longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Kirkpatrick’ Category

Catching Up With The Kid

In "K", "K" Brand, Canned Goods, Centennial Kirkpatrick House, Kirkpatrick, S Kirkpatrick and Co Ltd, S. Kirkpatrick & Company on June 28, 2014 at 10.46

Kirkpatricks Nelson Melon & Lemon-Plum  jam Tin  copy

As I have passed the milestone of publishing one hundred articles quite a while back – I now find I backtrack on a regular basis to add interesting titbits as they come up. These may be things that I think will enhance a story I’ve previously considered I’m done with. This may be as new information comes in, or I run across relevant images – or perhaps a descendant or collector contacts me to offer something I may be interested in; data they have that fills in a gap in a story.

This week I’ve made small updates to quite a few previous articles with pictures and revisions, and these are noted at the foot of the article with an addendum.

Here’s several images of an incredible stash of ancient “K” products from S. Kirkpatrick & Co which came up for sale a while back. I am guessing these date from the late 1910s-through the early 1920s. It’s rare enough to find any labelled and unopened cans, particularly this old. I’ve maybe seen one or two from this brand over time. But a few at once? I was intrigued.

I contacted the seller to satisfy my curiosity and they explained that they were found stashed in an old, forgotten cupboard of a long-abandoned house they had recently acquired. I also contacted the buyer, wondering why someone I didn’t previously know of as a collector had bought them all in one go. As it turns out they are the current owners of the renovated Kirkpatrick House that I feature in my previous article – and have decided to collect anything associated with the former owners.

Most of the envelopes further down, as well as the ginger tin, came up for auction around the same time, albeit from a different seller. You can see the previous story on Kirkpatrick and the “K” brand  here.

Kirkpatricks Nelson Marmalade Tin  copy
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Kirkpatricks Nelson Baking Powder Tin copy
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Kirkpatricks Nelson Tomato SoupTin  copy
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Kirkpatricks Nelson Cayenne Pepper Tin copy
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Kirkpatricks Nelson K Damson Tin  copy
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KirkpatricksTin tops copy
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K Brand Kirkpatricks Ground Ginger Tin  copy
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Kirkpatrick and co K brand Envelope Solpak apples 1940s edit
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K Brand Tomato Soup, 1940 colour advertising cvrKIRKPATRICK  North Shore Stamps crop

“K” Brand Tomato Soup, 1940 colour advertising cover, image courtesy of North Shore Stamps.

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Kirkpatrick and co K brand Envelope spagetti in tomato sauce  1940s edit
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K Kirkpatrick Spaghetti with tomato and cheese 1945 NZ Bill envelope with advertising edit

“K” Brand  bill envelope with advertising, 1945.  Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library collection, ref Eph-A-FOOD-1945-01.

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Kirkpatrick and co K brand Envelope baked beans flavoured with pork and tomato sauce  1940s edit
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Other updates as follows:

 

The Creamy Dragon Strikes Again

Continental Love

Bite Size: Reconstituted Retro

When It Finally Dawns: Sunrise Cordial and The Galliens

Edible And Credible

Fruits Of Commerce: The Bountiful Depictions of Joseph Bruno Moran

Don’t Mess With The Classics

A Trail Goes Creamy and Cold

Man’s Best Trend: Commercialising Our Critters

Perfitly Preserved

In My Cups

Somewhat Wireless, But Not Brainless

Coupon Conquest

Projecting The Past

When Lactose Goes

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

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A Frosty Phenomenon

In "K" Brand, Abel's Ltd., Batchelor's Surprise Peas, Birds Eye Frozen Foods, Birds Eye NZ Ltd, Butland Industries, Clarence Frank Birdseye, Continental Foods, Continental soups, Crest Fine Foods, Frying Saucers, Goldman Sachs/Postum Cereals, Handy Andy cleaner, Impulse deodorant, J. Wattie Foods Limited, J.R. Butland, Kirkpatrick, Knights Castille soap, Lever Bros (N.Z.) Ltd, Lever Products, Lifebuoy, Lucky Whip cream, Lux, Margarine Unie, Monkey Brand soap, Oak, Rosella Foods, S. Kirkpatrick & Company, Simplot, Solvol soap, Stockpot vegetables, Surprise, Thompson & Hill, Unilever, Van den Bergh Foods, Vim cleaner, Wall's ice cream, Wall's Ice Cream Ltd, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's, William Hesketh Lever on June 11, 2014 at 10.46

Crest Surprise dried  beans box recreation  copy

A recreation of  panels from a Surprise dried beans box, dated some time between 1970-76. I used a picture of a box sold on Trade Me in order to remake the graphics.

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Who remembers the Surprise brand? Everyone should. Especially the peas. I recall well how they were heavily advertised on television in the late 1970s and early 1980s – it was on relentless rotation!
However it may have been forgotten that Surprise were around long before that; as far back as the 1950s in New Zealand with pea and bean products – both dried and frozen.

Initially I wrote this article on the premise that the Surprise brand likely started out as a subsidiary of J.R. Butland’s Crest Fine Foods, later Butland Industries, given the logo is prominently displayed on the packaging. Crest was for some time the most successful (mainly canned) food business in New Zealand until usurped by the Wattie’s line (Butland had his initial success with the invention of Chesdale Cheese and was also behind the Goldpack fruit brand amongst others).

History is confusing around how the Crest brand passed from one owner to the next. My research shows that the brand changed hands in 1959 – but that Wattie’s kept producing the frozen stuff on behalf of Unilever until 1961 or so. Another record shows the Crest brand passing via S. Kirkpatrick & Company Ltd (the “K” Brand) to J. Wattie Foods Limited in 1960 (Wattie’s had also bought both “K” and Thompson & Hill’s OAK brands in this year).

shopper holding packets of surprise peas at Merrylands Shopping Centre, NSW  1966 editjpg

A shopper holding packets of surprise dried peas at Merrylands Shopping Centre, NSW, Australia. Taken in 1966 by Ern McQuillan, image courtesy of the National Library of Australia colelction, ref nlapic-vn4984301.

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I’d have to see more examples of packaging with notations on company details to develop a better tracking – but I would say that this was referring to the canned business, not the frozen and dried goods portion (Crest also included spices and sauce lines) – as by the early 1970s the Surprise brand, along with hugely popular Wall’s ice cream (covered here in September 2013) – is being marketed under the auspices of Birds Eye Frozen Foods NZ Ltd, a Unilever subsidiary. As the Crest brand died off for good around the mid-late 1970s that part was dropped by Unilever and the Surprise brand was slotted under Continental.

I assumed Surprise was by Crest – and that when Butland had supposedly sold the brand to Unilever (who then added some more product lines like packets of dried “Stockpot Vegetables” for various soups, amongst others) they acquired the Surprise line/ brand from Butland in the deal as well.

Just when I thought I had this all sorted – a Surprise sliced apples box appeared online for sale indicating it was manufactured by “Crest Foods Limited” alone. It’s similar to the box pictured here dated first half of the 1970s – except it seemed to have an imperial price written on it in pencil. Did Crest hold a license from Unilever for Surprise then conceded later? A quick check of records shows that the address for Crest on the box, at Jackson Street, Petone, Wellington – was the same address for Unilever’s Birds Eye.

Crest Surprise dried apples  box recreation  copy

 A recreation of  panels from a Surprise dried apples box, dated some time between 1970-76. I used a picture taken of items in a mock grocery store in an unknown museum collection to remake the artwork. It slightly differs from the earlier box at bottom.

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A potted Unilever history: William Hesketh Lever launched Sunlight Soap in England in 1885 and it was imported to Aotearoa until operations opened in Sydney in 1899 – at which point importation of the product into New Zealand switched to Australia. However it was not until quite late in the piece, 1919 in fact, that Lever products were produced domestically. In 1920 Lever merged with Dutch fats and oils business Margarine Unie modifying the company to an amalgamation of the two monikers – Unilever.

It’s the usual story with many Trans-Tasman companies – the development was quite separate as is the case with Unilever (until recently). Down under, Unilever spent a number of decades, well into the 1980s, still referring to themselves as Lever Products/Lever Bros (N.Z.) Ltd until they acquired the brands Oxo, Bushells, Faggs (coffee), and John West – and along with their Quality Packers business (including Choysa, Perfit, Red Rose and Q-P) all merged to form Unifoods NZ in 1988.

Over the years Unilever also produced Monkey Brand (household cleaning soap), and Lux was an enduring brand over the decades with soap powder, dish liquid and toilet soap lines. Other toilet soap brands were Lifebuoy, Castilever, Solvol and Knights Castille. Household cleaners Vim and Handy arrived in the 50s and 60s; Marge’s toothpaste and Impulse deodorant debuted in the 1980s. Soups included Continental , Country Style and Slim-a-Soup. There was instant Savoury Rice in beefy onion, Chinese style, and mild curry flavours. The Abel’s brand had vegetable oil, margarine, and copha – and Lucky Whip was a canned aerosol whipped cream. Frying Saucers, which I remember, were a frozen snack for deep-frying that resembled fishcakes but had mince meat inside. They were all the rage for a while when I was a child. Wall’s ice cream was at various times slotted in under the Birds Eye frozen foods subsidiary. The Surprise line was put under the Crest brand for some time. I am sure there were a number more brands that Unilever produced in New Zealand.

Crest Surprise quick-dried Sliced Beans box 12      copy

A Surprise dried beans box dated early-mid 1970s used to recreate my artwork for the box panels at top. Note the decimal price stamp shows it definitely dates after 1967.

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Clarence Frank Birdseye was a taxidermist turned inventor from Brooklyn who experimented with and developed a flash-freezing system for frozen foods in the 1920s after being inspired by Inuit Eskimo methods he observed on assignment in Newfoundland. Within a few short years, after having invested a few dollars in brine, ice and a fan – he had perfected the technique through trial and error (and one bankruptcy) and sold his General Seafood Corporation business for a fortune to Goldman Sachs/Postum Cereals (which later merged to become General Foods in America).

Again, the company histories separated out between the U.S. and the U.K. – having different owners in different global territories . The latter is how the brand came to Aotearoa via British Unilever – who bought rights from America to the ‘quick freezing’ patent and Birds Eye brand in the 1930s.

Home refrigeration started to popularise in the 1930s – and gave rise to the ice cream industry catering to this phenomenon – by packing their products for the first time in card quart and pint boxes to take home for post supper treats. Frozen vegetables were a new-fangled thing in New Zealand in the late 1940s but the above groundwork had already been laid for their immediate popularity.

Woman's Weekly  1964_Part1 CREST SURPRISE PEAS copy

Advert for Surprise peas by Crest, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, 1964. I think this is the dried version.

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In 1947, Unilever of Britain contracted with Wattie’s to produce frozen peas, then a variety of vegetables and fruit under its Birds Eye brand – which I previously mentioned here in December 2011. Wattie’s then established a new plant at Gisborne in 1952 in order to continue accommodate this contract. Subsequently, as soon as their new processing facility opened Wattie’s followed with their own packaged peas and corn; this eventually became a huge range of frozen product that did their competition no harm in the marketplace for quite some time – for Birds Eye were around well into the 1980s before it fizzled out (the business was finally dismantled in 1984). However the brand had a longer and more popular life in Australia, where it continues to this day.

A 1956 still seems to show Birds Eye peas, raspberries and frozen fish (probably fingers, which launched in England that same year) amongst other items. According to Simplot, the current owners of the brand in Australasia – Birds Eye was not launched over the ditch until two years later in 1949 – although I think it’s clear by now that believing what a company writes on their own website about their own history is tantamount to listening to a claim from most politicians.

By the 1980s the Surprise brand had expanded to apples, peas, beans, butter beans, peas and carrots, minted peas, mixed vegetables, and chopped onions. I am sure there was more, this is just what I know of. The brand is still under Unilever and going Strong today, with four products – minted peas, garden peas and peas & corn (all in frozen and dried versions) and dried mixed vegetables ( a combo of pea, potatoes, beans and carrots). To my knowledge Wattie’s (now Heinz Wattie’s Ltd) continue their association with Unilever for production.

SURPRISE SLICED APPLES CREST FOODS LIMITED Jackson Street Petone looks to have imperial price 3 S 6 D edit copy

A Surprise dried apple box, likely dating between 1961-1966. I conject that by this time the ownership of the brand had transferred to Unilever, and product was being manufactured in their Wellington plant, hence the Jackson street, Petone address on the side.

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However right at the end of writing I ran across a U.K. radio advert archive which lists an ad for Surprise garden peas circa 1960 – suddenly making me wonder whether they were either exported to the U.K for sale by Unilever – or simply originally a Unilever brand all along . Something wasn’t right with my story.

Further to that, In an online discussion about the Surprise brand one person remembers “…Batchelor’s “Surprise” peas . My father devised the name and designed the packaging…” I’d love to follow up on this line of inquiry but the conversation was unfortunately archived. Some further digging into Unilever history in the U.K. revealed that in the early 1940s Van den Bergh Foods/Unilever had acquired a fifty year old British company named Batchelor’s which specialised in processing peas.

Then I ran across a 1966 promotional photo in the National Library of Australia archive of a woman holding a few packets of Surprise peas – almost the same package design I’ve featured in the 1964 advert here. However the brand name was different and after a lot of squinting I realised the product was under Rosella, not Birds Eye. Unilever were successful in a takeover of Rosella in 1963 and remained owners until 2002.

With Unilever’s Surprise line in New Zealand appearing under Crest just after the acquisition of that brand, then their Surprise line in Australia appearing under Rosella just after the acquisition of that brand, I started to see a pattern. I conject that Surprise was never a Crest brand and Unilever acquired the product and technique with their purchase of Batchelor’s in the U.K. They just threw it under whatever was the most popular brand in the marketplace at the time in a corresponding country – hence it’s move to Continental when Crest was given last rites in Aotearoa.

Surprise peas - IGA Shopping Game 1969 14th anniversary - 197 Four Square  copy

 L:  Surprise dried peas box from a 1977 Four Square stores brochure.  R: Surprise frozen and dried peas packets from an IGA stores shopping-themed board game issued as a promo for the 14th anniversary of the brand in New Zealand,  in 1969. 

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The conclusion is fairly clear that Surprise was never originally a Kiwi brand at all. The research still took me on an interesting journey, though. Although, – it seems that, despite my best efforts – this story is not quite wrapped up yet.

I’d date these particular boxes I’ve recreated at some time between 1970 and 1976 (closer to the former date) based on regular changes to the packaging, as well as being evidenced by the decimal price of 25 cents.

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Update June 2015: Katherine Milburn, one of the  Ephemera Librarians at the Hocken Library Collections archive, saw this article and was kind enough to contact me with some data on the frozen foods industry, as well as these scans of Surprise brand  bean boxes. They definitely date after 1972 as the printer’s mark is ‘Whitcoulls.’ This company wasn’t producing items of packaging until that year,  after a merger of huge printing and publishing businesses Whitcombe & Tombs  and  Coull Somerville Wilkie. However since I’ve established dates for the boxes in the main article as being in production as late as 1976 when they were still marking packaging of items with dual imperial and metrics for those slow on the uptake, that gives us a pretty good start date.

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (1) edit sml

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (2) edit sml

As for a cut-off date, well our only clue is the  complete absence of a barcode, so probably prior to around 1982. I also remember this Whitcoulls logo in use in the late 1970s to early 1980s.  So, two versions of a box for the same product. Obviously the yellow one is earlier at 32 cents. Plus the mustard theme just screams of the decade they call ‘the one that style forgot’ (I beg to differ on this point). So I’d say late 1970s for this one; the green version shows the price has now risen to 41 cents so a guess of the very early 1980s.

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (3) edit sml

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (4) edit sml

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

When It Finally Dawns: Sunrise Cordial and The Galliens

In Alandale Manufacturing, chemist, Chin Nan Loh, cordial, Dominion Drug Co., Exmol embrocation, Frimley Foods, Frimley Fruit Canning Works, Gallien's Pharmacy, H.L. Gallien, Harry M. Bennett pharmacist, Henry Louis Gallien, Hocken Library and Archives, Hope and Sons Funeral Directors, James Nelson Williams, Kirkpatrick, Louis (Henry Louis II) Gallien, pharmacist, Solvo Cure, Stanmore brand, Stanmore Lungworm and Scour Specific, Sunrise cordials, The Royal Society of New Zealand, W. Kinder chemist, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on November 5, 2012 at 10.46

Lithographed label for H.L. Gallien’s cordial, early-mid 1920s.

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The story begins with me buying two gorgeous lithographed labels at auction; the brand Sunrise cordial – which I had never heard of before. The archives and engines were turning up nothing and continue to do so; the only clue I had to start with was that they were manufactured by a particular Dunedin chemist.

H.L. Gallien (HLG II, known as Louis) at the doorway of  19 Main Street, North East Valley store, early-mid 1910sCourtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 

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As I started to research one of the first things I came across was a recent newspaper article from the Otago Times about a man named Chin Nan Loh who had bought an ancient chemist shop in North Dunedin. The story was about how he had rescued a cracked and dusty stained glass window with elaborate faceted panes, and re-installed it in his new Unichem shop across the road in Gardens Mall – along with a photograph of the former long-term owner, apparently a “Louis Gallien” – to add “a bit more character, give a community feeling” as he put it.

From left: W Kinder & Co Dispensary, Thames St, Oamaru. W Kinder, Chemist & Druggist, North East Valley Dunedin (1902-1913), courtesy of ABCR Auctions. Tamar Indien Grillon cure, Paris – Gallien Chemist, Dunedin (after 1913), courtesy of ABCR Auctions. W Kinder, Chemist & Druggist, North east Valley Dunedin (1902-1913, Eucalyptus & Menthol Pastilles,courtesy of ABCR Auctions. Gallien Chemist bottle (1903-1904),  Hawkes Bay Bottle collectors magazine of December 1982, author unknown, courtesy of  Jill and Alan Griffith.

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Even though the name wasn’t quite right – this had to be my man; I was sure I could work out the connection. Undertaking some cursory groundwork, I understood that the manufacturer of the cordials , H.L. Gallien, and his descendants had been in situ in North Rd, North East Valley, Dunedin for decades (and the business its self for over 100 years), primarily as a pharmacy, and that he had created and marketed several other brands – as well as being responsible for the Sunrise label. But nothing seemed to be making any sense; I had variations of names and dates and places that zig-zagged all over the country with no clear trajectory or sequence (with another year’s work under my belt I’ve found that this isn’t so unusual), but somehow I knew they were linked. And there I left it for some months.

Lithographed label for H.L. Gallien’s cordial, early-mid 1920s.

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It wasn’t until much later while researching a completely different topic – jam canneries again – that I came back to the fairly perfunctory story I have posted on previously about the Frimley brand

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/saucing-material/

and how it was absorbed by Wattie’s. Imagine my surprise when I read the builder of Frimley’s canneries, which I somehow missed the first time round, was named… H.L. Gallien. It’s not possible that it was the same person… or could it be? What were the chances that a company that made fruit cordial as one of their products was involved with a person with exactly the same name who also made fruit cordial – could it have any relation? Although New Zealand is a tiny country in size, as well as terms of population (especially then) –  I had one story taking place in Hastings in the mid east coast of the North Island; and the other story taking place almost at the other end of the country right down the bottom of the South Island, at the same time. I’ve run across some pretty strange coincidences before so I wasn’t ruling out that this was another one.

Spooky: Bertha’s forgery escapade is already recounted here. Louis (Henry Louis Gallien II) was later done for distributing excess Opium through his pharmacy. Charles Louis (here as Charlie) ended up involved in a quack scam (“Hermann The Healer”) that went to court. Out of 13 children, the only  three that had notoriety for their legal troubles, are in this photo together. Courtesy of Delwyn Lone collection.

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The thing that I really got stuck on was that I kept finding references to a mysterious Louis or Lewis Gallien – one in Wellington in the 1860s on a committee indicating that he was already mature. Another in 1880s at a school in Hastings indicating youth, another article from the 1890s stating that he was from Auckland and had bought a business interest there. See what I mean about confusing?

Bert (Albert) Gallien, Louis Gallien’s son, at the doorway of  19 Main Street, North East Valley store, early-mid 1920s. The address had changed to 21 North Road by 1918 meaning this photo was taken after that – since the new number is on the building. This is probably either Louis’s daughter Bessie or Margaret. She’s even tinier than her brother! Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 

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As it turns out there was officially no Louis, and he had never lived in Auckland. And sometimes the media misquoted the name as “Lewis”, confusing the information with a Lewis Gallien who arrived in Wellington in 1864 who had nothing to do with this story. It wasn’t until it had driven me nuts over a series of weeks that I finally realized what was going on – there were three different Henry Louis Galliens with separate careers – father, son and grandson, and that both father and son sometimes referred to themselves as “H. Louis” or often just “Louis”. Once I clicked it all seemed so obvious! Imagine if you will, just how damn difficult it was to unravel this story, where three generations all had the same name.

Close-up of Bert (Albert) Gallien at the doorway of  the 21 North Road (formerly 19 Main Street), North East Valley store, early-mid 1920s. Note the leadlight window now in situ, and poster in the window for Gallien’s Sarsaparilla Blood Mixture. Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection. 

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Henry Louis Gallien , most senior (whom I will refer to as Henry from here on) was born in Magdeburg Germany in 1835, and he arrived from London aboard the Wild Duck to the Wellington port in January 1860. By 1863 he had moved to Nelson, founded a business and by April the premises were being offered for rent. By 1864 he was back in Wellington, where he had married his bride Catherine Pauline Brown. They purchased a home in Thorndon Quay and went on to have an incredible 15 children, 13 of which survived which is a pretty good strike rate for those times to say the least. Can you imagine having to bring up so many? That was huge, even for those days – I was amazed as I kept finding record after record. It must have been a real struggle just to put food on the table. I’m not sure exactly what Henry did for a living when he arrived but he was listed as a “Carpenter & Joiner” by the time he was naturalised in Wellington in 1865, and again in 1866 he is registered as having a cabinet-making enterprise in Lambton Quay. However it seems he had ambitions and made some important contacts and as a result- contracts.

Box packaging for Gallien’s Emulsion bottle. Likely dates between 1905-1912. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.

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An interesting diversion here (but diversion nevertheless), is that their second child Bertha Annie Gallien (b.1867), was charged with forgery in 1886, aged just nineteen. In quite unusual circumstances that were deemed newsworthy at the time – she was placed as a serving girl with a family acquaintance rather than going to prison, possibly the fact that her father was an established and respected member of the community may have had some bearing on this for there wasn’t much other reason except that perhaps the judge was in a particularly favourable and lenient mood. Financial records of the legislative department from 1871-1872 show that they had an account with Henry, so one wonders if “friends in high places” had any bearing on the unusual outcome of the case. If he didn’t already have acquaintances to get the job then surely he had made some by the end of it – clearly he was what you would be described as “connected”.

Dose glass issued by Gallien, between 1896-1912,  from the chemist’s measure collection of and © Jill and Alan Griffith.

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Henry Louis Gallien II was the fourth child in 1870, and the focus of this story (I’ll refer to him as Louis). Birth and death records tell us that the family lived in the heavily populated Thorndon Quay area of Wellington for some years and sold the property in 1872. At this point our stories more or less separate out.

Louis’s disastrous move to be closer to Hastings lasted less than twelve weeks between December 1904 and February 1905.

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In 1892 a J.E. Gallien of Marton near Fielding is mentioned as passing a botanical pharmacy degree. A cousin perhaps, or just an all-so-common-for-the-times misquote of initials? I am going for the latter, and I suspect that he may have resided for a time with the family of a sibling such as his older and first born brother Charles Louis (b. 1865). Who can say where his interest in the medical, chemical, zoological and botanical realms stemmed from? What we do know is that both Henry and Louis had in their lifetime involvement with the Royal Society of New Zealand

http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/about.html

Louis is quoted as both a canary collector and breeder of note, as well as hobby taxidermist: “Mr. Gallien, when preparing a Cuckoo for stuffing, found in its crop a complete young Sparrow, barely feathered…” 

Syrup recipes for Sunrise cordials and other products: Ginger, Sarsoe (Sarsaparilla), Peppermint and Clove. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.

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In 1893 Louis passed his pharmacy examination in Auckland. A social page in a paper of the time notes him as formerly of Auckland, so he may have been temporarily residing there to finish his studies for the final exam. Wasting no time at all upon graduating, later that year he turned up with a pharmacy open in Manchester Street, Fielding (near Palmerston North) that he had bought from a T. A. Garrat, also formerly of Auckland. (Garratt also had two pharmacies in Wellington previously). It seems by 1894 he had sold up and moved on.

Raspberry syrup recipe for Sunrise cordial.Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.

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by 1896 Louis married into the Hill family of Winton, a notable distance from any of his previous locations to say the least – and had purchased another pharmacy from C.F.A . Whiteford in Winton. An article states Louis had already been manager of the business for some time. Likely he commenced this position in 1894 before quickly graduating to owner. He sold it on to William Dawson Cowie between 1902 and 1904. I am not sure what the explanation is for why he ended up north of Invercargill – so far away from his family. Nevertheless he settled in the Otago area for good producing four children with his wife Elizabeth Josephine (1871-1960). Later I noticed that the 1892 article about the pharmaceutical examination results that misquoted his initials as J.E., also mentions a fellow student in his class as “C.T.A . Whiteford”. Given the already-established level of inaccuracy in the article, I would say this is the connection – Whiteford was an educational acquaintance so his move to that area was purely a friendship connection turned business proposition. Following the sale of his first Winton business, he either purchased another established business – or from scratch started another pharmacy, in 1904 Louis’s premises are mentioned in Winton as being two buildings away from Railway Hotel.

Close-up of Gallien’s Solvo wall advertising at the corner of Carlyle and 21 North Road, North East Valley, early-mid 1920s. Courtesy of The Otago Settler’s Museum collection.

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Of course, by now it’s clear Louis was an extremely shrewd operator with repeated business modus operandi of making an easy entree into pre-existing operations by purchasing them as well as likely the previous owner’s inventions and recipes. Point in case , is a ginger cordial label by T. Walker, chemist –  recorded in a book belonging to Louis of the 1910s-1920s. Why else would it have been retained? Clearly it was one of the various purchased businesses in Winton between 1902-1904, 0r 1905-1912.

The true definition of puff piece: on Louis, 1928. In all reality, would you expect higher quality journalism from The Truth?

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In 1913 Louis bought yet another pharmacy and moved to Dunedin city. There is a possibility that he acquired  a pharmacy in Great King Street, Dunedin for a short period between 1912-13, possibly Bagley’s at 323 Great King Street, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of this. Mr. W. Kinder, chemist and druggist, was established at 19 Main Street, North East Valley in 1902 – and this became the Gallien’s Pharmacy of our story. Records refer to a “manufacturing department associated with the business”. This means that, again, probably a number of the products and recipes were created by Kinder (who headed to Oamaru and opened a pharmacy there). I am not saying that Louis wasn’t inventive himself – by the mid 1930s he had quite a line of products as follows: Solvo Cure, White Korn Kill, Stanmore Lungworm and Scour Specific, Gallien’s Emulsion, raspberry vinegar, Ginger Wine Essence, raspberry flavouring, Gallien’s Sarsaparilla Blood Mixture, Defeata eyewash, St. Thomas bay rum, Universal embrocation, Gallien & Co liquorice powders, Newtine’s Lozenges, Dr. Claude’s tonic, and Exmol embrocation.

A coupon for Gallien’s Solvo  – NZ Truth, July 1925.

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Sunrise cordials were being made by the mid 1920s at latest since a revision note dated 1925 was neatly pinned between the leaves of one of the recipe books which were finally dug up in the Hocken Library. This was the motherload and I nearly fell off my chair when these actual handwritten formulas for the cordials turned up. These entailed specifics for the two labels I had – Raspberry Syrup, and the Liquid Fruits (Mixed Fruit Syrup – Raspberry, Ginger, Pear, Pineapple, orange). There were also jottings on how to create Lemon, Vanilla, Creaming Soda, Pineapple, Orange, Orange Squash, Strawberry, Black Currant, Red Currant, Ginger, Sarsoe (sarsaparilla), Peppermint, and Clove syrups. I believe that manufacture started a little earlier than this; the Egyptian motif of the Raspberry label indicates that it was probably just post the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 when that imagery trended worldwide. It seems like Louis’s oldest son Albert Louis William Gallien (b. 1898) may have been the second generation “marketing whizz ” since Gallien’s did not start heavily advertising their own brands until around this time in the mid 1920s. Henry Louis Gallien III (b. 1907, I’ll refer to him as Harry) was a number of years younger than Albert (referred to as Bert) but also followed in a pharmaceutical degree. Sister Bessie Gallien (Elizabeth Mary Gallien 1905-1973),went on to manage Otago’s Sonata Laboratories Limited which marketed products from Scherring Drug Co and Plough N.Z, like Nova, Coppertone, and Wella. Sibling Margaret Gallien was the only exception to the rule and went on to become a nun, spending 67 years as Sister Margaret Raphael of the Sisters of Mercy, St. Mary’s Convent, Auckland.

The Frimley Foods Canning Factory, circa 1910, built by Henry Louis Gallien I.

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Janice Sew Hoy, who was employed at Gallien’s from the early 1980s through to 2001: “There was also a recipe for Embalming Fluid which was made up for Hope and Sons Funeral Directors. This was made up in bulk when ordered. Eventually Hope and Sons must have changed to a commercially made product”. Josie Bray, who was at Gallien’s between the late seventies and the early Noughties remembers: “The embalming fluid was made up in twenty litre containers, I think we stopped doing that around 1994. White Korn Kill was the best stuff on the market – I still work in pharmacy and there is nothing as good made today. That, Solvo and Exmol were very popular right to the end – until the some of the ingredients were too hard to come by. There were some interesting old bits and pieces. Even some huge glass distilling containers that sat round upstairs for years. Gallien (Louis) also used to pull teeth out as he had a dentist chair out the back of the pharmacy. Some people said he was a nice man, others said he was not… I have heard many stories over the years”. Pam Kennedy, a former owner of Gallien’s Pharmacy, says: “Well, I imagine that opinion may have depended on whether you were getting a tooth pulled or not!”

Map shows Gallien Street, Hastings marked with the red balloon. The site of the family home can be seen by the pattern layout of the marked lots. Also shown is Frimley Park, the site of owner Nelson William’s homestead as well as the factory, and the green area top left is Kirkpatrick Park, bounded by Orchard and Canning Roads, This was once dozens of acres of peaches for production. 

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I have to admit, that’s a very good point. Pam continues: “Apart from pulling teeth, he also treated horses. Chemists in those days treated just about anything – if you got knocked over in the street they’d bring you in. There was some kind of horse drench he made. The manufacturing was upstairs and next door. We carried on making the corn cure and Exmol – it went all over the country – people just swore by them. It (the process) sort of changed and evolved over the years”. It likely made its way even to Australia as I found a couple of ads of the early 1920s mentioning it on offer. “Louis made an awful lot of stuff. It was all sort of piled upstairs, lots of equipment. It was just left there as we eventually stopped making things when it became too difficult to get some of the ingredients”, says Pam Kennedy. A sad story of a great product that stops being made for yet another reason – not the usual story of being subsumed or abandoned.

Aaron Hodgson and Mike Doig move the early 1920s leadlight sign to it’s new home at Gardens  Shopping Mall Unichem Pharmacy. Image courtesy of and © Otago Images photo gallery and archive.

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However the only person I talked to who actually had known the Galliens personally, was Barry Longstaffe – because he  worked for them. “Yes, Exmol was the big one and Solvo, which was rheumatism stuff. There was quite a big calling for veterinary products – we did good business with products like  “Horse Blister” which was  medicine put on horses hooves to stimulate them, all three sold throughout the country. I think Louis packed Stephen’s inks at one point, Jeye’s Fluid and all sorts of things like that. Stanmore lotion is another one that we used to make a lot of. There was also aftershave, inhalant, footrot cure, and writing ink,  under the Stanmore brand. Linley cream, a hand lotion, a very popular one of ours. Other items that Barry recalled were mosquito cream. goitre tablets, neuralgic cure, flea cure, strychnine, strychnine antidote, borax, stomach powder,blood and skin purifier, asthma and bronchitis, paraffin, purified benzine, camphorated oil, methylated spirits, cod liver oil, drench, worm powders, and syrup of white pine – “…oh, there was about 150 different things”.   “I started my apprenticeship there in 1959, to Bert Gallien. After Bert died, I finished my apprenticeship under the next owner. I remember there were a couple of carboys up there, and the old dentist’s chair. There were thousands of labels lying around. There were racks out the back about two and a half metres high, twenty to thirty metres long for blue castor oil bottles and things… I’m talking thousands.  The Galliens never threw any bottles out. When I started my apprenticeship I was just doing all the odd jobs. I washed them all and we recycled them in those days. I’m not sure that Harry was actually ever fully qualified as a pharmacist.  I think Harry had to work for Bert, I don’t think he could own a pharmacy in his own right because you need to be particularly qualified to do that. But Harry was a very nice person – peaceful and understanding.  Bert had a very short fuse (laughs).  I think I’m the only apprentice ever that survived the full term.  He was too hard to work for really – but I was a very stubborn person.  He would go off the end very quickly and  was very irrational.  Every time his blood pressure raised and he got at me I just let it go in one ear and out the other. Everybody else didn’t last out, but I outlasted them both!”  He certainly did; he later became an owner.

The early 1920s leadlight sign, backlit in it’s new home at Gardens  Shopping Mall Unichem Pharmacy. Original image courtesy of  Chin Nan Loh.

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Louis remained in Dunedin until his death in 1936, but obviously stepped back – a photo which seems to be the very early 1920s of a couple standing outside the pharmacy show a much younger man, obviously Bert Gallien, and probably his sister Bessie, as Bert was the only one of the four offspring to marry, and the record is not showing up – meaning it was post 1932. This picture is clearly much earlier than that so must be a sibling. Also, even if it is after 1925, Harry would still be in his teens and this person is clearly a fair amount older than that. The fact that he is photographed solo also indicates some kind of jurisdiction – so there are several clues to tell who they are. Barry Longstaffe: “Harry, Bessie, and Margaret didn’t marry; Bert and Imelda had no kids. I think it may have been because of their religious beliefs,  they were a very strongly Catholic family, no sex before marriage and all that! We weren’t even allowed to sell condoms in the pharmacy! You can laugh about it now, but at the time they were quite serious about it! So, when they died it was the end of the line”. Well, what can you say to that except – religion clearly won out, although I am not sure what the benefits were in this case. However this latter part of Louis’s career was not without troubles – he received a fine in 1922, along with plenty of newspaper coverage,  when he was charged for over-selling Opium by between ten to twenty times the standard amount used on average by other chemists, and was fined on three counts the maximum charge of a whopping thirty pounds. Maybe he decided it was about time to start thinking about retirement. Meanwhile with Henry busy with his endeavours at the opposite end of the country, by 1873 there are mentions of Henry in Hastings with his family settled in Saint Leonards, known as Allerton at that time (Allerton Street runs Parallel to Gallien Street there – clearly named for the family and their property). In 1877 a mention is made of Henry having the contract to build a church in Hastings but it seems obvious they made their way straight there from Thorndon Quay.  Louis, Charlie (Charles Louis), and Bertha Gallien are noted as attending The Central School there.

Revisions of the original Solvo embrocation recipe through the 1980s by Kennedy and Simpson. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/004.

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In 1904 the Frimley Foods company had been established by James Nelson Williams in Hastings and was operational, of which the expansive premises were built by Henry’s company. To gain such a massive contract means that he was reputable and very well established by the early 1900s. It wasn’t long before Frimley Foods had exceeded wildest expectations and by the 1906-7 season it was employing a massive 200 individuals as it produced jams in 1 lb , 2 lb and 7 lb tins, dessert fruits, vegetables, pie fruits, tomato ketchup, tomato sauce, baked beans in tomato sauce, wine, and fruit pulp (mostly sold in bulk to Auckland jam manufacturers). By the early 1910s they had added pickles, spices, baking powder, crystallised lemon peel, marmalade, jelly crystals, fruit mince, and dried peas to the range of products, and most pertinent to our story – fruit cordials. The main Frimley orchard was 145 acres, mainly peaches- a massive area that was bounded by Maraekakaho, Omahu and Ormond roads (Kirkpatrick Park, clearly named for the canning company S. Kirkpatrick & Co that I previously wrote on here, https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/branded-with-a-k-kirkpatricks-canny-colossus/ that later purchased Frimley Foods, sits within this).

 Smacked on the hand: Louis seemed to step back from the business fairly soon after this, letting his son Bert (Albert) and then Harry (HLG III) manage the running. Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 January 1922 

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Looking at the satellite mapping around the area of Gallien Street today, in Saint Leonards (obviously the site of the family homestead) not more than a few blocks away is the tellingly named Frimley Park – no doubt where the homestead of Williams was situated once surrounded by 12 acres of orchard gardens. Bordering it are the aptly named Canning, Orchard and Frimley Streets. The factory was in Frimley Avenue on a two acre area. I am sure the success of the business meant rapid expansion kept Henry’s business closely involved with Williams and his Frimley enterprise. However also in 1904, Louis picked up and opened a pharmacy in Dannevirke, not far south-west of his Hastings family – yet it was over before it really got off the ground. Bizarrely, within less than three months Louis had sold the Dannevirke business to a Harry M. Bennett – and left. Nevertheless, he did in that time manage to set things up enough that he produced an embossed chemist bottle with his name; only one example I know of exists and was recorded in an obscure journal by a collector – otherwise we would not know of it.

Korn Kill label, pasted with a 1985 version of the resipe, but probably from the early 1970s. This address was the former Gallien family home a couple of doors down from the pharmacy which became the manufacturing premises for Alandale.  Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/004.

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This data really threw out the story, imagine how it would look jumbled in a slew of records about three related people with exactly the same name – it made no sense at all. What was he suddenly doing in the central North Island? But finally I conjected that Louis moved there from Winton to be closer to his family and it quickly did not work out. Something must have happened to propel this sudden change of plan? It seems that it may have been a court case over some land he owned in the suburb of Frimley, not that far away from his father’s homestead – that was the decider.

This bottle label was pasted into one of the earlier recipe books and clearly the ginger syrup recipe, that Louis later used for Sunrise cordials, was based on it. No doubt the formula was acquired with one of the pre-existing Winton businesses that Louis acquired between 1902-1904, or 1905-1912. Courtesy of the Hocken Library Collection ref MS-2961/002.

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A lengthy article of August 1905 outlines how Louis contracted a Norman L. Gurr as agent to sell thirty acres – which he did. However the tenants – who were growing potatoes and wheat – refused to leave after negotiations broke down, and the new owner was unable to take possession because of this problem. The case was settled in favour of the complainant for 39 pounds,10 shillings. Today that would equal not far off $ NZ 6000.00 just for the settlement, plus court costs. Maybe not an amount that would supposedly break Louis; but in combination with having uprooted and moved two thirds of the way across the country, bought a new house, set up a new enterprise, as well as having invested in a big chunk of land – Losing the much-needed sale of a portion when he probably urgently needed funds ( and whacked with a hefty payout on top of it) may have been the financial tipping point.

NZ Truth, late August 1925. Solvo, along with Exmol, was eventually was distributed throughout Australasia.

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Since Louis was unable to complete the land sale, and was in the red twice over due to having to pay reparation as well – it’s likely he may have not had a choice except to sell his business in Dannevirke immediately to free up some much needed cash, and later make a move to offload the land in Frimley once he got the tenants out, perhaps with a little more palm greasing than the “tenner (that) will get rid of them” – an assumed plan which hadn’t worked previously and had landed him in this mess. It seems he turned around and immediately headed back to Winton for by late 1905 he had an application declined by council to build corrugated iron building on the corner of Wemyss and Great North Roads on land he had purchased (it seems like his run of bad luck wasn’t quite over yet). However things eventually turned around and it was not long before he was back in business as a chemist- and here he stayed after his disastrous North Island foray. through 1908-1910 Louis is listed as the Dominion Drug Co. This was probably the manufacturing business for his products including Gallien’s Emulsion and ink (The Dominion Drug Co that was based in Otago harbour manufacturing fertiliser was not relative), and 1911-1912 saw Louis listed in Winton as writing fluid manufacturer – establishing he stayed in the town that long. Queue his move to Dunedin and the long-running pharmacy there.

On the corner of North Road and Carlyle, the old Gallien’s Pharmacy building still stands today.

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Three doors down from the pharmacy was 27-29 North Road, where the Gallien family resided upstairs until the early 1960s, and it later  became the premises for Alandale Manufacturing in the 1970s and 80s.

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Records show Harry operated the Dunedin pharmacy until 1959 when he passed away. His brother Bert remained until 1963 when he also died, it seems they ran it together until nearly the end. And way to go – in the final year, there is a record of a charge under the Misuse of Drugs Act. A case of “like father, like sons”, it seems. Chemist Alan Hunter took over the business.

This poster was picked out of the dumpster by a former Gallien’s staffer during a big clean-up – and thoughtfully tucked away in a recipe book at home. The fact that it says the product is originally from the north and forty years old, indicates that Louis acquired this formula with his Fielding Pharmacy in 1893-1894 and took it with him. It was a financially rewarding move long-term. Courtesy of Josie Bray.

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A newspaper article listing Louis’s daughter Bessie as winning a prize in a Colgate slogan competition in 1933 noted 29 North Road as the home address. By the mid 1970s a company named Alandale was manufacturing products for Gallien’s from 27 North Road. The building, which was about three lots down the road on the same side, was actually 27-29, says Barry Longstaffe: “27 and 29 was one building – it was double story  and the family lived upstairs.  Louis’s wife, Elisabeth, and Harry were still there when I started in 1959.  I remember a frail little old lady and she used to come downstairs sometimes.  She died not long afterwards, and old Harry died three or four months after I started. After that the house was empty. Under Alan Hunter we started the Alandale Manufacturing business to supply other  pharmacies; olive oil, castor oil, methylated spirits, tablets and the like – and also sold it in our own shop. That would have been in the early to mid 1970s.  The house was turned into space for the manufacturing. It was like a separate business, the guy that looked after the manufacturing side for years was Sydney Todd”. So that explains the details on the White Korn Kill label. It probably also makes some sense of the earlier referral  to a department associated with the business where the manufacturing took place. Around 1972 Hunter then formed a partnership with former apprentice Barry Longstaffe, Alistair Kennedy, and Gordon Simpson, who also had a smaller pharmacy in Pine Hill, the next suburb – which they all took turns looking after. In the mid 1970s Alan Hunter left and Barry Longstaffe departed 1979-1980. Alistair and Pam Kennedy ended up being the next longest owners after they bought Simpson out in the late 1980s- holding onto the business for a significant amount of time until Kennedy passed away in 2000. This is where Chin Loh came into the picture, and stayed until 2008 when the business finished up at that premises for good – having spanned over 105 years. The building is still there, although now a real estate – and in a way Gallien’s still exists in memorial form, across the street – not to be forgotten for the near future thanks to the light up window. Barry Longstaffe remembers: “It was my idea to save that window . That was about the mid 1970s. We decided to rip the whole front window area out because you couldn’t get in there very well to do displays,  and also it  would frost up in the wintertime and the  first job every morning was to squeeze in and wipe the window down – because nobody could see in from the condensation.  So we decided  to replace the front window at the same time and thought that the leadlight could be taken out intact and highlighted in the new pharmacy interior, Our signwriter people did the alterations to it, they were able to box it into the frame and it was put up inside the renovated shop”. 

Managing Director Chin Nan Loh with the original Gallien leadlight window installed in his Unichem Pharmacy, just across North Road from the original building. Image courtesy of and © Chin Nan Loh.

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So although my beautiful labels clearly state that “H. Louis.Gallien, Dunedin” is the manufacturer of the cordials, is it possible that the Frimley factory made the cordials and shipped them to him from their stock of raspberry – as well as pineapple, blackcurrant and lemon that they introduced in 1910? Or did Louis make them himself? Eventually, I disproved this theory by the recipes that were found buried in the Hocken Collection confirming that Louis indeed devised his own formulas for the drink syrups and it had nothing to do at all with Frimley.

As for the Frimley canning company, – it was hit with a massive frost in late 1911, losing an estimated £10,000 and was sold to Kirkpatrick & Co in 1913, a year before Henry’s death. In 1925 it was purchased by Henry Jones Co-op, Ltd, of Australia who sold to Wattie’s in the late 1930s – the behemoth’s first acquisition of someone else’s brand. That’s another story for another time! a a a

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Prologue: I actually completed the bulk of this tale nearly a year ago, and it was the first real investigative piece that I threw myself into and really followed the trail from archives to dumpsters to get the whole story. As such it earmarked a serious turning point for this blog. I was amazed at the things that, with a lot of digging and persistence, I was able to find, especially in important collections – about this Dunedin business of little consequence except that it been in the same family for fifty years. This point in its self was not all that remarkable. What was remarkable, however, was that so many things had been retained and preserved, although scattered. A lot of this was just the kind of chance stuff that either makes a story or breaks it. As such I have quite a list of people to give my appreciation to who helped make this story happen, which follows below.

Thanks to former employees of Gallien’s Josie Bray (1979-2000) and Janice Sew Hoy (1983-2001). Pam Kennedy, Barry Longstaffe and Chin Nan Loh, former owners of Gallien’s Pharmacy. Jill and Alan Griffith for glass and bottle images; Jill Haley, archivist from the Otago Settler’s Museum, Dunedin City Council; Judith Clarke, Display Artist/Cataloguer, Otago Medical Alumni’s Medical and Pharmacy Museum; Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago; James Windle , Professional Practice Fellow, New Zealand’s National School of Pharmacy Archives, University of Otago. Lorraine Johnston from the Heritage Collection at Dunedin Public Libraries; and Kate Guthrie, Assistant Archivist, Archives & Manuscripts, the Hocken Library, Delwyn Lone of Funeral Notices database, Lisa Truttman of Timespanner, and Anita De Soto.

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.

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Gallien Strychnine Antidote edit desaturated SML Addendum Feb 2013: This tin came up on Trade Me last week. It contained the Strychnine Antidote  that Barry Longstaffe mentioned in his interview – when listing off the long roster of Gallien products that were being produced when he began his tenure. There’s a couple of interesting things here. Given that the tin is marked with Albert Gallien’s name only, lends some credence to the memory of Barry’s that Bert’s brother Harry was perhaps never fully qualified as a pharmacist. In my research I never ran across a second middle name for Albert so I have no idea what the W. stands for. The tin was obviously produced at some time between 1936-1963, but probably dates from some time in the 1950s, however I have no awareness of the history of Strychnine in New Zealand – and at which time it fell out of favour – which may narrow the likely date. Also, I was interested that the area was already being referred to as “The Gardens” back then;  as it sounded like the sort of  faux-cutesy corporate name people that build malls come up with – so I assumed it was quite a recent advent and came about when they built the new shopping centre there. 

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Addendum May 2013: This brown glass  apothecary jar from Kinder’s stretch at 19 Main Street, North East Valley – between 1902-1912 – popped up on Trade Me this week.

W Kinder north East Valley Gardens copy  smaller

Branded with a K: Kirkpatrick’s Canny Colossus

In "K", "K" Brand, Anderson & Son coffee and spices, Butland Industries, Canned Goods, Centennial Kirkpatrick House, Crest Fine Foods, David Owers coffee and spices, Denniston and Co, Duryea's Maizena, Faulding's, Frimley Foods, Frimley Fruit Canning Works, Heinz Watties, Henderson Sweets, Henry Jones Co-op Ltd, Imperial jam, IXL brand, jam, James Stedman, John Heaton Barker, Jumbo Baking Powder, Kirkpatrick, Nelson Jam and Fruit Processing Company, Playtime jam, Samuel Kirkpatrick, Sweetacres, The Nelson Fish Company, Thompson & Hill, Unilever, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's, Wheatena on August 17, 2012 at 10.46

It has taken me months on and off to find the material and finish off this recreation of a “K” jam label from a photo. Creating the fruit illustration was complicated and difficult. I believe it dates from the late 1920s- early 1930s.
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“K” brand was one of the longest lasting, and most popular product lines to come out of New Zealand. You probably haven’t heard of it, and it is true that it has been long forgotten since it shut up shop at the beginning of the 1970s – but it lasted ninety years in the cupboards and on the tables of Kiwi households.

A later version of the label above, probably late 1940s-early 1950s era. Photo courtesy of  Trade Me member Shakaya. 
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S. Kirkpatrick & Company was established in Nelson, “the fruit, hops and flower garden of New Zealand”, in 1881 where it came to be the most important business in the district – as its major employer. The firm’s biggest enterprise was jam, and following that canned fruit, vegetables and meat, and such was its impact – that it had a marked effect on the geographical nature of agriculture in the region, as well as other industries such as fishing. The business was quickly producing 1,000 units a day using up all those tons of pesky wasted fruit that local producers just couldn’t offload. It wasn’t long before the ‘K’ Brand of jam in its colourful label was recognised throughout Australasia.

Custard Powder and Egg Powder, Nelson Evening Mail, June 1905.
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Samuel Kirkpatrick was born in County Down, Ireland, between 1853 and 1854, where he went to school in Newry. After graduating from Walton College, Liverpool he spent five years with a wholesale food merchant learning the ropes. Kirkpatrick then emigrated to the U.S. for some years – working for tea wholesalers in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In 1876 his entree to future success came with his removal to California where he worked in two large fruit canneries in San Francisco (in what capacity this work was exactly, I am unsure).

Teenage workers stir jam pans inside the “K” Factory. Image courtesy of Nelson Provincial Museum, F. N. Jones Collection, Reference 6×8 29
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Sources seem to differ on the date – but it seems Kirkpatrick probably arrived in New Zealand in 1878 and worked as a travelling salesperson for merchants and commission agents Renshaw, Denniston and Co, in Dunedin, through 1879. They sold farming equipment such as reapers and binders , as well as more workaday items from cornsacks to paint and wire. They were also agents for various loans, marine and fire insurance (the partnership dissolved by March 1880).

S. Kirkpatrick and Co. Ltd business letterhead, Courtesy of the Hocken Archives and Manuscripts collection, ref UN-023/144
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However Kirkpatrick, with his experience in agency, sales, foodstuffs and the canning industry together had his sights set higher. He could see the raw potential of the Nelson area with it’s ideal fruit-growing temperament – and it wasn’t long before he contacted a group he had heard had a similar idea and were investigating the establishment of a fruit processing plant in the area.

“K” multi-purpose canned meat label, circa 1900. Image courtesy of the Printed Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref Eph-F-MEAT-Gear-130
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Kirkpatrick became not only a significant shareholder, but struck a deal to manage what was to be known as the Nelson Jam and Fruit Processing Company. He leased a former textile mill in Bridge Street as premises, from the Webley Brothers who had a company named ” Webley’s Nelson Cloth“. They had gone out of business due to competition amongst manufacturers and Kirkpatrick emptied the buildings offloading all the equipment to Kaiapoi Woollen Mills. Supposedly this occurred in 1876, but I’m guessing the date quoted is wrong, since firstly Kirkpatrick was documented working in the U.S. at the time, and also RD & Co were advertising sub-agent positions in 1878 – so that data seems to back up that he started working for them then – and not earlier.

He returned to Britain the following year to arrange the shipment of an entire canning plant to set up in the new factory . He brought back with him his aunt , and his mother who was now widowed.
From the 1880s a large variety of jams, conserves, jellies and marmalades were produced in 1 pound and 2 pound stone jars. They also produced the preserves in glass jars, perhaps a bit later on. In the 1890s preserves were also available in 1lb, 2lb, and 7lb tins and they added that Kiwi classic lemon cheese to the roster. They were also marketing coffee under their own company moniker – although generally they were using the “K” label for almost everything at this point.

“K” marmalade advert, New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, August 1903

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Production had doubled by 1896, and the current factory buildings now being insufficient to cope with demand, Kirkpatrick purchased land at the corner of Gloucester and Vanguard streets for a new factory – in which he installed the most modern and efficient machinery and fittings of the time. His marriage of this same year lasted a very short time when his wife died from Tuberculosis by 1899. However at this point he was buried in work – with significant expansion of the buildings constructed to accommodate rapid growth, the company now had “the largest wooden building in the colony” and its own can making and printing plants – each can that came out of the factory was made and labelled by hand. Eventually the premises covered about 30,000 square feet.

“K ” Brand jam jar, date unknown – I am guessing 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Mataura & Districts Historical Society Incorporated collection.
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The company now branched out into coffee under the ” K” brand as well as spices – having bought the business of Anderson & Son, Wellington. “Jumbo” was a Kirkpatrick baking powder label of the 1900s that was acquired as part of the package with the Anderson transaction – who had previously sold the patent, trademark, and all the machinery to a coffee and spice merchant David Owers of Timaru in 1893. Somehow it made its way back to the original owners who sweetened the deal by including it, however even though heavily advertised by the end of the decade it seems to have been dropped from the list of products.

 Competition campaign by the Charles Haines agency, Hawera & Normanby Star, March 1923

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The business continued to grow rapidly and by 1901 the factory was employing 60 individuals full-time just in the off-season – and double during the busy period. Kirkpatrick had a concern not only with hygiene, but with good working conditions for his employees – which earned him great respect. “It is an interesting sight to see thirty or forty girls, neatly dressed, and in harmony with the general cleanliness of the whole establishment, picking and sorting the fruit with a quickness, which to the uninitiated must seem incredible. A happy feeling evidently exists between the girls and their employer, to judge by the contented faces the visitor sees around him”.
Kirkpatrick was described as a neat and “dapper man with a retiring disposition”. However for all his concern of his workers and their comfort – as well as his receding temperament it seems he was near in matters of quite insignificant things, and had no hesitation to voice his concerns; There is a letter in existence from Kirkpatrick written in 1917 when he was no doubt already rich. He writes to a handkerchief company complaining that there were only eleven handkerchiefs in the pack of twelve that he purchased and could they please reimburse him or replace the missing one.

Advertising for various “K ” products, date unknown but likely late 1890s-early 1900s. Note missing text which probably said “your grocer sells them.”
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Now with a large range of preserves, canned fruits, vegetables and meats (including pig’s feet in jelly, lobster, brawn, Irish Stew, ox and sheep tongue, Scotch haggis, boiled fowl, and curried rabbit to name a few) – In the decade of the 1900s the product range expanded in a massive way as follows: fruit mincemeat, honey, raspberry and table vinegar, pie fruits, poultry tonic, salad cream, tomato sauce, “K” Sauce, mushroom ketchup, pickles, condiments, curry powder, custard powder (six flavours), baking powder and egg powder, bird seed, Wheatena (presumably a product similar to Maizena and Creamota, to be used for both cooking and breakfast cereal) plum puddings, potted meats, ground rice, pea flour , pea meal and wheatmeal, linseed, arrowroot, spiced sausage flour, icing and castor sugar, desiccated coconut, cream of tartar, bicarbonate soda, citric and tartaric acid, carbonated ammonia, starch glaze, pickling spice, beef tea, dried herbs, hops, pickles, and boracic acid. “New lines are constantly being added”, noted an article of 1906, – such as gravy browning and tomato chutney in the 1910s.

Jumbo was a short-lived Kirkpatrick foray that had been around for a decade with two previous owners, before it came into their possession. From the Nelson Evening Mail, August 1900
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Kirkpatrick & Co. also acted as agents for a variety of international products such as Nestlé, Peters, and Kohler’s chocolates, Henderson’s sweets by  James Stedman of Sydney (later better known as Sweetacres) as well as Faulding’s products like eucalyptus extract., cloudy ammonia, and olive oil.

Another children’s competition campaign of 1922, again by Kirkpatrick’s preferred advertising agency – Haines.
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In 1904 Kirkpatrick acquired The Nelson Fish Company – a producer of smoked, chilled and frozen fish which was packed in pumice and sent far and wide. In prime position on the edge of the Nelson harbour, the large, hygienic white premises also did a roaring trade in ice.

The “K” Factory,  October 1900 from the Auckland Weekly News. Courtesy of Auckland Council Heritage Images, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19001012-4-6
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Now in its heydays, the Kirkpatrick enterprise was during this period apparently the biggest canning and jam factory in Australia and New Zealand combined.

“K” spag with cheese had been around since at least the 1930s, but these  probably date from the early 1950s era. Photo courtesy of Trade Me member Shakaya.
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Kirkpatrick in his spare time was quite the sports enthusiast with a particular fondness for the game of hockey, and eventually became president of the Nelson Association. In 1924 he founded and first presented the silver ‘K’ Cup as the trophy for women’s hockey. He was a Freemason and held the rank of deputy grand master of the District Grand Lodge of Westland and Nelson. Like many foodstuffs industry bigwigs such as Barker (Four Square) and Dustin (Buttermaid), who found that wider power came with industrial clout – he also stepped into the public eye via favoured community organisations, and inevitably into the more political arena serving a term as a city councillor from 1898.

“K” advertising blotters issued in 1925. Original photo used for composite is courtesy of Graham Bulman.
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He died in 1925 and the Henry Jones Co-op Ltd purchased the company (an Australian company founded by Henry Michael Jones, famous for the IXL brand which also had with an extensive range of food processing plants in New Zealand cities as well as Tasmania and Melbourne). In 1913, Kirkpatrick had made a grab for the financially-troubled Frimley brand so this was also part of the takeover. At some point in the late 1930s it was passed from Henry Jones to Wattie’s – one of their earliest acquisitions – if not the first in a long list of brands they snapped up to eventually become number one. I covered the Frimley brand in brief here :

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/saucing-material/

The “K” Factory in October 1964, just after news of the Wattie’s takeover. From the Nelson Photo News. Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Nelson Library Inc.
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In the 1920s ads for tomato soup, Xmas puddings and a product named “Musto” (a spice base mix for making piccalilli and chow chow, later made by Trent’s, The NZ Coffee and Spice Co Ltd,  under their Good Cook line) appear in newspapers as well as on other advertising like blotters. The 1930s saw canned spaghetti in tomato sauce, or with added cheese; baked beans, vegetable soup, and that good old depression staple pork & beans. Things took a more exotic turn with loganberries, dessert raspberries, and diced fruit salad on offer. By this time fruit and vegetable products on sale under the “K” label were in the dozens.

Famous Wellington grocery store and delicatessen Fuller-Fulton advertising Kirkpatrick Soups. Evening Post, June 1935
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“Imperial” was a subsidiary brand trademarked in 1909 and lasted well into the 1930s. Although it was registered to cover just about every category of product under “K”, it seems it may only have ever been produced as canned jam. Still – it was around for a good quarter century so can be deemed successful.

IGA stores advertising, circa late 1950s-early 1960s.
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According to IPONZ, It seems as if the Crest brand (almost unknown now, but during the 1950s it was in fact far bigger than Wattie’s) also came under the auspices of Kirkpatrick & Co while it was under ownership of  the Henry Jones company. After being passed from behemoth Butland Industries to Unilever, it was a very short time before it was sold on again – seemingly a year or so. For just a few months in 1960 the company had some sort of joint arrangement with Wattie’s over the brand – which was over by November of that year when all the categories were re-registered solely to Heinz Watties.

An event at the Kirkpatrick family home, Nelson. Provenance and year of photo unknown, but looks to be late 1920s-early 1930s judging by the costume styles.
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In 1964, Wattie’s took over S. Kirkpatrick & Co., Ltd., as well as Thompson & Hills Ltd – now both subsidiaries of The Henry Jones Co-op Ltd in the same factory. So at this point the round-up included OAK, Playtime, and “K” brands. By 1971 they had dismantled the brand and shut down the Nelson factory which was producing all of these labels as well as, of course, a number of Wattie’s products and Watties-owned brands by this point in time.

Known as Kirkpatrick House for well over 70 years, the home served as a charitable girl’s boarding house and then a backpackers.  Photographed in 2009, it still stands in Mount Street as part of a new estate.
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By the end of the 1960s “K” jam and soup had lasted the whole distance, with the last record of product I have seen, being of marmalade in the final year of business. But sadly that was the end for the Kirkpatrick name as far as foodstuffs (as well as Thompson & Hills’ Playtime Jam – which had been around since at least the 1920s).

“K” jam label from my personal collection, circa mid-late 1960s
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The factory site was eventually demolished to construct a New World supermarket – in a somewhat ironic turn a Foodstuffs NZ Ltd – initiated chain built on the very spot where founding father of Four Square,  J. Heaton Barker had worked for Samuel Kirkpatrick up until 1901 (I covered this in my previous article).

“K” soup label from my personal collection, circa mid-late 1960s
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The family residence in Mount Street was called Kirkpatrick House ( later Centennial Kirkpatrick House ), and still presides high on the steep hill looking down to the factory site; it can be easily seen from the supermarket parking lot. It had been left by Kirkpatrick in his will along with a substantial monetary bequest to provide a roof for daughters of deceased Freemasons who needed somewhere to stay when they came from rural areas and surrounds, to finish their education at Nelson College for Girls (eventually anyone sponsored by a Masonic organisation was eligible). Perhaps they also worked in the factory, especially during peak season – it’s highly likely as the “K’ factory was always short-staffed. Hundreds boarded there over a seventy year period until the late 1990s when it became a hostel – the Club Nelson Backpackers. The house was sold off as one of several lots of land in late 2011, part of what is now an “eco” housing estate project .

Marmalade advert, Evening Post, July 1911.
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Nearly ninety years later, his estate still sponsors girls to board at the college’s in-house accommodation. Samuel Kirkpatrick played a major role in the Nelson district’s development, through his fostering of agriculture, horticulture , significant employment of labour – but also charitable acts which have become a lasting legacy.

A Miss Bush in a rather unfortunate outfit advertising Kirkpatrick & Co’s strawberry and raspberry jams, as well as orange marmalade, around 1898. Image courtesy of the Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection, Reference: 62826.

Postscript June 2014: When I wrote and posted this article, I am not sure how aware I was that William and Frederick Tyree, the photographers, were my great-aunt’s uncles. Never expecting to have even a tentative connection to anything I research, I was nevertheless quite pleased to discover this family connection.

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Addendum Sept 2012: This label just in from a British dealer. I have never seen this before and I am guessing it dates somewhere around 1900s-1910s. Why would a previously unseen-for-sale-in-the-Anipodes label end up in the U.K., one might ask? 

This may be the answer, in an ad from a Grocer’s Review magazine of 1948 which shows the can in one of the photos at the top of the post. By accounts, “K” had quite a market not only in Australia, but made it as far as Britain as well.  Image courtesy of Mike Davidson, who scrounged it up from his magazine collection especially for me. 

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Addendum early Jan 2013: I found this ad for the Musto product by S. Kirkpatrick & Co, April 1921. This was part of a series from a campaign by the Charles Haines agency for the “K” brand.

MUSTO KEWPIE - K KIRKPATRICK - HAINES - Auckland Star 4 April 1921 Page 8 copy

 

Power Outlet: The Force of Four Square and Foodstuffs NZ Ltd

In "K" Brand, 4 Triangle, AG Stores, Arrow Butter, Auckland Master Grocers' Association, Baker's Review, Budget brand, Central Provision Stores, Checkout Four Square board game, Cheeky Charlie, Ches and Dale, CPS Stores, Dick Frizzell, Dormer-Beck, Farmer's, Farmer's Co-op, Farmer's Trading Co., Fletcher's Stores, Food Fair, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Four Square, Four Square Stores (Australia) Pty Ltd, Four Square Supermarkets, Four Triangle, Green and Colebrook stores, Grocers' Review, Icon Products, John Heaton Barker, Kirkpatrick, Laidlaw Leeds mail order company, Ltd, McKenzies stores, Mr. Four Square, National Cash Register Co, New World Supermarkets, New Zealand Grocer's and Baker's Review, New Zealand Grocergram, New Zealand Master Baker's associatio, NZ Master Grocer's Association, NZ Master Grocer's Federation, Pak 'N' Save supermarkets, Pam's Products, Rawakelle tea, S Kirkpatrick and Co Ltd, Self Help Stores, Sir Harry Heaton Barker, Te Aroha Dairy Company, The Farmers Union Trading Company, Triangle brand, Uncategorized, United Buyers, Wattie's, Weston-Frizzell, Woolworth's Food Fair, Woolworth's stores, Woolworth's supermarkets on August 7, 2012 at 10.46

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A recreation I’ve made of a rare Australian contest poster of the 1950s.

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The Four Square brand originally emerged from a grocers’ co-op, which was established based on the concern that competition from grocery chain stores in the New Zealand market place was making business very difficult for small, independent store operators. How much truth there is to this claim is dubious since at that period of time in the early 1920s, the only specific food chain that comes to mind that would have provided any serious competition was Self Help, also a co-operative, which I covered previously in a fairly brief and superficial article of May this year here.

J. T. Hammond’s Mangatoki Four Square with sign writing done by Jack Wood, probably 1930s. Courtesy of the Puke Ariki collection.

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Between just 1922 and 1923, during the initial formation by the Auckland Master Grocers’ Association of what was soon to become Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Self Help had gone from just one store to a string of seven which must have been a frightening concept for anyone in the field looking to the near future and their prospects within.

Logos through the decades, clockwise from left: mid-late 1920s, 1932, late 1950s-early 1960s, mid 1930s-early 1940s, unknown – probably late 1940s , and 1980. From the mid 1950s the logo has remained almost the same in colour and design. a

Although a small company named Fletcher’s can probably lay claim to being the very first “self-service” style enterprise in the history of New Zealand, it had probably fizzled out by the early twenties. However in 1919 Laidlaw Leeds, a very successful mail order company had acquired the Green and Colebrook chain to become Farmer’s Co-op and they opened their twenty-ninth store in 1921. Although a general department store, Farmer’s were marketing at least flour, tea and spices that I am aware of, but hardly specific competition, however – that may have been all it took.

Colouring book produced as a competition promotion in 1954. a

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Since at the time the Self Help concept was a huge revelation in grocery shopping and pricing I can only conject that Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd was formed in direct response to Self Help’s extremely sudden success within that narrow timeframe – having pushed the situation to the edge. This allegedly pertinent issue was raised by a man named John Heaton Barker – to Auckland’s main grocers’ association, in early July of 1922. The co-op became official when it formed a company – which was registered on 1st of April, 1925. It’s first contract was with Te Aroha Dairy Company to carry their “Arrow” brand butter. Co-operatives were also formed in Wellington (named United Buyers, the same year, 1922, which became the “4 Triangle” chain) and in Christchurch (1928, which was named the “AG Stores”) . By 1935 all these co-ops had already come under the Four Square brand but were now officially renamed branches of Foodstuffs Ltd.

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Advertisement showing the white pepper and cornflour from their self line, Evening Post, March 1934 a

Seemingly well documented, the Foodstuffs legend goes that on the 4th of July 1924, two years into the co-op being formed, Barker, in position of company secretary at this time – was doodling on a pad during a telephone conversation with his colleagues and drew a square around the date. He presented this concept with the buoying manifesto that the group would stand ‘four square to all the winds that blew”.

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Above: Four Square white pepper tin from my own collection. This design was in use during 1934-1935. Below, I’ve recreated the label.

It wasn’t long before the first logos for the brand were bumped into all the stores in the form of hand-painted glass signs, with products appearing under the moniker by the end of that year. A primitive version of the formal logos we know today were going up on stores by 1929, with 4 Triangle, and AG Stores becoming part of Four Square not long after in December 1933 – as well as another co-op which had been formed in Southland (but much later down the track, in 1948) . The distinctive colours, however, were not adopted until 1931 when on a field trip to view a particular store belonging to a Mr. McInnes, the initial tangerine and yellow scheme (with green added to it in the form of the logo) was requisitioned.

Promotional puzzle showing many of Four Square’s line of products circa late 1940s. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Manuscripts and Pictorial collection. a

By the time the early thirties co-op merger had taken place (of which the date both Fairfax’s Business Hall of Fame profile as well as Foodstuff’s own history quote incorrectly), Four Square now boasted a total of 266 stores nationwide – what can only be described as an explosive success and had far outstripped even the phenomenal growth success of Self Help – and not even bothering to mention any other competition like McKenzies, Woolworths and Farmer’s which were semi- players at best in the burgeoning grocery market at the time. In 1935 the stores bearing Four Square signage were at 285. By the post war years food groceries bearing the Four Square name had shot up to nearly 400 and climbing quickly – 700 by 1950. By 1956 there were an amazing 1000 stores nationwide.

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Promotional game produced in Australia, probably the mid 1960s. a

By some time in the 1950s Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd had decided to hop the ditch to invade our Australian cousins, as my poster recreation at the head of this post, as well as the  board game on road safety I have found above, attest. By 1980 a Happy Family promotion shows the logo for Australian chain CPS (Central Provision Stores), alongside Four Square and New World’s logos – having been added to the empire via Four Square Stores (Australia) Pty Ltd.

J. Heaton Barker’s new offices bringing everything together under one roof – Auckland Star, 8 October, 1925. a

Barker was one of two children of a family from Derby, Britain. Perhaps his father – mention is made of a John William Barker – stayed behind when he immigrated with his mother and sister in 1886; arriving in Wellington on 6th August aboard the S.S. Ionic. Perhaps he died, and they decided to leave. Whatever the story was, his mother was free to marry a Reverend John Crump seven years later. A devout Christian, J. H. Barker was seriously involved in the Baptist church throughout his life, particularly in Mount Eden, Auckland where he was an elder, and at various times a chair, treasurer, as well as president of the City Baptist Auxiliary.

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Promotional Snap set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores; circa late 1950s-early 1960s. a

That was much later on in his life though; originally he settled in Nelson (where he was the facilitator of the PSA or “Pleasant Sunday Afternoon’ movement which had begun in Britain, was active in the Mutual Improvement Society, and on occasion stood in for his local pastor at the pulpit, was a member of council for the NZ Accountant’s and Auditor’s Association, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and secretary of the Foreign and British Bible Society).

Promotional Snap set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores; circa late 1950s-early 1960s. a

More specifically he had spent time in Richmond to the south-west of the town where he was at one time or another secretary of the Richmond Lawn Tennis Club and also the Workingmen’s Club (I think at this point we can already establish that he was quite the busybody do-gooder). In 1896 he sold up and moved to a more central location in Bronte Street, Nelson.

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In-store Disney promotion – Hutt News, December 1934. a

In an article entitled “Farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Barker” in the Nelson Evening Mail of 14th March, 1901, an interesting mention is made – of Barker’s “severing his connection with S. Kirkpatrick and Co., Ltd” in order to move. This was a popular foodstuffs company primarily famous for their jam, in particular the “K” brand, but ranged across a wide array of products from jelly crystals, canned meat and spices to coffee, poultry tonic, vinegar, honey and baking powder.

Triangle brand products – Evening Post, December 1933 . a

This is a very interesting detail to discover because Kirkpatrick play an intrinsic part in the corporate history of the canned food industry in New Zealand – passing through a number of owners and lasting into 1971 when it was finally dismantled by Wattie’s upon their acquisition of the brand and Nelson factory. In what capacity he worked for the firm is unknown (presumably accounting); but whatever it was he had achieved in just a few short years it was important enough for Mr. Kirkpatrick , the CEO himself, to attend in person and present Barker with a gold Albert fob chain for his services.

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An unusual Four Square promotional chair which was auctioned recently. Photos © and courtesy of Trademe menber cache10 (Phil). a

He moved with his wife Mattie and eight offspring to Wellington in 1902 (where he was president of the city’s Sunday School Union, president of the Sunday School Teacher’s Association, vice-president of the YMCA Cricket Club, vice-president of the Gregg Shorthand Association, and prone to giving rousing public speeches on the gospel everywhere he could, it seems).

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Four Square’s self line of preserving jar skins probably date from the 1950s or early 1960s. From my personal collection. a

In 1907 we find him managing director of Messrs. Yerox, Barker and Finlay, Ltd., a company primarily moving cash registers and typewriters. In 1908 he moved to directing the interests of the National Cash Register Co in New Zealand at 17-19 Cuba Street – and in 1911 he gained inches of press when he invented an automated telegram sorting and stamping machine, which was subsequently installed in Wellington’s General Post Office. Following that the family relocated to Auckland in 1912 (where he had a spell as a director on the board of the Auckland YMCA, and led Baptist services at various church venues).

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Rare canisters issued for the Southland Four Square Co-op’s general area centennial of 1956 crop up at auction very occasionally to be bid on competitively. a

Presumably he eventually became somehow involved in the grocery industry to bring him into the relative picture; A newspaper article of 1924, in which he is called to give testimony in a case to do with milling industry price fixing, defines him as the Auckland secretary of the New Zealand Master Baker’s association, as well as the editor of their magazine “Baker’s Review” since 1920 (he remained secretary until 1930 when he stood down voluntarily).

George Allen and staff in the Dominion Road Four Square store, Auckland, late 1940s. Photo © and courtesy of the estate of George Allen. a

Clearly from the court report he was a significant player in the supply and demand of flour and other goods for some years. Quite frankly I was surprised to find a dearth of biographical information on a major player in New Zealand industry; One of his children grew up to become well-known newspaper editor and politician Sir Harry Heaton Barker – and much more is written of his long term mayor son. Certainly at this point with his various experiences in foodstuffs, accounting, sales, administration and a clear talent for creative invention – he had everything he needed to take things to a spectacular new level.

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Advertisement showing the custard powder and tea from their self line, Auckland Star, 11 April, 1935. a

Barker, as well as also being secretary, accountant and auditor of the NZ Master Grocer’s Association – ran the Auckland branch of the food co-op from its inception until 1934 when he became director of Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd – a position he remained in until 1947 when he passed away. In 1932 he was made a life member of the New Zealand Master Grocer’s Federation, of which he had been secretary since 1923.

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Four Square brochure of 1977 showing product specials to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Four Square in Otago/Southland. Image courtesy of the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

He also launched an industry magazine, “Grocers’ Review” in the early 1920s – which later seems to have joined forces with the milling industry and amalgamated his previous work there to become “New Zealand Grocer’s and Baker’s Review“. Sources seem to indicate that this version wrapped up in 1939; what I have seen from the Foodstuffs Ltd archive (I was lucky enough to get an insider peek at their collection courtesy of a food technician friend who is part of the team, and loves retro stuff herself) show two images of a “New Zealand Grocergram” magazine so presumably that became it’s moniker. Last reference to it in public collections is in 1974 -1975 however AdMedia ran an article in 2003 that it was being revamped. Current status is unknown, with the website down – but presumably it is still running – if so making it one of the longest running periodicals in the history of the country.

Waxed cardboard pot for Four Square’s self line of honey from the Christchurch Co-op, circa mid 1970s. a

By the mid 1930s Four Square had under its own line tea, honey, culinary essences, Worcester and tomato sauces, cornflour, macaroni and vermicelli, custard powder, malt extract, butter, coffee essence, spices, salt and pepper, canned fruit, and raisins. There was also jellies, candles, soap and toilet paper under the “Triangle” brand. Later boxed chocolates, vinegar, and cordials were added (1940s) as well as mixed dried fruit, preserving equipment,  and “Rawakelle“; their brand of tea that was in the 1950s and 1960s quite popular with the public.

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Front of cardboard box for Four Square’s self line of dried cake fruit from the Foodstuffs archive collection, probably early 1960s. a

Starting with baking powder – and then a few years following custard powder – “Pam’s” was launched by Four Square Stores in 1937 to offer lower price, quality goods that competed even more vigorously with opposing chain’s lower price bracket products. Although there were several “self” lines from other stores at the time, “Pam’s”  has stood alone, lasted into the present day as a “private” brand, probably the only surviving one. I previously documented my recreation of the first Pam’s marketing campaign/product label when I wrote about agency Dormer-Beck, who were behind it, here.

Advertisement announcing merger of 4 Triangle and AG Stores under the Four Square brand, making a total of 266 stores. Evening Post, December 1933. the co-ops changed their names to Foodstuffs two years later in 1935. a

Mr. Four Square” , who has also come to be known as “Cheeky Charlie“, was a welcoming storeman figure with a big thumbs up – yet to many he always had a slightly imposing, sinister air about him (he looks like the type of guy that if you were left alone in the store room with him he might try to cop a feel). The mascot was developed sometime in the 1950s for print advertising initially – although the exact date and who the specific the creator of the character was, is unclear – one source quotes the Foodstuffs advertising department as responsible. Another states it was a son of J.H. Barker’s who came up with the concept around 1951.

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A corruption of monopoly with products instead of property, Milton Bradley-produced “Checkout” in 1959. They also did a version for the Acme chain of stores in the USA. a

He is often mistakenly attributed to renowned Kiwi pop artist Dick Frizzell who was a commercial artist in the 1960s and 1970s, but this is incorrect. Frizzell was, however, involved with the iconic Ches and Dale characters, and the fact that he has used Charlie in some of his most famous art works only adds to the confusion.

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Promotional Happy Families set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores, New World and CPS stores (Central Provision Stores, Australia); circa 1980. a

Another well-known contemporary artist Mike Weston, who coincidentally partners with Frizzell’s son Otis to produce humorous Kiwiana-inspired works under the moniker Weston-Frizzell, seems to recall hearing that Charlie was “allegedly a knock off of a Santa Monica supermarket character from the fifties called “Freddy Fireside” – of the Fireside Market. Although I’m still looking for evidence” . I myself was also unable to find any information to even hint at this.Today when people think of the brand they definitely think of Charlie beaming at them from shop windows and hoardings so, although a rather overused word -he has definitely become a New Zealand icon (with a few modernised features). Extremely collectable now, original Mr. Four Square cut-out signage old or newish – sells for competitive prices well into the hundreds and sometimes even the thousands.

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Interior of the Dominion Road Four Square store, Auckland, late 1940s. Photo © and courtesy of the estate of George Allen. a

Quite a few different items have been issued to promote the business over the years. Snap and Happy Family card sets were produced featuring their most popular product lines in the late 1950s-early 1960s, and another Happy Families set of 52 cards in around 1980 from which many of my age group will remember all the products – I featured some of them here, here, and here.

Four Square’s warehouse opens  in Southland, 1956.  Image courtesy of the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive.

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Other fun items to rope in the punters and strengthen allegiance to the business were a puzzle (late 1940s), a board game with Milton Bradley – “Checkout”, around 1959. a highly desirable colouring book “Fine Things of the Future” (1954), calendars (1950s-1960s), a stamp collecting book. Recipe/household hint books such as “Homeways” was published in the late 1960s, and “Take A Tip” of the early 1970s. A cast metal can opener was issued as a complimentary gift to customers.  Very rarely the hard-to-get canisters issued for the Southland Co-op’s general area centennial of 1956 crop up at auction to be bid on feverishly; and not so long ago even a very unusual Four Square chair.

Foodstuff’s former cut-price – now “private” – brand Pam’s started in 1937 with one product; baking powder. Photo courtesy of and © Eriq Quaadgrass, eRIQ on Flickr. a

Icon Products, who partner with Four Square as well as several other brands , currently hold a license for the Cheeky Charlie character, producing aprons, shirts, tea towels and carry bags – which have been marketed through another Foodstuffs enterprise – New World supermarkets – established at the end of 1963 (the same year that Woolworths rolled out their first dedicated food store Food Fair, a New Zealand first at New Lynn).

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This classic version cut-out Cheeky Charlie signage just sold recently for around the $1000 mark or a little over. a

Although significantly less than in their heyday – today Four Square stores in New Zealand remain as 300 plus independent operators as well as a few still dotted about Australia. It is one of very few companies that has ever reversed the usual trans-Tasman power play of brands being foisted on the comparatively tiny country and marketplace of Aotearoa. Even Ozzie brands like the re-tooled IGA still can’t usurp the sheer power in numbers, well – yet, anyway.

A modern store in Waitarere using the classic Four Square colour scheme to the maximum effect; with the newest version of Cheeky Charlie, said to have been “made over” by Dick Frizzell at Foodstuff’s request recently. Photo courtesy of and © Kiwi Frenzy on Flickr. a

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd is still comprised of three co-ops and has grown to include a slew of chain brands in its portfolio including aforementioned New World, Pak ‘N’ Save (established 1985), Write Price, On The Spot, Shop Rite, Raeward Fresh, Liquorland and Henry’s, Budget, Pam’s, and of course Four Square (and that’s just the food and drink enterprises) making it the largest retail organisation in New Zealand to date.

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Contemporary Four Square store and staff. Photo courtesy of and © the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

You have to wonder if Barker, whilst scribbling on his calendar absent-mindedly that day, ever in his wildest dreams could have comprehended he was launching an empire worth more than four billion dollars per annum.

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Neither the classic or contemporary version of Mr. Four Square -this was the in-between version with a few new touches in the 1990s-2000s. Photo of Cheeky Charlie on left courtesy of and © emilyandadam on Flickr. Image of modern Four Square logo graphics on right courtesy of and © the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

The Four Square Contest Poster is available from my online store here , as well as greeting cards for a nominal price.

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

Bite Size: Canny Conservation

In "K" Brand, Canned Goods, Desserts, Kirkpatrick, Oak, Thompson & Hill, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on April 24, 2012 at 10.46

In my ongoing project to recreate basically every pre 1975 Wattie’s can label that I can find – which I may add is quite the tedious task to undertake – I have finally come to the end of reviving all of the 25 or so labels that were offered up for auction by a Trademe seller in early 2011, apparently a portion of the collection that belonged to a former merchandising manager who had kept an archive during his tenure at one of the plants. The seller also claimed that they had been in some kind of museum collection in the meantime but I’m a little bit dubious about that idea. It was more likely to be a private collector’s deceased estate, and perhaps they had a personal display or even just a scrapbook from their time with the company. The likelihood that an institution or corporate archive would deaccession these sort of items is highly unlikely. The more I learn about them through research the tighter the dates become, and most of them seem to date in between a period from the late 1950s through to the early 1970s – so a stretch of 15 years more or less.

I actually suspect that they may have come out of the former S. Kirkpatrick & Co factory in Nelson before it closed down in 1971 – by then Wattie’s had acquired not only Kirkpatrick’s business and their long-running “K” brand, but also Thompson & Hill and the subsequent Oak business which were being produced (at least in part) from this set-up. Since some late 1960s to early 1970s “K” and Oak labels also went on sale at the same time through another seller who was also a parting with another portion of the same collection – it made me formulate that this was likely the source.

Anyway, it’s  kind of a relief to finally be finished with this block of my program – however in the meantime I have had around fifty more designs come to light through various sources from fellow collectors, to archives and libraries – and they have not at all been easy to find I should add. So there’s not much of a break before I start again on remaking the old packaging from the mid 1930s onwards. I previously posted quite a few fruit and vegetable labels I’ve made over the last year or so which you can find by just going to the tag at the very top of the post and clicking on the Wattie’s category to see the rest in the archive.

Woolworths Supermarket in 1964  showing fruit salad cans and boxes,  by John Le Cren Archives New Zealand’s Railway Collection.

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I don’t have to speculate too much on the age of this particular label since I was able to locate this photo of a Woolworths store in 1964 which clearly shows not only the cans in huge stacks, but also the boxes next to the shelves. As well as a rather nice POS die-cut card hanging advert for corn – either kernels or creamed – up above the display, which I would like to recreate at some stage. This label recreation was probably somewhere up there with the Chesdale poster I did a few months ago as far as difficulty level – having to recreate every piece of the fruit salad in the bowl from scratch, as well as the alternative illustration of whole fruits on the other side of the can. Mercifully, these labels usually have the one same illustration repeated so once you are basically done with that, half the work is over. But not in this case!