10 Brand Names Gone, But Not Forgotten

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Old brands never die -- they just fade away until someone figures a way to capitalize on the nostalgia for them.

From candy to retailers, even the biggest names can fall out of favor. Some disappear forever while others just become harder to find.

Eventually -- if enough folks start playing "remember when?" -- someone will take notice and try to cash in.

Remember Narragansett Beer? Rhode Island-based Narragansett Brewing opened for business in 1890. In 1981, the original Cranston brewery was closed and due to poor management by Falstaff (which had bought the brand in 1965) andproduction came to a near stand-still. In 2005, Mark Hellendrung, former president of Nantucket Nectars, along with a group of investors, bought the brand back from Falstaff.

A similar East Coast treat, the sweet, concentrated syrups marketed since the 1930s as Zarex (with a Zebra mascot) were once hugely popular, then all but vanished. That is, until a new generation of owners brought it back to store shelves.

Last year, Racebrook, a New York-based private equity firm and auction specialist, announced it was selling off 150 "classic American brands" it had acquired over the years. Among them were Handi-Wrap, Victrola, American Brands, Meister Brau, Braniff International and Shearson (as in Shearson Lehman, which begat Lehman Bros., which begat financial chaos in 2008).

"In recent years, there has been renewed interest around the world in branding that evokes nostalgia," John Cuticelli, CEO of Racebrook, said in a statement at the time of the auction. "These brand names have been, and will become again, globally recognized by consumers."

Roughly a third of the names at that auction found buyers.

There are probably hundreds of long-gone or hard-to-find brands, products and businesses that trigger happy memories and remind us of "back in the day." Here are 10 of the most talked-about:

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