Sapolin Decorative Paint of New York City

Historic sapolin paint brand

NEW YORK – Sapolin was once a great decorative paint brand; like Rustoleum they specialized in unique colors for metals and uses other than walls. Here, a can that’s about 20 years old. Its main ingredients are listed as xylene and toluene. Toxic and flammable but certainly able to make great gold leaf, the most important thing.

Sarah Chiffriller of PetalsSarah of Richmond, Virginia had this tiny can of the paint in her floral and design studio; it was given to her by a neighbor.

Curious if Sapolin Paints are still around; apparently their building was in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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  1. is there a way to get a copy of the photo from tavern on the green party? my father worked there as well at Sapolin as a Chemist late 50’s early 60’s

    1. Author

      I am not sure who has the archives of the restaurant. Perhaps someone can reply to this who knows…

  2. My dad was a vice president of Sapolin until he retired. We have the original Look magazine showing our family (kids and mom) using the chalkboard paint he invented to paint the walls of our house and use chalk on them. He told about the slate companies being so mad at him, as it would put them out of business in time.

  3. Author

    I wish I knew…..hope an old employee might check in and tell us about the gold leaf powder.

  4. While cleaning out my fathers basement I found two shoeboxes full of gold leaf powder. Not sure what to do with it, or if it’s of any value?

  5. Hi,
    Regarding the Sapolin gold paint and also gold glaze they made, does anyone know if it’s real gold leaf or some sort of imitation?


  6. For some time I have stored a small box marked ”Sapolin” Gold Enamel. There are 2 glass bottles inside. The larger one is empty but the smaller bottle has a gold colored ‘liquid’ inside. I only say liquid as it is heavier than if it was empty but I don’t want to open it and maybe destroy the cork. The box is 4+ inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide it is around 1 inch deep. The original promo leaflet is inside the box with the statement ”Color within the walls of your home. The print date on the leaflet is 1929. The only real damage is that one end of the inside box is broken/torn off, but I still have it.
    This item is for sale. Please contact me at the address shown and I can send photo’s and more contact info.

  7. Watching the Marathon and they just did a little story on the paint company that they use to paint the blue stripe for the Marathon course. Made me think of Sapolin Paint Co. where my dad, Vincent Caragher, worked during the 50’s till 9/64 when he passed away of a heart attack at the age of 48. He loved his job and the people he worked with. Really enjoyed just reading all the comments about Sapolin. Just wanted to share this.

  8. I have two bottles of powder one is silver leaf the other
    Gold leaf. it looks really old it came with bottles that had a liquid you mixed with the powder in a tin cup. This stuff is amazing gold and silver leaf. I
    Am wondering what kind of liquid was mixed with the powder since it’s not viable anymore. Says it was for decoration and wouldn’t be washed off. Sure wish you could buy this stuff today. So if anyone knows what was in the bottles. Laquer? Shellac!??

  9. Sapolin Paint was made and distributed by Insl-x Coatings Co, formerly of Stony Pt, NY, and Yonkers, NY in the 1990’s. When Insl-x bought Bruning Paint, Baltimore, NY, they condensed both lines into the Bruning brand. In the early 2000’s, the company purchased Coronado Pt, Edgewater, Florida, and made that brand the leading consumer paint for the company, keeping the Insl-x industrial coatings untouched. Insl-x was then purchased by Benjamin Moore Paints in 2008-2009. Bob Ruehl, former NY/NJ Salesman

  10. I have a can of:
    Hot Pipe Aluminum
    Its very Art Deco looking and was used to fix leaks in stove pipes. The lable was to attract Women who usually had to deal with this problem and couldn’t wait. Great marketing!

  11. Hey Ed [Raabe]:
    How are you? It would be nice if you please contact me. You may send me email at my above address. We would then go from there.

  12. I have an Original Sapolin Badge ,It was used to promote Sapolin into Australia. Any collectors interested can contact me : I will send a photo back.

  13. My best friend in highschool was Clair Raabe (New Fairfield CT). I remember her father and family well!

    1. I knew Clair also. We were in DECA together. She was a great friend. Wonder where she is these days.

  14. Looking through some old bottles, came across sapolin gold glaze. The top of the container is got about 2 Oz of gold flakes. I was wondering about the story behind it and it’s value. Thanks dave.

  15. Please contact me if you would like to share your Sapolin stories. The Sapolin Paint company is a big part of my family’s history, Cheers, Ed Raabe

    1. I was corporate controller “trouble shooter” in the process of computerizing the ordering process..right across the hall from you and your brother. Old days, huge computer room, needed to learn all the jobs of women with the company for decades who were suspicious that they would lose their jobs. Luckily I was the daughter of NYFD 25 year veteran from Brooklyn who they trusted. Then your sweet brother got sick. I just wrote on the employee “get well” card after his surgery what I felt. He really responded to my words (wish I could remember what I wrote). We all mourned. Anyway, hope all goes well for you and your family. Regards

  16. Found a sapolin letter opener in a old house in new Zealand made from copper with a address on it 229 e 42d st NY USA be keen to know how old it may be

  17. My father owned a paint and hardware store in NJ from 1956 to 1988 and was a Sapolin dealer.

    Great products. The company sponsored a dealer plan in the late 60’s where an early airless spray manufactured by Graco was used to paint houses etc for a price of $16.99 a gallon applied to the house.

    Painted around 50 houses in 2 years before the program was canceled…

    Can’t remember the salesman’s name but do remember he was a great guy.

    1. great paint / sprayed latex on houses and barns . my boss a viet-nam vet taught me how to spray airless. graco was the best . been a painter for 47 years . crokers hardware in leroy n.y. was the store. CROCKERS HARDWARE STORE .the paint was thick sort of creamy but very pure no junk clogging up my spray tip a 519 or 621 orafice. still like to look at use vintage graco equipment. like most painters i always thought i was the best. retiring on 7-12-19

  18. Ed, I have a photo of a Sapolin party at Tavern on The Green restaurant in NYC, 1940’s?..early 50’s.? My wife’s aunt worked for them. And we just retrieved this from the attic. Please get in touch, I can send a copy of this to you.
    Dave K.

    1. My father worked there too, on Lorraine Street. Is there a chance I could get a copy of that picture. He worked there from the 30’s until some time in the late 60s or early 70s. Thanks

      1. We lived just around the corner on Hamilton Avenue.

  19. My Grandfather, Father and Uncle were executives at Sapolin /Woolsey Spanning over 50 years. The Company moved to Danbury Conn. and closed in the 80’s

  20. I have a can of Sapolin as shown in your picture,
    can you let me know how much it is worth.

    Thank you


  21. my dad worked for Sapolin paint from the 1950’s through the lat 70’s. The factory building in Brooklyn is now a storage company. I believe another company bought the name and is manufacturing under that name, but it’s not the same. Sapolin also made Woolsey Marine paint.

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