longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Cadbury’s’ Category

Bite Size: Mallowed With Time

In Adams Bruce Ltd, Aulsebrook's, Aulsebrook's confectionery, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Cadbury's, Chocolate, Chocolate Fish, Chocolate marshmallow eggs, Chocolate Snowballs, confectionery, Easter, Innovex Holdings, Marshmallow, Nestlé, Queen Anne chocolate, Rainbow confectionery, Regina Confections. on April 23, 2014 at 10.46

Easter Egg  LWK copy copy I haven’t really been very good so far at sticking to posts about significant annual events and holidays of note, and as such, I last previously posted on Easter in 2011 here. Then …nothing. Also, I just don’t have very much good Easter shit in my collection – which is amazing, since it’s one of the biggest things of the year at retail. Easter-related stuff just doesn’t crop up that much. I guess the majority was foil wrapping and hard to salvage.

aCadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 bitten

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With all good intention I took these snaps this time two years ago in order to post but I didn’t get around to it. Some friends had their family bring over various sweet treats on a visit to Australia – and since it was March, some naturally happened to be Eastery things – such as these Cadbury marshmallow eggs which were in store at the time.

a Cadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 bitten  100_3959 edit copy

A wrapper and tray from New Zealand Cadbury chocolate marshmallow eggs, in 2012.

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I was dying to try them to see if they tasted in any way similar; and to my delight everything about them was amazingly – exactly the same. Under my “supervision” half the pack quickly disappeared down my gullet before they were snatched away for safekeeping.

a nestle vintage easter egg 1936 0r 1938 lightened

A seventy-something years old Nestle chocolate Easter egg that I previously wrote on in April 2011.

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This didn’t start out as a treatise on the history of such a specific item; which is just as well since apparently there is little to know. Marshmallow products had been around fairly early on in Aotearoa – Aulsebrook’s were producing a variety of mallows- plain, toasted, raspberry and chocolate-covered – by the early 1900s, and chocolate covered marshmallow bars and “snowballs” started to popularise in the 1930s. Of course then came that icon Chocolate Fish of which the first mention I’ve seen is in the early 1940s.

a BRITANNIA THEATRE Ponsonby MARSHMALLOW EASTER EGG  - New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVI, Issue 23316, 8 April 1939, Page 24

A chocolate marshmallow egg giveaway at one of a number of Auckland theatres in the mid-late 1930s: This one at The Britannia,  Zealand Herald, 8 April 1939, Page 24.

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The earliest record I have for actual chocolate marshmallow eggs is by Adams Bruce Ltd. for the Queen Anne brand in the 1950s, which are fondly remembered by many. I am sure that Aulsebrook’s and Cadbury also launched theirs at this time however the earliest I know of is 1960s for the former and 1970s for the latter.

a Cadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 edit 1 copy

A wrapper and tray from New Zealand Cadbury chocolate marshmallow eggs, in 2012.

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Rainbow was founded in 2001 by the regrouping of Regina workers (banded together as Innovex Holdings) who found themselves out of work and the factory premises empty courtesy of the then owners Nestlé. They “recommenced” the business on site, successfully continuing most of the classic Regina products under the new name – and just recently repurchased the rights to the original classic Regina brand and relaunched it. Point is, that this product means that Regina had a history of making chocolate marshmallow eggs, but how early they started I don’t know.

aaCadbury Fire Chicks Easter Egg 1960s Cadbury Schweppes Hudsion post 1969

A box from a chocolate Easter egg, dating from the very early 1970s.

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However – someone in Auckland (Heard’s, Brown Bros and Geddes, or maybe Nestlé) was making them earlier though – for in the 1930s several cinemas in that city offered them as a free gift to children attending their special Easter matinees. They get no mention elsewhere, or ever again until at least 1946.

a Rainbow Marshmallow Easter Eggs (1) EDIT copy

Wrapper from a carton of chocolate marshmallow eggs made by Rainbow, formerly Regina Confections. This means that Regina had a history of making chocolate marshmallow eggs, but how early they started is uncertain. 

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They have traditionally always been two halves of white marshmallow with an orange circle in the centre representing the yolk; both pieces then fully enrobed in milk chocolate and then sandwiched together, and either wrapped in decorative foil or in later years nestled with several others in a plastic tray or carton and sealed in a closed plastic sleeve wrapper.

aa Rainbow Marshmallow Easter Eggs (4) copy copy copy

A tray of chocolate marshmallow eggs made by Rainbow.

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They are on occasion available in Sydney – I remember one year that Woolworths had a display of them and they disappeared pretty quickly indeed. They’ve also imported Rainbow ones from time to time – I also got the ones pictured in Woolworth’s.

a Easter Egg mould 8 cm across edit copy

A vintage metal mould for making chocolate Easter eggs, sixteen centimetres in circumference.

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After sampling some Australian Cadbury ones recently at a family gathering in Sydney – which in appearance look exactly the same – they don’t quite taste the same. I don’t know if there’s a difference between the Oz-produced version and the Nizild ones – but my eyebrows just didn’t raise in the way they did when I bit into the Kiwi made versions again for the first time in nearly thirty years and that rush of memories from my childhood came flooding back.

aaVintage Cadburys Griffins Easter egg wrappers two copy

Griffin’s and Cadbury foil wrappers from Easter eggs of the late 1970s.

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a a a All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

Unblemished Record: The Flawless Reign of Bernard Roundhill

In Air New Zealand, Alberto Vargas, Bernard Roundhill, Bixies, Blue Bonnet, Blue Bonnet Jams, board games, Bond & Bond, Butland Industries, C.L. Innes & Co. Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury's, Cereal Foods (N.Z.) Ltd, Champ pet food, Cheesecake art, Choysa Tea, commercial artist, Coulls Somerville Wilkie, Craig's canned foods, Craig's Jams, Crest Fine Foods, DB Lager, Diamond cereals, Diamond Pasta, Dolphin swinmsuits, Dominion Breweries, Duval Dimwit, Edmonds, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Four Square, Four Square Supermarkets, George Petty, Goldpack dried fruits, Goldpack Products, Holdsons games, Illustrators, Innes soft drinks and cordials, Irvine & Stevenson, J.R. Butland, Jason Products, Judith Ann Field, Ken Chapman designer, Kia-Ora jams, Lincoln Games, Little Chief socks, Ltd. calendars, Mabel Rollins Harris artist, McKenzies stores, Montana Wines, New Zealand Home Journal, Norman Rockwell, O-Tis oatmeal, Oak, Peter Pan ice cream, Peter the Pilot, Pin ups, Qantas Airways, RNZAF, Robinson's, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Sanitarium Health Foods, Scientology, Skippy the dog, Speights beer, St. George, Swiss Maid dairy products, Teachatot, TEAL Airways, The Mirror magazine, Thompson & Hill, Timaru Milling Co, Tiny & Droop, Wattie's, White's Aviation, Whittome & Stevenson, Winstone Limited, Wyona canned foods, Yates seeds on December 2, 2013 at 10.46

Diamond O-Tis by Timaru Milling back of Peter The Pilot on Active Service cereal card Album 1941 Bernard Roundhill BACK EDIT copy

An advertisement for Diamond O-Tis, by Timaru Milling Co., from the back of the “Peter The Pilot on Active Service” cereal card album, issued 1941. Designed and printed at Coulls Somerville Wilkie, Dunedin. Image courtesy of Dave Homewood, from Wings Over Cambridge http://www.cambridgeairforce.org.nz/

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Bernard Roundhill was probably Aotearoa’s most successful commercial artist, and certainly the most feted, in retrospect. He has come to be known as the “King of the Airbrush.” That’s a fair moniker; he was a pioneer and pretty much master of the technique in New Zealand. He’s also been described as “the founding father of commercial art”.
This a bit cheeky as he was not – that phrase indicates he was the first and possibly also suggests he was the best. Neither of these things are particularly true. All you have to think of is Joseph Bruno Moran, for instance, and a list of others that came before him and which no doubt he was beholden to. There’s no question he was easily and heavily influenced by others and ergo, indebted to those that were successfully working previously.

Portrait of Bernie Roundhill holding a book titled Information Circular NLNZ collection Nov 1945 Ref WA-00758-G Photograph  by Whites Aviation

Portrait of Bernie Roundhill by White’s Aviation, late 1945, holding a book titled “Information Circular”, which probably has one of his cover designs. NLNZ collection, Ref WA-00758-G

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Born in 1911, Hull, Yorkshire, England to John William and Mabel nee Tate – Bernie, as he was known to most, had two older brothers Kenneth Spencer and Maurice William, one older sister Mabel who was born 1908 in New Zealand, and two younger brothers.
 

Auckland in Fifty Years 1956 Bernard Roundhill  for Winstones Te Papa collection  copy

“Auckland In The Year 2000″, artwork for Winstone’s promotional book centrefold, 1956, is Roundhill’s most famous illustration. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000659/001/0001

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John William Roundhill (b.1887), having also hailed from Hull, had immigrated to New Zealand in 1903 with his brother Alfred. They both worked as labourers in the Timaru, Canterbury area. He met Mabel Tate there whom he married in March 1905. Alfred met Mary Jane Dukes and married her also in Timaru, 1905.

Dolphin swimsuits illustration by Bernard Roundhill for Whites Aviation Ltd Ref WA-03719-F Alexander Turnbull Library EDIT

Dolphin swimsuits advertisement for Whites Aviation Ltd, 1950. Image courtesy of  Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref WA-03719-F 

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At some point between 1908 and 1911 the Roundhills returned to Britain, where Bernard was born. The family left England again in 1912 – for good this time. His brother Charles came into the world just before they returned to New Zealand. Many sources repeat information from others ad hoc without checking, and quote Bernard as being three years old on arrival; this is incorrect.

Edmonds Advertising Framed palsop 1 Bernard roundhill perhaps EDIT cfurther

Double page spread advert from an unknown publication, early 1950s. It may be from an Aunt Daisy cookbook but nobody has yet been able to identify it.

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They settled in Gleniti, Timaru at first, and then later in the 1910s moved to Fairlie, South Canterbury. A younger brother , George, was born in 1917. By this time a young Bernard was already obsessively drawing.
One of the stories repeated that Bernard allegedly told was of around this time, seeing the first plane in New Zealand fly over, and chasing it across the fields with 25 shillings given to him by his father to beg the pilot to take him up – thus beginning his life-long obsession with all things aviation and space orientated and the sense of freedom that entailed. How fanciful this tale may be is worth consideration given that it was not until 1920 the first flight in Aotearoa flew across Cook Strait. Only the third flight in New Zealand the following year by Bert Mercer that was in the vicinity, when he flew from Invercargill to Auckland.

Bernard Roundhill Painting of a Baby Dog & Slipper for magazine cover 1950 EDIT

Painting of “Baby, Dog & Slipper” for a magazine cover, 1950. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000660/001/0003.

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Roundhill studied architectural drafting by correspondence, in the late 1920s. Bernard was also a cabinet maker and learned the trade from his father – known as a perfectionist, as was apparently his spouse. This obviously had an impact on a formative Bernard and influenced his work practice.

Innes Cordial labels by Bernard Roundhill Te Papa copy

Innes cordial labels for C.L. Innes & Co. Ltd: from left – Reg: CA000680/001/0015 produced 1956, Reg:CA000680/001/0024 produced mid-late 1950s, and Reg:CA000680/001/0023, produced mid-late 1950s. Images courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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He then moved to Timaru around 1931 where he got his foot in the door of commercial art,  trying his hand professionally at window display material – designing signs, price tags and jewellers’ cards for various businesses. During this period of the lean depression years he also created paintings on material to earn money, daubing demons and heroes on velvet cushion covers and firescreens to earn a meagre living; all the items being dispersed by two salesman friends.

Bernard Roundhill art - OAK WATTIE'S WYONA ROBINSON'S HOLDSON ST GEORGE PETER PAN BLUE BONNET SWISS MAID WONDER SET HAIRSPRAY Te Papa Collection between 1961-1977

A selection of Roundhill Studio designs for various companies. Although this photo looks like it dates from the late 1950s, it was actually taken of contemporary products sometime between 1971-1976. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000672/003/0002

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This followed a move to Dunedin where work was still thin on the ground, and at first and he would accept anything going – recalling one job akin to performance art where he painted on the velvet dresses of live models behind the display glass of a store in The Octagon. This led to some textile design work creating floral patterns.

Bernard Roundhill, Fissionable material. Framed calendar print, 1950s Dunbar Sloane

“Fissionable Material”,  framed calendar print, 1950s, likely commissioned by L. R. Allen & Co., Ltd. Image courtesy of Dunbar Sloane Auctioneers.

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However it was not long before he started to become successful. By 1933 he began working as chief designer for both confectioners Cadbury Fry Hudson and publishers Coulls Somerville Wilkie in Dunedin, who shared his much-in-demand services, split morning and afternoon. It was here working for the latter he created some of his most well-known work – the “Peter the Pilot” character for Timaru Milling Co ‘s O-Tis breakfast cereal, doing a number of adverts, packaging items, album covers, trade cards, and other merchandise; records state from 1939 to 1954. Although, Peter the Pilot had already been issued as an album by 1938, and he continued to work for this company through to at least the early 1970s.

Bernard Roundill for Winstone   from Peter Alsop book sampler CROP

Original artwork for Willy, Lofty, Tiny and Droop: concreting and drain-laying, illustration for Winstone’s promotional book, 1956. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000659/002/0005

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About this time, Roundhill discovered the airbrush art technique after reading articles about American and German commercial art in a magazine, and inspired by this idea he developed it for his own work, purchasing an Aerograph with a hand-pump compressor, even constructing his own equipment and customising the process in order to create the smooth, graduated and mechanical effects he wanted to achieve. By his own estimation it took around seven years of long work days to learn the craft thoroughly enough to be comparable to the commercial artists he admired – whose work filled magazines like Popular Mechanics.

CHAMP - CHAMP PET FOOD COMPANY - Skippy The Dog J R BUTLAND (dog food and cat food) 1950s EDIT copy 1

Champ dog food can label, featuring Skippy the dog, for J.R. Butland, late 1950s. Private collection 

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In 1935 he married his first wife Eileen Grace Morey in Dunedin. In 1938 they were living at 20 Cranley Street, Dunedin Central, – but then the same year they picked up and relocated with Bernard’s parents at 11 Littlebourne Crescent. Just to add to a crowded situation, Bernard’s brother Kenneth, a carpenter, was also living at the family home (his father John William was also now working as a carpenter). At this time Roundhill worked on the 1939-1940 Centennial Exhibition, as well as for Wattie’s (canned foods) and Speights (beer).

Choysa Tea for Bond & Bond 1950 Bernard Roundhill - Art New Zealand edit

Choysa Tea advertisement,  for Bond & Bond, 1950.

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This move may have had something to do with Bernard commencing military service that year – as a draftsman in the intelligence office of the 8th Brigade, mainly drawing maps. Leigh-Ellen Roundhill, Bernard’s daughter, is now an artist herself working on the Gold Coast in Australia – “Like so many other men, he did not speak of his war years. What I do know is that he was in the Air Force and did the Bombsight surveying (a device used by aircraft to accurately drop bombs, Bombsights were a feature of most aircraft from WW I onwards). Then his commanding officer would keep him back in Wellington to do map work. His work was very hush-hush and I was told he was part of the Secret Service. “

Crest - Bartlett Pears label  - Mike Davidson EDIT

Crest Bartlett pears can label, for J.R. Butland, late 1950s. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection

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In 1942 he moved over to the Royal New Zealand Air Force and worked for the Government architect’s office. All seriousness and secret business aside, Roundhill developed “Wing Commander Duval Dimwit” for their instruction manuals during this time to bring “a little humour into them” in the vein of the RAF’s Pilot Officer Prune – and also did brochure covers and pin-up art for aircraft noses, basically whatever was required or desired.

Innes Lemonade Bernard Roundhill 1950-1951 CROP 1

The Innes Lemonade girl. Poster artwork for C.L. Innes & Co. Ltd., 1950-1951. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000672/001/0014

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It is said he moved to Auckland in 1939 although this cannot be true since his second wedding was in Otago – it wasn’t that long before the marriage with Eileen foundered and Roundhill had met someone else. I think biographers are confused in regards to Bernard’s service in which he was stationed in both Auckland and Wellington during those years, but not permanently. Eileen and Bernard begun divorce proceedings in late 1943. Still in Dunedin, he married his second wife Olive Ella Tasker, whom he had met in Wellington in 1944 whilst still with Eileen.

CREST tomato juice label copy

Crest tomato juice can label, for J.R. Butland, late 1950s. Private collection 

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In the process of research, I trawled through five hundred or more newspaper articles which ended up being mainly of various seemingly unrelated Roundhills competing in sports tournaments. There were adverts for a Miss M. Roundhill’s dress-making studio in the late 1930s-early 1940s in Lower Hutt (Alfred, Mary Jane and daughter Mary had moved there in the late 1920s). But there was hardly a thing of note – apart from his and Eileen ‘s divorce noted in an article unflatteringly entitled “Unhappy Marriages”.

design for Home Loan Poster Education 1960s Bernard Roundhill Te Papa collection crop

One of three designs commissioned by a home loan company, early 1960s. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000662/002/0007

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So where was the scandal? That was it, I’m afraid – three wives and only one dissolution. The rest of the time it was clearly nose to the grindstone giving a glossy finish to plums on can labels – if any company wanted plump berries and healthful, fresh-looking vegies, or hi-tech planes and spacecraft from another world – Roundhill was the go-to guy for quite a stretch. Leigh-Ellen recalls Bernard was a very keen gardener, landscaping the family home and “grew wonderful vegetables, as well as planting many fruit trees which I used to climb”. No doubt the bounty from this was inspiration for his illustration work.

Four Square - fine things of the future - colouring book 1 brentzconz EDIT

Colouring book cover designed for Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd’s Four Square stores, 1954. Private collection.

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Roundhill does not appear in the electoral roll in Auckland until 1946, so he and Olive must have made their move in 1945. During this period came a stint at an advertising agency studio; but it wasn’t long before he set up a freelance studio in Commerce Street. The couple resided in Dedwood Terrace, Ponsonby until the late 1940s to very early 1950s – when they moved to 1 Ranier Street, Ellerslie.

Four Square advertising picture - her list says butcher baker four square Likely Bernard Roundhill EDIT further final

 “A Treat in Store”, image possibly from a calendar, designed for Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd’s Four Square stores, late 1940s-early 1950s. Private collection.

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By 1947 He was airbrushing ink and gouache with an air compressor and adding watercolour brushwork by hand on top to create illustrations with a highly finished look that nobody else was achieving. In “A Treat In Store” A girl accompanied by her spaniel and a trolley full of products (such as Bird’s Custard) in tow, is about to enter a Four Square corner store holding a shopping list. It is so obviously Roundhill work done for Foodstuffs New Zealand Ltd (Four Square and Pam’s), and is very reminiscent of his other softly-hued cheesecake work like “Fissionable Material”.

Four Square Store cover of puzzle  envelope 1950s 1949-1950 likely Bernard Roundhill EDIT

Promotional puzzle showing many of Four Square’s line of products. Dates for this item vary greatly from 1942 to 1959 – but it was actually issued in 1949-1950. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Manuscripts and Pictorial collection. Ref: Eph-F-GAMES-1950s-05-cover

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His pastel period of the late 1940s and early 1950s was all pinks, mints and aquas – and took a queue from the saccharine, romantic stylings of the very popular 1930s American calendar artist Mabel Rollins Harris’s idyllic works of children and glamour pin-ups. Even so the earlier work, such as his Peter the Pilot items, was markedly awkward and clunky in comparison to the later slick illustrations that became his trademark . Even further down the line when he’d really hit his stride, it was very hit and miss – there was often something a little wooden, and slightly distorted-looking about his renderings of people unless cropped close in a frame or off to the side to mask it. They were mostly neither graceful or believable; it was almost as if finish upstaged focus on form. Nevertheless, this work was still popular with clients – but let’s face it – still objects were his forte. Tomatoes and beans did not have to kick a ball or unfurl a sail.

Goldpack Apple Slices copy on the shelves in 1960 - Innes  Lemon Squash Cordial label mid 1950s copy

left: Innes cordial label, late 1950s, Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection. Right: Goldpack dried apple box, late 1950s, private collection.

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From here he segued into calendar pin-up work of the early 1950s which he excelled at, probably because they were quite still and posed. Heavy influences are obvious on Roundhill’s cheesecake work from Alberto Vargas, George Petty, and the art direction of Esquire Magazine. They were created for Auckland calendar company L. R. Allen & Co Ltd. Auckland (which is still operating today), and some were used for W.D. & H.O. Wills (cigarettes).

Kauri Museum - Roundhill Peter the Pilot album 1939 -  Royal New Zealand Air Force display Rongotai Cover 1938

Right: Peter the Pilot’s “Century of Progress” album 1939. Image courtesy of The Kauri Museum collection, Matakohe. Left: Royal New Zealand Air Force, Rongotai display, souvenir booklet cover, 1938. The date begs the question as to whether Roundhill could have done this given he did not commence working with the RNZAF until the following year. Image courtesy of  Alexander Turnbull Library, who also question whether it’s authored by him. Ref: Eph-B-AIRFORCE-1938-01-front 

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Roundhill worked for many years as a freelance artist and purportedly established the Roundhill Studios, a large, stylish deco-style building – in Auckland in 1974 according to one of a few short articles that have been written over the recent years. Although the electoral rolls always give the address as Onehunga, it was actually in Ellerslie – at the same address as their home. Then another source describes his Ellerslie studio as “pre- supermarket days”- so 1950s.

Innes Tartan fruit cordials 1956 Te Papa edit

Innes Cordials packaging, for C.L. Innes & Co. Ltd., 1956. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: ACA000672/003/0007.

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There were two children of the union with Olive, previously mentioned daughter Leigh-Ellen – and also Dean Bernard Roundhill – who born in 1953. Leigh-Ellen says “It is possible the studio became registered as an Enterprise in the 1970s – but was indeed up and running by 1958. I remember a great deal of the studio as it was a big part of my life; this is where I grew up. My first recall is during the construction of the studio in 1957. It was attached to the family home in Ellerslie. Still only crawling, I climbed over all the building materials being used – only to be rescued by Bernard who was two thirds up a two storey ladder at the time.

Lincoln Electric Race Track box by Bernard Roundhill EDIT

Lincoln Electric Race Track box, 1950s-1960s, image courtesy of Clayton Blackwood collection.

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The studio was part of my play ground; and I wandered fairly freely in and out, watching my father and all the other artist staff work. I studied Bernard doing his airbrushing – no questions (to be) asked, so I was very still and silent as I observed. I learned a lot from watching them all, taking up art myself eventually. I recall him doing the beautiful fruit and flower labelling for Wattie’s and Yates, and various jam brands as well. And of course his Vargas lookalikes, which hung on the back walls of the studio.”

Little Chief Socks Bernard Roundhill 1949 Te Papa collection

Design for Little Chief Children’s Sox packaging, 1949. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000662/002/0003

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As far as canned (and boxed) fruit and vegetable products, Roundhill was known to have worked on label illustrations for Wattie’s and Wyona (General Foods), Crest (Butland), OAK (Thompson and Hills), St. George (Irvine and Stevenson), and Kia-Ora (Whittome and Stevenson) amongst others from the late 1950s through to at least the early 1970s. He had a fairly distinct style and his work was much more polished than other illustrators due to his technique. He was probably responsible for the majority of these designs in the marketplace for at least a couple of decades. As well as can labels, the studio was producing designs for a wide range of products from puzzles, mobiles, and calendars to wrapping paper, chocolate boxes, magazine covers, stationery, food packaging, and board games.

Modern Aircraft Album  CEREAL FOODS (NZ) WEETIES VITA-BRITS KORNIES  RICE FLAKES1950S EDIT copy

Wonder Book of Modern Aircraft Album, issued by Cereal Foods (N.Z.) Ltd., around the mid 1940s. Private collection

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Clients of this period included Little Chief (children’s socks), Winstone’s Limited (building materials), seed packets for Yates and McKenzie’s Stores, and The Mirror magazine. He worked on Butland Industries’ Goldpack brand, as well as their fictional home economics rep Judith Ann Field, and mascot character Skippy the terrier for Champ dog food. Holdson, Lincoln, and Philmar (board games and toys), New Zealand Home Journal, Diamond cereals and pasta (Timaru Milling Company Ltd), The New Zealand Ministry of Tourism, Ballet Russe (makeup), DB Lager (Dominion Breweries Ltd), Innes (soft drinks and cordials), Bond & Bond Ltd (Choysa Tea), Dolphin (swimwear), Edmonds, and aforementioned Foodstuffs NZ Ltd brands. I am sure this is just a small sampling of companies he completed work for.
 

Oak - Orange Marmalade- Thompson and Hills - Mike Davidson - prob early 1960s prob Roundhill artwork

OAK orange marmalade can label, for Thompson & Hills Ltd., probably early 1960s. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.

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Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners NZ Conference Chch Nov-Dec 1916 - Roundhill in it prob John William EDIT copy

Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners Conference, Christchurch, 1916. There is a Roundhill specified in the group, probably Bernard’s father John William – I am guessing middle of back row based on physical appearance. Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: PAColl-D-0423.

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However as his work progressed through the 1950s and the 1960s, the crafting of it became extraordinarily precise. The highly polished shapes and forms comprising his work were solid, smooth and soft cubist; reminiscent of Tamara de Lempicka’s celebrated Art Deco era portraits of European café society. The portfolio of images he created for Winstone, featuring the characters Willy, Lofty, Tiny & Droop are exemplary of this period.

Pin Ups - Bernard Roundhill copy

Left: “I Haven’t Got Much On Today”, 1950, Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000661/001/0006. Right: “Forgotten Something, Honey?” 1950-1951, Image courtesy of alisonmc on Flickr. Both likely calendar prints commissioned by L. R. Allen & Co., Ltd.

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In 1956 he designed his most famous illustration, the one that many people are familiar with – “Auckland in the Year 2000″ – for Winstone’s, featuring streamlined, high tech craft whizzing between futuristic buildings of downtown Auckland, a feat of swooping late-Deco inspired line work exquisitely rendered to finished perfection with the airbrush by Roundhill. Interestingly, the illustration he is celebrated for was completely his own concept and creation, given carte blanche by the client to do whatever he liked to fill a double-page spread.

Rangitoto - Spaceport II - Auckland 2500 - The Ambassadors concepted 1960 completed early 1990s  Bernard Roundhill  Te Papa collection  copy

“The Ambassadors, Rangitoto Spaceport 11, Auckland in the Year 2500.” Begun in 1960, finished between 1990-1994. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te
Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000659/001/0002

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Also the influence of his early Scientology days, shine through in his work – in particular “The Ambassadors”, featuring space craft zooming over a futuristic Auckland harbour with Rangitoto looming in the background. The intergalactic pulp science fiction concepts, masquerading as religious tenets – of fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard who founded the movement – are obvious even down to the weird logo on the ship’s sail like a mutated cross between the Thetan and Illuminati symbols. This illustration somewhat mirrors the fable that Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling futuristic airliners, and stacked them around volcanoes. Still, they are rather visionary and you can compare them with what has come to pass in contemporary times and there are some remarkable features that have fortuitously become realties.

roundhill designs for Yates Seed Packets EDIT copy

Yates seed packets from the 1960s, Image courtesy of Sarah E. Laing collection, 44 Ways of Eating an Apple blog.  

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Roundhill, described as a quiet and withdrawn persona, had embraced the wacko cult in 1953, along with his wife of the time, during a period when he was, besides running the studio, deputy mayor of Ellerslie Borough (he had spent a number of years as a council member previous to this). An acquaintance who was teaching him the art of public speaking, passed him a book on the religion. He said of himself he “learned, through Scientology, to create art that could communicate to people….(through it I) received validation and learned to do it better and better.” The last part may have some basis in truth but the former is quite debatable since Roundhill had effectively been “communicating to people” very successfully through his work for a good twenty years before the religion ever came into his life.

skippy  - judith ann - ice cream baby - sanitarium bixies copy

Clockwise from top left: Portrait of Skippy the Dog,  for J.R. Butland’s Champ pet foods, 1950s, Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000672/003/0008. Point-of-sale advertising material for Sanitarium’s Bixies cereal.  Portrait of  Judith Ann Field, the fictional home economics rep for J.R. Butland’s Crest Foods, 1953. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000662/001/0004. Painting of baby with ice cream and dog, probably done for a magazine in the early 1950s.

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Along with gravity, communication and its language was a concept that fascinated him and he ruminated on often as he undertook his work – of which he had an extraordinary ability to focus on, to the point of being able to exclude everything else going on around him that may have been distracting. “When I’m doing artwork, there’s nothing else in existence as far as I’m concerned” he once said.

Teachatot Game by Holdsons 1960s-1970s retouched Bernard Roundhill

Holdson’s Teachatot game box for Thomas Holdsworth & Sons, issued 1961. Private collection.

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During the 1960s and 1970s, he was a very busy designer and continued to complete a huge amount of work. He may well have been the most prolific commercial artist during that time. Between commercial work that continued to flow in – he returned to his former Depression-era occupation of painting mystical and symbolic scenes on dark velvet; he had flirted with this style again in his spare time in the 1950s, making greeting cards.
His creations in this genre were fantastic, kitsch, and…pretty awful really – in fact so much so that I am not going to include a picture of one (it’s true what they say about not quitting your day job). For someone who had built a reputation for cheerful, colourful and glossy work, these tacky renderings of Kingfishers, sailing ships, woodsmen and deer were surprisingly dark and creepy. But really, when you look hard at the characters in his commercial work like his portrait of Judith Ann Field and others – there is something slightly unnerving about their glazed stares and sinister Stepfordesque perfection – like they are aliens that have been zipped into a full body disguise.

The Incredible Tale (Fisherman and Boy ) 1953 Bernard Roundhill Te Papa collection edit copy

“The Incredible Tale (Fisherman and boy)”, 1953. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg:CA000661/001/0003

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The most famous design he produced from the studio in his long career, one that went around the world, over and over, was during this period – the Air New Zealand Koru which was apparently designed originally in 1965 when TEAL became Air New Zealand and looked to replace its Southern Cross logo with something new and innovative. The koru was first applied to the tail of Air New Zealand aircraft with the arrival of the DC-10 in 1973, and has remained in use ever since.
Leigh-Ellen recalls: “I was banned from the studio when they were working on this, which was created by (graphic designer) Ken Chapman. I reasoned my way around that, and I watched the development of the project which was very exciting. I saw a lot of confidential things go on during it.” Although Roundhill mostly gets complete and unquestioned credit for this design, it seems he only came up with the original concept that was repeatedly returned to the drawing board, re-designed, developed and finished by members of his staff.

In amongst this period of great success resulting in the zenith of his most famous design – was also a period of tragedy for him. In 1967 his mother and his father John William and Mabel Roundhill both died within the year (sister Mabel had passed away ten years earlier). Then in 1969 son Dean Bernard Roundhill was killed in a road accident with a motorcycle at just 16 years old.

Whittomes Kia-Ora Jam - whittome & Stevenson- Mike Davidson prob early- mid 1960s prob Roundhill artwork

Kia-Ora jam can label, for Whittome & Stevenson, probably early-mid 1960s. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.

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Winstone by Bernard Roundhill from  Peter Alsop's book

Original artwork for Willy, Lofty, Tiny and Droop: Roofing Tiles, illustration for Winstone’s promotional book, 1956. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te
Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000659/002/0004

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However clients kept him occupied while he delegated jobs to a staff that swelled to as many as sixteen at times. As well as most of the clients listed of the 1950s, in the 1960s-1970s Roundhill added Peter Pan (ice cream and frozen foods), Air New Zealand, Robinson’s (cordials and baby foods), Jason Products (placemats and coasters) Blue Bonnet (spreads and jams), Wonderset (hair products) Yukich’s Montana Wines, Swiss Maid (dairy), Craig’s canned foods, sauces and jams (Butland Industries) and Qantas amongst his roster during this period. Initially he had started employing others post-war period to help with the more tedious jobs like lettering, but the studio, which also had the rare distinction of being independent from an advertising agency, produced a number of respected designers like John Woodruffe and Graham Braddock. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1980s that Roundhill finally dipped his toe in the digital world of production – converting the studio which previously had run without even a photocopier.

In 1988 Bernard Roundhill was presented with the Gold Axis Award by the New Zealand Advertising Institute, for excellence in advertising communication and craft excellence. At the time it was only one of three that had been bestowed.

Yates Garden Painting Book - New Gold Dream -Bernard Roundhill  - Phillip Matthews - Listener Apr 20-26 2002

The Yates Garden Painting Book for children, issued 1953, replete with evil gnomes to give you nightmares.

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After Olive died in 1984, Roundhill married for a third and final time – to Peggy Lee (not the celebrated crooner). Peggy was a widow who had one son from her former marriage. She also claimed she was a writer and director, as well as a “highly trained” scientology counsellor. Peggy was a few years behind Bernard, having discovered the religion in 1961 through the Dianetics book which was held at Auckland University. It was after his second wife died they found had their faith in common; whether they knew each other earlier on is unknown but highly likely. They soon sold the Ellerslie property and moved to a cottage in Torbay.

Air New Zealand craft with Roundhill's Koru design All rights reserved by dbcnwa flickr edit copy

Air New Zealand craft with the Roundhill Studio’s Koru design. Image courtesy of and © dbcnwa on Flickr .

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His relationship and union happened with Peggy very quickly – who was by all accounts a very charismatic individual with “enough energy to power the national grid.” Controlling and possessive – she essentially closed Bernard off into a spiritual bubble, alienating him from his family. Leigh-Allen says “…I became estranged until two weeks before he died. I was banned from retrieving any of my, or my family’s things, from the house after (Peggy married him). Peggy told a lot of tales and I think Bernard just gave up (fighting it).” One journalist described her style as “cheerful embellishment.” Apparently in her world the truth was highly negotiable if inconvenient – see earlier story about Bernard and the aeroplane, which may have had a vague basis in legitimacy – but was pretty far-fetched by the time she had re-styled it.

So devoted were they that by 1994, the couple moved to Southern California to teach and lecture on the religion. To say that a move to the other side of the world to establish a new life in his early eighties was risk-taking is an understatement – not only was he very elderly but Bernard was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The couple spent much of their savings trying to find a cure and when the money and will power ran out – they decided to go home.
By the early 2000s they had returned to New Zealand and were living in Mairangi Bay on North Shore, Auckland where Bernard indulged in his favourite pastime; gardening. Towards the end, Peggy undertook the administrative role for Bernard’s art studio, which seems to indicate he continued to work in some capacity – although seemingly he started wind down commissions in the early-mid 1990s when his illness got the better of him. Nevertheless, he had been kept busy work-wise well into his eighth decade.

Yates Seeds_350 Art by Bernards Roundhill EDIT

Yate’s seed packet designs, probably early-mid 1950s. Image from the “New Zealand In Bloom” exhibition, 2005, courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te
Papa Tongarewa.

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Peggy had a scientology website, which was a joint undertaking also showcasing Bernard and his work. It has since gone out of commission – likely it went down because she died in 2006, the year following Bernard – and the hosting has obviously since expired. Bernard had passed away in 2005 at age 94; but before that Peggy had spent three years between 1999 and 2002 sorting his archives in preparation for offering the collection to a museum. The archive collection effectively falls into three categories: original finished art, commercial art products (such as posters and ephemera), and then Bernard’s reference material, including some by his contemporaries. Ultimately the body of work went to Te Papa where it remains today as an example of how he styled some of our most recognisable brands through the seven decades of his remarkable career. In 2005 they showcased some of it in a Richard Wolfe-curated exhibition “New Zealand in Bloom.”

Young woman hitching 1951-1954 Te Papa collection

“Young Woman Hitching a Ride”, 1951-1954. Likely commissioned by L. R. Allen & Co., Ltd. for a calendar. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te
Papa Tongarewa, Reg: A000683/001/0003

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When working in other styles and genres such as the cartoonish and quirky “Surfing Santas” design for wrapping paper of 1950 – Roundhill showed that he was perfectly competent in capturing action adequately (although, on reflection, it seems likely this was designed by an employee). Everyone knows I am a devotee of some of his work like his hyper-real illustrations for Holdson; however his irregularity in a stellar level of illustration across the board tempts me to dub him overrated in comparison to the international greats – for as innovative as he was – butted up against them he tends to regularly fall short in consistence as well as imagination.

INNES - C L INNES & CO LTD  Strawberry Milk Shake & Ice Block Flavouring Syrup  1950S or 1960s Te Papa prob Bernard Roundhill EDIT

An Innes syrup label for C.L. Innes & Co. Ltd., produced mid-late 1950s. Images courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Reg: CA000680/001/0004

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The majority of his work speaks little of New Zealand culturally in that unique manner that defines such things as Kiwiana, and as such cannot claim that differentiation from the international work of others that would really propel it into its own unique genre.
But this is what happens when an attempt is made to reframe commercial work as high art – a concept and distinction that Roundhill always stated he was indifferent to; it is voluntarily judged under the harsh light of a new work lamp.
More than anything his oeuvre’s real value is as a time capsule of product showcasing packaging and advertising that stretches nearly seventy years. Although inspired by Norman Rockwell and his luscious Coca-Cola adverts, amongst other celebrated illustrators – Roundhill never quite reached that level excepting some of his brilliant futuristic scapes and was rightly awarded for them; but as such he ultimately may have just been a big fish in a small retouched pond.

Thanks to: Bridget Simpson, Reference Librarian, Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library. Jennifer Twist, Archivist, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Leigh-Ellen Roundhill, Grant Cathro, Peter Michel, Lemuel Lyes of History Geek and Mike Davidson for interviews, images, and assistance with research.

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

Hokey Information: Poking at History

In Brian Simon, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Cadbury's, Cadbury's Crunchie, confectionery, Crystal Ice Cream, Deep South Ice Cream Ltd, Desserts, food historian, Frozen Foods, Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey ice cream, Hudsons, Ice Cream, Kraft Foods, Kraft Foods Ltd, MacDuffs stores, Manda Ice Cream Ltd, Meadow Gold Ice Cream Ltd, Newjoy Ice Cream Co, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Professor Helen Leach, Snowflake Ice Cream Ltd, Tip-Top, William Hatton on October 17, 2012 at 10.46

Newjoy Ice Cream sandwich board from a dairy showing products of the time. Painted by Tyrell & Holmes, 1958, courtesy of  and  © D. R. Murray of Built In Dunedin blog at  http://builtindunedin.com/

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Hokey Pokey ice cream. A national icon of foodstuffs, and officially the country’s favourite flavour next to (surprisingly) vanilla, in a land where the citizens have the highest consumption of ice cream per capita globally- sitting at well over twenty litres per annum, per person – even beating out the entire of the U.S. An amazing statistic really.
So who invented it? It’s a very good question, actually. Next to the Pavlova debate, it may be the number one most hotly contested issue of that genre.
Hokey Pokey, the confectionery, was apparently around quite some time as an individual confectionery product before it made it into ice cream form.

A close-up of William Hatton’s 1896 patent paperwork for Hokey Pokey, Archives New Zealand.

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Of course the famous fact about Hokey Pokey is that it was patented by a man named William Hatton, a manufacturer and confectioner from Dunedin, in March 1896:
A mixture of about 20 to 30 pounds of sugar and five to ten pounds of glucose is boiled with a little water to a degree not exceeding 400 degrees Fahrenheit; and then from 2 to 3 ounces of Carbonate of Soda is added causing the mixture to froth and become light. It is then poured out and moulded into any desired shape.
The record lies within Archives New Zealand where they consider it one of the jewels in the Kiwiana crown. They did a short piece on it here:

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“The invention of Hokey Pokey signifies how food is intimately related to our sense of identity and what it means to be a New Zealander”, says Greg Goulding , the Chief Archivist and General Manager.

Tin sign advertising Papatoetoe concern Meadow Gold which took over Snowflake in 1955. This sign probably early 1960s.

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Hatton may have patented the name and method, but he certainly didn’t invent it. I managed to locate records of Hokey Pokey being sold as confectionery new Zealand quite some time earlier than that – it was being offered as early as 1892 – by the Tyrell stores, owned by King and Co. It seems to have been in vogue as a novelty for a decade or so, and then doesn’t start re-appearing as a sweet until the 1920s.

Griffins Hokey Pokey Cream biscuits photographed  by Kniven & Co  for Woolworths N.Z. Ltd., Alexander Turnbull Library collection , Ref: 1/2-210966-F

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 None of these references of course show exactly what the product looked like or even describe it, however the earliest descriptions of commercial product refer to hunks, lumps or slabs – and that’s mostly in the late 1920s-early 1930s. The earliest visual I have is 1932 by MacDuffs. It was a chocolate coated bar and what would closely resemble a Crunchie, or Violet Crumble in Australia today; perhaps a bit heftier. Earlier mentions describing it as chocolate-coated hunks or lumps would resemble what’s sold today as “Honeycomb.”

Tip-Top TT-2, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Although Professor Helen Leach, who is a culinary anthropologist at Otago University (and wrote the book “The Pavlova Story” on the famous debate over the dessert) at the time she was quoted (2010) says that the earliest recipe she could find was 1916. However, The Auckland Star newspaper’s confectioner offered a cookbook including a Hokey Pokey recipe in 1895.

A picture of William Hatton’s 1896 patent paperwork for Hokey Pokey, Archives New Zealand.

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I don’t doubt that putting candy pieces in ice cream was an old idea. Hokey Pokey ice cream can generally be described as plain vanilla with small lumps of what is commonly known as honeycomb toffee distributed throughout it. Jeri Quinzio, a food historian, says that the origins of Hokey Pokey ice cream are rather simple and consisted of a cake of plain ice cream proffered by street vendors which was sliced to order and served wrapped in a piece of paper. Often the ice cream was layered in three flavours (what is commonly known as Neapolitan today) but this was not a hard and fast rule. It’s also quite likely that variations had small pieces of toffee or candy, and other ingredients mixed in the plain or layered base – a little like Cassata. According to The Encyclopaedia of Food, 1923, which was published in New York, Hokey Pokey is “a term applied to mixed colours and flavours of ice cream in cake form”.

MacDuffs Stores confectionery, Hokey Pokey Tablet, November 1932.

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And indeed it is thought that the origins of the name may be Italian and come from one of two phrases – “oh che poco” (oh how little) or “ecco un poco” (here is a little piece). This does make some sense, since that the term Hokey Pokey is also thought to derive from a song that was used by Italian street vendors who used to sing it in order to hawk their wares in 19th century Britain and America – and came to be known as “Hokey Pokey Men” ( and thus, the carts came to be known as Hokey Pokey Barrows). Another theory is that the vendors would yell “Ecce pocce”, which means something similar to “Get it here, it’s cold”, in Italian and this evolved into the name “Hokey Pokey”. After all, it was the Italians (and French) that really started making what we now know as ice cream in the late 1600s.

A recreation of Hokey Pokey in it’s original form; in the C19th it was a simple slice served wrapped in paper, often a tri flavour creation. Courtesy of Ivan Day from a fantatsic blog “Food History Jottings” at  foodhistorjottings.blogspot.com.au

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However “The Hokey Pokey” was a song (and dance) was inspired by the sweet treat, not the other way around, , allegedly written by bandleader Al Tabor in 1940, the idea came from an ice cream vendor whom Tabor had heard as a boy, calling out, “Hokey pokey, penny a lump. Have a lick, make you jump”.

Evening Post, December 1927.

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Apparently, the story goes that Hokey Pokey in ice cream form was first made by a Papatoetoe company in the 1940s. This alleged fact has been widely quoted by various, but the only source I could find giving credit was Christchurch City library which indicates the information as being from Richard Wolfe and Stephen Barnett’s 2002 book “100 years of Kiwiana “ . CCL’s page on Kiwi Classics goes on to say “…peculiar to New Zealand is hokey-pokey (sic), a blend of vanilla base with pieces of toffee. Made famous by Tip Top, it was first sold by the Meadow Gold Ice Cream Company of Papatoetoe, Auckland, in the 1940s. The idea of adding toffee wasn’t new, but the distinctive taste was unique.” Further to that, the “100% New Zealand” website, by Tourism New Zealand, claims that it was “… first sold in 1940 (but doesn’t say by whom), Hokey Pokey became a national favourite when the Tip-Top Ice Cream company began heavily marketing it in the 1950s…” Yet again the source of this information isn’t quoted.

MacDuff’s Stores confectionery, Evening Post, September 1933.

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In fact Meadow Gold (which had a logo rather like Borden’s “Elsie the Cow”) didn’t exist until 1955. The Snowflake ice cream factory was once situated just to the south of the block of shops on the corner of Great South Road and Caspar Road, Papatoetoe. The factory was run by W.G. Lunn during the 1940s, then Rita and George Aagard took over the business in 1949, selling it to Meadow Gold after they were done after just six years. So technically, Meadow Gold could not have come out with it in the 1940s.
Of course, everyone wants to stake their claim, be “the person that had the idea” – and take the title of the one who invented this beloved dessert. Tip-Top’s claim is fairly dubious, and there is no information on Meadow Gold let alone anything to back that claim up. The janky dates also don’t fare well at all.

A screen shot of William Hatton’s method description in his patent, 1896, Archives New Zealand

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A more detailed explanation comes from descendants of Peter Pan ice cream’s founder T.C. Denne, who claim that they were possibly the first to make Hokey Pokey, not Meadow Gold- and they actually have a written description of how it was first made – “In the early days, The hokey-pokey was manually crushed into large chunks and hand-spooned into the ice cream during the churning process. Later the engineers developed machinery which crushed and blended the hokey pokey into the ice cream”.

 Yvonne Sutton as well as John Denne distinctly remember it already being made by the mid-1950s: “My understanding is, it was Peter Pan that invented the Hokey Pokey ice cream. I’m pretty sure that’s correct. It was a very exacting procedure because you have a porous, soft sugary product inside an ice cream – and to stop the Hokey Pokey from melting was really a technique that was very valuable – and my understanding is that Peter Pan began it”, says JohnYvonne remembers: “I think it was an original Peter Pan product – first made – and superior to all later versions.  Of course I’m somewhat biased. I well remember it  being made by Trevor Franklin in a large steam jacketed ‘kettle,’  and how the golden sugary mix frothed up when the baking soda was put in. It was poured hot into large, shallow, cut down milk powder tins, and chilled. When cold, it  was dropped in big chunks into an ingenious crusher, built by engineer Gordon Brogden, then shovelled generously by hand into the ice cream. Delectable!”

So here we have some verifiable company information, a detailed description, a general date and eyewitnesses.

Modern version of the Tip-Top tub showing the new toffee balls that recently replaced smashed “kibble”.

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In the scheme of things they are a contender for the title however here is another, likely better one: Brian Simon, previous owner of both Deep South Ice Cream Ltd and Manda Ice Cream companies in Invercargill. Now in his seventies, he himself claims to have made the first Hokey Pokey ice cream at a Dunedin company in 1953:
“I was 18 and working in my father’s ice cream factory Newjoy Ice Cream Co., and we thought about different flavours (we could do). I was reading in an American magazine about what they were making there and one was candy ice cream, and I thought “well, we’ve never had one like that in New Zealand”. We had two Dutchmen working there during the daytime and then when they knocked off, they walked up the road to Cadbury’s to do the night shift. One day I asked them – “what are you doing there?” and they said “Oh, we’re making Crunchie bars”. So I said “do they have any broken Hokey Pokey?”and they said “yes, they’ve got quite a bit” and I said “well can you put me in touch with the man that I can talk to about buying some?” So we got some and I started sprinkling it into the ice cream. And that’s how we first made ice cream with Hokey Pokey in it and it became quite popular. Our opposition at the time was Crystal Ice Cream in Dunedin and they started doing it too – and it just sort of blossomed from there.

Auckland Star newspaper’s  cook book with Hokey Pokey recipe of January 1895 far predates Prof. Helen Leach’s 1916 find.

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But I have seen in a book that somebody showed me, that Tip-Top claim to be the first ones to do it in 1943 or 1944 and I said “oh, that’s bullshit”.  At that time we were on sugar rationing , as well as petrol rationing , because it was World War Two and you just couldn’t get the sugar to do those sort of things. So I don’t think that is what really happened. So it was the broken pieces of Crunchie bars – and eventually Cadbury’s actually made special stuff for us because we were using so much of it, they put it in eleven pound bags and we bought it in pallet lots. When we bring on a new flavour we don’t know how it’s going to go, and so we didn’t get too excited about Hokey Pokey at the time. When the opposition saw that we were selling a lot of it they decided to have a go at it. I haven’t got a message for Tip-Top; they are the market leaders and they seem to have claimed that it was theirs since during the war, well I don’t know where they got their sugar from!”.

Hokey Pokey biscuits from a vintage Edmond’s Sure To Rise cookbook.

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It is a fact that during WWII years, that manufacturers were only allowed to use fifty percent of their usual sugar. On top of that, a 25% sales tax was imposed on products so many manufacturers such as Cadbury decided to cancel most of their confectionery lines and put all their sugar into chocolate bars for the war effort.

The earliest verification I have of Tip-Top selling Hokey Pokey are both in the 1950s, both in bulk, and in quart boxes. However the dates further than the general decade are not more specific. Brian Simon is described by a colleague as “a no-nonsense kind of guy”, and his account does sound believable. This could be backed up by Cadbury’s and other witnesses of the time if, indeed, any are still alive. By his account Crunchie Bars were on the market in NZ around in the early fifties, and they were being made from the late 1920’s in the UK first by Fry and then Cadbury Fry when they merged (and then Cadbury Fry merged with NZ’s Hudson in 1930). They were present in Australia by 1929.

Here’s the problem: Ted Barringer, who was sent from Britain in 1952 to work on sales and marketing, and eventually became managing director of Cadbury Fry Hudson for 17 years, specifically remembers working up the almost non-existent  novelty line and sending for the successful Crunchie recipe and process from J S Fry at Somerdale in the U.K., in 1955. By all accounts it was an instant hit in Aotearoa. Although the hand-cut method of production in New Zealand may have accounted for high breakage, they just weren’t being made before then. This probably puts Newjoy and Peter Pan back head-to-head.

It should also be noted, for the record, that Peter Pan first published their company history “Sweet Success” in 1997, a good twelve years before Simon gave his interview.

By the late 1950s to early 1960s Both Hudson’s and Griffin’s had their versions of Hokey Pokey biscuits, and Tip-Top had a Hokey Pokey TT-2, pictured here, exact dates for all are unknown – but it goes unsaid, way after the fact.

Hokey Pokey commemorated in a NZ Post “Kiwiana” stamp set of 1994.

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Nobody is going to challenge Tip-Top’s claim – and besides that “Hokey Pokey” is apparently not a registered trademark, to this day. They recently modified the recipe to use uniform honeycomb balls, from what was formerly known as “kibble” in the trade – reason being that the bigger chunks, created by hammering the toffee into pieces, would routinely clog the machinery. Combining two classics, they also released a limited edition Trumpet version - “Creamy Hokey Pokey flavoured ice cream with crunchy hokey pokey pieces, a caramel sauce centre and sprinkled with hokey pokey pieces and choc topping”, celebrating renowned Kiwi team the All Blacks, in 2011. Regardless of what Tip-Top do to it, they will never really make it their own – But besides that – evidence speaks otherwise to Hokey Pokey’s origins. Yet to materialise are dates and details that back up their implication as original creator.

There is at least the good beginnings of a story here, even if it’s one of those “ask more questions than gives answers” type of articles to start with – and hopefully more information will come to light in due course which will settle this mystery once and for all.

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.

A Sticky Business: Whittaker’s

In Andrew Whittaker, Bournville Cocoa, Brian Whittaker, Cadbury's, Chocolate, confectionery, J. H. Whittaker and Sons, J.H. Whittaker Australia Ltd, James Henry Whittaker, K Bar, Peanut Slab, Rigg & Whittaker, Rowntree's cocoa, Santé bar, toffee, Whittaker's, Whittaker's Confectionery Works on September 24, 2012 at 10.46

Presumably an advertising campaign for the Easter period showing a recent addition: that New Zealand classic hokey pokey, which is more often seen in ice cream, but reconfigured as a chocolate flavour. 

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Whittaker’s is now one of New Zealand’s most popular (and enduring) brands, having been around for over 120 years – if you count it in its most primitive initial form. I love this brand, and enjoy it regularly. There’s so many things about the product that has appeal besides it’s “home-grown” quality, packaging, and advertising.

Giving you the (sticky) finger: the only Whittaker’s advert I’ve ever found. Even then there was a company ethic with focus on local labour and supplies. Evening Post, 1932.

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However the essential one is that Whittaker’s has a truly unique flavour that comes from their personal supervision over the entire process – from beginning to end, or as they have dubbed it – “bean to bar”. It must be one of few brands still make their product on site, Sadly here in Australia, where I currently live, we get a tiny portion of the delicious range – perhaps five or so flavours of the Blocks and bars, three types of Slab, and a couple of the bags of Minis which have been recently launched. No kiwifruit, no biscuit & berry, and definitely no raspberry and white chocolate!

A portion of the block wrapper featuring J.H. Whiittaker. 

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It’s true that their fraction of the Oz market is tiny and by accounts still in the single digits (but slowly growing). So I am not criticising, except to suggest if they had a bigger selection of varieties of their deliciousness on sale, for one I would buy more. I’m rather  expressing my surprise that, although they are now NZ’s second biggest chocolate brand next to Cadbury’s, and have one of the neatest websites around, it’s an understatement to say that they have the usual thin-on-the-ground company yarn in their history section. I mean, minimal is an understatement – it’s almost nonexistent. Once I started looking into it, I found that there’s more back story there that they have skipped over in the happy-go-lucky one they present.

Tin from the Whittaker’s company archive collection, unknown era – presumably 1900s-1910s.

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James Henry Whittaker was born in 1868 in Longsight, Manchester to parents James, who was registered as a tool and model maker , and Annie. His two older sisters Harriet and Mary Ann were born in 1856 and 1858 respectively, as well as his Brother Walter who was born in Levenshulme. There is also mention of the family residing in Chorlton-upon-Medlock at this time so by all accounts they moved around the Manchester city area with regularity.

Classic Peanut Slab (which also now comes in two other versions). – photo courtesy of Viernest on Flickr.

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Following this the family moved again to Macclesfield, West Cheshire, a distance to the south where four more siblings were added; Charles Herbert (1870), Frank (1874) , John Frederick (1878 ), and Harold (1880).
Having picked up and moved again By 1881, we find James working as a jeweller’s errand boy in Warwckshire, Birmingham and family is living at 14 Burbury Street there.

The Exchange Building in Lambton Quay, Wellington, circa 1890s -which housed the home store of Rigg & Whittaker, J.H.’s joint business venture between 1892-1896.

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By 1883, or 1884 at the latest J. H. Whittaker entered the confectionery industry . It is mentioned that he worked for Cadbury’s, and as it happens that company purchased Bournbrook Estate nearby in 1878 and opened a huge Bournville factory to manufacture their cocoa and chocolate products. So we can safely say that sometime between 1884 and the following six years Whittaker worked for them and learned the trade inside out.

Advert for Rigg and Whittaker’s Christchurch store, agents- Press,  June 1892.

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At age 22, he married Leah Alice Hopkins (born 1870), at All Saints Church, Kings Heath, in March of 1890. Sometime soon after this he left Britain for New Zealand, arriving before the end of that year. Records show only one J.H. Whittaker leaving from the Liverpool Port that year. He settled in Christchurch in the South Island and immediately set to work making his own product which he sold door to door by horse and cart.

Brian Whittaker (top) and Andrew Whittaker (bottom) as children, and founder James Henry Whittaker, with portions of block and slab.

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Wasting very little time establishing himself , by 1892 he had entered into an import and agency business with John Rigg in Wellington, (not to be confused with the Hon, John Rigg, the well-known unionist who spent the majority of his life in the printing field. This one probably arrived to the country in the late 1850s and worked as an auctioneer and then later for the Wellington Council as a clerk). They were principal agents for Rowntree’s cocoa and confectionery in New Zealand – as well as Carr’s biscuits , Bottomley And Son confectionery and numerous other groceries and household wares. The former is no surprise given his professional background with the chocolate industry and this endeavour probably set him up well for what was to come both in knowledge of procuring the suppliers he would need, details of import- export regulations, and familiarity with the capital city and potential customers.

Toffee Milks are considered one of the three classics of the Whittaker brand along with Peanut Slabs and K Bars. This is the handsome contemporary version of the point of sale box with 72 units.

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The main business ran out of the Exchange Building on Lambton Quay where they were also agents for the Bank of New Zealand. their storehouses are described as ” always well stocked”. John Rigg’s Auckland business remained under his name and they established two more businesses – in Dunedin and Christchurch. Rigg & Whittaker were still a partnership in 1894, as exemplified by an advertisement for their business selling empty tin lined cases and casks on the cheap. I am assuming that these were probably the containers left over from there imported cocoa. “The rapid and complete manner in which the manufactures of the above named firms have been placed on the New Zealand market is not only sufficient comment on the ability and energy of these gentlemen, but proves that there is a market in this Colony for a really high class article, which they supply”. High class supply, superior standard product, was to become a theme of J.H. Whittaker’s business endeavours.

The Whittaker’s Confectionery Works staff in Wellington, 1930.

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John Rigg continued on in this business well into the 1920s solo, with a record of 1922 showing him importing perfumes from Europe. However sometime during 1896, Whittaker, residing in Wellington at least temporarily – had parted ways with Rigg and established Whittaker’s Confectionery.

A Kiwiana classic: top side of the Peanut Slab, synonymous with school tuck shops of the 1970s-1980s. Photo courtesy of Molly D from Dark Chocolate Diary. 

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In 1897 he seems to be back in Christchurch with the business there, so there’s a possibility that he took the Lichfield Street branch of the business with him in the deal when he and Rigg parted ways. So with the distributing manufactory in Wellington up and running, he also ran the business in Christchurch for the next 16 years, listed as being at Lincoln Road, Addington (1904).
The earliest definite records I can find of Whittaker branded product is caramel toffee, and mint toffee in the 1910s. Recently, a printed earthenware jar surfaced showing that at least in the early days of the company – they were also producing a jam line. Pretty typical for many confectioners to have a number of preserves and sauces in the early days; it just went hand in hand with the cooking processes. The jars which are known to come in two sizes, 14.5cm and 9.5cm respectively, are extremely hard to find with less than ten known to exist, so likely it was produced in small quantities – hence the scarceness of this item. Emblazoned with “Whittaker Brothers“, it turns out that two of his siblings  worked in the confectionery and importation  business with him under that name (but were not financially involved in the enterprise). One source says Walter and Charles  – but it’s likely that it was  actually Charles and Harold –  as their names appear on electoral records for the 1905-1906 years in Christchurch alongside Henry James’s. At the same time a Walter Whittaker appears in Canterbury. I was unable to find definite shipping records for any of the three to confirm what year they may have followed James Henry over to New Zealand- but they probably all came over separately and some time between 1900 and 1905.

These barley sugar tins crop up at auction every two or three years, so still quite hard to get. A similar  tin was also made for Glucose Butterscotch. I’m guessing 1950s.

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Over the first 20 years of their marriage James and his wife had a total of nine children; five boys and four girls, including twins . However it was in 1913, that he established a partnership with two of his sons, Ronald Tawhio Whittaker (1893), and James Whittaker (1894).A  curious consideration here is their age – they weren’t exactly experienced – the oldest not being more than twenty.

The modern K Bar point of sale box still has a classic design and  holds 48 units.

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This is where things get interesting because during the same period, I found that James Whittaker filed for bankruptcy . This was the same year that he had formed J.H. Whittaker & Sons in Wellington with his offspring – this is the Whittaker’s we know and enjoy today. These apparent financial woes occurred when he had now been in the confectionery business in Aotearoa in some form or another for over 22 years.

Doing classic well: Another view of the modern K Bar point of sale box. 

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I had to wonder, was this a coincidence, or whether this was deliberately orchestrated? This is the reason for my curiosity. In his sworn statement at the Supreme Court hearing of his case, he explains that his business in Christchurch had been troubled for more than five years, and one of the reasons he provided for the cashflow problem was that because business was bad – he had to pay more costs for promotion and travellers (agent salesmen) “in the north (island)”.

The design and wrappers have not essentially changed since the 1970s.

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Yet he had deliberately infiltrated the North Island and created an enterprise which became the base for the others (there’s a possibility that he may have had more shops than just the one in Christchurch). He had funneled money into another business and it had affected his available resources and viability. It was by no means a sudden event. I was able to find the 1908 act  under which he was adjudicated, Apparently it seems that filing for bankruptcy did not affect a partnership since he was filing bankruptcy for his Christchurch business, which was not a partnership. Neither of the sons filed for bankruptcy…in fact one of the sons in the Wellington partnership was listed as a creditor. I’d take a guess the whole thing was part of a long-term plan and also just happened to serve the dual purpose in neatly extracting him from a (possibly calculated) financial fix and thus nicely moving things along in the desired direction. No longer responsible for paying the salary for his two partners under Whittaker Brothers, he apparently moved the remainder of his family to Wellington to focus on Whittaker & Sons and his siblings remained in the Canterbury area for the rest of their lives.

The extremely rare Whittaker’s jam jar.  Only about ten intact examples are known. “Brothers” indicates it dates between 1900-1913. Jam historian Peter L. Henson says – “like jam maker Robert Furness of Auckland, these pots were probably imported from C.T. Maling of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Maling captured the market for the production of white pottery with transfer-printed trade labels and was a leader in domestic white ware, being responsible for supplying 90% of the jars for jam makers in England and Scotland, together with exports.”  Photo courtesy of Steve Costello.

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The Whittaker Confectionery Works was situated at Cornhill Street between at least 1913-1916 when they advertise variously for “a capable young woman, good organiser…boy for warehouse…girls for wrapping… experienced sugar boiler”. At this time Whittaker’s acted as agent for Lipton’s Tea and also for Epps’s cocoa, boxed chocolates and custard powder.
By June of 1917 the works had moved to 167-169 Vivian Street and records show that’s where it stayed until at least 1945. What happened after that date is unknown at present, since records after that date are limited.

Whittaker’s issued only five hundred units of this chocolate block featuring navigation buttons from the website. Pieces of the bar were broken up and actually used for the design of their on-line presence. 

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The Whittaker company’s rising fortune meant a move back to “the big smoke ” and that’s where J. H. Whittaker was again by at least 1927, which finds him involved in various organisations such as the City Ambulance Board, the Brooklyn School Committee, the Wellington Civic League Council , and the Birmingham and Midland Counties Association of which the last two he was president. Now in his late fifties he was nearing retirement age and seemed to settle in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn with his wife for good; first at 40 McKinley Crescent by 1935 and then two years later at Todman St. Also in 1937 the business became a limited liability company (a flexible form of enterprise that blends elements of partnership and corporate structures). Founder J. H. Whittaker died 1947 and his wife Leah a few years later in 1954.

As well as their own confectionery business, Whittaker’s acted as agents for Epps’s and Lipton’s.

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Known products of the 1930s were chocolates, glucose barley sugar, liquorice toffee allsorts, and Mello-O-Mints. Toffee was a big thing for them even back in those days – and varieties included super cream, super nut, chocolate , rhum (sp) and butter, malt and milk, and “toffee selections” – a mix of nine varieties. What their chocolate products were specifically at the time – I don’t know as I have never seen any packaging or ads, in fact vintage Whittaker’s is extremely rare.

Whittaker’s factory in Porirua showing the very smart pod extension (below) designed by Craig, Craig, Moller / Tony Johnston – Architects. Constructed by Turnat Commercial while full production carried on unimpeded.

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It was not all fun and games working in a confectionery factory though; far from it. In 1938 Miss D. Pritchard suffered severe lacerations when she caught her hands in a chocolate machine., and in 1943 Miss C Incledon lost three fingers in a toffee rolling machine. They seemed to be constantly advertising for staff over time, if only replacing digits was that easy.

The 1960s saw fruit mixed toffees, Koff Caramel, and Karamel Bars. Santé probably came along much earlier in the piece but Whittaker weren’t the instigators by a long shot – it was almost generic being produced by Fry’s , Hudson’s, Masson’s, Griffin’s for the Sweetacres line, and Beatall at various times from the 1860s onwards. However in time, Whittaker’s made them a brand name associated with their company alone.

Three flavours of Santé – photo courtesy of Marib on Flickr.

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The Gen-Xer heyday, my time, was the 1970s to 80s and consuming what are now considered the classics: Toffee Milks, those old “tooth pullers” K Bars (orange, lemon, lime, raspberry, pineapple, blackberry fruit toffee) and Peanut Slabs. Say the words “tuck shop” to anyone of that era and their mind will likely go to these three, now iconic, products. I did have pictures of a classic 1970s Toffee Milk box as well as a vintage cast iron Santé  mould, but seem to have misplaced the pictures – which is unfortunate as any images of vintage Whittaker’s are far and few between – and they would have been great to illustrate this article.

An ad for an upcoming release that is getting hype and salivation at present. No word on what date it will be in store yet.

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Products of the nineties that disappeared along the way were Nut Block, Peanut Block, Peanut Hunks, and Sport. In 1992 the company made the beginnings of a trans-Tasman play when they formed J.H. Whittaker Australia Ltd. , making it one of a handful (Four Square, “K” Brand, Aulsebrook’s, Sharpe Bros and Glaxo naming a few) that have successfully established themselves over the ditch.

Bittersweet Peanut Slab, photo courtesy of Moira Clunie from An Auckland Vegan blog.

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In July 2011 Whittaker’s launched their impressive completely themed website by Wellington digital design agency Salted Herring, with the by-line that it was “the world’s first made entirely of chocolate” (not really, well – kind of) and launched a matching limited edition block which was comprised of the website interface elements made in real chocolate. Once the mould had been created, the dark Ghana navigation buttons were photographed and uploaded to become part of the design.

Whittaker’s Chocolate Works Fargo delivery truck 1938, courtesy of the Porirua Historical Society.

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Today James Henry Whittaker’s grandsons Andrew and Brian manage the company, with a focus on “fairness” – fair trade supplies and local employment opportunities, an idea that they were advertising back in the 1930s. The range is extensive . It comprises of all the classics I remember fondly from my youth as well as chunks, squares, bars, Slabs in eleven flavours, Santé in four flavours, Santé three packs, Slab bars in four pieces including new hokey pokey, Slab three packs, Mini-slab bags in nine flavours. There are around twenty five different varieties of blocks including an upcoming peanut butter version, as well as a brand new white raspberry flavour in store within the next few weeks.

Tin from the Whittaker’s company archive collection, unknown era – presumably 1930s.

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Whittaker’s is still made entirely domestically from beginning to end today, at their Porirua factory. In 2009 Whittaker’s was the third most trusted brand in NZ according to a Reader’s Digest survey, and by this year topped the list as most trusted brand ahead of Wattie’s and Cadbury’s. It even beat out St John’s Ambulances. Maybe chocolate is the real life saver after all.

Whittaker’s had a, now collectible, official stamp created by company Black Sheep in 2001.

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Addendum, late November 2012: The Whittaker’s company recently released some new images of vintage packaging from company archives. It gives a more complete vision of what, as it turns out, were the lids of two canisters  that I previously posted above. I thought they were flat tins, sort of like the barley sugar one – very similar to the type of flat container that tobacco was sold in. As it turns out, they were far more substantial. I presume the “boys And Girls” graphic is a POS or a section from a peanut slab box – that’s what it looks like in the character’s hand. 


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