longwhitekid

An Elaborate Process

In Blue Bonnet Jams, Butland Industries, cheese, Chesdale Cheese, Craig's Jams, Crest Fine Foods, Dairy, Dairy Products, Fonterra, Goldpack dried fruits, H.J Heinz Company, Kraft Foods, New Zealand Milk Brands Limited, Spreads, Wattie's on December 6, 2011 at 10.46

I’m  excited to present this recreation of a Chesdale cheese ad. This is probably the most complex thing I have attempted so far and have put it off for a few months because I knew it was going to be hard. As I am getting more daring at my recreation work I felt I was ready to tackle this one from a blurry, bad quality picture. This took about two days of frustrating work to make; starting with designing the three individual paper labels for the cheese segments, then the foil wedge, then the six wedges in the box, and the cartoons of the family which I could hardly see properly. As well as all the fonts which had to be hand-kerned and often recreated from scratch.
This item probably dates from around 1958, and was in a promotional booklet for a company named Butland Industries which had a lot of other nice colourful ads in it showcasing their products of the moment. At the time their other hugely successful brand besides Chesdale was Crest Fine Foods (canned fruit, and vegetables, including baked beans and spaghetti – I think this brand fizzled out in the early 1970s). Later on they had Goldpack dried fruits – as well as jam brands Blue Bonnet and Craig’s which I remember well from childhood.

It was for auction a few months ago and I really wanted to grab it – unfortunately I had just missed the end of the auction. I would have paid more money by far than it sold for, too. I was so desperate to get hold of the imagery that I approached the seller and also the buyer to try and get better photos of the advertising pages – to no avail. Unfortunately that tack didn’t work out so well to say the least, so the next best thing was to just to buckle down and make it myself.

Chesdale Cheese ad, between 1926 and 1949. Ref: Eph-A-FOOD-1940s-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available either about the history of the Chesdale cheese brand or about Sir Jack Butland and his company. What we do know is he was born in Hokitika in 1896 but spent most of his life based in Auckland, where he started in foodstuffs as an agent – after earlier careers in banking and sales.
He came to be considered a pioneer in food manufacturing. He founded J. R. Butland Pty Ltd in 1922, NZ Cheese four years later in 1926, and Butland Industries proper in 1949. I know that Crest was launched in 1956 – and that the packaging had changed by 1961 – so this booklet dates from some time in between. I conject on the earlier side.
In the days before widespread refrigeration, traditional cheeses sweated, went oily, cracked, and quickly went stale. Jack Butland combated this problem by experimenting with additives, and found that adding amounts of sodium or potassium phosphate would make the cheese smooth textured and spreadable – and it would actually keep well, remaining moist and hygienic.

Chesdale Cheese, between 1949 and 1951. From cover of Four Square Stores promotional jigsaw puzzle envelope.  Ref: Eph-F-GAMES-1950s-05-cover. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

He was obviously already successful, but his was his big breakthrough. He sold it wrapped in aluminium foil, in an 8 ounce cardboard carton and later in disc shaped boxes as per the ad.

He was eventually knighted mainly for his significant philanthropic contributions some time before he passed away in 1982.
Chesdale was sold to Kraft in 1981 and then sold to Heinz Wattie in 1995. It currently is owned by New Zealand Milk Brands Limited. Chesdale is still in production today, however it also has an enormous market in the Middle East.
Chesdale is of course now considered an icon of Kiwiana, mostly for the famous Ches and Dale character TV commercials – of course they came much later in around 1968, created by advertising agency Dormer Beck -which I have a long story coming up on next week, so I will cover it in more depth then.

About these ads
  1. Greenstone is developed by The New Zealand Digital Library Project which is part of the University of Waikato in New Zealand .

  2. Some genuinely fantastic posts on this web site , appreciate it for contribution.

  3. The 1994 SP Alex Rodriguez rookie card was produced by upper deck on a foil type cardboard that is easily chipped and breaks apart at the corners.

  4. Not really sure if you commented under the correct post Benjamin…there was another post on 4 Square snap cards where I was discussing why I think older printed items have survived better than more recent ones.

  5. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing I’d be using Jason but thanks for the heads up. This is the open source software that the NZ library is battling a US company over because they have stolen it and are marketing it, right? I saw a couple of news items.

  6. Hi Congratualtions on your research here. I make history documentaries about Kiwi companies and families and I’m currently producing a privately commissioned documentary about Butland Industries and the family – planned to complete in late April 2012. I have some packaging and promotional material and you may like to see, if so, please feel free to contact me. Peter Michel

  7. Thanks for your comments Peter, your work sounds really interesting. I am really interested in any material that shows packaging such as boxes and can labels. I will message you privately and maybe we can talk about swapping some images and art.

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