norris,,, she married a man and he passed away and then married Mr Tobin,,, do you have any information possible about her,,, any info would be appreciated,,,, thank you,,

Robert Norris

Shawn Bradia -

Is there any possibility that the Tobin family mentioned above has any relation to the Tobin family that had been of Victor, New York (just outside Rochester). My great grandfather was James Raymond Tobin, an attorney in Rochester who died in 1949 at age 50. His father also died very young (at age 50 I believe), and lived in Victor. I have news articles of his death; he apparently was a business owner in Victor (owned "Tobin Brothers"), and must have been somewhat esteemed for his day, as the news articles I have recap how the town shut down for his funeral, etc. I know the Tobin family in Victor was quite large at that time. Any connection?


Jimmy J. -

To those interested - I just purchased a Tobin's First Prize Meat Food Products "PAM" clock dated 1957 in excellent condition. This clock will be listed on eBay within the next couple of days. Pam clocks are highly collectible if you are not familiar - CHECK THEM OUT ON EBAY...then look for my Tobin's one to follow soon! JIMMY

Dave -

I used to do radio (and later cartoon TV) commercials for them with my father when I was a kid. I Had a speech impediment. Evidently, I sounded cute.

Kathleen Tobin -

July 2, 2008
To those who post and ask if they are possibly family members and to make any corrections: I am the granddaughter of the founder of Tobins First Prize Meat Packing; Mr. Frederick M. Tobin (deceased). My father was Frederick M. Tobin Jr. (deceased). From the postings on this site I only see my cousin "Lynn Carson" who posted a comment with a correction on 12/20/07. What she didn't say is that the Company was run into the ground. My Grandfather Tobin nor my father were involved. It was a scandal. To make a claim to the Tobin family or to set up Web sites claiming your family worked there, is not a wise thing to do. There were victims involved. This is a made for TV movie or a book; which yes, I have been approached over the years. I should contact the distributor 'Morrell', as they bought the rights to the 'Tobin' name, Logos, etc.
I came from a good family and lived well, but all the claims to my family's name and company is not all that. I have the pictures and negatives of when Tobins was a billboard at 'Shea Stadium' In New York. To say "Tobins is full of bologna" an understatement!
The recipe has changed but the name still exists. To the Canadians with this web site: I had a friend from Rochester NY, Phil Naro, a very well known singer and songwriter, who later moved to Toronto Cananda and married. His father use to work for Tobin Meat Packing. I was at his wedding in Rochester NY, but if he is still singing, go check him out. He was amazing and has worked with very famous producers. Just GOOGLE his name and see his Bio and if he still tours.

Fred Seager -

Hi Kathleen! Fred Seager, Rochester NY, grandson of Fred Tobin, thus the name "Fred". (My mom was Dorothy, so we are cousins, remember me?) Who is this guy , Alan, never heard of him! Don"t remember him at Christmas , Easter, Thanksgiving dinners, at "Bumpa's" (aka Frederick Tobin), do you?

Alan -

I just own the blog, Fred. You people are doing all the chatting. I just wondered what "hot" was.

Lew Bryson -

Holy crap, Alan. You gotta put up a fence, the genealogy types are getting in. Once it starts, you'll never get rid of them.

Alan -

I can handle snack food geneologists!

Linda Provenzano -

Where can I buy these>
I live in Lkpt, New York 14094

Brian Cooney -

I lived in Rochester area as a kid. Now that I live in Michigan, I'm taking my kids to Darien Lake for a vacation. Can I get Tobin's Red Hots in a grocery store near Buffalo?

nytere -

To anyone interested, I have an old electric lighted Tobin's First Prize sign that will be going on ebay in the next week. You can find it under my ebay name which is the name I've used here. Found at an Albany estate sale, where I believe the company was founded.

Guy Empie Sr -

I stumbled on this blog looking for a little family history about my father's old job. He was a union truck driver many years ago that delivered "Tobin's First Prize" products from Albany NY to many stores in the NYC area. It's a shame to see the e-bay offers, although I'd buy the items! I loved reading about how the company was a family operation years ago, because I know first hand that it was. My father also passed away young at 50 back around 1980 (huggs Shawn) after no longer being able to drive, but the company kept good men working. My father became a security guard until he could no longer walk. The Tobin family were good people, and my father is the only thing I miss more than those fantastic TEXAS HOTS hot dogs they used to have. I'll put my e-mail address here if you like to send kind words or ask a question. If you have something bad to say, please don't waist our time. To the rest of the Tobin family, you're respected more than you know.

Guy Empie Sr -

Opps - My e-mail is

Please no spam - that's NOT a Tobin product ! (lol)

Paula Bartlett -

My mother has talked about getting "Mother Goose Brand Liverwurst". I have been surfing to try to locate it and found this site. I wonder if this is where she found it. She used to live in Argyle, NY a long time ago.
Any assistance you can given me will be appreciated. Thanks

Paula Bartlett -

my e-mail is
please put in content line mother goose liverwurst

Jo Anne Mezger -

According to the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Packing Co was founded in 1900 ("machine age in sausage making on in earnest"). Ten of my ancestors, mostly Mezgers and Messners put up the money for the factory at 71 Front Street, Rochester, NY. My gggrandfather, John B. Mezger, was a principal in this business and he later ran a small butcher shop at 1159 Culver Road - "Mezger's Meat Market". I have wonderful industrial photos of the inside workings of the packing company and pictures of the horse-drawn wagon they filled with pigs for the Industrial Parade of 1908, if anyone is interested. In the beginning, the president was John U. Schroth, and later, Fred Tobin.

Evelyn Mango Vincenzo -

My dad was a tractor-trailer driver for 48 years at the plant in Albany, NY (actually West Albany). He died of a major coronary 2 weeks after the plant unexpectedly shut down. He never even saw his first retirement check. I have many items from Tobin, one of which I wear to this day....he was awarded a safe driving tie tack....I've turned it into a pendant I wear on my neck.

I miss my dad terribly and I miss those good ol' fashioned hot dogs !!!

I can be reached at if anyone else has Tobin stories.

Evie Mango (Vincenzo)

Robert Garman -

My great grandfather was John U. Schroth. He became President of Rochester Packing Company. Arpeako (is a play on the R and P of the first two names and the Co for company). Tobin merged Albany Packing and Rochester Packing. Mr. Schroth joined the firm when his term as Monroe County Sheriff ended, I have a photo copy of a letter from Mr. Tobin to him discussing the status of company business in the late 1920s, after Schroth had retired -- I think he was still on the board..

Lisa Peters -

My dad was a TOBIN salesman in northern new york all my life. I ONLY eat Tobin hotdogs. unfortunately he lost his job when they went bankrupt when I was in 10th grade. My dad died at 61 so never saw the tiny pension that Tobin paid to my mother each month. I think it was about $50. That was it. I will say I, to this day, only and I mean only eat Tobin hotdogs. Never anything else, also Tobin bologna is it for me. I have a receipt from his Tobin days from a customer and I have advertising posters for Tobins. I also have the original stock certificate givven to my dad when he purchased 10 shares of their stock. I will say one thing, being a salesman for Tobin meat, we at well as kids especially since there were 6 of us.

paul liva -

does anyone know if Tobin's mother goose liverwurst is still made or is anyone making it under a different name?
please let me know

Dianne Dashnau -

My father was also a salesman for Tobins in the 60's I remember Going into work with him as a young child. Looking into a big loading dock area and seeing the tobins first prize sign hanging above.
To this day my favorite Tobins product was the White hots. I just can't get enough of them. Unfortunitly I haven't been able to find those in years. The last time I was able to buy them I bought a full case and brought them back to fla with me.

Dan Ashton -

My grandfather Walter P. Kelley was a salesman for Tobin's since the 30's and retired in 1963 as the VP of Sales and Marketing. When I was in first grade he took me to to the plant in Rochester where I saw them slaughter a hog and make hots. My most memorable moment at that age. If anyone would like to exchange scans of memorabilia you can contact me at dashton(at)dacaaassociates(dot)net
My favorite and my grandfather's was the First Prize Sausage.

Chris Mathiesen -

My father was also a salesman for Tobin Packing. He worked for the company for over thirty years. Both my father's and my cousin Carolyn's comments about the company have been entered on this blog. It was a great company and it was a sad day when they closed.

Garth Lloyd -

Attn: Kathleen Tobin and Jo Anne Mezger,

I read your comments and would like to commuincate with you with regard to Tobin history. My father Roy E Lloyd born in 1901, I understand he had some connection to the Tobins.

I would appreciate if you could be in touch.

Garth Lloyd

kevin charette -

I stumbled upon this site and enjoyed all the comments regarding Tobin's. My father worked for the company for many years, in Albany and then in CT as a saleman and then back in Albany as a sales manager until he passed away at 56 back in 1980. He thoroughly enjoyed in career at First Prize, albeit I recall the last several year were a bit tough as the company changed from its earlier family oriented business. I noted the reference to Wilson Codling -- I recall my dad worked for Frank Codling, perhaps his son.

Lou Battaglia -

I attended school in Miami back in the 60's with David and Jack Watson. At that time, David and Jack's dad (John) was President of Tobin Packing Company and the distributor for Tobin's in MIami was Frank Bitz Distributors. John moved from Rochester, NY to Slingerlands, NY to work in the Albany Plant. If anyone out there knows the whereabouts of David or Jack, please forward information to me at

Lou Battaglia -

I attended school in Miami back in the 60's with David and Jack Watson. At that time, David and Jack's dad (John) was President of Tobin Packing Company and the distributor for Tobin's in MIami was Frank Bitz Distributors. John moved from Rochester, NY to Slingerlands, NY to work in the Albany Plant. If anyone out there knows the whereabouts of David or Jack, please forward information to me at

Kris Lupino -

Hey Paul,
I came across Tobin's Mother Goose Liverwurst the other day at Hannaford in Kingston. Man, that is good liverwurst!

richie -

Tobins hot dogs were the best ever !!!!!

mike donovan -

my grandfather most likely hired your family members at the albany first prize. he was lester donovan the personnel manager, he was crushed when they got bought out my morrell.

mike donovan -

my grandfather most likely hired your family members at the albany first prize. he was lester donovan the personnel manager, he was crushed when they got bought out my morrell.

Mike M -

Does anyone know if Tobin Packing Co stock is worth anything today?

Skip Raynor -

Have aTobins First Prize tin found in a old farm house basement in VA. Anybody interested in it contact me at

Dannette Daniels -


My name is Dannette Daniels. Back in the 60's-70;s Tobin Packaging made and distributed the hot dogs for Ackermans Hots. As far as I know Tobins developed and manufactured a hot dog recipe for them. I am the great-grand daughter of Ruth and Anthony Ackerman who formally owned Ackermans Hots located in Rochester on Lyell Avenue. I am in the beginning process of opening a restaurant on Lyell Avenue, and would like help locating that recipe and also have a packing company make them for us. If anyone can guide me in the right direction I would be very appreciative. Thank you Dannette

Dannette Daniels -

My email is phone number 585 414-0652. Thank you Dannette

Alan -

Thank you, Danette. That is a really interesting idea. Do you know of any others making retro-dogs?

Dannette Daniels -

Not to my knowledge, I like your term "retro-dogs" . From reading this blog it looks like John Morrell bought the rights to Tobin's but have changed the recipe on its hots. I looked on their website and they dont sell the white hots either. So, I will do my best to locate the old recipe.

Thanks Dannette

Alan -

You use it but I want credit! Retro-dawg.

Marilyn Nolte -

Can't resist adding to all this interesting reading. I just found a packet of pictures of the Rochestesr Packing & Cold Storage Co. (1900, 1915, 1927, 1921) But, there's one from 1909 entitled Mr. Tobin at Dold's. The picture includes (all with the name Dold's on them) wagons, a railroad car, and the sign on the building, "Jacob Dold Packing Co." So, how does that company fit into the story?
M. Nolte, Rochester, NY



John Kemp -

Great website, I learned a lot. Had many hots at Ackerman’s, loved them. I have a photo of a Rochester Packing Co. truck [No. 15 Caley and Nash body builders] with a “Blue Ribbon Ham” advertisement on it’s side. A date on the back of the picture, 24 Oct 1920. Truck appears to be chain driven with hard rubber tires. Could scan and e-mail a copy if you are interested. I am currently curator of the Charlotte Village and Transportation Museum at Charlotte, N.Y. [This town was annexed by Rochester in 1916 but still retains its unique personality.] I would be very interested in any information you or your bloggers could provide. Thanks for making my day!

J. Porter -

Hello All:

My grandfather, Clyde Sholtes, of Guilderland Center, was a long-time employee of Tobin out of Albany. He drove the 'hot truck' (that's what they called it) in the city. He worked for 40ish years. Frank Codling was one of his bosses. Frank, Clyde and a few of them would meet on Friday nights and they called themselves the Jolly Boys.

J. Porter

My grandfather was definately a company man who would only buy First Prize hot dogs when on the road with the family.

George Shoomaker, Gus Ferbert are a couple of other names that my Mom can remember. My Mom also worked in the plant in the summers packing hotdogs. Very clean place to work, she says!

Great stories here for my Mom. Thanks for the memories!

J. Porter

Erika Thompson -

I worked for Tobin Packing, Rochester, NY. I met & married my husband who also worked there. I was sorry that it closed. We used to get samples of hot dogs to taste.

Paul Agostinelli -

I worked at Ackerman's on Lyell and Howard Roads from 1977 - 1980. Ruth Ackerman was my boss at the time. I remember making up the big plastic storage containers of hot sauce every couple months. We would freeze it then take it out as we needed more. I also remember dipping the hots in hot oil before serving them. People loved the flavor that the oil left on the hots. This was one of the best jobs I ever had, but I remember gaining 20 pounds the first year I worked there! Lots of great memories working there. Too bad that Wegmans had to tear it down, it should have been saved as a historical building, but Wegmans had the cash to overrule that.

Robert Mottice -

I lived in Rochester, NY from 1962 to 1966 and came to love Tobin Red/White Hots. When I was in charge of our company picnic here in Michigan, I sent to Rochester (don't remember where) to ger many, many pounds and everyone loved them. Are they still being made?

Please tell me where!

Also, is Bison Brand Pepperoni still available? I used to buy it a Wegmans in Rochester.

Robert Mottice -

While at RIT 1962 to1966, I learned to love Tobin Red Hots. Where can I buy some and have them shipped to Michigan? Also, my wife and I made lots of pizza while there and we bought Bison Brand pepperoni at Wegmans in Rochester. Is it still available and how can I have some shipped to Michigan. Am coming to Rochester for the lilac festival and will so some searching.

Arlene Marks -

So happy to find this web site..Just found out my store has discontinued carrying Tobin franks, bacon, & frozen sausage.The only ones I eat, the best ! Found out that Morrell & co. is making them now.Does anyone know of a store in the Oneonta-Binghamton N.Y. that sells them? Please !!! I'll have to give up eating any of them !!

dannette -

Hi, Im looking for Tobin First Place Hots signs, and the old Ackermans Hots Restaurant photographs and other memorabilia. Please contact me

Jo-Ann -

I worked for Tobin's First Prize from 1987-1998. I still remember how excited I was to get the job. I have many great memories....the Mothergoose Open Golf Tounament is one. When I went to work for them they were located on Wayto Road in Schenectady, NY. Larry Swafford was the President, Doug Nash was our General Sales Manager. John Crandall, George DeChamp Mr. Lipsky Joe Trombetta up in the Utica area.Graydon Bauer in Albany, Jerry P. in the Albany area. We were owned by Chiquita Brands International at that point, although I think we ran as a separate company. I have a old Tobin's lard tin, as well as tons of point of sale material. I remember the Tobin's commercials on TV when I was a kid in the 60's or 70's. I always loved those Tobin's First Prize hot dogs. They are hard to find now in Connecticut. Smithfield Foods owns the brand now.


If anyone is interested,I have scrapbooks filled with Tobin's original newspaper ads etc from all over NY from 1922 thru 1938.(9 books total)also a cancelled check,check number 1 from Genesee Valley Trust Company to Tobin Packing Co.Inc. for one hundred thirty thousand dollars,dated Dec.31,1942.My email

D Ashton -

PHOTO-25 Tobin's 25 Year Club- I have posted a picture of men and women taken Sept 25, 1960. It's a pdf you can download. My email has changed from my previous post dashton (at)sbcglobal (dot) net
Hope you can find someone you know in this photo. My grandfather is Walter Kelley us second from the left in the third row from the front. You can access the pdf at

Barbara McCall DeBecK -

My first mother-in-law was Lillian McCall and she was the sister of Irene Norris Tobin, sorry I cannot think of her married name before she married Fred Tobin in 1956 but her first husband's was Bill and we would visit them at their home in Rochester NY.and also when she was married to Fred .I was at Fred funeral but cannot remember the children were very young at that time.
Barbara McCall DeBeck

Curtis L. Tobin Sr. -

I am told that my G-G-Grandfather, John Tobin, was a brother to Frederick M. Tobin. Does anyone have the family genealogy or history. Thank you in advance. Curt

Pam Rockwell -

Hi I know my family as well as many others first prize hot dogs were all we ate and all I hear is everybody asking is there any place you can still buy them ?I finally found this site so is there any place if so please provide me with email address or phone number mail address anything, I'm not a hot dog eater I'm only a first prize eater only I haven't had a hot dog since and to any living relatives a great investment go back to hot dogs but only if you have the exact same recipe , if you did sell the family secret please would you email me their new name number and rank or email so I can write or call to be sure I'll be getting the exact same dog,I sure do miss that dog I wish he'd come home God giveith and God takeith away so God bless Pam in N.Y please giveith our dog back it is missed by millions ,have a dog gone good day.