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Archive for the ‘Regina Confections.’ Category

Bite Size: Cruel Candy

In A&R bubblegum, A.W. Allen, Allen's confectionery, Allens & Regina bubblegum, Big Charlie bubblegum, Bubble Gum, Candy, Chewing Gum, Chewing Gum Products Ltd, Confectioner, confectionery, Heards confectionery, J. Romison & Co. Ltd., Kool Fruits and Kool Mints, Lifesavers, Lifesavers candy, Mackintosh's, Mackintosh's confectionery, Mackintosh's Toffee De Luxe, Mad Hot Rods bubblegum, Nestlé, Oddfellows mints, Playtime gum, Regina Confections., Romison's confectionery, Steam Rollers mints, Topps bubblegum on October 26, 2014 at 10.46

Cruel Candy LWK copy

In 1910 in Melbourne, Australia, an elderly man was killed by a steamroller in a tragic accident. John Tanner, walking in front of the machine on the job for the local council, was momentarily distracted by a ratchet horse trotting along the road, and was squashed flat from foot to chin. The end…but maybe not.

Allen's steam rollers made in NZ Jon Fabian edit copy

New Zealand-made  Steam Rollers wrapper and logo detail, note how at this time the Allen’s brand seems to have been scrubbed. Image courtesy of Jon Fabian collection.

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This event apparently inspired the illustration that formed the packet design for “Steam Roller” mints, so the story goes. I don’t know how much truth there is to this tale that was circulated amongst children of the 1960s, but even if it’s an urban myth I don’t really care – because it makes such a good story. Regardless the fact that someone did befall this unfortunate accident that’s claimed to be depicted –  is an interesting coincidence. If this wasn’t the idea that spawned the creepy design, then on its own it’s inexplicable and very strange. The fellow in it clearly looks to be in agony and distress, and not in a comedic way. If it wasn’t Tanner’s unfortunate demise that sparked the Steam Rollers imagery, then why did they choose it?

Allen's steam rollers Collector cards Australia Jon Fabian 1

Allen’s collector cards advertising  Steam Rollers, Image courtesy of Jon Fabian collection..

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Most of the adverts for the candy seem to be from 1933, so a guess would be they were perhaps launched around that time. Of course Allen’s, originally an Australian brand with its roots in the 1890s, had quite a history in New Zealand. In fact the wrapper featured here, found in an Australian tome where it had been used as a bookmark, was made in Aotearoa, seemingly sometime in the 1990s, I’m guessing. It goes right back to their complicated involvement with the (recently revived) Regina brand, with which they joined forces and made A&R and Playtime bubblegum from the mid 1960s, and Big Charlie and Topps for a while in the 1980s, amongst other lesser known and short-lived brands. Most people would remember the hundreds of different sets of collector cards that were issued over the years by Allens & Regina like “Mad Hot Rods” which were hugely popular and are still highly collectable today.

A DREADFUL DEATH BY STEAM ROLLER Barrier Miner Broken Hill NSW Wednesday 20 July 1910 copy

Tanner’s death: Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW. Wednesday 20 July, 1910. Image courtesy of Trove, National Library of Australia.

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I also remember the others in the Allen’s range of wrapped roll candies – Butter Menthols, Fruit Tingles, Soothers, Kool Fruits and Kool Mints, Butter Scotch, Anticol lozenges, and I think Irish Moss jubes, Mixed Fruit and Black Currant Pastilles. I’m sure they finally stopped making Steam Rollers and the others quite a few years back; they were definitely still round in the late Eighties, but what happened after that – I don’t know. Steam Rollers were finally discontinued in Australia around 2012. But right until the end the macabre logo remained.

Allen's steam rollers Collector cards Australia Jon Fabian 1930s blue copy

Allen’s collector cards advertising  Steam Rollers, Image courtesy of Jon Fabian collection..

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Ownership of the Allen’s business in New Zealand passed to Nestlé sometime between 1989 and 1994 (sources differ), from there on the brand acquired the long-running Heard’s, Mackintosh’s, Lifesavers and Oddfellow brands along the way – later making Sporties, Minties, Slammers and Fantales. The Allen’s range is still going today, albeit whittled down to just a few lines in Aotearoa and only a couple of the “classics” left. In Australia Allen’s still claim to be the top-selling sugar confectionery brand – but like the story about the Steam Rollers logo, I can’t say how reliable this is.

Addendum late October 2015: These Allen’s paper wrappers were auctioned recently. They are Australian; but I’m sure they were more or less identical in Aotearoa as I seemed to remember them as soon as I saw them. 

1980s x 4 ALLENS WRAPPERS BUTTER MENTHOL SOOTHERS ANTICOL HONEY & ANISEED copy sml

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

Bite Size: Mallowed With Time

In Adams Bruce Ltd, Aulsebrook's, Aulsebrook's confectionery, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Cadbury's, Chocolate, Chocolate Fish, Chocolate marshmallow eggs, Chocolate Snowballs, confectionery, Easter, Innovex Holdings, Marshmallow, Nestlé, Queen Anne chocolate, Rainbow confectionery, Regina Confections. on April 23, 2014 at 10.46

Easter Egg  LWK copy copy I haven’t really been very good so far at sticking to posts about significant annual events and holidays of note, and as such, I last previously posted on Easter in 2011 here. Then …nothing. Also, I just don’t have very much good Easter shit in my collection – which is amazing, since it’s one of the biggest things of the year at retail. Easter-related stuff just doesn’t crop up that much. I guess the majority was foil wrapping and hard to salvage.

aCadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 bitten

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With all good intention I took these snaps this time two years ago in order to post but I didn’t get around to it. Some friends had their family bring over various sweet treats on a visit to Australia – and since it was March, some naturally happened to be Eastery things – such as these Cadbury marshmallow eggs which were in store at the time.

a Cadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 bitten  100_3959 edit copy

A wrapper and tray from New Zealand Cadbury chocolate marshmallow eggs, in 2012.

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I was dying to try them to see if they tasted in any way similar; and to my delight everything about them was amazingly – exactly the same. Under my “supervision” half the pack quickly disappeared down my gullet before they were snatched away for safekeeping.

a nestle vintage easter egg 1936 0r 1938 lightened

A seventy-something years old Nestle chocolate Easter egg that I previously wrote on in April 2011.

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This didn’t start out as a treatise on the history of such a specific item; which is just as well since apparently there is little to know. Marshmallow products had been around fairly early on in Aotearoa – Aulsebrook’s were producing a variety of mallows- plain, toasted, raspberry and chocolate-covered – by the early 1900s, and chocolate covered marshmallow bars and “snowballs” started to popularise in the 1930s. Of course then came that icon Chocolate Fish of which the first mention I’ve seen is in the early 1940s.

a BRITANNIA THEATRE Ponsonby MARSHMALLOW EASTER EGG  - New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXVI, Issue 23316, 8 April 1939, Page 24

A chocolate marshmallow egg giveaway at one of a number of Auckland theatres in the mid-late 1930s: This one at The Britannia,  Zealand Herald, 8 April 1939, Page 24.

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The earliest record I have for actual chocolate marshmallow eggs is by Adams Bruce Ltd. for the Queen Anne brand in the 1950s, which are fondly remembered by many. I am sure that Aulsebrook’s and Cadbury also launched theirs at this time however the earliest I know of is 1960s for the former and 1970s for the latter.

a Cadbury chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs 2012 edit 1 copy

A wrapper and tray from New Zealand Cadbury chocolate marshmallow eggs, in 2012.

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Rainbow was founded in 2001 by the regrouping of Regina workers (banded together as Innovex Holdings) who found themselves out of work and the factory premises empty courtesy of the then owners Nestlé. They “recommenced” the business on site, successfully continuing most of the classic Regina products under the new name – and just recently repurchased the rights to the original classic Regina brand and relaunched it. Point is, that this product means that Regina had a history of making chocolate marshmallow eggs, but how early they started I don’t know.

aaCadbury Fire Chicks Easter Egg 1960s Cadbury Schweppes Hudsion post 1969

A box from a chocolate Easter egg, dating from the very early 1970s.

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However – someone in Auckland (Heard’s, Brown Bros and Geddes, or maybe Nestlé) was making them earlier though – for in the 1930s several cinemas in that city offered them as a free gift to children attending their special Easter matinees. They get no mention elsewhere, or ever again until at least 1946.

a Rainbow Marshmallow Easter Eggs (1) EDIT copy

Wrapper from a carton of chocolate marshmallow eggs made by Rainbow, formerly Regina Confections. This means that Regina had a history of making chocolate marshmallow eggs, but how early they started is uncertain. 

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They have traditionally always been two halves of white marshmallow with an orange circle in the centre representing the yolk; both pieces then fully enrobed in milk chocolate and then sandwiched together, and either wrapped in decorative foil or in later years nestled with several others in a plastic tray or carton and sealed in a closed plastic sleeve wrapper.

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A tray of chocolate marshmallow eggs made by Rainbow.

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They are on occasion available in Sydney – I remember one year that Woolworths had a display of them and they disappeared pretty quickly indeed. They’ve also imported Rainbow ones from time to time – I also got the ones pictured in Woolworth’s.

a Easter Egg mould 8 cm across edit copy

A vintage metal mould for making chocolate Easter eggs, sixteen centimetres in circumference.

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After sampling some Australian Cadbury ones recently at a family gathering in Sydney – which in appearance look exactly the same – they don’t quite taste the same. I don’t know if there’s a difference between the Oz-produced version and the Nizild ones – but my eyebrows just didn’t raise in the way they did when I bit into the Kiwi made versions again for the first time in nearly thirty years and that rush of memories from my childhood came flooding back.

aaVintage Cadburys Griffins Easter egg wrappers two copy

Griffin’s and Cadbury foil wrappers from Easter eggs of the late 1970s.

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