longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Reckitt and Colman’ Category

The Shelf Life of Reilly

In All Blacks, Aulsebrook's, Aulsebrook's confectionery, Bank's Box Company, C.M.C., cache, Christchurch Meat Company, CMC sheeps tongues, collecting, Convent of Sacré Coeur Catholic boarding school, Disprin, Erskine College Wellington, Farmer's Trading Co., Fresh-Up Mini drink, Garrattco, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Grocery Archaeology, Heards confectionery, Henderson Sweets, hoard, ICI, Island Bay, Jaffas, James Smith Limited department stores, James Stedman, Kaiapoi Petunia Group Textiles Ltd, Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company, L. Reilly, LD Nathan Wholesale Ltd, Leonard Heard, Lifesavers, Lynn Mall, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix, Mackintosh's, Mackintosh's confectionery, Mackintosh's Toffee De Luxe, N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board, New Zealand Railways, New Zealand Refrigerating Company, Newmans coaches, Nugget, NZ Rail, Peter Frederick Hilton Jones, Rabo, Reckitt & Colman (NZ) Ltd, Reckitt and Colman, Reckitt Colman Nugget, Sacred Heart College Island Bay, Sacred Heart College Thorndon, Sun Maid raisins, Sun-Maid Growers of California, Sweetacres, Terylene, Thorndon, Tip-Top, Transport (Nelson) Ltd, Trumpet, Wattie's, Wellington, Woolworth's Food Fair, Woolworth's supermarkets on June 16, 2013 at 10.46

1 Erskine College Stash Wellington - edit

A row of labelled cans retrieved from the hole, mostly 1960s vintage. Raro wasn’t launched until sometime in 1961, and the can looked like this from the beginning.  I have previously recreated this Wattie’s fruit salad label here, which
was definitely in stores in 1964, and Wattie’s cans were selling for 2/3 in that year. Imperial pricing pencilled on both items indicates prior to mid 1967, so  I’d date them (widely) between 1962-1967.

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Recently, a reader of this blog contacted me to ask whether I would help them date a cache of items that were found in an old school building complex. They had been discovered when vandals on the property had removed some of the floorboards in one of the old dormitories, presumably looking for copper pipes to take. Whilst attempting to secure the aperture, before there was some kind of accident, they noticed a couple of things in the recesses of the dim hole. Upon further investigation was a selection of items that had been discarded over the years by a former student, or plural.
Found repositories and the story they tell are one of my favourite things, like this lot, found inside a long forgotten American house cistern.
These types of accumulations are obviously very different from collecting in which the acquirer may be particularly discriminate about categories; or hoarding – where there is complete indiscrimination in regards to a singular, or often multiple genres. A good example of this is children’s scrap books and things that they select to keep and then edit, gluing in items that may appear to be random, but in fact are not at all – it is done with complete deliberation and within that selection of items is data that tells a tale of the time.

2 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart)  by Tom Law  TELPortfolio on Flickr

Erskine College, courtesy of and © Tom Law, TELPortfolio on Flickr.

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Discards on the other hand while equally as fascinating, have many different factors come into play that affect the agglomeration. Foremost, apart from the initial partiality involved in acquisition, what survives from that juncture is completely random – as opposed to any further intention being involved. There’s a lot of chance with what endures the circumstances and the environment – so many aspects become involved from thereon of what you will end up with. But essentially even though the items found may be just a fragment of a bigger picture, it can give you an awful lot of information about the lives of the people who discarded the items – you could write an entire thesis analysing the selection of items and the narrative it supplies.

3 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) Adrian Pratt Life In The Land of the Long White Cloud blog

Erskine College, courtesy of and © Adrian Pratt, Life In The Land of the Long White Cloud blog.

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Wellington’s Erskine College, at the corner of Avon Street and Melbourne Road, Island Bay, Wellington was formerly known as Sacred Heart College, or in long form – the Convent of Sacré Coeur Catholic boarding school for women – until well into the 1960s when the name was changed to avoid confusion with Sacred Heart College in Thorndon. It is a collection of Category I historic buildings – as bestowed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust – including former dormitories, and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart (considered one of the country’s best examples of Gothic architecture). Built during 1905-1906 by the Society of the Sacred Heart (Sacré Coeur), and designed by John Swan, it was not only convent and school but surrounded by a farm, gardens and a grotto.
Some of Peter Jackson’s film, The Frighteners (1996) was filmed at Erskine, especially the flashbacks, the exterior mansion shots and the chapel scenes. The flashbacks occurred on the third and fourth floors in the hallway outside the room where these items were rescued from. It also seems during the Nineties and Noughties that some of the buildings were used for art studios as well as exhibitions (Learning Connexion art school). It has also been, in the past, a very popular venue for weddings and other functions.

4 Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) Sacred Heart Convent School, Island Bay, ca 1900 Reference Number 11-002748-G Turnbull manuscript and pictorial

Sacred Heart Convent School, Island Bay, circa 1900. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection, ref 1/1-002748-G.

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Not only is it considered a sort of teenage rite of passage to visit the abandoned buildings, but stories also abound in regards to the property being haunted which only encourages break-ins and vandalism. The current residents who say that since they have moved in to one of the accommodation wings on Erskine‘s grounds – there have been “no signs of ghosts yet” do attest to having to be vigilant and have kicked live trespassers out several times in the past. Those thinking about “exploring” inside should take into consideration that not only are some of the buildings dangerous given they are abandoned and deteriorating rapidly, but also closed off because they are earthquake prone. Options are the owners doing very costly stabilising work, or alternately demolition, discussed in an article here.

It’s a shame about all the politics surrounding the property. Quite frankly it sounds like the owner that bought it a decade ago or more, typical of developers, knew what he was in for but went in with plans to eventually try to overturn the heritage protection in any way he could, just letting it run down, tying everyone up with red tape, and then blaming everyone else for exactly the same thing. The on-going battle of wills is discussed in article here.

I predict eventually he will probably get a healthy leg up from local government for restoration as well as permission to remove all the non-heritage listed structures and build it in with apartments. I am sure he has plans to make his money out of it. In the meantime all the agitation in the community will probably only serve him to achieving his end goal I imagine. It’s one of those situations where, as they say – damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

5 Erskine College and grounds in Island Bay Wellington courtesy Wekllington Scoop with Lindsay Shelton copy

Erskine College and grounds, © Lindsay Shelton and courtesy of Wellington Scoop.

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However, contrary to posting around the web saying there’s no electricity on the premises and nothing to restrict would-be adventurers, it is par-residential, there is a security system which is in place and working, as well as odd patrols after a break-in incident in which “youths tore up yards of flooring” according to someone who reported the incident on the College’s Facebook page. That’s obviously how the assemblage I feature here came to be inadvertently revealed – found in the main college building, one of two “red-stickered” areas on the property.

Erskine College  (Sacred Heart)    Wellington by Queenstitch blog edit replace Spiro Harvey pic copy sml

Erskine College in 2013, courtesy of and © Louise Sutherland at The Queen Stitch blog

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It is unknown whether all of the items were placed there deliberately (given that the floor board seems to have been easily removable, this is very likely), or some of the smaller bits and pieces just fell through the cracks into a cavity between the fourth floor and the third floor ceiling. It may be a bit of both. There may have been just one occupant to the room for a length of time who made a habit of doing that (unlikely that anyone else knew about the loose floorboard). Some immediate things that struck me – mostly the items were sweet things, such as snacks. Perhaps contraband, and disposed of where it would not be found. The schools may have been strict about eating anything in dorms – as well as junk food and non-school foods found in rooms. Along with the Disprins, You get the idea that these items may have been cravings that accompanied “that time of the month” perhaps. Sheep’s tongues may now seem a strange thing to have druthers for on the sly but no accounting for taste (not often seen on the lunch or tea table these days, they were extremely common in decades past; still popular even when I was a child). This tells me the person was missing domestic life and home cooking probably, and this was a little bit of “comfort”, or perhaps they were part of a care package from home. Of course a big question is – why they would put all those things under there when it was easier to put it in a bin? It does point to not wanting anyone to know about it, or for it to be found. It could be just as simple as laziness, or good old (Catholic) guilt. Or both.
It’s fun for me to try and narrow the cache down without any idea of dates or significant clues, but of course the biggest lead is a potential name . The serial litterer seems to be a fourth form boarder named L. Reilly. If we could track the person in question down, there may be some more information on the details of their life at Erskine and the motivation behind dropping this stuff into a gap under the floor. On the other hand, she may not like the idea that some things have been dredged up unexpectedly such as an English test she likely cheated on (otherwise why not just put it in the bin instead of stuffing it in a can and hiding it), or the nicked spoon that accompanied the empty tins, (which bears the college’s initials SH for Sacred Heart). Personally, I know I would feel a bit weird about people going through my old trash.

However, there’s a possibility that our culprit is included in one of the Sacré Coeur reunion photos in this archive here,  Which feature classes from 1930s onwards.

7 Erskine College Island Bay Wellington 1937 - 1938  Reference Number  12-046458-G Turnbull manuscript and pictorial

Erskine College, circa 1937-1938. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection, ref 1/2-046458-G.

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All of the items were well-documented in detail which means quite a number of images. Ergo with the author’s permission I’ve selected and edited the most interesting and curious things for this article – either they have a good story behind them or they are the sort of thing that rarely survives the dustbin or dumpster so that in its self makes them worthy of being featured (how many used ice cream wrappers survive for example? Very few that I have seen).
The salvager is intending to use a section of the floorboard in question that had been pried up as the base for a small cabinet to protect and display the items as a fascinating microcosm of student life in days gone by.

8 Erskine College hole with can and spoon raisin packet

A shot of the hole with some of the items beginning to be retrieved – a can, a spoon and a Sun Maid raisin packet.

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So, what’s my prognosis as far as a time period on this haul? Initially I had dated it between 1965-1968.
Now I’ve gotten a good look at the Sun Maid packet below, this definitely dates between 1969-1976 – but probability is on 1971-1972. Since the Disprin bottle indicates things are as old as 1961, It’s looking likely there were multiple discarders over a successive period of up to ten years, but most of it was just one person with perhaps later items like the raisins and the NZ Rail ticket just slipping through gaps in the boards by chance. If I re-narrowed the dates to the least possible, it would still be 1967-1972.

Oh, and – L. Reilly…where are art thou, you naughty minx? No worry about getting detention now – so come out, wherever you are.

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Credits: all photos © Kylie Walker unless otherwise specified.

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9 Erskine College S H (Sacred Heart) spoon found in hole

Study of the spoon found with cans, S H (Sacred Heart) indicates it dates from before 1960 when the name of the institution changed to Erskine.

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10  Erskine College Stash Wellington - Form IV April literature test - hole copy edit  copy

On the left a page from a fourth form literature test. We suspect it may have been pinched in order to cheat, otherwise it would have been thrown in a regular bin and not hidden. The test questions, a Newman’s Coach ticket and the picture of P.F. Jones were all tucked away in a tin with removable lid. On the right, another shot of the hole in the floor.

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11 L Reilly Garment Tags copy

James Smith was a Wellington institution established in 1866 and ran until 1993 when Farmers’ purchased it from L.D. Nathan and shut it down. The five-story flagship department store was on the corner of Cuba and Manners Street. By the 1980s they had five branches around the Wellington area. By at least 1972 they were definitely known to have a devoted girls school uniform department so I would say that this dates from before that decade. I was unable to find any information on Garrattco or Rabo, indicating it was likely a company established post 1945 – the 1950s onwards. I think this came from a new uniform garment that was ordered and then fitted  in-store, and was brought with the person at the beginning of a term. Hence no price on the tag,and the measurements, as well as customer’s name scribbled on. I’m guessing early 1960s.

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12 Erskine College Stash Wellington -    L Reilly (dorm room) 35

Possibly a card with the dorm room number, as well as the name of the occupant. We do know that Reilly was in situ in the late 1950s-early 1960s, and likely around the age of 13-14 years old. ergo, born in the early 1950s.

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13 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  sweetacres jaffas box

This Jaffa Box is likely from the early-mid 1960s. I think they were running this design for a while so it could have been around up to the late 60s. Imperial weight only shows  it was definitely produced before 1972 . It was exactly the same in Australia. One clue here is the printer’s mark B.B. which likely stands for Bank’s Box (Company), who were around from at least the 1920s-1930s. They had factories in Auckland, and Wellington.

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14 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Wattie's sliced peaches early-mid 1960s cans and labels

This was in stores early-mid 1960s. Imperial indicates pre 1967. Wattie’s tended not to change some labels very often and would frequently run designs for over ten years or more. I have one almost identical except they have revised the picture of the peaches in the blue bowl, here.

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16 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  New Zealand Refrigerating Company sheep tongues CMC tin  copy

New Zealand Refrigerating Company ( also known as CMC or Christchurch Meat Company), was one of those products where they never really changed the label for decades. It pretty much looked the same from its inception back in the 1900s. As I recall CMC shut down around 1984. Given the cache are together, they probably date from the 1950s-1960s.

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17 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  PF Jones picture copy

Peter Frederick Hilton Jones played for the All Blacks in 37 matches including against the Springboks in Johannesburg in 1960 and notably scored a try in the 4th test of the 1956 South Africa tour of New Zealand. I wondered what significance the picture torn from a sporting article in a magazine has? It seems such a random choice that it’s in likelihood not random at all. There’s a few options: schoolgirl crush perhaps, or it had some kind of personal significance, or was used for some kind of drawing project. There are considerations in why someone would remove a picture to keep it, and then crumple it up throw it away stuffed in a tin where nobody would find it. Along with the test paper and the picture of P.F. Jones, the discarder obviously did not want anyone to find the items in a communal bin. I wonder if the sisters used to go through the rubbish looking for anything incriminating? I imagine it was very strict and even if not breaking a rule, it would be embarrassing to be questioned.

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18 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Musk Lifesavers  wrrapper likely 1960s

Lifesavers were actually around in New Zealand from the early 1920s. Again this was one of those products where they never really changed the label much except for minor adjustments. In later years  Parnell-based Heards confectionery, established 1914 by Leonard Heard, had the domestic license for this brand. It could date from any time between mid 1950s-mid 1970s probably, but I would guess the mid 1960s.

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19 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Kaiapoi School Wear hangtag edit

Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company was the first woollen manufacturer in Canterbury, established in 1878 , and closed in 1978 – so this item definitely dates before that time. In 1963, the company became Kaiapoi Petunia Group Textiles Ltd but there’s no indication of the company name here to help narrow things down. Again I’d guess 1960s for this school garment label.

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20 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper post 1964

Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper. These were launched in 1964, so this item is after that date.

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21 Giant Trumpet on a roundabout in Panmure, year unknown - ppost early 1964 although late 1950s models visible

Giant Trumpet on a roundabout in Panmure, Auckland, year unknown. Obviously post-early 1964 although late 1950s car models are visible. The design is the same as the wrapper above. Provenance of photo unknown, probably from the Fonterra Archives.

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22 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper post 1964 edit copy

Close-ups of the Tip-Top Trumpet wrapper. It is kind of amazing this has even survived. Given they were almost without exception tossed in the bin – or if kept easily damaged or deteriorated from contact with food, any frozen confection wrappers are extremely rare.

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23 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Aulsebrook's Chocolate Eclairs likely 1960s

I’ve never heard of this product but I would guess 1950s-1960s, more the latter. Aulsebrook’s commenced to manufacture confectionery sometime in the 1890s and were probably the biggest brand in New Zealand next to Cadbury Hudson. Wrapped candies in bags or packets seem to have popularised from the late 1950s-early 1960s. Singular indicates that it may have just slipped through the floorboards but unlikely. It is likely they were part of a Woolies pick ‘n’ mix, purchased in the bags below. There may have been other different wrappers but they have either disintegrated, been eaten by insects, or carried away by rodents to a nest.

Update early 2015: One of my readers has now claimed they remember these being made in the 1970s.

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24 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Woolworths cellophane bags likely for pick and mix candy  copy

So, these are the bags for some of the random lolly wrappers like Aulsebrook’s above. I’m theorising that because the bag is printed with “fresh” indicates it was made specifically for marketing food, the striped peppermint canes of the font pretty clearly indicates candy. Woolies didn’t really start having separate food markets until late 1963 onwards. this logo was definitely in use at that time. Before that Food Fair was always a department. I would take a stab at mid-late1960s for these items.

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25 Woolworths Variety Store  Lynnmall New Lynn night before official opening 1963 Confectionery section with Refreshment Bar near front of store

Woolworths Variety Store, Lynnmall , late 1963. This photo shows the confectionery section with Refreshment Bar near front of store. Woolies would have open glass pick and mix bins, you can see them to the left. I remember as a very young child going to (this particular) store and occasionally being allowed to get a selection. Photo courtesy of and © Lance Bates, Degilbo on Flickr.

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26 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Macintosh's Barley Sugar wrapper likely 1960s 2

I’m not familiar with this particular product, but obviously I remember the Mackintosh’s brand very well – particularly their bagged Toffee De Luxe which was extremely popular in the 1970s-1980s. I would guess 1950s-1960s for this, more the latter. These kind of snap-apart bars were popular in the late 1950s-early 1960s from ads I have seen.

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27 Erskine College Stash  mackintosh barley sugar bar inner and outer wrappers copy

Inner and outer wrappers of above , showing the embossing on the foil. You never get to see things like this outside of a scrapbook, and even then people tended not to keep foil – it was usually easily damaged in the unwrapping and not that interesting anyway in comparison to the outer.

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28 Erskine College Fresh-Up Mini  copy

Mini Drink, which was pretty much Fresh-Up in a different can –  was apparently launched by the N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board in 1967, according to company literature (I don’t know if I believe this date entirely). If I had guessed without knowing anything about a date I would have guessed 1966-1970.

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29 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Sweetacres Minties and paper bag New Zealand likely 1960s 1

A dozen or so Sweetacres Minties wrappers were stuffed in a grease-proof paper bag. I do wonder why it was not in a proper Minties bag or container. I guess they were bought locally from a dairy or corner grocery and were from a bulk counter tin. Minties were present in NZ from the 1930s; Sweetacres was an Australian Brand made by Henderson Sweets/James Stedman. This was one of those products where they never really changed the label (and still haven’t much). I’m a little confused about the history of Sweetacres in Aotearoa but I believe that Griffin’s had the rights for the brand until 1984 when Pascall purchased it. So it’s one of those things that you can’t really narrow down unfortunately. I would guess 1960s.

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30 Erskine College Stash Wellington - NZ Railways ticket folder and stub and Newmans coach ticket copy

Newmans has run coaches since the 1870s but it was in the mid-late 1920s that a fleet of motor vehicles was established. It remained a family-owned business through to 1972 when it merged with Transport (Nelson) Ltd, so it’s likely this ticket on the right dates before that time. As for the New Zealand Railways cover and stub on the left – I get a late 1970s-early 1980s vibe from these graphics, giving credence to possible multiple discarders. It could not  be any later than the end of 1985 as the school shut at that time. This was the kind of ticket that was for long train journeys cross-country so obviously was from a pupil that travelled quite some distance to board at Erskine.

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31  Erskine College  (Sacred Heart) STerylene Tag copy

This label from a garment indicates it was printed in Britain and I can’t see any reason that would be done unless the whole garment was made there and imported. ICI didn’t start commercial manufacture of Terylene in England until after 1955. I am sure this fabric revolution made its way down under pretty quickly, but it still would have taken some time. I am guessing early 1960s for this item.

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32 Erskine College Stash Wellington - Sunmaid Raisin box imperial to metric changeover 1969-1976

Sun Maid raisins, imported from the Sun-Maid Growers of California in the U.S., were present in New Zealand from the 1920s and the imagery and packaging barely changed well into the 1980s. It’s probably still the same now. It would be really hard to date this item if it wasn’t for the presence of dual systems indicating the weight. Metric began to be introduced in 1969, and the bulk of the changeover was undertaken over 1971-1972. However up until as late as 1976 both were included on some products for those that were pretty slow on the uptake. However what should be taken into consideration is when both metric/imperial was included in duality on American packaging for export, even though they never switched over themselves. As far as I am aware an Act to include both on domestic products was only introduced federally in 1992. However this practice for exported goods may have commenced earlier than New Zealand introduced the metric system, to cover a multitude of different countries and accommodate their various systems.

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33 Erskine College Stash Wellington -  Disprin bottle  copy

Reckitt & Colman (NZ) Ltd changed to Reckitt, Colman, Nugget in the very early 1960s – definitely by May 1961 – so this bottle likely dates before this – perhaps stretching out the date of the stash taking into consideration that it may have been old stock, or were sitting around for a couple of years until finished and discarded. There’s a possibility that the company just didn’t bother updating the company name or had piles of packaging stock to use up that lasted some time. I’d like to think that we have a single discarder, but this indicates not – and that other boarders knew about the hidey-hole.

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

A Dated Pastime

In Bliss detergent, Card games, Coopers Fresh Aire, Crest Fine Foods, D H Brown & Son Ltd, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Four Square, Four Square Supermarkets, Games, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Grocery Archaeology, Lushus Jelly, Marmite, Mono wax paper, N W Stevens, Nugget shoe polish, Rawakelle tea, Reckitt and Colman, Red Band Biscottes, Sanitarium Health Foods, The Kiwi Polish Co Ltd, Vi-Max cereal, Vita-Brits cereal on March 20, 2013 at 10.46

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - FOUR SQUARE  copy

Trying to date items can be a difficult prospect but I am quite good at it – I have a sort of “sixth sense” when it comes to this task. I set myself to it by “zooming in”- I kind of squint my eyes, and really focus hard. It takes a while but I can usually get an item down to a three year period, and sometimes even down to the correct year without knowing much about it. I guess it is just being a highly visual person with an almost photographic memory who has been collecting for decades. It goes in and pretty much just lodges there forever. Apparently I have “a mind like a steel trap”. Which can be a great thing – but on the other hand, there are events you’d probably rather forget. Anyway, moving right along…

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s -MARMITE copy

As much as I have a vast storehouse in my cranium (although I still think I know very little and have a lot to learn) and a huge collection of images and books to draw on – sometimes it is just no help.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - VITA-BRITS copy

Point in case is this snap set that Foodstuffs (N.Z. ) Ltd , owner of many brands which I previously covered here, issued as a (presumably) give-away promotional item – something they did a lot of to promote their business over the years (I cover all that in the linked article). Back in the day all kinds of card games were a very popular pastime. I’m not sure when they started to fall out of favour, but I’m taking a guess at the early 1980s – coincidentally around the time that computer games popularised – small hand-held consoles like Donkey Kong were a “must have” for us kids and probably the death knell of more manual entertainment.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - MONO  copy

This particular set was issued for Four Square supermarkets – but this is not the only promotional card set they did – there were two happy families sets over the years – one which I think was done in the late 1950s (I’ll get to that further on) and another one around 1981 (which I have posted on a few times over the last couple of years as I make my way through restoring and exploring each set).

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - BLISS  copy

Anyway, with the one I showcase here – I am really not sure on exactly when it was produced – you would think with over ten different products it would not be so hard to work out with their combined company histories. Not the case.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - VI-MAX copy

Many of these products had already been around for decades and had changed little – subtle adjustments to packaging can be a good indicator of dates. However the design of Nugget polish featured, for instance – is of little help when it comes to narrowing the date as the design was barely modified over decades and was in use through the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and into the early 1960s.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - RAWAKELLE copy

One telling point which helps me “arrange” the timeline is that Foodstuffs issued one of the happy families game sets around this time – I believe for a number reasons just previous to the snap set coming out.

4 square happy families cards early 1960s 1961-1967 (2) copy

Some of the cards from the slightly earlier happy families set issued by foodstuffs in the late 1950s, but featuring many of the same products.

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four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - RED BAND  copy

Why do I think that? Because unlike the snap set – it features three products that have some clues that help me date it as such – and those are Crest canned foods, Jojo jelly crystals, and Rawakelle tea.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - GREGG'S copy

I know that Crest Fine Foods was sold in 1959 and the logo was being changed very shortly before that date. In fact I have some of the labels where the art department for Butland Industries has painted out the old logo and pasted a new one over it – so “in transition” at this point. The happy families set shows the old logo . A photo of a Woolworths store of 1964 shows the logo fully changed over. The snap set shows the new logo as well as a completely new can design for tinned peaches.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - CREST  copy

Also, Rawakelle tea, which is also featured, was like Pam’s a Four Square/ Foodstuffs (New Zealand) Limited brand that was launched in 1957 . Jojo jelly, also featured, was launched in 1958 by N W Stevens/The Kiwi Polish Co Ltd that also produced Lushus (many baby boomers will remember this very popular jelly crystal brand) as well as a number of other desserts.

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - COOPER FRESHAIRE copy

So the happy family set was produced after 1957 and likely before 1960.

And where does that put me with dating the snap set?

four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - NUGGET  copy

The snap set features a new design for Crest peaches so that’s my cut-off date on the lower end of the scale. It’s also worth noting that in the meantime since the happy families set had been issued – the Rawakelle packet had been the recipient of a makeover – but not wildly different. the only 1960s image I have seen of Cooper’s Fresh Aire is a  January 1962 ad  in which the can design seems to have been revised from what appears on the snap card. The product was definitely available by 1961 as exemplified by an ad in the New Zealand Film archive. This was still quite early days for television and the fact that they went to the effort to make an ad in this medium indicates it was a new product on the market and they wanted to make a splash.

snap box  copy

Outside of the early 1960s snap set box, a bit worse for wear.

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four square snap late 1950s-early 1960s - SNAP

So in summary, I would date the snap set at some time between 1960 and January 1962. That gives us the answer – probably 1961. If you asked me on first glance to pick an era, I would have said 1950s. If you showed me the two together, I would say that the snap set was issued before the other. But it goes to show if you really concentrate and try to figure it out with some information that has been gathered to help – the facts don’t lie!
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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

Imitation Nation

In Kiwi Boot Polish Co, Kiwi Polish, Reckitt and Colman, Sara Lee Corporation on July 28, 2012 at 10.46

The classic Kiwi tin design

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I began a dialogue with someone a few weeks ago about a rather odd looking version of a classic Kiwi shoe polish tin. I used to own some examples in the 1980s – long since parted with – when they were much easier to find for a nominal price, but I haven’t seen one of these before (below). From what I have seen of other well known products that have these anomalies, known not to be misprints, but dating from the 1940s, I conject that this is the result of paint and ink rationing during WWII.

The Evening Post,2 November, 1927.

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Kiwi has been adopted by New Zealanders as a national brand icon and arguably no other product has been a worldwide ambassador for Aotearoa and it’s flightless, endangered national treasure, like this little can of coloured paste has. It is of course probably little known at this point that much like those of the trans -Tasman names Woolworths, Frosty Boy, Riviera, Sanitarium, and rival polish brand from Reckitt & Colman, Nugget – to name a few – it is originally an Australian creation. I can’t imagine that will please too many people yet again.

Unusual version of the classic tin, which probably was the result of paint and ink rationing during the Second World War.

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Kiwi was invented by a man named William Ramsay. This very early ad turned up recently on Youtube:

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and purports to be one of the earliest film ads around, however Kiwi was first produced in 1906 so it must be after that date and I would hazard a guess that the early to mid 1910s.

American-produced promotional matchbook cover, photo courtesy of and © Neocles Serafimidis.

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Looking at this ad from 1914 in the Australian Screen archive,

http://aso.gov.au/titles/ads/kiwi-shoe-polish-shine/clip1/

it has exactly the same design of borders around its text frames so I think we have the answer to a more exact window of time. Ramsay’s spouse was a New Zealander and it was during a trip there that he had the privilege to see the shy nocturnal bird and decided that it would be a great logo for the new, fine footwear polish that he had created – of a quality that was the precursor to modern day Brands.

A variety of designs from old to new: Contemporary version on left and a 1970s version at centre. Photo courtesy of and © Miranda Hensleigh.

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It’s great success was spurred during the early years of WWI where the product was adopted by both British and American troops. It was known as the best polish available at the time with superior qualities the others did not have; those of shine and suppleness, water resistance and colour restoration. as a result of this popularity the product’s market had spread over fifty countries by 1924.

From a Self Help cook book of 1939.

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The company name remained more or less the same – Kiwi Boot Polish Co. -until in 1967 when it was rather belatedly updated to Kiwi International to reflect its cemented global success of a number of decades. In 1971 it was acquired by Nicholas international Ltd. to become “Nicholas Kiwi” .

The 1980s version of the tin.  

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The company was snatched up by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1984 just following their significant acquisition of Reckitt & Colman. Most recently it was sold off to American Company S. C. Johnson & Son – the makers of Johnson Wax and other household products.

Of course it is still going today and is the number one shoe care brand in America, Britain, and Australia as well as New Zealand – and is available in nearly 200 countries worldwide. But for all its popularity and success – this Kiwi just ain’t a native – sorry, folks.

Brands Shine On: Reckitt & Colman

In Benckiser NV, Brasso Polish, Cleaning Products, Colman's Mustard, Colman's Self-Saucing Spongy Puds, Dome Polish, Goya International Perfumes, household cleaners, J & J Colman, Janola, Jif Lemon Juice, Keen's Mustard, Laundry, Nugget shoe polish, Polishes, Reckitt and Colman, Reckitt Benckiser, Reckitt's starch and bag blue, Red Band Biscottes, Robinson's Lemon Barley Water, Silvo Polish, Unilever, Zebo Polish, Zebra Polish on February 26, 2012 at 10.46

I was cleaning out  the cupboard the other day and I came across this old lid  carefully packed away, which I’ve had since I was around 12 years old.  I found this half -buried under a Victorian villa  in Newton Gully, where my aunt  lived in  the early 1980s  in an apartment underneath the building.  The thing I remember most about it was that it was quite close to the Lion Breweries on Khyber Pass, Newmarket –  and the smells wafting as the beer fermented in various stages ranged from amazing (apple pie) to absolutely sickening (foot odour).  It was also was the first time I had seen cockroaches as we generally didn’t have them in New Zealand and at night they would swarm over the footpaths like a sign of the apocalypse – I suppose attracted by the ingredients like  malt and hops, combined with the heat generated by its maturation in the gigantic vats nearby. Anyway the couple who owned the house were  quite happy for me to climb underneath with a torch and fossick around and over time I found a number of things including this polish tin which I have kept packed away until now.

Dome Boot Polish, the Northern Advocate , 1 November 1910.

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Brasso liquid polish can, circa 1920s-1930s 

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I’ve found references to Dome polish  in New Zealand only between 1909 and 1912 so I feel fairly confident it is that old. I’ve always liked it  because the radiating stripes reminded me of  the old Brasso polish tins, and just recently I found out exactly why this is – because both products were produced by Reckitt & Colman at the same time and used elements of  the same bold design. R & C  also made Zebra (solid stove paste) and Zebo liquid polish (often advertised together), aforementioned Brasso (liquid metal polish ) as well as Reckitt’s Blue for laundry, Colman’s (starch, flour, laundry blue, mustard),  and Keen’s (curry powder, laundry blue), Silvo liquid silver polish and Rinso laundry powder also  came along in the 1920s.

Brasso newspaper advertisement, 1915

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I don’t know how long Dome lasted but I only find this one simple advert, and a fun reference to it around the same couple of years in South Africa -from newspaper The Herald in 1909, where the article recalls the success of a local advertising firm in a novel publicity crusade:
” Dome Boot Polish, the latest product of Reckitt and Sons Ltd, have undertaken a successful advertising campaign, just as the streets were filling with business men on Saturday, led by a youth carrying a large poster announcing that “Your boots will be polished free today by the Dome Polishing Brigade”. Then came a string of neat boys, dressed in red and blue jerseys with red caps, each carrying a Dome polishing outfit, this brigade slowly paraded the main streets of the town drawing the attention of every passer-by. Shortly after nine o’clock each boy dropped out of the line at his appointed station, where ’til 12.30 he was busily engaged in polishing boots free”.
Perhaps as attention-grabbing as the drive was, it may not have worked long term for Dome doesn’t appear again that I can find.

J&J Colman began with mustard in 1814; and Reckitt & Sons started manufacturing starch in 1840 and quickly diversified into cleaning products. Both were established in Britain and merged in 1938 to form Reckitt & Colman Ltd. Colman’s Mustard was being sold in NZ as early as the 1850s, and the company’s laundry blue and starch from at least the 1860s. Flour and cornflour followed, and Colman’s Breakfast Semolina seems to have been short-lived attempt at breaking into the burgeoning breakfast cereals market in the1910s as it moved from your standard oatmeals to more specific consumer-driven “instants”.

Colman’s Starch advertisement, Otago Witness, 22 November, 1905.

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Never mind a couple of failures: they had acquired Robinson’s Barley, Groats, and associated products in the deal with the Keen’s brand some time back and were doing great business. The war of the 1940s did nothing to quash their boom years and in 1940 the company changed names from Colman-Keen (NZ) Ltd to Reckitt-Colman (NZ) Ltd; by this time they had added Robinson’s Lemon Barley Water crystals, and they were marketing several new products in the Antipodes like Steradent (false teeth cleaner), Dettol and Sanpic (disinfectants) and Steelo (steel wool scourers and aluminium cleaner).

Three-in-one advertising for a trio of Reckitt & Colman’s most popular and enduring products, Evening Post, 1931.

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By the early 1960s they had really branched out with many products which were handled by Dormer-Beck, and I name-checked some in my post on the advertising agency  here:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/dormer-beck/

These included cleaning, food and toiletry items such as  Boon and Twin Cleaners, Airwick freshener, French’s Mustard and Hamburger Seasoning , Goya Perfume,  Cedarwood Men’s Toiletries,  Janola, Plush Carpet Cleaner, and Robin Starch just  to name some.  Most eventually came and went  (Goya International lasted well into the 1980s when they still had enough business to maintain a separate factory premises in Mount Roskill). Out of the lot, Janola is the brand that has gone on to become a household name.

Zebra polish tin, circa  late 1930s

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Reckitt & Colman’s Zebra Polish ad, Evening Post, 2 November 1938

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Robert Scelly remembers working in the bakery division on the biscottes line, but doesn’t specify what brand (I wonder if this is the answer to the Red Band mystery? https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/band-of-old/ ). A report from the UK of 1961 mentions acquisition of “Biscottes ( New Zealand) Ltd, a small company making Dutch rusks”, and this date matches the year Red Band was registered as a trademark.

At this point the company had been re-jigged to Reckitt, Colman, Nugget (New Zealand) Ltd.
In the early 1960s they were producing Nulon hand cream. Shirley Gussey also remembers biscottes as well as pretzels by the late 1960s (but unfortunately she can’t remember the name either, I’d say it was Slim Janes – which were produced in  plain salted, onion, cheese, and celery flavours into the 1970s), along with cordials, lemon barley water, soaps, talcums and perfumes, various condiments, Nugget brand solid and liquid polishes, Disprin and other pain relief brands, antacid, and baby food – this she recalls was all being produced out of “massive premises in Rosebank Road, Avondale”.

By the late 1970s- early 1980s R & C had added Lucozade, a firelighter line, aerosol products like Mortein insect spray, and a fruit juices division – in particular Jif (reconstituted lemon juice which came in a yellow plastic fruit shaped bottle. Remember them? ) as well as Colman’s Self-saucing Sponge Puddings or “spongy pud” as they were called in the quirky ad, which is now considered a classic:

http://www.filmarchive.org.nz/sellebration/view.php?id=157

Zebo and Zebra polishes advert, October 1932

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As the 1980s rolled on they were also churning out dozens of lines including Harpic toilet cleaner, Finish dishwasher detergent, a spice range ,powdered drinks, and a line of Gale canned fruits  (boysenberries, feijoas, kiwifruit, strawberries, whole plums, tomatoes, blackberries, and golden tamarillos).

In 1995 the Colman’s brand was demerged from R & C and sold off to Unilever (UK) Ltd.
In 1999 the company merged with Benckiser NV to become Reckitt Benckiser which is now the largest supplier of cleaning products worldwide. Today they still produce many of the products that have lasted through the decades to become the firm household faithfuls and favourites we are all so familiar with.

Big Cheese: The Dormer-Beck Agency

In Anacin, Biscuits, Butland Industries, Campaign Advertising, Carlton Carruthers Du Chateau agency, Charles Haines agency, Chesdale Cheese, Clifton Firth, Dick Frizzell, Dormer-Beck, Four Square Supermarkets, Gregg's, Griffin’s, J. Ilott Agency, J. Inglis Wright Agency, John Wyeth NZ Ltd, Kolynos toothpaste, Pam's Products, Reckitt and Colman, Saatchi & Saatchi, Television Advertisement, The Harvey Cameron Agency, Waikato Ales on December 24, 2011 at 10.46

Still from a Chesdale TV advertisement by Dormer-Beck in 1966

It was generally agreed there were three main  firms who ruled NZ advertising in the earlier part of the 20th century ; J. Ilott , Charles Haines, and J. Inglis Wright. (Carlton Carruthers Du Chateau also deserves inclusion in the top agencies, and by the early 1970s CC du C was out and Dobbs-Wiggins-McCann-Erickson was considered one of the “big five”).

However by the late 1950s, Dormer-Beck (who had been around nearly as long, but was perhaps considered the runt of the quintuplets), had become strong enough to be not just a rival – but a real threat to all, eventually with offices in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. Author Maurice Duggan, who worked as a copywriter at D-B in the early Sixties remembers “The agency had a solid reputation; its presence in the city was considerable”.

Dormer-Beck created some of the most memorable Australasian media campaigns of all time.

courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection  34-D270P-12

I was able to obtain a history of Dormer-Beck from the daughter of a former managing director Alec G. Robson, who started in 1936 as an office junior and by 1964 was chairman and managing director of the company. Jill Rowdon was kind enough to send me a copy of his notes for my research. It is a bio history as opposed to a memoir, and as such is focused on structural and financial business matters rather than the creative grind or the amusing bon mots you would expect of those crazy ad types; and unfortunately barely skips over important accounts and iconic brands with no more than a passing mention.

The New Zealand operations of International John Wyeth NZ Ltd, that produced health and cosmetic products like Anacin, were a client in the 1940s.

Dormer-Beck was borne of T. L. Hathaway Ltd., An Auckland agency with a number of retail advert writing contracts. L. M. (Case) Beck had worked as a “writer-visualiser” there for two years. An account they held with the Auckland Star newspaper, where R.C. Dormer was building a reputation as a sales representative, is how the two met. Hathaway commenced operations for a new business venture in Australia, after a radical product/coupon scheme was scuttled by introduced government laws, (The Coupon Trading Act took effect in 1932, making it illegal to redeem coupons for anything but cash or discount), leaving a bankrupt company in the charge of Beck – because he was the largest preferential creditor in terms of owed wages. The two scraped up sum capital of £50.00 each, and well into The Depression, the business had literally nowhere to go but up. Ray Trenchard Smith, who had both newspaper and advertising agency experience, became the third shareholder, and Dormer- Beck Advertising Ltd., was “officially” formed in May 1932.
I stumbled upon the Dormer-Beck story whilst researching “Pam’s” which was launched by Four Square Stores in 1937 to offer lower price, quality goods to the New Zealand public under a strong brand image. Yes – it really does go back that far. Although there were several “self” brands from chain stores at the time, “Pam’s” has lasted into the present day as a stand-alone brand, probably the only surviving one – and has a pretty nifty website to boot.

http://www.pams.co.nz/#/home

courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection A2338

Four Square was an early client of Dormer-Beck’s along with Aircell (baby blankets) ,  Milne & Choyce (clothing and milinery), Silknit/Slimtex and Iris (lingerie), Berger’s (paint), Dresswell (clothing), Pyradent (toothpaste, mouthwash), Du Maurier (cigarettes), Defiance (men’s clothing and shoes), May and Belle/Slicks (underwear), and N.Z. Wallboards Ltd (Gibraltar Board).

courtesy of the Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 34-D270L

In the 1940s there was Kolynos (toothpaste),Neopol (polish), and John Wyeth NZ Ltd, that marketed products like the pain medication Anacin; and in the 1950s Chelsea Sugar (CSR) were an important account. There were of course legions more.
Many of these products are recorded in digital archives as photographed by Clifton Firth, who had a longstanding contract with Dormer-Beck from the early 1930s into the early 1960s. As such he subsequently made an inadvertent record of accounts and the accompanying products they were dealing with on a bread-and-butter basis. The sheer volume of images that survive really denotes that Firth deserves his own stand-alone post covering his career and work.

Dormer-Beck advertising including Pam’s and Pyradent , photographed by Clifton Firth between 1930-1939, courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection 34-D270S

From a photograph of products that Dormer-Beck were handling in the late 1930s I was able to find an early Pam’s baking powder poster (this product launched the brand) and along with a rough newspaper advertisement,

as well as a piece from a A4 square promotional jigsaw puzzle showing packaging and accompanying point-of-sale material,

             A clipping from Four Square Stores promotional jigsaw puzzle cover showing Pam’s baking powder and point-of-sale display material – Likely designed by Dormer-Beck. Dated as 1950s, but I believe it is from a little earlier; the late 1940s. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library collection.


I now had all the pieces in place which enabled me to finally reconstruct the paper label for the product – something I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

Recreation of a poster (also used for the can label for many years) for Four Square’s “Pam’s” baking powder, designed by Dormer-Beck in 1937 as a campaign to launch the brand’s first product.

After the labour government came to power in 1935 it immediately introduced commercial radio to New Zealand, and as in later years with the advent of television, Dormer-Beck was amongst the first agencies to develop this new medium. Amongst the earliest TV ads they created were for a major client – Griffin’s biscuits and confectionery- Mallowpuffs, Krispies, and Snax amongst other classic and fondly remembered treats.

http://www.filmarchive.org.nz/sellebration/view.php?id=228

According to a company report of the time, 12 months before Channel 2 was due to begin transmission in 1960 – “Dormer-Beck was engaged on the production of the first television commercial to be made in New Zealand”. Further to that, Robson recalled in 1970 “there were in fact quite a number “in the can” and ready for scheduling when Channel 2 opened in June 1960″, but it’s not clearly conveyed whether they were all D-B productions or there were other companies making ads too, which he was referring to in general. Certainly in the first decade, D-B produced more television commercials than any other agency in the country. Apart from legions of ads for Griffin’s – Reckitt and Colman was another major client and Dormer-Beck created ads for everything from hamburger seasoning (French’s), to perfume (Goya, Cedarwood), and Cleaning products (Janola).

Dormer-Beck’s Mini-Magic Hosiery Campaign, 1970

By 1936 D-B were already successful enough to move from Horne’s buildings in Vulcan Lane, Auckland to bigger digs in the National Insurance building in O’Connell street. One contributor to success was a long-term business relationship with the J. Walter Thompson Agency of which Graeme Martin, who worked in the art department in the late 1960s recalls “…the highlight for me was the Creative Director from J. W T, Sydney, a man called Bryce Courtenay (yes the famous author!) came to give us a talk and general jolly up. He praised a little advert that I designed which I thought at the time was awful. Little did I know in those days!”.

It’s highly likely that this 1963 packaging was redesigned for Griffin’s in the Wellington art department several times over the years.

Strong direction and forward planning meant that by the early 1960s Dormer-Beck was a serious force to be reckoned with in the country, and by 1970 owned all the properties and buildings between 52 and 60 Ponsonby Road, however although D-B did construct new offices (as well as requisitioning older buildings on site), it wasn’t all glamorous “cringing under the smell of vinegar from the factory behind, and Creamota from the undertaker next door “ as David Burke-Kennedy, of Communique Publicity, who worked on the creative side at D-B as a teenager around 1964, remembers. Far from bustling with uber-cool hipsters in that time,  Graeme Martin says “I actually found working in Ponsonby Road a little too far from the hub of Auckland in those days. It was a short time for me, and I didn’t really enjoy it”.

Possibly the most famous campaign that Dormer-Beck was responsible for, was the Chesdale Cheese clips of the mid-late 1960s, the ” boys down on the farm ” advertisements featuring “Ches” and “Dale”.

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One famous name that was involved in the design and illustration of the two characters for the campaign was of course now famous pop artist Dick Frizzell who was working off site at the time for Sam Harvey Animations, but later did work for Dormer-Beck in their art department. Wayne Senior, one of New Zealand’s top jingle writers- producers throughout the late 60s through to the early eighties (he wrote the “Hip H Panty Hose” introductory jingle that was a big hit) remembers he was “… included in the Art studio staff. I still have the going away card he designed – my personal Dick Frizzell. It must be worth quite a lot now, hailing from Dick’s early period.”

Wayne Senior’s farewell card from Dick Frizzell, late 1960s , photo courtesy W. Senior

Other clients of the 1960s besides Chesdale and Griffin’s and also names well known to Kiwis were Gregg’s, Coca-Cola, Fisher & Paykel, Reidrubber, Kelloggs, Fibremakers, Wrigleys, Hanimex, and IGA Supermarkets.

Dormer-Beck Company Newsletter ON THE CLIPBOARD, 1968, showing recent campaigns.

Dormer-Beck campaign for the Waikato Ales account, 1964

In the 1970s, the account roster included behemoths Choysa Tea, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Pan American airlines.

The Harvey Cameron Agency merged with D-B in 1972, not very long after the last original founding member of the trio had retired for good. In 1980 it merged again, and both the “Dormer” and “Beck” bits were dropped into the propwash of history to become simply “Campaign Advertising”.  Saatchi and Saatchi bought the agency in 1985 and so on, in a series of complicated mergers and buy-outs which I always find fascinating – when nobody else does. Something quite unrecognisable today from the pioneering Antipodean agency of media with many iconic, well-remembered campaigns that won’t be forgotten too quickly – even if people don’t know where they came from.

This was the most complex story research-wise I have worked on to date – yet just about everyone I contacted returned my messages and was willing to talk to me. I have to thank Wayne Kitching, David Burke-Kennedy and Graeme Martin for being patient whilst bombarded with questions, Jill Rowdon from The Nielsen Company for documents and images, Wayne Senior for being interviewed and lending his image of the Dick Frizell artwork. Keith Giles, Photograph Librarian, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Central City Library, Auckland, and Sue de Lange at The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Inc. Without everyone’s participation and contribution I wouldn’t be able to dredge these stories back up.