longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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Brotherly Confection

In Chocolate, Collins Bros, Collins' Lolly Shop, confectionery, cordial, Ice Cream, jam, tomato sauce on May 20, 2012 at 10.46

A few months ago I picked up this lovely label on Trademe; you can’t see in the image but it’s also printed with gold over the rich design. I’ve seen similar labels made for jars for the St. George jams range under Irvine and Stevenson‘s in the early-mid 1920s; but this appears to be a bit older than that. This actually ended up being a bit of a disaster because it was yet another lost package courtesy of ever-unreliable New Zealand Post, but the seller was kind enough to look for the other one that she knew she had stashed away somewhere – and although it was quite stained she was happy to send it to me as a replacement free of charge in a paid envelope I provided. After quite a few emails exchanged, a lot of back and forthing to the bank and post office, scanning and some retouching to the damage – and here we are finally.

Collins’ Lolly Shop, Thames Star, 24 December 1912

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There is not much to be known about Collins Bros.  From experience this may be because not only were they a small concern; but also perhaps they didn’t last very long. Based in Pollen Street, Thames they were in competition with at least two other sweet shops including Palmer’s which had been established for over  forty years by the time Collins’  arrived on the scene.  They are apparently registered as “J. Collins, confectioner” (singular)  in the pre-1930 catalogue of The Treasury – which is an archive catalogue compiled by the Coromandel Heritage Trust.

Collins’ new soda fountain, Thames Star, 20 December 1916

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I can’t actually find in any record that they manufactured jam; but clearly they did, as fruit is featured in the design with a tomato as the central motif. They were in fact manufacturing tomato sauce in the early 1910s – but whether this was sold in a jar or bottles is unknown. This multi-purpose label would be applicable to either, I imagine – and may have even been pasted on boxes for other products as well.

Collins’ new chocolates, Thames Star, 8 January, 1914

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As demonstrated by the ads that I found featured here, “Collins’ Lolly Shop” as it was called locally according to the papers, were best known for their confectionery though – sweets, chocolates, ice cream, as well as a range of cordials – over their sauce and jam. They must have been one of the earlier ice cream manufacturers in the country with their locally popular Vanilla Ices – pioneering the way for the boom of the 1930s; another business I can think of is Dustin’s (later Southern Cross biscuits), which I wrote on last year here,  and which much like Collins’ store, had an American-style soda fountain. One has to wonder if the parents’ tenure in the U.S. had any bearing on this, at the time, novel idea.

Seafood store for sale, Thames Star, 24 September, 1908

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However food business seems to have been the consistent thing in the lead-up to this enterprise; I found an advertisement for a certain J. Collins of Pollen Street trying to offload a fish shop in 1908 – No doubt the same person.
Any further information about the mysterious “J” is unknown – with fairly common names it’s just too difficult to tease any information out – devoid of clues like a first name, or anything else that would lead me in some kind of direction.

 Thames Star, 17 May, 1913

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There’s quite likely a Parawai-Morrinsville-Thames connection; I find a Selina Delbridge (born 1849) married James Collins (born 1845)  in 1869 at Gunnislake, Cornwall and they soon emigrated to America, where they had a daughter, Minnie Maud Collins (I also found a record for an Annie Collins, born in Chicago, and a Joseph Collins, also native of the U.S. – interred in the same cemetery).

Collins Brothers’ confectionery and fruit – Thames Star,  22 December, 1916

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They then settled in the gold area of Thames, New Zealand (going by Wise’s Directory I’m estimating around 1886) where James Collins is on record of being in the profession of mining first in Mount Pleasant then later in  in Parawai where the family settled. It seems he also ran cattle on his property “Reservoir Road” there  by the late 1890s, where they were residing. They had a total of six children according to Minnie Adams’ great-granddaughter. I think this is somewhat of an underestimation – as there were at least five siblings that didn’t make it past 6 years. however I can only verify aforementioned Minnie, as well as Selina, Rosie, Fred and Ernest.

 Thames Star, 20 December 1916

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Interestingly, Later on in the Thames Directory of 1909-1912 Ernest Collins is listed in a seemingly relative profession of fruiterer in Pollen Street. So if the descendant’s information is accurate – then who was the missing child? Let’s see – who is the odd one out? Seemingly a J. Collins working as a storeman in Paeroa is a logical choice, because he’s the only J, Jas, or James Collins over three decades who isn’t in the profession of mining in the area. I’m guessing a James Collins jnr – or the aforementioned Joseph born before they arrived in Aotearoa. I speculate that he and Ernest, by this time ex fruit and seafood respectively, set up together as “Collins Brothers”. It seems that they may have been open for business together from 1912 until Ernest died early, in his mid thirties in 1918. After that the trail fizzles out. This is conjecture of course, and I could keep going until it makes more sense – but I’m a little short of time lately and so we will leave our investigation there. Perhaps I’ll find some more pieces of the story in the future to make sense of it.

The Collins brothers, circa the mid-late 1900s, from left: Frederick, Joseph, Ernest, and James. image courtesy of Cherie Hamlin.

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Addendum, late May 2012: It seems quite a lot of my guesswork was correct. This information came in later from Cherie Hamlin, a Collins descendant: I pegged the right family; but slightly wrong on the brothers who ran the shop. 

Between 1869 and 1871 James and Selina Collins emigrated to the USA, where they had four children: Rose Jane (1871), Annie (1875), Joseph (1878) and Minnie Maud (1879).  Between 1879 and 1881 the family moved to New Zealand and had another five children: Frederick James (1881), Ernest (1884), James Edgar (1888), Jessie (1890),and Selina May (1891).

Joseph was the proponent of the brand and  along with James E made up the “Bros.” Ernest – although he had his fruit shop in Pollen Street – was not involved (but probably helped procure ingredient supplies).  Joseph died in 1948  listed as a “Retired Confectioner”, and James E in 1960, as a “retired gardener”. He is also recorded as having a previous career as a copper-smith prior to enlistment in WWI (he spent a year in service while Collins Bros. was operating) and is remembered by the family as “helping” Joseph with the business.  

Iris Parkes, niece of Joseph, is still alive and can remember Joseph Collins making pastry and sweets and says he could  “could turn his hand to any delight”. Iris recalls Joseph and James as being “great mates as well as brothers, and were always together” – the fish shop, however, she is unsure of. How Joseph got into the trade is also unknown, but she speculates that since the family grew fruit and vegetables it may have been a natural progression to then use the produce. I think that although he may have had a brilliant natural talent – he undoubtedly must have trained under someone else; and it’s likely that he did so under one of the two other local established confectioners such as Palmer’s, before going out on his own.

Ernest Collins probably started his shop to utilise some of the harvests from the Reservoir Road farm and Joseph would have used the fruits in pastries and sweets, preserves, syrups and sauces.  In 1898 Joseph wins a prize in the Kidney potato category in the local flower show; and Ernest and  Fred win for lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower in 1898 – both instances  recorded in the Thames Star, demonstrating a long history and knowledge of fruit and vegetable growing. 

Fishy Buzzness

In Biscuits, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Chocolate, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudson's Chocolate Fish, Hudsons, Hudsons Buzz Bars, Pascall, Schweppes on February 6, 2012 at 10.46

Frozen Buzz Bars poster 400 dpi  colour adjust

Buzz Bars point-of-sale cardboard poster recreation,  probably late 1970s-early 1980s.  

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OK, I’m not sure what else they would be frozen with if not a freezer, but thanks for letting us know. Ah, the joys of vintage advertising. They just kept it simple, even if that meant leaning towards scratchings of complete irrelevance.  None of this baffling us with quasi-organic blatherings.

Anyway, I definitely remember these Hudson’s Buzz Bars from my childhood in the 1970s – they were made of marshmallow dipped in caramel,  then covered in chocolate. They were extremely popular along with the ubiquitous Chocolate Fish (a seafood shaped, milk chocolate covered raspberry or vanilla marshmallow treat that are often whacked in there with all the other popular Kiwiana icons).

Buzz Bars point-of-sale counter box, probably early 1960s.  

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One of my favourite childhood memories is my grandmother’s tenant when I was a toddler; I think her name was Janet or Janice, I can’t quite recall. She just adored me (well, I was very cute) and every once in a while she would leave Chocolate Fish in Nanna’s letterbox for me, sometimes with a Little Golden Book.

Of course to my generation Hudson’s was also the propagator of the famous “Cookie Bear” . Who didn’t get their annual birthday postcard from him? (parents would sign you up and the Hudson’s company would send you a birthday greeting from their mascot every year, replete with paw print. Well, to a small child it seemed like the real deal at the time). Of course later on he suddenly became the Griffin’s mascot, which was a little confusing for those that grew up with him, I touched on it in one of my first few, now seemingly rather amateurish posts, on the blog here. https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/hudsons/

Back of Cookie Bear birthday postcard from Hudson’s, issued 1979 

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I recreated this poster at top, which looks to be a card point-of-sale ad of the type that would be hung up in a dairy (known as a milk bar in Australia, or Drug Store in the U.S. – same thing) from a very low res, shoddy photo that accompanied an on-line auction a few months ago and the design looks to date from the early 1980s.

Chocolate Fish point-of-sale counter box, probably mid 1960s.  

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I wrote out the company history for this post but quite frankly it’s a bit too heavy-going with all the complicated twists and turns, mergers and buy-outs – so I am just going to give you a potted history:
Richard Hudson arrived in Dunedin in 1868 and set up a bakehouse that same year in Dowling Street churning out biscuits and pastries. By 1884 he had established a cocoa processing and chocolate manufacturing plant, thought to be the first in the Southern hemisphere (Kiwis triumphant over the Aussies yet again!), so chocolate and other confections were being produced from then on. In 1930-1931 Hudson’s merged with Cadbury, (or some sources say Cadbury Fry) of Britain and that is how the first Cadbury chocolate bar came to roll off the production line as opposed to being imported. That’s another whole story we won’t get into right now.

Chocolate fish, photo courtesy of  Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.a

Things chugged along nicely until around 1969 when Cadbury Fry Hudson conglomerated internationally with Schweppes to become Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd. In the late 1980s onwards things start to get really messy with Griffin’s coming into the picture in some capacity, or maybe entirely – and some brand swapping back and forth as well. And moving some Hudson products under the Pascall brand, just to confuse things. See what I mean? I’m sparing you this time around. Basically what was left continued under Griffin’s from thereon although there have been at least three different corporate owners between that period and now.

Buzz Bars are actually still being made today, at this time under the Cadbury brand. whatever scraps are actually left of the original Hudson’s company confectioneries are now back under the jurisdiction of Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.
I’ll get back to the Hudson’s Cookie Bear, Cadbury and Griffin’s later on in the year, or maybe the following. There’s certainly a lot of ground to cover.


Buzz Bar, photo courtesy of Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

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

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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.

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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.

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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/

Bite Size: Beats me

In AllBlack, Beatall, Chocolate, confectionery on July 12, 2011 at 10.46

 As you can see I now have a logo for my new “Bite Size” posts which are hopefully going to be short and sweet with any luck. Perhaps I’ll change it from time to time however for the time being it has been based on last week’s post about the Tip-Top boy. There’s less to know on this product than anything I’ve posted on previously, I think. It’s a counter display box, and I bought it in an antique shop in Ponsonby, Auckland around 1989. I had totally forgotten I owned it and found it whilst cleaning the cupboard when I flipped it open to see what was inside. So this paper panel is on the inside lid of the box, and the outside had no more clues to speak of. There’s no address or company name beside “AllBlack” which was a reasonably generic name sort of like “Acme” and covered everything from corn cures to gloves. As was “Sante”, a sure fire seller everyone from Whittaker’s (whom I think were the instigators) to Nestlé had their own at some point.

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The only thing I turned up was in the NZ Intellectual Property records – There were trademarks registered for “Beatall” cocoa (1923), “Beatall”  skim milk (1933), and “AllBlack” in the same goods classification (1931) which were never renewed at any point and are all expired since the 1980s. Of course this information does not help a great deal. This box could date anywhere between the early 1920s and the late 1950s but I am going to estimate between 1945 and 1955. Reason being the late Deco style of graphics, which was used well into the middle of the 1950s, would set a rough frame, combined with the fact that I was not able to turn up a single reference to either “Beatall” or “AllBlack” in any newspaper at all. This would tell me that it was post war (the news archive do not go beyond 1945 at this point in time). Perhaps when Papers Past go forth with everything after WWII, it will shed some light on the history of this company and its products.

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Addendum March 2012: In my visual and research travels over the last few months I have come across two more minimal references to the Beatall brand; one below from an ad for the Star Stores (the National Economy Stores chain of the 1930s-1940s ), and another from Richard Wolfe and Stephen Barnett’s book “New Zealand, New Zealand!”, above, which gives no further explanation – even a mention as to this brand – or what this item was from. It looks like the sticker from the outside of  POS box (point-of-sale item, in this case designed for counter display) which is what the panel I focused this post on is also from. I doubt that an off the shelf box would come in a ten pound weight! This indicates it’s from an era when the grocer would still measure out your selection for you, so it would probably date from the 1930s in all likelihood. That seems to tee up with the other dates I’ve found. I still haven’t turned up any other records yet. I am starting to wonder if there is a possibility Beatall was turned out of the National Economy Factory, along with the Orchid and Crystal brands – likely self lines for their own shops.

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Addendum July 2015: Recently, this interesting item popped up for sale in Australia;  a  paper label from a ‘Beatall’ brand cocoa tin.  According to the seller this item was produced some time between the 1930s and the 1950s. I’d say the former would be more accurate. This brand was produced by the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss  Condensed Milk Co., who had already been established in New Zealand for decades by this time. Was  the All Black/Beatall brand made by Nestlé?  It is very possible, given the above registration records indicate production of powdered milk as well as chocolates; obviously both items the company was renowned for; and that Nestlé  also did make sante style chocolate for a time. Although, I still suspect that  the actual All Black/Beatall chocolate brand was probably made by a smaller, more obscure company. I guess time will tell. 

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Australian Products Labels BEATALL Cocoa NESTLE seller says 1930s-50s edit copy

Flower Power

In Chocolate, Easter, Nestlé on April 25, 2011 at 10.46

This Nestlé Easter egg was up for auction on Trade Me last year. It is 73 years old!

The seller, who was managing the auction on behalf of someone else, claimed that it had belonged to the owner’s mother, who, as a child was taken with the flowers on the wrapper of the confectionery, and just could not bring herself to consume it, putting it back in the box, and away in a cupboard in 1938 and there it stayed. After she passed away one of the children found it and kept it too, until last year. She certainly had more will power than I can scrape up.

I am fascinated with things that have somehow retained their original food product – and remained in their complete packaging and appearance as they were when originally manufactured. It’s like a time capsule. I have some full jelly and custard boxes, and also occasionally vintage boxes of dummy chocolates used for window displays come up for auction, mostly in the U.S. Not so long ago there was an entire salesman’s sample tray for Brach’s candy with every treat still wrapped and intact;  jubes, nougats, everything – from the early 1970’s!

I even had a dream about this egg, in which I was transported back in time to a 4 Square store in the 1940s during the lead up to Easter, and there it was – sitting on a shelf! I really wanted to buy this item,  but I just knew that there was no way it would ever make it to me in one piece so I let it go. Finally after a couple of months of continuous relisting, someone bought it. I still regret it, it would have been a real conversation piece to say the least!

Later in the year I will do a further post on the Nestlé brand and New Zealand confectionary products from our childhood.  Anyway, happy Easter to all my readers!