Long before images of ooey-gooey chocolate filled our television screens, chocolatiers advertised their delectable delights in magazines and newspapers or through posters, flyers and business cards. Some manufacturers went the extra mile, including their advertisements on calendars, recipe books, postcards and even games.
Join me on a little trip down memory lane – or, more appropriately, confectionery lane – as we enjoy some fine examples of the creative advertising used by chocolate masters in the nineteenth century. Through their colorful, often whimsical and consistently entertaining images, chocolatiers were able to market their cocoa-based beverages and treats to a broad audience and help move the industry forward into the twentieth century.
In 1893, French manufacturing company, Chocolat Menier, began featuring the artwork of Firmin Bouisset, a well-known painter and printmaker, in their advertisements. Modeled after the artist’s daughter, the image of a little girl scrawling the name of the company in chocolate became an iconic figure and was used on many of the company’s promotional items. (Note the little rope tied at the top of the print. It was likely used to hang the advertisement from a nail.)
Opening his first store in New York in 1848, Henri Maillard and his confections were internationally renowned for excellence. Maillard’s chocolates were served at President Lincoln’s Inaugural Ball and earned a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1878. In the 1890s, those interested in expanding their culinary horizons could attend free classes at Maillard’s New York Chocolate School, where instructors taught pupils how to prepare chocolate for all occasions.
Founded in Birmingham, England in 1824, Cadbury is the second largest confectionery brand in the world. By 1842, John Cadbury’s company offered over 25 varieties of drinking chocolate and edible cocoa concoctions. Now considered a springtime classic, the first Cadbury Easter egg was introduced in 1875. The reverse side of this advertising card features a calendar for the year 1885 as well as a chart one can use to determine the day of the week for any date ranging from the first through the twentieth century.
The original Huyler’s candy and confectionery store opened here in New York City, at 869 Broadway, in 1876. Implementing a clever marketing strategy, John Huyler placed a candy-puller in the front window, catching the attention of potential customers and enticing them to venture inside to make a purchase. Milton S. Hershey was employed by Huyler’s from 1883 to 1885, prior to moving back to Pennsylvania, where he established his own legendary chocolate manufacturing company.
Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes Van Houten revolutionized the chocolate industry in 1828 when he invented a new hydraulic cocoa pressing method and received a patent from King William I. The separation of cocoa solids from cocoa butter created a light, fluffy powder that was soluble in water or milk. Still in operation today, Van Houten cocoa has garnered fans worldwide.
Walter Baker & Co., Ltd. is the oldest producer of chocolate in the United States, dating back to its inception in 1764. Established by chocolatier John Hannon and physician Dr. James Baker (inadvertently suitable surname), the company offered customers a money-back guarantee if they were not 100% satisfied with their chocolate purchase. By the nineteenth century, they touted their cocoa as “a real food containing all the nutritive principles.”
Wishing you a healthy dose of indulgence and a Very Happy Valentine’s Day, from one chocolate-lover to another!
This post is by Tammy Kiter, Manuscript Reference Librarian