I bought a Jaytee Patty Pans box a while ago and it just arrived yesterday. So many great kitchen memories. I think kids obsess on baking cups because it means one of several things; and they’re all good (debatable), sugary things! well that is just an assumption to explain my fixation, anyway.
My latest purchase is pre-decimal (designed with a to-retail pice of 10 pence printed on the box). Produced before 1967, I estimate late 1950s to early 1960s.
I dug through my archives and to my surprise, and maybe horror, I actually have three other slightly different versions of the box. Yes, I’ll be appearing soon on that TV show “Hoarders”. In twenty years you will remember this post when a news report comes on about an ironically malnourished body being found under tons of antique (well, they will be by then) ice cream tins, candy boxes and snack wrappers. “VICTIM SPENT FOOD ALLOWANCE ON EBAY AND STARVED UNDER COLLECTION”
I can date this one between 1964- 1967 because it came from the family kitchen and it’s pre-decimal (marked with a price of 13 pence). Mum wouldn’t have any reason to buy baking cups before she moved into the matrimonial home.
I thought the box was empty when I bought it, especially as I had asked for it to be flattened for postage… but it actually had the red wax paper and all the patty pans still inside, unused. The fact is that smell is the strongest sense linked to memory, and every time I open it and take a sniff, whoa! – it smells EXACTLY like Mum in the kitchen making Chocolate Crackles. It transports me right back there like I am standing in the kitchen of the family home. That’s the power of nostalgia, folks!
But it does make one wonder. How much of the smell that I remember was actual Chocolate Crackles? And how much was the actual patty pans? Seems like it was the latter in all honesty. It’s sort of like finding out late in life you were adopted. It’s a unique combo scent of paper, wax and vanilla that does not smell like anything else, I wonder if they scented them specifically?
On the left post 1979, as McMeeking have taken ownership. I estimate early 1980s. On the right, I estimate early-mid 1970s as the founder is still specified. Both boxes nicked from the family kitchen in the late eighties.
Jaytee Baking Cups have been a household name since the 1930’s, when the company was founded by a printing engineer, James Thomas Williamson. Hence the name Jaytee. Since acquiring the company in 1979 McMeeking Manufacturing has been the largest supplier of Baking Cups in New Zealand with exports to Australia and the Pacific Islands. McMeeking still own it today, running the operation from Dunedin, Otago.
Because I have this information it’s easy for me to get a ballpark date on these boxes combined with the probability of purchases influenced by my parents setting up house and us children being born (the likelihood of making cupcakes before you have squalling toddlers is pretty unlikely, after all – bake sales aside, who does stuff they don’t have to when they know they have twenty non-stop years of it in the near future?). The last image above are some modern designs from the company, produced within the last few years. You can still see remnants of the original box design as it’s morphed over the years.
OK, now let loose run to the nearest bakery and consume something in a patty pan. You know you can’t stop thinking about it now…
Addendum mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. I’d say these two boxes date from the 2000s, and are still made by McMeeking in Dunedin. There can’t be too many things that are still made domestically these days. It just occurred to me that I’ve never seen any advertising at all for Jaytee. That’s quite unusual for a steadfast kitchen product that has been around for some decades. Both following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.
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