Milan Laboratory

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Milan Laboratory sold home wine-making equipment and supplies. They were located here at 57 Spring St. from 1937 to the end of 1998. Their advertisement appeared in Popular Mechanics, Sept. 1969 (available on google books), reading

All you need to make wine
Book: "Winemaking at Home" by Homer Hardwick, 220 recipes, instructions, illus. $4.95
"Water Seal" lets gas escape and indicates wine is read for bottling $2.25
"Saccharometer" in Cylinder jar tests sugar content $5.00
Add 50[cent sign] postage for one item, $1.00 for 2 or more
FREE CATALOG of Winemaking Equipment on Request
MILAN LABORATORY
57 Spring St., N.Y., N.Y. 10012 Dept PM-S.

This advertisement for Milan Laboratory appeared in the Summer 1989 issue of The Written Wort: Newsletter of the New York City Homebrewers Guild. It cites T. & P. Miccio as owners of the business. P. Miccio was Paul Miccio. He was cited in an article in the New York Times, 4 July 1964, where he is described as proprietor of Milan Laboratory. This article discusses wine making equipment and processes, but does not given any history of the business.

Another Times article, 23 Sept. 1981, had this to say, "One place to get help is the Milan Laboratory, 57 Spring Street (226-4780), where Anthony and Paul Miccio carry on what their father began in 1937, offering wine-making supplies and books, giving counsel and operating a laboratory for wine analysis. The store is a jumble of presses balanced atop barrels, rows of demijohns, baskets of corks, snakes of tubing, stacks of funnels and packages of concentrate."

An article in the New York Times entitled "Busy Season for Home Wine Makers" by Howard G. Goldberg, 4 Oct. 1995, mentions Milan Laboratory in a list of dealers selling wine making equipment.

Far more informative was an article chronicling the closing of the shop, New York Times, 21 Feb. 1999, "When the dusty 62-year-old Milan Lab on Spring Street in Manhattan was vacated Dec. 31, many customers wondered if they would ever again be able to get the barrel funnels, fruit presses, siphon tubes, flavored whisky extracts and other arcane products it had sold for making spirits. Anthony Miccio, who has run the business since his father's death in 1977, hopes that they won't wonder for long. 'I'm fighting to save my heritage,' he said as he stood in the basement of his father-in-law's house in Sunset Park, where he is storing the contents of his former shop, which lay between Lafayette and Mulberry Streets. 'And I'm getting ready to make a comeback.' Mr. Miccio, 59, said he shut down the Spring Street shop after he and his brother, who was a partner in the business, decided to go their separate ways. It took some two dozen car trips to Brooklyn to transport the furniture and merchandise that had filled the 3,400-square-foot store. He hopes to find space soon for another Manhattan shop and, meanwhile, he is continuing to accommodate a few longtime customers. Milan Lab dates to the turn of the century, when Mr. Miccio's great-uncle opened a brewing shop on West Broadway. He was joined in 1904 by Mr. Miccio's grandfather. For the next few decades, they specialized in wine doctoring, the adding of magnesium carbonate and other substances to regulate fermentation. During Prohibition, they sold flavoring extracts to bootleggers who made moonshine and bathtub gin. Mr. Miccio's grandfather moved the lab to Spring Street in 1937."

One of the founders of Milan Laboratory was Anthony Miccio (1884-1965), an immigrant from Italy. He registered for both the World War I draft in 1918 and for the World War II draft in 1942. The 1942 registration specified that he was born in Sorrento, Italy, 30 Aug. 1884, and that he was employed at "Milano" Laboratory, 57 Spring St., New York, NY. In 1918 he was Antonio Miccio, age 34, living at 154 Prince St., and employed as a trainman at "Inter[borough] Rapid Transit."

The business was continued by Anthony Miccio's son, Paul Miccio (1913-1977). Paul Miccio appeared in the 1930 U. S. Census, age 17, living with his father, Anthony, at 445 West Broadway, Manhattan. He also appeared traveling with father, mother, and 6 siblings, on the ship's manifest of the SS Conte Biancamano sailing from Naples, Italy, 7 July 1926. His father's name was recorded as Antonio and Paul was Paolo, age 13, born New York 18 Oct. 1913.

In less than 20 years this sign had been almost totally erased. See photo from 2005.

Copyright © 2011 Walter Grutchfield