longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Red Band Biscottes’ Category

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.

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The Shopping Cart Cartel: IGA Stores

In Anchor, Choysa Tea, Creemee Icecream, Davids Metcash Trading Limited, Fielder's Cornflour, Gregg's, IGA Stores, Independent Grocers Alliance NZ Ltd, Kornies cereal, O-Tis oatmeal, Oak, Palm corned beef, Red Band Biscottes, Shreddo cooking suet, St. George, Suntang Tea, Vita-Brits cereal on June 10, 2012 at 10.46

IGA, which stood for Independent Grocers Alliance (NZ Ltd), launched in the Antipodes in 1955. Originally, it was an American concept founded in 1926. IGA was started when a group of 100 independent retailers in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Sharon, Connecticut, led by J. Frank Grimes, organized themselves into a single marketing system. This group quickly expanded, and by the end of the year there were more than 150 IGA retailers in the U.S. In 1930 there were over 8,000 grocery stores using the IGA name. Today IGA is still the world’s largest voluntary supermarket chain with over 4,000 independent stores in 41 different countries.

IGA, Glen Innes. Constructed by The Fletcher Construction Company 1959, Courtesy of the Fletcher Trust Archives, 19599078P-35

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IGA was brought to Australia by Davids Holdings in the late 1980s when 10 stores initially became members of IGA. This company is now known as Metcash Trading Limited, which has the rights to use the IGA name in four Aussie states as well as New Zealand – for the wholesale distribution of goods to all IGA stores.

Not much else is known about the history of the original IGA in New Zealand – although it appears that the concept entirely bypassed Australia and made its way straight there.

 Recreation of a  paper grocery bag design from a Dunedin IGA, apparently phased out some time in the 1960s.

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Jacqueline Crompton Ottaway writes an interesting story here about her grandfather’s Freeman’s Bay store from the 1950s-1970s:

http://www.nzine.co.nz/views/iga_store.html?Rcat=History&Tcat=Growing_Up_In_NZ

Although, it doesn’t mention any brands per se, excepting Palm corned beef.

IGA board game circa early 1960s.

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IGA seemed to be around until the mid 1970s as promotional tea towels festooned with their wares attest (IGA, like Four Square, had a number of promotional items like calendars, games, and the aforementioned kitchen helpers) . The last reference I can find is a Dunsandel, Canterbury IGA store operating in 1974.

IGA advertisement, circa late 1960s

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Some of my recent Trade Me purchases of the last year or so which I have featured here include this board game with a neat ad for their self brand of tea “Suntang“. I’d never heard of it until I saw this (or Instant Toddy for that matter – and I still don’t know who was responsible for manufacturing it, perhaps like Suntang it was an IGA self product, but usually chains stuck to the household basics for their own brands; tea, cornflour, soap, jelly crystals, baking powder, butter, custard, etc ). Also featured are some of their most popular products including Gregg’s, St George, Choysa and Anchor – as well as Red Band biscottes which I wrote about here previously

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/band-of-old/

I’d date this item at around 1961.

IGA advertisement, circa late 1960s

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Today IGA in New Zealand stands for Independent Grocers Australia. The Ocker version launched in 1988 – Much like Peter’s Ice cream which was popular in the 1930s and didn’t reappear in the land of the long white cloud until the 1990s – IGA returned in time as a completely new version.

Frontage of E.G. Roberts’  IGA grocery store, Himenoa Street, Birkenhead. Courtesy of Auckland Council, Local History Online, Image ID T7554.

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Interior of E.G. Roberts’ IGA grocery store, Himenoa Street, Birkenhead. Courtesy of Auckland Council, North Shore History Online and Takapuna Library, Image ID T7557. Both images are dated as 1952, although this cannot be possible since IGA was not introduced to the country until three years after that.

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Addendum September 2012: Somehow I missed a bunch of material whilst researching my IGA story which would have told me, as it turns out, that IGA was launched in New Zealand under by G.U.S. Wholesaling (G.U.S, UNA, and Target brands) and later re-branded to SuperValue amongst other banners. See the article here: 

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/product-puzzle-una-and-the-grocers-united-stores/

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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.

Band of Old

In Biscottes, Biscuits, Four Square Supermarkets, Red Band Biscottes, Snack Foods on September 1, 2011 at 10.46

Red Band Biscottes seemed to have been a very popular product for Four Square stores; otherwise I imagine they would not have advertised it along with their best-selling mainstream products like Crest, Nugget, Weetbix and Marmite. It is my conjecture that they were a NZ brand created in the 1950s to cater to immigrants, rather than importing product – which means there must have been a demand.

A variety of searches in Papers Past show no references for biscotte products at all (although I am sure I have seen them advertised at least once as for sale at Fuller-Fulton’s, MacDuffs, or a similar store in the 1930s). This shows with a fair degree of certainty that although rusks were a common snack, biscottes weren’t really a pre-WWII thing and probably arrived and grew in popularity with the great influx of European post-war arrivals – in particular the Dutch who came to NZ in droves looking for a new life, just like my mother and her family did after years in the Japanese POW camps in Jakarta.

The biscotte were in a special tall tin like these, which I am guessing may be an earlier version of the Red Band product (the seller said there were no markings as to brand or manufacturer), noting several similarities which tip me off including the shape of the container.
There’s nothing much else to tell since I haven’t been able to find anything about the brand at all. I do remember the biscottes we had being in a crackly clear cellophane wrapper and probably a red and white print on the package. They may have been Red Rose, Red Tulip, or perhaps Red Band – it’s a long time ago now and I am not sure.

We always had biscottes in the house, up until the early 1980s. Especially with Dutch heritage we always had foreign treats like speculaas, caraway infused cheese, appelstroop and of course biscotte slathered with butter and sugar hail – tiny yellow, orange and pink fruit flavour sprinkles; or aniseed coated in pink and white sugar . This is a traditional breakfast topping in Holland known as “Muisjes” (translates to “little mice”). This was a sentimental childhood favourite of my mother’s. Interestingly I ran across a snippet that the orange, lemon and raspberry Muisjes were the first bread topping that the De Ruijter company exported to the Dutch soldiers stationed in Indonesia, in 1946. So it was probably my mother’s first taste of luxury and the “outside world” after years of starvation, and likely holds very fond memories.

I took the image at the top of the post and reconstructed it from a Four Square snap set that appears to date from the late 1950s, and was one of a myriad of promotional products the company issued over the years. Apart from this reference I cannot find any other mention of it although I am sure there will be more to the story to come.

Addendum: Some new information has surfaced today. The image and slogan for Red Band was registered by Henry Hughes in February 1961, had lapsed by July 1968, and was never renewed. A legal representative of the trademark owner, Henry Hughes of Wellington, are attorneys specialising in patents and trademarks – and still going today. This  places the snap cards into a specific time frame of 1961-1967 that will only be further narrowed down the more I find out about other products in the set (which is, so far, zilch so not proving very easy). I hope these dates are accurate, and I think they are, but I know from IPONZ that their database is not always complete for products. 

photo of Muisjes courtesy of http://ethnicidaho.blogspot.com and copyright © Nicole Holten