Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Saucing Material

In Canned Goods, Canned vegetables, Culinary Anthropology, Grocery Archaeology, Kiwi Classics, Supermarket Anthropology, Wattie's on June 26, 2011 at 10.46

Here’s some recreations I’ve been working my way through lately.
The two Wattie’s labels probably date from the early to mid 1960s and were part of the group that came from the ex marketing manager’s collection mentioned in a previous post.


James Wattie and Harold Carr formed J. Wattie Canneries Ltd in 1934 and in 1935 started supplying pulped fruit for jam, and quickly turned canning of fruit.


It wasn’t until 1936 they moved into vegetables so we can conject this Frimley label dates from the second half of that decade when they have clearly acquired the Frimley plant which must have been close by – it was also based in Hastings. I am going to place it between 1936-1939.

Frimley goes back to the early 1900s producing a generous variety of canned vegetables, jams, pie fruits, dessert fruits, Baked Beans, and tomato ketchup; through the 1910s – when they added jelly crystals and fruit squashes to their range as well. By the WWII years spaghetti and packet tomato sauce was included in the range. In 1913 Frimley was purchased S. Kirkpatrick & Co. (Kirkpatrick and “K” brands) which was in turn became part of Wattie’s.  The brand appears it had been killed off by the end of the war, probably a victim of rationing which led to focus on certain brands – some survived, some didn’t. Fat was trimmed as far as brands that were a supefluous representation of market share and nothing more.


Frimley canned veges and ketchup advert, Marlborough Express, Volume XLV, Issue 254, 31 October 1911, Page 3

As no more than a trademark belonging to another larger and far more popular self-named concern, it had no doubt ceased to have any value as a stand-alone name.

I grabbed this Frimley label off the official Wattie’s site as a teeny .jpeg and was able to bring it back to life, although it did take the best part of a day. I will definitely get to a proper post on the Wattie’s company history – as one of New Zealand’s most successful and iconic brands.


Petering Out

In Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, Peter Pan ice cream on June 21, 2011 at 10.46

I’m going to have to reign myself in for a few months I think. I have been pretty obsessed with my new baby to the point I have prepared material for at least three months of posts. Which is lucky because I really need to be focussed on another project – a coffee table book and exhibition I have been working on for a long time. Things are really running behind and I’ve had the hard word put on me to start finalising things. So I need to train my concentration on that and bring it to fruition.

Because I’ve known that this was coming I’ve been studiouslyworking my way through recreating a bunch of Wattie’s can labels as far back as the 1930’s, Sunshine product packaging from the 1950s and 1960s, and – I mentioned this a while ago when I posted the article “Neverbland” on Denne Brothers’s ice cream back in April – on a series of Peter Pan product posters that seem to be circa mid to end 1960s.


So here’s the first two I put back together from photos. They are kind of  kitsch, lurid and a bit naive – but that’s what appeals to me about them. These were the days when you had four screens and bright colours to make do with and get your message across as effectively as possible, and keeping that in mind lends them a real charm.


I’ve messaged the seller a couple of times about the provenance but she doesn’t seem to be interested in answering me given that I am not handing over actual cash money for anything, so I do not have any back story on the ten or so designs.I can make an educated guess that they came from a storage area- perhaps a cupboard or attic space of an old dairy. I can’t see why anyone else would keep them. It’s clear they were all created by the same artist. However if it had been an archive from a marketing manager or commercial designer I conject there would have been a lot more material and a less random selection.

So who knows, but sometimes not having the answer is more interesting. Click on the Peter Pan tag to go to the original story on the company I posted a few weeks back.

(Note: hmmm, neither the category or tag systems I set up seem to work which is really annoying after spending a lot of time on it. Admittedly I am still getting the hang of the way the WordPress system operates. In the meantime go here for the previous Peter Pan article https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/neverbland/)

Ain’t No Sunshine

In Desserts, Goodman Fielder, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Sunshine, Tucker on June 3, 2011 at 10.46

Occasionally at IPONZ they will actually post a grainy, low quality scan of the product packaging which has been trademarked, and that is where I grabbed this from and recreated it from scratch.
Sunshine was a long established brand by W.F. Tucker and Co., Ltd, based in Grafton, Auckland. I’ve found advertisements going back to the mid 1890s for their baking and custard powders under “Tucker’s” – although it took a good twenty or more years for the “Sunshine”  brand to gradually come into its own. By the early 1900s they are manufacturing jelly crystals, which is what most people remember them for.

“Sunshine” jelly crystals  packaging, 1964

Amongst the fourteen delicious jelly flavours on offer from Sunshine by 1917 were “Champagne” as well as “Calves Feet” (ew! I guess aspic meals were all the rage at the time) and their 1919 announcement of their kidney flavour soup declares it a “masterpiece of flavour” (the jury is still out on that one).
By the late teens a serious product expansion was underway and instant milk puddings and soups were added as well as the twee “Fairy”, “Splendo”, and “Elfin” desserts. Eventually by the 1960s they had branched into instant rice and pasta-based meals, cereals, drinks, canned goods, dressings and spreads – with varying success.

Tucker’s “Sunshine” jelly crystals  packaging, 1909

Sometime In the mid 1970s Tucker was sold to Bluebird Foods and in turn passed to Goodman Fielder, of which Bluebird was probably already a division. Trademark records from 1974 show that classes of products were split across two companies.
Most people think of “Sunshine” and remember a wobbly gelatin confection on the dessert menu. Baby Boomers will also recall their well-known peanut butter. We were mainly a “Greggs” household so I don’t remember “Sunshine”  other than for their boxed risotto and milk powder. I was under the assumption that the brand still existed in at least instant rice meals but it seems it is now defunct.

Tucker’s “Sunshine” custard powder packaging, 1911

I’ve got a lot more stuff on “Sunshine”  so you can look forward to a couple more posts of packaging recreations in the future.