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Archive for the ‘Ice Cream’ Category

Elbe’s Ice Cream: The Plot Thickens

In A&P Shows, Birds Eye Frozen Foods, Birds Eye NZ Ltd, Bodgies and Widgies, Denne Brothers, Dennis Knight Turner, Desserts, Elbe's Ice Cream, Elbe’s Milk Bar, Fonzies, Fred Elbe, Frozen Foods, Frozen Vegetables, Griffin’s, Happy Days, Heavenly Creatures, Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey ice cream, Ice Cream, Ice cream sundaes, John Waters' Cry-Baby, Juvenile delinquency, Laverne and Shirley, Louis Gottfried Christian Elbe, Mazengarb Report, Milk Bar Cowboys, Milkshakes, Moral Panic, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Rebels with a cause, Rockers and Greasers, soft drink, T.C. Denne, teenage decadence, The Petone Incident, Thomas Clement Denne, Tip-Top, Warren Elbe on January 12, 2015 at 10.46

Elbe's icecream logo 1950s copy

Recreation of an Elbe’s Ice Cream sign, imagined as late 1950s, inspired by their A&P stand logo (photo further down), and the colours of the milk bar interior.

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Now, as we know from my previous article here, a lot of people like to mark their territory in hokey pokey history – and quite often that involves claiming they invented it.

Having read my story on New Zealand’s favourite ice cream flavour, an Elbe descendant contacted me. After trading quite a few emails (as well as a bit of cursory snooping by me) it was a done deal that there was more than plenty for a story here – contenders to the hokey pokey crown, scandalous behaviour, and juvenile delinquency!

Elbe’s first opened as just a milk bar at 98 High Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington, “next to Woolworths”. The earliest mention I was able to locate was in a humorous article “On Trial”, in the Hutt News, early July 1936 – in which a mock court case is conducted at the milk bar of Frederick Elbe Esq., as part of a stag party celebration. At that time, apart from milkshakes and sundaes concocted for customers on the spot – the Elbes made their own ice cream on the premises and sold pints, quarts, and ice cream party cakes commercially.

The story begins with Louis Gottfried Christian Elbe – who hailed from Uralla, New South Wales, Australia, born 1887 to Louis (Ludovick Gottfried Elbe, 1858-1936) and Mary Phillipa (nee Goddard, 1864-1953). By the time Louis was on the scene he was already a second generation Aussie; the family had arrived from Erbach, Nassau, Germany in 1855. In 1906 Louis married Ada M. Marshall in Newtown, Sydney. After marriage they resided at 91 Evans Street, in Rozelle.

Elbe's Milk Bar 1950s courtesy of Sherry Elbe

The interior of Elbe’s Milk Bar in its 1950s heyday. The colour scheme was a very modern cream, lime green and black. Image courtesy of the Elbe family.

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Apparently quite mismatched – things went south with the union very quickly; in less than two years Ada had been abandoned. She quickly arranged for a court warrant issued in nearby Glebe, for Louis’s arrest – citing desertion. However it seems he had truly flown the coop. In not much more than a year, he reappeared in New Zealand, in 1909, now named Frederick Louis. A few short months had seemingly allowed him enough time to settle, meet, and marry Ann Elizabeth Lowry. Hopefully he was divorced from his initial wife first – but it doesn’t look hopeful right now.

Thus far my researches have been unable to locate any record of Fred arriving to Aotearoa. Running off, he likely switched countries under an assumed name.There’s no evidence that the Elbes ever divorced in Australian records, or that Frederick Elbe ever returned to Australia to sort this situation out before remarrying. The New Zealand Immigration Passenger Lists show no Elbes that even vaguely qualify. At least – not up until the 1930s when several records clearly indicate a Mr. F. Elbe, of the correct age and occupation, returning from Australia to Wellington on a number of occasions, from then on through to the 1950s. Not the kind of thing families really want to discover but that’s how it is – and not that uncommon either.

Why New Zealand? Perhaps he thought it best to get out of the country completely, but in tandem wanted to remain as close as possible to his family. So it was probably the most logical option. The speed with which he remarried indicates he may have already met his future second wife, perhaps in Australia, hence his absconding with no explanation. Either that or he was a very fast mover. It was more likely the latter – but we will probably never know exactly how it played out.

Anyway, now a Kiwi tailor named Fred (records show a registration for Elbe Tailoring Company Ltd in Wellington), his transformation was almost complete. Between at least 1919-1922 Fred Elbe was advertising suit making from 276 Lambton Quay; “fit and style perfection…above H.B.” (which stood for Hallenstein Brothers), and later 262 on the same street where H.B. now stood for “Hannah’s Building”.

Frederick Louis (Fred) Elbe- ( government name Louis Gottfried Christian Elbe) courtesy of Sherry Elbe

 Frederick Louis aka Fred Sr. (government name Louis Gottfried Christian Elbe), a tailor, was the first to come to New Zealand; it was his son that founded the ice cream business. Image courtesy of the Elbe family.

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The couple eventually had three sons; Rowland Carl (1913-1987), Roy Sheldon (1920-2007) and Louis Frederick Elbe (1910-1982). Their parents both passed away in Hutt in 1966 respectively. However as an interesting aside, the couple seem to have been living separately from at least 1946. Around this time Fred’s mother had arrived from New South Wales and was residing with him. Given how some wives feel about their mothers-in-law, it may be why she moved out!

It was Louis Frederick (who like his father also called himself Fred – we’ll call him Fred Jr. from here on to differentiate), who actually established the Elbe’s brand. How exactly he gained knowledge and training of the  art of ice cream production remains unanswered. It was likely the business was started in the mid 1930s, although it’s now not known exactly what year. One source says “just prior to the war” which almost tallies with the earliest newspaper date. Fred Jr.’s two sons with wife Rewa Ellen, nee August, were Warren William and Maxwell Richard Elbe. However it’s Warren that people mostly seem to associate memories of the Elbe’s Milk bar heyday with. In the mid-late 1940s the Elbe’s takeaway product roster expanded to add “Homepacks’, and ice cream Christmas cakes “frozen extra hard”.

Upon returning from the war it was Roy who became “chief ice cream maker” at the milk bar. As the business and brand became successful, premises were purchased just across the road – and a factory started production under his management. A picture which has been taken of a stand around 1959 at a Bartons Bush A&P specifies some novelties such as vanilla slices and “Rockets” (the full name of the item is partially obscured; it’s either frozen, space or chocolate).

An image of the interior of the shop, taken in the 1950s shows that Elbe’s had expanded into a line of fountain syrups for drinks. Other items they served were soft drinks and fancy concoctions like peach melba, chocolate peanut and date snowball sundaes, the Snowman, the Rainbow Special – as well as individual Dixie-style tubs, vanilla slices, chocolate coated novelties (probably similar to Boms). There was also a full candy counter in the corner and a jukebox for the latest in pop music. Of course (the not-so-ubiquitous) milkshakes, about which Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich recounts in “Keeping a Low Profile: An Oral History of German Immigration to New Zealand”: “I vividly remember in my teenage years Elbe’s. The art of making milkshakes was developed to a very fine pitch.”

Ice Cream Cake box Elbe's Milk Bar 1950s RECREATION copy

Recreation of the Elbe’s ice cream cake box, seen on the top shelf  behind the bar in the 1950s photo of the milk bar interior (above). Gavin Elbe recalls “…these were about ten inches diameter and about three deep, with a glittery paper band around them – sometimes decorated on the top for special occasions. I never got one.” Harsh!

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During the first half of this decade Fred Jr. registered a design he cooked up in collaboration with a Roy Butterworth (1904-1978) with the Intellectual Property office. I was unable to find out what exactly that was, but I speculated it was most likely a piece of manufacturing machinery or packaging rather than a recipe. Since Butterworth worked through the 1930s-1950s as an upholsterer, essentially pattern-making, I’d make an educated guess it was the latter.
The family story goes that another invention of Great-Grandpa Fred Jr.’s may have been the Hokey Pokey ice cream recipe which he then sold to Tip-Top, who have of course themselves claimed (falsely, it’s now fairly clear) that they actually invented it during the Forties. Further to this cuckooing of Elbe’s – Fred Jr.’s motorised ice cream cart now sits in MOTAT with a Tip-Top signage emblazoned on it instead of the Elbe’s logo (how it went from the Hutt to Auckland – I’m not sure).

Gavin Elbe, one of Fred Jr.’s nephews, recalls: “I was born in 1947, and I cannot remember a time when we did not make Hokey Pokey ice cream. In my school days I did odd jobs there at the factory during the holidays and weekends. As soon as I was old enough, I had the job of breaking up the slabs to put in the mixture.” He was unsure where the confectionery came from, but thinks that it, along with chocolate for novelty products, may likely have been supplied by Griffin’s – which makes sense since they were based in the local area. Then he tacked on – ” This was years before we were bought out by T.C. Denne…”
Wait, hold up a minute. Did he just say Denne? The same T.C. Denne who founded Peter Pan Ice Cream, that I’ve previously written about on a number of occasions?

Interesting, to say the least, that in all my research on the Dennes and their businesses, and the various interviews I conducted, they never once mentioned they purchased the Elbe’s business! I wonder if that got left out (deliberately) or perhaps just forgot to get a mention (unlikely). It makes one wonder that if Elbe’s were making Hokey Pokey first, then Peter Pan may have acquired the recipe with their purchase – and thus have to forfeit their claim to be front runner – or even one of them at all.

When I pushed Gavin for a little more of a fix on the date he states “the Hokey Pokey smashing definitely began (in my) pre-teens”, putting a definite date before 1960. In comparison to other confirmed dates from Peter Pan and Newjoy Ice Cream Co. this isn’t the earliest, so actually brings me no closer to solving the mystery of who made it first.

 

Elbe's Ice Cream ads 1943-1945  copy

Various Elbe’s product adverts from the Hutt News, from clockwise top left: April 1944, October 1944, November 1943, and November 1944. Images courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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“After Denne’s purchase of Elbe’s, we continued to make a range of lines in Lower Hutt for distribution. Until one day my father got a phone call from the Dennes to say he was to lay off all staff, and arrange the strip out of our factory. No visit – just a phone call. I still remember that day because I had biked down to the factory after school to do some jobs, as I frequently did, and found all of the staff in a sombre mood.”

Gavin vaguely recalls some kind of connection with ” Levin and Company, (and) with the Birds Eye brand as well – but I am short on detail.” I’ve tried looking into Levin a bit, who made a great deal of their money in Amber Tips tea from the 1890s onwards, and I am not sure where they are at these days – if it even still exists, or in what form. It’s a very old company, founded by some Jewish fellows, and going as far back as the 1850s. Seemingly during the war years one of the things they were handling was sugar – a very precious commodity for confectionery and ice cream makers, obviously. That said, ice cream makers were off the hook a bit more than chocolate companies because there was no rationing restriction on dairy – so sugar was their only problem. Birds Eye was not launched by Unilever in New Zealand until 1947, and Wattie’s as far as I know did all their frozen fruit and vegetables for them, and probably still do.

Levin and Company had both freezing and import-export enterprises so if it wasn’t to do with sugar, then it’s (more) likely the connection was distribution. Many of these companies were connected through distribution deals because they needed to pair up with others, for transport reasons, to make their enterprise profitable. It’s why so many companies that started off with ice cream branched out into frozen vegetables otherwise it wasn’t viable financially to distribute their product. This means many reciprocal deals were done to move product around the country efficiently.

One acquaintance remembers her father being friendly enough with Fred Jr. to “visit…shortly after the opening of the milk bar. We were given a tour of the business, including out the back, where ice cream was made. In a large freezer room were shown a box of peas, still in their shells. He opened one pod to show that the contents were in mint condition. He predicted correctly that this would be a major method of preserving food in the future.”

Although the mention of frozen peas is interesting, there’s no memory of any frozen vegetables ever being produced by the Elbe’s factory. So it is not really relevant to the fact that Peter Pan bought out quite a number of freezing businesses, including ice cream operations, up and down the North Island in a methodical campaign to advance their distribution over the years. However there may have been more of a motive at play here for the acquisition. Is it possible that Peter Pan got it’s Hokey Pokey recipe from its acquisition of the Elbe’s factory?

Elbe's icecream and cola stalls Bartons Bush A&P late 1950s courtesy of Sherry Elbe

aTaken at Hutt Valley A&P show, late 1950s, Bartons Bush. Fred Jr.’s nephew Gavin Elbe remembers: “We had the concession for ice cream and Coca-Cola stalls, also a candy floss machine. My job was refunding the empty bottles, at two pence each – or a packet of chewing gum.”

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As it did in every major city, business exploded during WWII due to the influx of R&R servicemen to Wellington; the Elbe’s business did not solely flourish because of this, but later Elbe’s provided supplies for the ice breakers who were part The IGY team ( The International Geophysical Year  was an international scientific project run from July 1957 – Dec 1958).
Gavin recalls “…they loved it (Elbe’s product) because it was much creamier than American ice cream. In those days it was a legal requirement for ice cream in New Zealand to have a minimum percentage of real butter and milk powder to help protect the dairy industry. Very early on I remember real cream was used, also.”
It should be noted  how the advent of a great number of foreign, in this case particularly American servicemen, had great impact on culture and business in large cities; and this in turn had a lasting effect on trends for foodstuffs, clothes, and entertainment that went on for decades – as it is particularly pertinent to the themes here.

By the 1950s the Elbes were, in the words of one of their punny former neighbours “creaming it…with true entrepreneurial skill the Elbes had in no time made a fortune and moved …to a flash two-story house in an up-market suburb.” With the interior of the milk bar decked out in a snazzy contemporary theme of lime, cream and black – Elbe’s had now become the hottest teen hang out in the Wellington area.

It’s recalled that “Friday and Saturday nights were so busy that a staff member would be stationed at the entrance, ensuring that when full, those wishing to enter matched those leaving. It was normal during peak periods for a queue to form outside – waiting patiently for their turn to enter.” Someone else remembers as they “…queued up round the street, (there would be) fighting to get in the front door.” So no doubt a “bouncer” was in place to prevent the scuffles as well.

It was frequented by local kids “at a (nebulous) loose end” – as well as “Bodgies” and their female counterpart “Widgies” – as they were known in Australasia; the monikers given to the down under equivalent of the American movement of “Rockers” and “Greasers”, or the British version – “Teddies.” “Bikers” per se, came later, in the 1960s; not to be confused with “Milk Bar Cowboys” who were basically Bodgies with motorbikes  – and the variation was lumped into this supposed ragtag bundle of various youth subculture groups. I s’pose the inferral is that there were bound to be wars between factions – but given their definitions (not much different from each other it seems), and objectives, it does not seem that it was as likely as expected.

The movement revolved around newfangled rock ‘n’ roll music, and was also influenced by rebellious teen movies like “Rebel Without a Cause.” Fashion icons were James Dean and Elvis, amongst others.There was an obsession with American style – which was to again resurface later on, in the mid-late 1970s with a feast of nostalgia for the period – exemplified in TV shows like “Happy Days”, “Laverne and Shirley”, and “Sha Na Na” (and also resulted in the cheesy retro snack Fonzies).

Elements of the Bodgie/ Widgie/Milk Bar Cowboy style featured pegged trousers and moccasins, Zoot Suits and luminous socks, exaggerated bright shirts, tight white tee-shirts with leather jackets, flannelettes with Adidas boots, or tight jeans and suede brothel creepers, topped off with a greasy “Rack” hairdo, or Brylcreemed quiffs  finished at the back with D.A. (Duck’s Ass).

As throughout history, with the pinpointing and victimization of many a minority, people took umbrage simply because the so-called “Milk Bar Cowboys” looked and acted differently to the plebeian majority. When fraternizing, add motorcycles into the mix and there’s bound to be public pearl-clutching to relish in. It all sounds very much like John Waters’ movie “Cry Baby”:

The Sydney Morning Herald critiqued “…’bodgies’ growing their hair long and getting around in satin shirts, and ‘weegies (sic)’ cutting their hair short and wearing jeans… confusion seems to be arising about the sex of some adolescents.” Apparently not so confused about sex; because then Elbe’s went from popular to notorious overnight.

Somehow an outrageous story got out that teenagers, some under the age of consent, were using Elbe’s Milk Bar as a meeting place to arrange illicit trysts in nearby Strand Park and down by the Hutt river. Their milkshakes were literally bringing boys to the yard. Young patrons were engaging in “sex acts”, and not only that – but somehow were obtaining contraceptives to boot. It quickly came to be known as the “Petone Incident.”

Moral panic was the headline of the day, exacerbated by the untimely incidents of two separate milk bar murders in Auckland (the fact that they could have happened anywhere seemingly irrelevant) and the horrific Parker–Hulme case (later made by Peter Jackson into Heavenly Creatures with its themes of teen perversion, angst, rebellion and tragedy). Sensationalist media reports of course did not help, but sold papers and made coin.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister of the time, Sir Sidney George Holland, attempted to use this simmering unrest to his advantage and called for a thorough investigation into this wanton depravity; a special committee was set up, chaired by a local lawyer, Dr. Oswald Mazengarb, to examine the supposed social factors that was causing “delinquency” and subsequent juvenile immorality. The hearings and investigations took place over a period of eight weeks.

The text of the Mazengarb Report, in full, the “Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents”, was released in late September 1954. It cites the appearance of witnesses Mr L. F. Elbe, of Elbe’s Milk Bar, Lower Hutt, along with employees Mr. W.L. Ellingham, and Mr. A.L. Lummis, who appeared in the hearing line-up and were examined under oath as numbers fifteen to seventeen respectively.

John, aka “Oldrider”, writes on a forum that he was one of those “Milk Bar Cowboys” in the 1950s Hutt. Dubbed so “because we rode bikes, cavorted with the ‘sexually active’ girls from Hutt Valley High school and Petone Tech, and hung around the milk bars in the weekend. I was definitely a member of that group of guys and gals so named…a great bunch of people to associate with. So, yes, I used to frequent Elbe’s Milk Bar among others (it wasn’t only milk bars that were frequented, either) – but I was not responsible for the saga. The girl in question lived just down the road from me.  (In retrospect) it was pretty pathetic press run by the “Truth” newspaper about the behaviour of the so-called ‘juvenile delinquents’ of the day. They made it very big news, (but it was) pretty tame stuff really!”

the Bodgie A E Manning Wellington  Reed 1958 Dennis Knight Turner design  copy

“The Bodgie” by A. E. Manning , design by Dennis Knight Turner, published by Reed, 1958.  Formula: If you added a motorbike to a Bodgie, Rocker, Teddy or Greaser  – rather like making a shake – you had instant “Milk Bar Cowboy.”

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Another member recounts the bounties of the hilariously nicknamed private school “Sacred Tarts”: “I remember well, afternoons in the early Fifties ,when I rode my bike from Naenae College into the Hutt. There, we’d meet up with girls from Sacred Heart College, and do a bit of ‘experimenting’ in the back booths at Elbe’s. But not until I’d scoffed a chocolate peanut sundae first! Their gym frocks always smelled, well, inviting.”

So there was definitely some kinky stuff involved, it’s true. That particular individual who is recalled as being in the middle of it all apparently refers to the fifteen year old girl who decided to blab to the authorities about the sexcapades of what she called the “Milk Bar Gang”, and numerous young people in the area allegedly confessed to police their instances of “sexual misconduct” (probably defined as hickies at that time) – however it’s said some were actually charged with carnal knowledge of minors. It’s all a bit vague, really. Too hazy for my liking – and deliberately, I suspect.

However Elbe’s was hardly the “notorious den of teenage lust” it was made out to be, except maybe lust for sweet treats. Merv Griffith says that rather than rumpy, the goal was to “pick up a bird”, and subsequently “the main aim was to go like hell; the louder the screams from the pillion seat, the more successful the mission. Apart from that it was to sit round and comb your hair and try and look beautiful on your bikes. Then you would go in and have a milkshake.” So more toffee than totty. Not exactly titillating stuff.

Even local member of parliament of the time Michael Moohan called them on it and opined it was the report itself that was internationally stigmatizing, dubbing it sensationalist. “I think it is a terrible thing…to give the impression that there is such a grave problem….when such is really not the case.”

However governments usually aren’t very interested in the facts unless they happen to marry with some kind of desired outcome. One way they use situations like this is basically for crowd control, often by scapegoating. Recurrently Instigating “moral panic ” is the perfect way to regulate a society. If the truth of what was involved in “The Petone Incident” was known  – there probably wouldn’t have been that much fuss, or subsequently a reaction. However, once people start actually looking for reasons to break up the party – they can usually find one if they really want to.
Thus a post-war movement for independence essentially came to be considered a “problem” simply by issuing pamphlets to hundreds of thousands of households regarding this revolting rebellion of unbridled teenage decadence.

cry-baby-clan copy

“The Cry Baby Clan”: Still from pope of trash  John Waters’  hilarious 1990 musical satire on juvenile delinquency and moral panic. Recommended watching.

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 The report ultimately laid the blame on a breakdown of dreary urban Nuclear family life; the culprits were teen temptresses, comic books, working mothers, rock ‘n’ roll, and modern cities. Oh, also peace time (because that’s really a bad thing, right?) and generally having too much money (also a terrible burden to anyone). Maybe they should have called it the “Moot Report” since the only astoundingly new thing there was a style of music. Mazengarb, a notorious right wing killjoy and puritanical prude, disapproved wholeheartedly of just about everything as most fundamentalists do – and the list was long. As most fundamentalists also do – I am sure he was hiding something. I like to call it the J. Edgar Hoover Principle, and it’s a pretty reliable rule.

The report resulted in the drafting of new Acts increasing censorship of “obscene and indecent content” in publications, The Child Welfare Amendment Act which made sexual behaviour officially “delinquency”, and the banning of contraceptive sales to minors, because the one thing every parent wants is an underage pregnant daughter to deal with, right? The lack of logic is mind-boggling, and that’s something that hasn’t changed.

The impact had its desired effect, though. Alison Gray discusses in her review of “Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand” by Jarrod Gilbert, that “I was in primary school in Lower Hutt. I can still remember my parents discussing the report behind closed doors and banning us kids from going anywhere near the notorious Elbe’s. We had no idea what they were on about, but we knew it had something to do with people not much older than us, behaving very, very badly. Our minds fairly boggled. It was my first experience of a moral panic and it was a little bit scary. I realise now that it was probably even scarier for my parents. The “juvenile delinquents” looked like us, walking down our streets, and sitting in the very booths where we ate our ice cream sundaes. No wonder my parents were afraid!”

Silver-Tex condoms The Killian MRG Company 1950s Te Papa GH010168 copy

Silver-Tex, by Killian MRG Co., 1950s. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection, ref GH010168. Something I never thought I’d ever be writing a caption for on this blog; condoms. The only other example I’ve seen thus far is Durex from the early 1960s. It wasn’t even made common knowledge that they were available, if at all (some businesses like the strictly Catholic Galliens, flatly refused to sell contraceptives) so they weren’t exactly advertised – and the object obviously wasn’t to keep them if you could help it – so few examples survive.

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Nevertheless there wasn’t much to worry about because by the beginning of the next decade, the “Milk Bar Cowboys” would be finished – replaced by the British Mersey sound, and all that new movement entailed. It was farewell Jailhouse Rock, and welcome to Carnaby Street. Following that, the Hippie movement. Inevitably ensued by an older generation’s shock and disgust. And so it goes on, generation to generation. Here’s a long overdue idea – maybe it’s easier just to get used to it.
As for Prime Minister Sidney Holland who rehashed this often used “moral panic” tactic to bolster his polls – could he have been less disingenuous? It was, in the end, hardly a boon for him – as he won another term that year anyway. Those in the know say that ultimately it had little effect on that outcome, and it was wasted energy beating up the situation; however the damage it all caused was done and it was deep, destructive and lasting.

I’m not sure when the milk bar closed – I know the Elbes still had it in the very late 1950s as Andrea Elbe, Fred Jr.’s granddaughter, recalls an amusing anecdote in which “…the power went off one night, and my dad Warren had to race down there. He reckoned that Mum deliberately caused it because, pregnant with me, she had terrible middle-of-the-night cravings for ice cream. She got her wish!”

It’s not known how much the so-called “scandal” marred the business interests of the Elbes who were unwittingly caught up in it. However the fact that the milk bar apparently changed hands before the decade was out may be telling – except that the new owners must have been trading on the Elbes’ good business name – because that didn’t change. Bill and Betty Lummis acquired the milk bar and ran it through the 1960s. Their son Lox served with his brothers Brian and Kevin, who says that in their day “…bad behaviour never happened inside, my dad would not stand any nonsense like that.” So Elbe’s heyday as a denizen of vice, corruption and commotion was put paid to.

THE MAN IN THE STREET Upper Hutt Leader Number 22 20 June 1946 - Copy 1 copy

I don’t know what they or it says.  Since the riddles hint at matters equestrian, one can assume that as Fred Elbe Jr. accumulated some wealth, he dabbled in the business of racehorses. Upper Hutt Leader Number 22, 20 June, 1946. Image courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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Today Amalgamated Video occupies the original site on the southern end of High Street. However to add a little bit to its iconic status, it has been announced just recently that Artist Tim Barlow is recreating Elbe’s Milk Bar with the three Lummis brothers – as an installation this year – one of 11 artworks that will form “Common Ground’, Hutt City’s inaugural public art programme as part of the Fringe festival.
In that case, I guess that Elbe’s won’t be forgotten any time soon; and the family can in retrospect be pleased that they played a star role in a very interesting and significant piece of New Zealand’s history.

 

Thanks to the Elbe family -Sherry, Andy and Gavin , and Vicky Ireland for their assistance with information, material and images for this story. Also thanks to several sources for permission to quote their work: Both Andrea O’Neil  and Alex Fensome at Dominion Post as well as Papers Past all on behalf of Fairfax Media; Oldrider and others at Kiwi Biker forum, social historian Alison Gray, and Merv Griffith’s recollections from Ben Schrader’s “City children and youth – Bad behaviour”, published by Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, © Crown copyright 2005–2015 Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, which were originally quoted with permission of historian Redmer Yska from his book “All shook up: the flash bodgie and the rise of the New Zealand teenager in the fifties  Auckland”: Penguin, 1993, p. 66.

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

Bite Size: Frisco Candy Kitchen

In American Boss candy, Auckland confectionery companies, baker and confectioner, British Photographic Studio, Candy, Charles Edward Swales, Collins Bros, Collins' Lolly Shop, Confectioner, confectionery, Frisco Candy Kitchen, Henry Winkelmann photographer, Ice Cream, John Clemshaw Swales, Palmer's confectionery, photographer, Richard Henry Swales, Rowland Chubb photographer, Sweets, The Elite Studio on May 5, 2014 at 10.46

1 Frisco LWK copy copy1

2 Frisco Candy Kitchen Karangahape Road, Auckland edit pink copy

Karangahape Road, Auckland, by W. T.Wilson, May 1910. Frisco Candy Kitchen at right showing hoarding advertising American Boss, Swales’s speciality. Image courtesy of  Alexander Turnbull Library, ref PA5-0015.

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A friend, knowing I am interested in such things, sent me a picture today regarding the Frisco Candy Kitchen, and asked if I knew anything about it. Yes I was familiar with it, as it appears in at least three photos taken in the early part of the Twentieth Century of the Newton, Auckland area and I had noticed it in passing. I hadn’t ever paused on it and wondered what the back story was – however I rarely encounter a dud – and yet again there is an interesting tale behind it, or at least I am actually able to find some material on something so obscure. The Frisco Candy Kitchen was on one of the corners of Pitt Street and Karangahape Road (this intersection seems to have been popular with photographers for postcard snaps), in the 1900s and 1910s and was owned by C. E. Swales. However one image, by Henry Winkelmann shows it may have been in operation into the 1920s.

3a SWALES BOSS CONFECTIONERY SWEETS ICE CREAM Thames Star, 23 October 1903, Page 3 edit copy

Swales’ Confectionery, Thames: an early mention of ice cream, and a first appearance of American Boss.  Thames Star, 23 October 1903, Page 3. Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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Charles Edward Swales was born in New Zealand 1871 to Councillor John Clemshaw (1827-1909)  and Lucy Swales (nee Jones, 1828-1907) who had arrived on The Shalimar in 1859 and settled in Ponsonby. His father, considered a gentleman by the time he retired, began as a plumber and tinsmith in Wellesley Street, then in retirement represented Auckland city for a number of years and sat on the boards of Ponsonby Highway and Hospital Charitable Aid, the Streets Committee, the Ponsonby School Committee as well as being a trustee of the Wesleyan Church. In other words a quite prominent and respected family. They lived in Dedwood Terrace for over 45 years, being some of the oldest residents of the area (Dedwood was Ponsonby’s earlier name and I wish they had kept it; Tim Burton would move straight in). Charles’s siblings were John William (1861, a plumber and gasfitter who inherited his father’s business), Richard Henry  (known as Harry, 1863, later a well-known merchant and military tailor on Victoria Street West), Annie Maria (1865), Sarah Ann (1869), and Frederick James (1873).

3b Frisco Candy Kitchen 1919 Henry Winkelmann edit

Looking east from Pitt Street along Karangahape Road, showing Frisco Candy kitchen on right. Photo by Henry Winkelmann, 1919. Image courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1682.

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However as I started to follow the trail backwards I found that Swales had an earlier career as an “art photographer” first in the city’s main road, Queen Street, as a young man – at number 322 in the mid-1890s; then in Pollen Street, Thames, Coromandel soon after, probably the following year. Newspaper adverts of 1897 mention his “many years of experience at leading Auckland studios.” Between May and December of that year he closed his business, called for tenders, rebuilt his studios and re-opened. The last advert for his career behind the camera that I can find appears on the last day of August 1899, and seemingly his work in that area finished up not too long afterwards. In 1902 he married Ellen Thorburn (1879-1956).

4  F H Creamer a noted walker  Photo by  Swales New Zealand Illustrated Magazine edit copy

“F. H. Creamer, a noted walker.” New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 8, 1 May 1900, Page 623. The only image I could find of a photo taken by Swales. Image courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

aBy mid 1902 an ad appears for C.E. Swales, confectioner, in Pollen Street, offering ice cream. So his learning curve lasted no more than two and a half years at the very most. I’d be interested to know which confectioner he quickly learned his trade with, though. It is very likely he served an apprenticeship with Charles Palmer or Collins Bros also both of Pollen Street, which I previously covered here.

4a  C E Swales the Elite Studio Auckland Star, 26 February 1895, Page 8 edit copy copy

C. E. Swales’s “Elite Studio” Auckland Star, 26 February 1895, Page 8. I was wondering why this address sounded familiar; my grandfather had his factory at 323 Queen Street. Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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I am placing bets it was Palmer that Swales studied the art of candy making with – simply because they were a much bigger and longer established business – who also advertised ice cream they were making, from at least 1891. This mention, by the way, is the fourth-earliest historical evidence I have run across of commercial ice cream making for retail in New Zealand thus far. Although admittedly, an objective look at the overall history of this genre in New Zealand has not really been focussed on by myself – just pockets here and there. It makes Swales the sixth-earliest mention. Anyway, it’s interesting to ruminate on – besides both areas being considered “creative” – what the inspiration was for the change to such a dramatically different field.

6 Frisco Candy Kitchen 1907 Radcliffe, Frederick George edit copy

Looking east along Karangahape Road, from the corner of Pitt Street, showing Frisco Candy Kitchen on right. Photo by Frederick George Radcliffe, 1907. Image courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A4724.

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In October 1903 Swales offers “all kinds of confectionery and sweets”, as well as something called “American Boss.” The Wilson image of 1910 shows a hoarding on K Road painted with the slogan “The original American Boss” over the Frisco Candy Kitchen shop. Obviously Boss was a kind of candy as I have references to “American Boss” being sold by Waughs confectioners in the 1910s and “Boss Balls” by The Bluebird confectionery in the 1920s. However I’ve been unable to find out anything more about it, as far as a recipe or even any mention, so I am speculating this recipe was some kind of Australasian corruption of a foreign treat that was popularised down under – rather like Sally Lunns and others which were given their unique twist and name, then adopted wholeheartedly. About this time of the first American soda fountains in Aotearoa there seems to have been a trend for things Yankee.

6a  CE SWALES ART PHOTOGRAPHER Thames Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 8551, 5 January 1897, Page 4

A variety of services at Swales’s studios. Thames Star, 5 January 1897. Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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By 1905 he seems to be back in Auckland and would have established the Frisco Candy Kitchen that year. Interestingly, he was never too far away from photography; later on the second floor above Frisco Candy Kitchen was occupied by snappers – at various times both Rowland Chubb who ran the British Photographic Studio, and Frederick Harmer ‘s Childhood Photographic studios, also known as Peter Pan Portraits, were in situ.

6b john clemshaw and Richard Henry ( Harry) Swales and Harry's shop copy lighter copy

From left: John Clemshaw Swales, Richard Henry ( Harry) Swales’s shop, and Harry Swales. Ironically I wasn’t able to find a picture of Charles Edward. Portraits from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902, courtesy of  NZETC (New Zealand Electronic Text Collection), Victoria University of Wellington Library. Middle image looking south east  from corner of Albert St down Victoria St West towards Albert Park, showing premises of R. H. Swales, tailor. Photo by Henry Winkelmann, 1907. Image courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1441.

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Charles and Ellen’s only known child was John Louis Swales (1910-1963). Seemingly they were prosperous from the sweets business for they owned more than one residence. An advert of 1915 offers for rent a five room house near Three Lamps (Ponsonby) and asks for applications to be made to Frisco Candy Kitchen. Two other notices mention a Charles Swales participating in bowling games in Ponsonby around this time.

8 swales photo studio Thames closes tenders reopens between March-December1897 1 copy

Swales’s Pollen Street premises closes and re-opens. Clockwise from top L: Thames Star, 31 March 1897, Page 3; 11 December 1897, Page 4; and 18 March 1897, Page 3. Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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There are advertisements seeking staff from at least 1906 to 1915. Several of them which ran seeking “a smart young lady for the shop” were dated late 1911. That smart young lady was Phyllis Adelaide French, later the subject of a notorious case of tragic demise. She was successful in obtaining the position and worked for Swales until mid-April of the following year when she stopped turning up for work, a note being sent that she was unwell with the flu.
A few days later, she was dead – seemingly the victim of peritonitis attended to far too late to save her. This was caused by a terribly botched abortion she obtained when she became pregnant, after an affair with a married man from Christchurch – while they were both living in a boarding house in Union Street. Swales was named as a witness to appear at the inquest. You can read articles outlining in detail the court proceedings here and here. It’s an interesting look into the stigma of becoming pregnant out of wedlock and how it was dealt with in secrecy and shame, a century ago – with disastrous results. How times have changed.

smart young lady for frisco candy kitchen New Zealand Herald, 29 November 1911, Page 1 edit

 The successful applicant died while in Swales’s employ. New Zealand Herald, 29 November 1911, Page 1.Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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It was an interesting moment when I realised that Phyllis was the very person who had filled the position being advertised earlier. Sometimes you get an objective peek in on history, and feel like you’re kind of privy to a weird sequence of events that fall like dominoes – and nobody else could have known they were going to be related.

It’s unknown when Swales finished up the Frisco Candy Kitchen. He passed away in 1935 at 64 years old.

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

Hart Foundations

In Desserts, Frozen Foods, Harts Frozen Novelties Ltd, Harts Ice Cream Ltd, Ice Cream, Leo Francis Hart, NZICMA, Robert James Hart, Snack Foods, The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers' Association on December 5, 2013 at 10.46

Harts Ice Cream Ltd 152 Greenlane Road Auckland  half gallon tin EDIT copy

A half gallon Harts ice cream tin, probably dating from the mid-late 1970s.

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This unusual Auckland ice cream tin came up on Trade Me today which prompted me to do a bit of looking into it.

I was able to eventually crack this one as being established around WWII or just before by a Leo Francis Hart, who was born in Inglewood, Taranaki in 1900 to James Hart and Catherine Elisabeth Campbell.

He probably established the brand in the late 1930s – he first appears at 136 (now 136-138) Greenlane Road in 1935 with his wife Ivy Maud (nee Bell) – and gives his job as “dairyman.” Clearly there was a residence there originally – now long since gone and replaced with a building housing a “Nosh” food market. From the mid-Nineteenth Century Greenlane was known as excellent pasture land for successful dairy herds and crops, but once grand country houses on farms – it was beginning to disappear by the time the Harts arrived on the scene.

152-154 Greenlane Rd 136-138 was adjacent Hart's ice cream factory probably blue building house edit copy

152-154 Greenlane East today: The blue building is probably the original factory, and the lemon house to the left may have been the later family home.

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By 1943 Leo had joined The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Association (NZICMA) as “Harts Frozen Novelties Ltd.”
Leo bought the adjacent land at 152, 154 and 156 over 1944-1945 from three owners – Noel Edward Stewart, Raymond Joseph Goold, and Alton Garnett. By the mid 1940s the business name was “Hart’s Delight Ice Cream Ltd”, and then in July 1948 it was finally changed to “Hart’s Ice Cream Ltd’, which stuck – but without the apostrophe on the packaging.

Robert James (Bob) Hart, his son, was born 1931 and had joined him in the business by the late 1940s. Leo then added more land to his holdings bought from Walter Louis Castaing in 1949 (probably number 150 at the road front). Their given domestic address changed from 152 to 154 Greenlane Road this year so clearly they built a new house and moved into it.

At the same time Leo also did a number of transactions for property he owned, as well – he had sold some other land to two Auckland parties; Central Stores (Pine Island) Limited and Evelynne Dadley.

136-138 and 152-154 Greenlane Rd Hart's ice cream factory copy copy

Aerial map of Greenlane East showing the Hart family’s holdings: Lots 136-138, 150-152, and 154-156. The factory appears to have been down a drive at the back taking up most of  Lot 152.

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The Auckland Council have on record a contract that Onehunga Council made with Harts in 1954 to supply ice cream to them. No doubt they also supplied local business like the 1920s-era Lido Cinema (which still operates to this day) as well as Greenlane Hospital.

Leo travelled numerous times over the years, taking trips to Southampton, England (1958), also Port of Spain, Balboa, Papeete, Suva, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle, Durban, Cape Town and Las Palmas.

1966 seems to be the last mention of any association with NZICMA that is on record. Leo died in1967, and the business seems to have gone on until 1978, around the year his widow Ivy passed away. Perhaps the inheritor(s) decided to call it a day. I’d place a bet that like just about every smaller (or even larger) ice cream business, it was probably snapped up by General foods and subsumed.

1957  Leo Francis & Robert James Hart 152 Greenlane MAUNFACTURERS edit copy

Electoral roll showing the Harts working as well as residing at 152 Greenlane Road, in 1957. Previous to this Leo had continued to describe himself modestly as “dairyman.”

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Leo’s son Robert James Hart had married Shirley Rose in 1958, and they were living at 11 Lochinver Rd, Papatoetoe for many years (up until then he had lived with his parents). From the mid-1950s he had always described himself as “manufacturer” like his father. However from after Leo’s death he henceforth gave his profession as “manager.”

Robert had moved to Main Road, Paerata near Pukekohe, around 1978, and then to Paerata Road by 1981 – where he had clearly left the ice cream gig for good, and was now in the gardening business. He passed away in October 2011, seemingly taking the history of Harts Ice Cream with him. They did have at least one child so perhaps one day someone will see this article and add some information to it. It would be nice also to have any kind of advertisement, to add to the story for interest.

At the back of a car park, that takes up most of the area fronting onto the street at numbers 150-156 Greenlane Road today- there is still a modest mid-century house, now an office, next to an older-style, slope-roofed building. No doubt this was once the factory where the Harts made cold, creamy treats for nearly forty years.

Credits: Thanks to Karen Ruane from The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers’ Assn (Inc), http://www.nzicecream.org.nz/, and also Chris Newey from Foodworks On-line – the New Zealand Food & Beverage Directory http://www.foodworks.co.nz/
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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

A Sugar-Sprinkled Universe

In Canned Goods, Desserts, Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Ice Cream, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Pudding, Sunshine, Sunshine Chiffon Whip, Sunshine Jelly, Tip-Top, Tucker, W.F. Tucker & Co, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on June 5, 2013 at 10.46

Spacetaste 100 dpi 30 x 21 cm sml

Here is a recreation of a cardboard point-of-sale poster that was sold on Trade Me a few years back, and I have redrawn it from a photograph that accompanied the auction at that time. I suppose it was intended to give housewives dessert ideas – hopefully prompted by kids pulled in by the space theme; a popular mode of advertising that more or less took over from aviation to up-sell everything from jelly to drinks to cereals, in the second half of the 20th century. I started this a couple of years back and it was when I was just changing over to using vector-based graphics so it’s a bit raggedy compared to my usual standard.
I’m taking a guess that this poster dates from around the mid 1970s, given what I know of the brands, products and logos – but mostly indicated by the font styles. Here we have three of New Zealand’s most enormous brands of the time – together in one advertisement, bouncing off each other in a friendly joust.

Sunshine Chiffon Whip (1963) W F Tucker edit copy sml

Advert for Chiffon Whip, 1963. The product was two years old at this point, and lasted well into the 1970s.

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I’ve previously written briefly on the Sunshine brand here, and recreated jelly crystal boxes here, and here.

It was an Auckland-based company owned by W.F. Tucker – and in particular baby boomers will remember Sunshine well for their custard powder, jelly crystals and peanut butter which were very popular through the 1940s to the 1970s – although the company were around a lot longer than that and started using the Sunshine name as far back as the 1910s. The company did a variety of instant desserts and Chiffon Whip was launched in 1961 in flavours lemon, orange, raspberry, and eventually marshmallow.

Watties Sliced Peaches 1 lb Label recreation copy

This Watties design was on the shelves in the early-mid 1960s.

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What else is there to say about Wattie’s? I know I’ve done more than several posts, such as fruit-related ones here, here, and here…and I keep saying I am going to get around to some kind of feature on what is probably Aotearoa’s biggest brand of all time. But lately I’ve been thinking …do I really need to? Books have been written and I’m not sure I have anything to add. It would depend on any new information I can scrape up. And quite frankly, looking at the archives there just may not be a lot of that – given that Wattie’s seemed to feel no need to advertise their wares or have any of their business reported on, until well after WWII, when part and full page ads for the product start to appear (I suspect their major contracts with the government suddenly ending had some bearing on this change). Apparently until that point they were so successful so quickly there was no reason to do so. Anyway, it’s a daunting task to consider writing a full article on this topic, and I guess if somebody really wants to know all about it – they could buy Geoff Conley’s book (1984) which is not that hard to find to this day.

watties can fruit -tip top ice cream - sunshine jelly sml

The original picture I redrew the poster from.

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I have had a story half -prepped on Tip-Top for ages but again it’s a tall mountain to climb. However I feel there’s a lot of things that need to be set straight and expanded on. The most detailed article I have seen on the brand was a fairly brief and pretty stock standard issue from the PR department on the 75th anniversary of the brand, for one of those weekend-type magazines like Canvas – and I think quite inadequate given the iconic status of the product – and the archive of material they have at their disposal.

TIP TOP Classic  60's sign Double sided  Measures 460mm x 600mm EDIT copy

Tip-Top tin signage manufactured for dairies of the 1960s.

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That’s all from me for this week. Come July it will be difficult to focus on this blog as I’ll be back to studying however you can expect briefer, probably picture-based stories and maybe some longer ones if I have time to finish up on them – the James Smith Ltd department store, Aulsebrook’s, commercial artists Alison Fyfe and Bernard Roundhill, and a couple of amazing caches of retro advertising and packaging stuff that have recently been found around the country.

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

A Trail Goes Creamy and Cold

In Alpine Ice Cream, Apex Ice Cream Company Limited, Cornelius J Van Dongen, Eldora Ice Cream, Fonterra, Frozen Foods, G.E. Patton Ltd, Gager's Electric Belt, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, George Edward Patton, Hellaby's, Ice Cream, Lone Star Cafe, McAlpine, Newjoy Ice Cream Co, Perfection Ice Cream Co, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Prestcold refrigerators, Robinson Ice Cream, Sunshine Ice Cream, Supreme Ice Cream, Thomas Gager, Tip-Top, Wall's ice cream, Wall's Ice Cream Ltd on May 7, 2013 at 10.46

Apex Ice Cream Board recreation  copy

A recreation I’ve made of a rare metal and wood sandwich board, designed to advertise Apex outside on the footpath in front of a dairy.

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Apex is yet again a brand about which very little is known; it was Christchurch-based and lasted around forty years or so. I don’t even have a name for a founder or owner. However this almost complete lack of information  gives me a chance to delve into the lives of various names that were at some time associated with the brand and the property. a

Airds Dairy & Cake Shop Papanui shows Apex Ice cream and Ernest Adams Cakes edit

Airds Dairy and Cake Shop, showing Apex on sale as well as Ernest Adams cakes and Queen Anne chocolates, year unknown. Image courtesy of the Gordon Shields Collection via Kete Christchurch, File ref PHG25GS

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Apex Ice Cream Old Enamel  Sign 91 x 38 cm 1 edit  copy

Painted tin Apex advertising. The logo and slogan were fairly standard although the dimensions varied.

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Apex seems to have been established in 1933 at 25 Manchester St, Christchurch – but by whom I do not know. Records show the company was granted a building permit on 11th of  September that year. The builder was George Edward Patton (born 1885), whom by this time had already been in business locally for a decade; in 1923 he had founded G.E. Patton Ltd at 188 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch, not that far away (now renumbered to 194, it is next to  Henry’s beer wine and spirits). This building still stands although it looks somewhat different with a remodelled facade  and is quite dishevelled today.  a

25 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand 1

Above and below: The first  Apex building built 1933 by Patton, at number 25 Manchester Street, on the corner of Dundas.

25 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand 2

Patton were refrigeration specialists that went on to produce commercial fridge cabinets – the type for nicely displaying drinks, snacks and treats that need to be kept chilled – obviously ice cream being one product. We can surmise that Patton, through his commercial refrigeration work – had the equipment and know-how to easily set up such an operation with the machinery it needed. A photo of 1940 of the Barbadoes showroom shows their range is very well-established. They manufactured for McAlpine  (Prestcold refrigerators), amongst others and then eventually moved into purely design/wholesale products for huge businesses like Hellaby and Fonterra. They now have a number of branches all over  New Zealand as well as in Australia, Thailand and India and major international clients. a

DSC07603 Apex Ice Cream 1960s NZ edit

The original version of the sandwich board I’ve recreated at top. Image courtesy of  www.brentz.co.nz

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By 1936 Apex were offering family blocks as well as supplying bulk deliveries to dairies and parlours as exemplified in the couple of simple ads I have found in publications. This building still stands today on the intersection – now painted lurid orange and green and houses Printstop in two thirds and a cycle store in the remainder. a

G E Pattons 188 Barbadoes Street today edit

Above: The old G. E. Pattons showrooms, 188 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch, today. Below, the Pattons staff in the 1950s, courtesy of the Pattons website. 

Patten edit

It’s  possible Patton was from the Mount Somers area west of Christchurch as there is a mention in 1916 of someone by that name enlisting. He was part of the 13th C1 draft, and spent a spell serving in WWI. He married Ethel Laura Bundy (1894-1994) in Canterbury, year unknown. This may explain why there does not appear to be any marriage record – it’s indicated that they married between 1931-1945. It does not appear they  had any offspring or if so no records are publicly available due to privacy restrictions. That’s about all I know about him to date. He died in 1973, and was described as an engineer living in Opawa.a

APEX ICE CREAM STAMPS TO COLLECT Ellesmere Guardian, 1 October 1937, Page 1 edit colour copy

An advert for an incentive to buy Apex ice cream, Ellesmere Guardian, October 1937. Presumably a larger picture was made from individual stamps that were collected (probably not an image of an actual radio, but a picture of a radio star or show) and then once fully assembled you got your money. I doubt I’ll ever see one of these turn up – and if it did – the set wouldn’t be complete anyway.

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It may be worth noting that another major ice cream business of the time, Perfection, was further down the same street at numbers 300 and 304 over time, and in April 1940 Patton was also tasked with building at least one of those premises for them.a

Lone Star Cafe - 26 Manchester St courtesy Lone Star Cafe FB page

The second Apex building built 1940 by Van Dongen, Number 26 Manchester Street, directly opposite the 1933 premises on the intersection of Dundas. This became the first of a chain of 25 Lone Star Cafes. Image courtesy of  their Facebook page, and appears to have been taken in the early-mid 1980s.

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Previous occupants at 25 Manchester street, in whatever building had been there before – were both tailors (I am sure there were others). Thomas Gager is advertising an “Electric Belt” with supposed curative properties, in the late 1880s. As it turns out he fancied himself a bit of an inventor and there are a few references to his registering of patents. It seems he was in situ from at least 1882  until 1893 when there is a notice of his stock being bought for sale, after he went bankrupt – and he moved down the road to number 95. In the 1910s-1920s, Geoffrey Madden, another tailor and fitter,  is calling from the same address for men with unwanted war costumes to sell for fancy dress use.

Apex Ice Cream 25 Manchester Street - Opawa Public Library Carnival booklet 1930s edit orange

Apex advertisement from an Opawa Public Library Carnival booklet, circa 1936.

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On the 29th of May, 1940, permission was again granted to Apex Ice Cream Co. to build on the corner of Dundas and Manchester Streets, Christchurch, showing the construction was done this time by  a C. J. Van Dongen. Cornelius Jozepfus Van Dongen (b 1885) was presumably a Dutch immigrant given the provenance of his surname. He enlisted for  service  on the 5th of  August 1918, and was passed as fit on the 13th.  Details mention his profession as carpenter and residence in Tenysson Street, Sydenham,  at the time.  He was recorded as a “builder” by profession,  by the time he died in Christchurch, in 1966. The only other snippets I could dig up on his background was that he married to Ethel May Van Dongen (b 1886) who passed away in 1918. They had lived for some time in Hawkes Bay during the 1910s. They had a daughter Gladys Sybil Petronella born 1907 (later married a Francis Joseph Ashworth, 1928).  In 1923 he married a Sara Rubena Westwood Ritchie.

Apex Ice Cream tin sign from Australian site Roadside Relics edit  copy

Painted tin Apex advertising from outside of a building. Image courtesy of  Roadside Relics, Queensland. I had a question to the retailer about how this ended up in Australia – and apparently it was purchased  from the owners of  a pub named Pump in Maryborough in the 1980s-1990s, who were originally from Dunedin and had it decorated with a collection of signs they had brought with them. 

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Presumably this new Apex building was an additional premises, directly opposite 25 Manchester street on the intersection. This building was for many years, until recently, the original Lone Star Cafe  which eventually became a successful chain of twenty five venues. It was unfortunately destroyed in the 2010 earthquake and subsequently demolished. Apex Ice Cream Co. Ltd., was granted a Goods Service License under the Transport Act, 1949, Christchurch sometime between 1953-1962, showing that besides selling locally, they were by this time distributing far and wide.a

APEX ICE CREAM - CONTACT MAGAZINE Volume 3 No  2 Jan Feb 1943 Page 64 and 65 crop copy

Apex advert, from Contact: The National Magazine of the Royal New Zealand Air Force,Volume 3 No  2 Jan Feb 1943, Page 65. 

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 Over the last five years three or four hand-painted tin or wood Apex signs have come up for auction – all with similar layout and slogan – although varying dimensions. The only exception has been this red dairy footpath sign (that I recreated here with some modifications) which has been for sale from a Christchurch dealer for some time now. I’ve previously contacted him through both his website and Trade Me with personal sales inquiries for items and all times I have attempted my questions have remained unanswered  yet I noticed he’s very keen to provide answers when he auctions  five or ten dollar items so…winning sales technique there. Ergo I haven’t even bothered to contact again and find out anything about the provenance of this item. Given that apparently he is not interested in making any serious money – he certainly won’t be answering questions when none at all is on offer.

Lone Star Cafe - demolished

Number 26 Manchester Street, The original Lone Star Cafe, now a danger from earthquake damage, comes down.

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Data indicates that Apex was still running into the early 1970s at least (Christchurch Planning Tribunal/Environment Court case files are on record for 1971) – but it was eventually bought out by Tip-Top along with other companies like Supreme, New Joy, Robinson, Perfection, Eldora, Sunshine,  Peter Pan, Alpine, and Wall’s. By 1964, Tip-Top had finally achieved national distribution by gobbling up all the smaller (frozen) fish. Closed company files  indicate Apex may have changed hands in 1956, then again in 1964, which may be when Tip-Top stepped in and took over – since they were on a roll at the time buying out smaller brands in their bid to get to the top – they bought out Eldora in 1964 and Supreme in 1963. The final Closed Company Files for Apex were lodged sometime between 1964 and 1979. The only employee I’ve tracked down also commenced working for Apex in 1960 and finished up in 1964, so all the dates converge to some telling event. Unfortunately I was not able to talk to the person in question before publishing this article – but I am sure there is more to be added to this story in future. Perhaps someone trawling the web will come across this and be able to pass on some vital information that fills the gaps, like they did with the Peter Pan Frozen Foods saga.

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THOMAS GAGER TAILOR Star , Issue 5812, 29 December 1886, Page 2 edit

Above: Gager, had been just one resident business owner  in the days before Apex. From the Star, Page 2, 29 December 1896. He moved to 95 in 1893, but he was already hawking his own patented invention of electric accessories from his former address at 25 Manchester Street in the 1880s. Below, an ad from the Press, 15 November 1893, Page 7.

THOMAS GAGER'S ELECTRIC BELTS  Press, Volume L, Issue 8640, 15 November 1893, Page 7

 

Credits: Thanks to Dave Homewood, from Wings Over Cambridge,  check out their collection of great Contact magazine covers online here.  Also thanks to  Chris Newey from Foodworks online – the  New Zealand Food & Beverage Directory,  for some research pointers.

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

Addendum mid-Jan 2014: I’ve added this amazing, extremely rare image of an early piece of Apex advertising. This was sent to me by Nick Boblea, a hard-core veteran of enamel sign collecting. He has an amazing accumulation from what I’ve seen – and was kind enough to contact me after reading this article and offer a picture of this one. I’m guessing it dates from the earliest days of the brand.

???????????????????????????????????????

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Addendum mid-March 2014: Reader Carolyn Catt kindly sent in this  image of  one of two Apex signs stashed in her garage, that she acquired twenty years ago in the Christchurch area.

Apex sign c Carolyn Catt copy smlveteran of enamel sign collecting. He has an amazing accumulation from what I’ve seen – and was kind enough to contact me after reading this article and offer a picture of this one. I’m guessing it dates from the earliest days of the brand.a

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.

Bite Size: The Scoop

In Beauty ice cream cones, Ice Cream, Icy-Slice wafers, McNiven Bros (New Zealand) Ltd, McNiven Cones on October 3, 2012 at 10.46

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Fellow researcher slash historian Lisa Truttman of Timespanner was kind enough to have me in mind and snap this on her archive travels – and send it over, thinking I may like it. Well, of course she was exactly right. The advert is from back of a 1930s era Henderson Primary School anniversary booklet. I’ve colourised it from the original, which was just black and white.  I’d never heard of their product before, but I was immediately able to find a few things on this, as opposed to often finding nothing.

 

It’s pretty rare to find an ad for this type of product, which more or less amounts to a component for another. Generally you’d expect to see this sort of thing in an association trade magazine, and that’s about all. The McNiven Bros (New Zealand) Ltd opened for business in 1927. Whether their building was always in Khyber Pass I don’t know, but records show that it was in situ by 1929 on the corner of Huntly Avenue.

Looking north along Khyber Pass Road from  around the corner of Huntly Avenue, 1929. Image by James D Richardson, courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1847

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It seems they were around until about 1952, but I don’t know why they closed their doors. It wasn’t that far off the period where cones as a product per se began to popularize on the first supermarket shelves in the late fifties to early sixties – My conjecture is that it had much to do with the rise in popularity of home entertainment – meaning television. Maybe if they had hung around a bit longer and reconfigured, who knows what may have happened.

Counterfeit wafers: Auckland Star,  January 1932

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There’s so many reasons why products and brands disappear. Sometimes the instigator retires or even dies, and the descendants aren’t interested in the family business; there’s no succession planning. Maybe it gets driven out of the market by competition or changing markets. Perhaps it’s sold to another bigger company who make a failure of it, or just subsume the market share. Anyway, at a quarter century they did pretty good for a business specialising in just one product.

Looking north along Huntly Avenue from Khyber Pass Road, 1929. Image by James D Richardson, courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1848

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They dealt in different types of cones, cups, and wafers only, not ice cream, and no other baked goods that I’m aware of. Apart from their “Beauty” cones, They made one called an Icy-Slice, presumably wafers for ice cream sandwiches. Interestingly, the only other time I’ve ever heard that name was when my Nanna, who had a dairy in Browns Bay in the 1950s, used to make us her ice cream sandwiches – that’s what she called them – Icy Slicies. I’m placing bets that it was a generic name that stemmed from the widely used McNiven product.

Farm food: Auckland Star,  August 1930

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Amazingly, in such a busy industrial city district, the building is still standing today. It’s more or less the same as it was in the 1930s – bar a coat of paint and suitable “showroom”-style windows befitting a motorcycle dealership, which is what it serves as now. I wonder if they know that the only kind of “Belly-Shovers” that used to be sold from these four walls held scoops of delectable creamy stuff?

 

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Reconstructing Wall’s

In Apefruits, Birds Eye Frozen Foods, Birds Eye NZ Ltd, Crazy Joe Cola iceblock, Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company, Sno Frute, Street's Ice Cream, Tip-Top, Unilever, Wall's ice cream, Wall's Ice Cream Ltd on September 9, 2012 at 10.46

Originally a British brand, Wall’s started in Acton in 1922 and the business was such a success that by 1959 production had doubled and a large factory rebuilt in Gloucester. I would conject that the brand came to New Zealand soon after that – probably in the very early 1960s under the auspices of Unilever. I really don’t have that much information on the history of the brand in Aotearoa. Kiwis hold these sort of  brands dear via fond memories of something they grew up with – yet the story didn’t really happen here; like many foreign concerns such as Cadbury’s that wheedled their way in to the marketplace via franchises or mergers – basically they just arrived and kicked some eggs out of the already-established nest, so to speak, to make space for themselves.

The first real records I have of specific products are Tahitian Delight (1961) and Sno Frute in flavours big orange, big pineapple, and big pink lemonade (probably late 1960s).
By the early 1970s the brand is being marketed under the auspices of Birds Eye Frozen Foods NZ Ltd, a Unilever subsidiary which was present in New Zealand from 1947 – having Wattie’s produce their frozen fruits and vegetables for them under the Birds Eye brand, which I previously mentioned here in December 2011.

By the early-mid 1970s I personally have memories of the Woppa in blackberry banana flavour (I have recreated all the flavours that I am aware of, but I’m sure there were more over time). I also remember having Tornadoes and boysenberry Splices – but I think most people will be familiar with the very popular “Crazy Joe” character which they used for a cola flavour popsicle (or “iceblocks” as they were commonly referred to in Aotearoa) – he was also used in Australia and the campaign was pretty much identical from what I have seen. A big thing at primary school in the mid to late 1970s was the Apefruits range, based on the sensational Planet of the Apes hit TV series and the ice novelties came in flavours like Orangutang, Chocanana, Jaffanana, and Gorillaberry with a matching sticker set to collect (now competitively pursued by collectors).

The brand pumped out novelty lines with no stopping through the 1970s and some of the names for products I have run across are Daisy, Spider, Sundowner, Fizzbang, Goblet, Weird Wolf, and Witchy Goo – specific years unknown.
Wall’s Ice Cream Ltd it was purchased and run by the Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company circa mid 1970s , for a brief period of time.

By the very end of the 1970s, the business been snapped up by that great subsumer of all smaller ice cream brands, Tip-Top – and seem to continue through the eighties to the end of that decade with products like Star Trek in1982, The Goonies in1985 (both based on the hit movies of the moment), and an America’s Cup “KZ-7″ novelty in 1987. Presumably by the end of the decade, the brand was dismantled.

I recreated the Woppa labels and the poster from different lots that have been sold on Trade Me over the years. In particular the wrappers were terrible quality and quite a feat, but not the hardest thing that I have done over the last couple of years by a long shot. The flavours of the Woppas sound absolutely mouth-watering and I could have one now!

It looks like the brand in Oz was eventually subsumed by Street’s Ice Cream (obvious from the logos I have seen). However Wall’s products, still based in the UK , continue to be made today – apparently still a market leader with some products. It is still owned by Unilever in Britain and is now truly a global brand, just no longer in Australasia.

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The Woppa poster is available from my online store along with lots of other things. Greeting cards are a great deal!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/9331906-walls-woppa-poster

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/9332116-walls-woppa-card

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:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/maid-me-look/

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. 

Tasteful Transformation: Tip-Top’s TT2 and Moggy Man

In Dairy, Dairy Products, Desserts, Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Ice Cream, Kiwi Classics, Longwhitekid merchandise, Moggy Man, Moggy Man TT2, Tip-Top, Tip-Top Popsicles, TT2 on April 17, 2012 at 10.46

Here’s a recreation of a tatty Moggy Man sandwich board sign for a dairy business,  below, which came up for sale a couple of weeks ago and sold for over  350 dollars; he was the character representing a long gone Tip-Top brand which was shelved in the early 1970s – now it seems highly desirable to collectors.

I’ve already made my way through half of what will no doubt be a significant article on Tip-Top to be published sometime in the next few weeks, so I’ll just give you the bare bones background here.

TT-2 registered trademark, circa 1957

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Tip-Top was the brainchild of two friends, Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan who decided to open an ice cream parlour. The first one was in Manners Street, Wellington and threw its doors open in 1936. Such a success it was – that within just a couple of years they had a string of them dotted around the lower half of the North Island and the top of the South.

TT-2 Moonraider POS poster for dairies, circa  1967, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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By 1938 they had officially formed a company and were manufacturing their own product. The rest, as they say in the tired old world of cliché, is history – and today it can truly be considered one of few truly iconic brands – in fact they are celebrating their 75th birthday this year.

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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With somewhere near fifty million litres of ice cream being churned out annually ( literally as well as figuratively), dozens of products on the market and selling internationally – the business ,now under the jurisdiction of Fonterra Co-operative Group, shows no sign of fading away by any means. Not bad going for a company that started out as one milk bar, with  an ice cream confection named after a cow (the Topsy, which is still on the market today).

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Moggy Man was a Tip-Top brand that began life around the late 1950s as the extremely successful TT-2 ice block – one of the earlier Tip-Top brands that were considered a “novelty” line at the time – that said, anything that wasn’t cone ice cream was considered as such. It was an abbreviation of Tip-Top (TT) with a “2” which indicated it’s relegation to second tier product as it was an ice confection – whereas everything else at the time contained  a degree of dairy; mainly cream.

 TT-2 Moonraider wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Many baby boomers recall their childhood and fondly remember the TT-2 range in uncomplicated flavours like orange, pineapple, raspberry, coca cola, lime and lemonade – a reflection of simpler times in sunny summer days. By the early to mid 1960s the more sophisticated themes and flavours of Pineapple Pole, Jaffa Dip, Banana Shake, Raspberry Dazzle, Squidley Twin (an Octopus theme in two flavours), Sweet Orange, Milkshake, Hokey Pokey, White Lemonade, and Moonraider were being tried out on the more adventurous tastebuds of the public.

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Sometime around the end of 1967 or so, the character had been introduced to make a conglomeration “Moggy Man TT2”, a “space-shaped ” ice (not as interesting as it sounds) with milk and extra sugar added – and new varieties to go with this revamped theme of Sunspot, Meteor, Lunar, and with the former Moonraider continued.

Moggy Man TT2 wrapper, circa 1968

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By 1968 the old part of the name had been completely resigned to the scrapheap and the character stood alone as a brand with the space motif continued in varieties like Star Strobe, Red Rocket, Concorde (orange and lemon), Astro Flash, and Zero X .

Moggy Man TT2 wrapper, circa 1968

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However he seemed to be fizzling out and the last ad I’ve seen in the early 1970s shows basic raspberry, chocolate, lime, and orange milk ices in the range. He must have vanished into a black hole soon after – I suspect he was gone by 1974. I  certainly don’t remember Moggy Man being around – and he was eventually replaced a few years later by the Popsicle range – “coolest band in the land”. They weren’t really…the whole “ice lolly as faux rock star” campaign and branding was kind of tacky. Bring back MM, I say – he was much neater!

 I found this document for the Moggy Man character being registered to Peters Ice Cream of NSW, circa 1968. I don’t understand what this is about or why they had posession of the brand at the same time as Tip-Top. I can only imagine it was a licensing deal to launch the brand in Australia, because Peters were  only present in New Zealand in the 1930s and didn’t make a “comeback” until the 1990s.I find no further mention of a presence outside of New Zealand, so one can assume it was not a success. 

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Moggy Man POS poster for dairies, circa 1970, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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I’ve got my high quality recreation of the Moggy Man poster for sale on Redbubble store as posters here;

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/8731662-untitled?p=poster

and cards here.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/8731662-tip-top-moggy-man?c=130101-kiwiana-cards

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Addendum, mid-October 2012:   I was wondering why I never found this advert until now. This is why – In a very weird coincidence Archives NZ uploaded it the very same day I published my article. Now what are the chances of that? This ad pinpoints the above poster to circa 1970 when Astro Flash and Zero X were probably first released.

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