Bite Size: Unfinished Project

In Biscuits, Chocolate, confectionery, Griffin’s on August 10, 2011 at 10.46

These glass slides were for sale on Trademe a few months ago, and I loved them – but firstly I couldn’t afford them. And even if I could the chances that the brittle, old glass would arrive to me in one piece was slim – given that just about everything sent trans-Tasman somehow gets wrecked, even if it’s something that is  seemingly impossible to break. Yes, New Zealand Post really are that bad.
I had a plan to try to get better resolution shots and offered to pay but first the seller ignored me, played dumb and then finally said it was too late – well of course it was by then.

I’ll skip briefly around the history of the brand here, because it’s another classic Kiwi brand with a story too big for this little post. Griffin’s started in Nelson in 1864 as a flour and cocoa mill. Business boomed; and the company expanded into biscuits and sweets  by the 1880s, made out of the raw ingredients they were producing themselves.


By 1895 success was such that the company went public, and with a couple of bumps along the way, they are still going strong today.
Griffin’s stuck mainly to what they knew best – biscuits. Although they had a serious foray into confectionery that lasted many decades, it seems seem to have been markedly reduced by the 1950s in comparison to their cookie business.

I have seen these slides before and they are advertising printed on glass plates, often hand tinted – that were used in the movie theatres of yore to advertise businesses and products – before moving ads were common place.
I apologise the images are not good quality however if I recreated these properly I would be sitting here all week, and I won’t do that. I want to at least re-do the Milko candy bar one at some point in the future as it’s an appealing graphic and would look good as a poster.


Nevertheless the images are quaint and good enough examples of how product looked and also that plastic packaging was being generously used a little earlier than you may imagine (I have images of cellophane packets and surprisingly, bacon rashers in what appears to be plastic vacuum sealed bags being marketed in NZ from the mid 1930s).

Griffin’s Round Wine, Malt Thins, Krispies and Gingernuts stocked on shelves at Woolworths, Panmure, Auckland, late 1963.

I have seen a similar style of packaging on their biscuits from 1963 in the photo above, but I reckon these slides are a little earlier. If I had to get it down to a five year time frame I would guess 1958 to 1963. Given that I’ve found a reference to a commercial in the New Zealand Film Archives for Milko Bars selling for 6D as in the slide, dated 1961, I’m going for 1959-1960… because if they had a commercial, logic deduces that they would have been using that instead of these, would they not?

Photo of Woolworths courtesy of and  © Degilbo (Lance Bates)  http://www.flickr.com/photos/degilbo_on_flickr/sets/72157622925317144/with/4154579333/

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