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Archive for the ‘Roma tea’ Category

Perfitly Preserved

In "K" Brand, Agee, Alex Harvey Industries (AHI), Australian Glass Manufacturers Co. Ltd (AGM), Bond & Bond, Choysa Tea, Don and Marjorie Symonds, Finch and Company, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Gunn Gollin Ltd, Home Preserving, Irvine & Stevenson, L D Nathan & Co Ltd, LD Nathan Wholesale Ltd, Lion Nathan Limited, National Can Industries (NCI), Oak, Perfit, Preserves, Professor Helen Leach, Pyrex, Q-P baking powder, Quality Packers Ltd, Roma tea, S Kirkpatrick and Co Ltd, St. George, Susan Baker, Thompson & Hill, Unilever, Wiltshire NZ Ltd on April 20, 2013 at 10.46

1 Susan Baker Warhol  copy

The eternally cheerful and supremely confident preserving wiz Susan Baker, Warhol-style.

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For a long period of history, bottling was the main method of preservation of foods – and there doesn’t seem to be much “specific” history of it in New Zealand since it is obviously not endemic; and therefore didn’t have much of a separate development geographically. It is what it is; stuff in jars, found the world over – even the earlier traditions of potting, drying and smoking of Maori culture weren’t that different from any other parts of the world.

2 Perfit Seal Large D1 Dome Perfit Seals - edit QUALITY PACKERS owned by LEVER   liquidation by 1993 these are probably 1980s

Perfit dome lid box, by Quality Packers (Q-P), probably produced in the late 1970s-late  1980s. The booklet price is listed as fifty cents at this time.

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Although, Professor Helen Leach, a food anthropologist and historian from the University of Otago, reckons the history of it is, inexplicably, far more enduring in Aotearoa than that of the U.K. or U.S. She does have her suspicions as to why, though. I listened to an interesting broadcast on the topic where she skirted around the obvious economic issue; we’ll get to that in a moment.
MASON AND GOLDEN STATE JAM PRESERVING JARS RITCHIE'S Otago Daily Times 17 February 1920 Page 8

Ritchie’s preserving supplies, Otago Daily Times, February 1920.

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It was a given that the accomplished housewife would have a skilled knowledge of cooking and preserving. Sometimes hundreds of pounds of produce were ‘put down’ while it was in season. Anything that could be saved for later, was – even pickled eggs, which sound kind of revolting now – were quite popular for a number of decades, as anyone who watches Boardwalk Empire would have observed.

Preserved Plums about 1899 or 1900 - Puke Ariki collection New Plymouth, Taranaki

Preserved Plums c 1899-1900, courtesy of Puke Ariki  Museum collection New Plymouth. Accession No A92.979

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Anyway, there is likely a lot more to it than sheer financial reasons, but I know my mum did an awful lot of bottling for that very reason – we could “pick-our-own” produce locally in the semi-rural area where we lived for very little – the kids would be put to work coring, peeling and chopping in preparation – and we’d have a greater variety of food for later in the year at a low cost. I can say as far as our family, it certainly was not done for any sense of accomplishment or sheer joy as the alternatives suggested.

PRESERVING SEASON 1902  - Ashburton Guardian - 13 February 1902 - Page 3 EDIT  copy

Fletcher’s preserving supplies, Ashburton Guardian, 13 February 1902.

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NZ History online states New Zealanders had an “obsession with bottling (and) good housewives were expected to know…”  This is a bit like saying fruit grows on trees under a blue sky, since in those days it was more a given necessity than a pastime of any sort. Also – thrift, or even the exhibition of it – through perceived activities such as home arts in the culinary manner, was seen as virtuous. Ergo, there was hardly an exception when it came to cookbooks including extensive sections on this prudent approach; as well as a plethora of them completely devoted to the topic.

4A1 100_4099 edit  smaller probably late 60s-early 70s as booklet now 30 cents up from 1968

Back of small orange G dome box with the booklet price  listed as 30 cents. This indicates it probably dates from the  late 1960s – early 70s. 

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Domestically-based commercial canning and bottling of foodstuffs was beginning to become prevalent in the late C19th (Kirkpatrick’s “K”, Thompson and Hills‘ “OAK” , Irvine & Stevenson‘s “St George” to name some ) – however this did little to dull the ardour for home preserving – which flourished, although the technique probably may have had a significant downtime in recent decades with a notable nosedive in the 1960s (yet, Perfit claimed that in the mid 1960s Kiwi women were still squirreling away twenty million bottles per annum collectively).

4AB 100_4104 edit smaller probably late 60s-early 70s as booklet now 30 cents up from 1968

Front  of small orange G dome box above. Manufacturer is Finch & Co.

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The drop-off was due to a number of factors. The advent of easy accessibility to home refrigeration and new-fangled methods of freezing food meant perishables, where possible, were chucked in the ice chest to use as needed. Mass advertising of goods that became more prevalent in the 1950s began to capture an audience to branded product; and the corporatisation of just about everything possible seemed to be on the rise from the early 1960s (what big business wants people doing it themselves? There’s no money in that). By the time these factors were combined with a marked rise in time poverty – especially because of women entering the workforce full time in droves – there was no real chance of recovering the decline and ever going back to those halcyon days.

4A perfit1large booklet edit

The Perfit home preserving book was published in at least four editions through the 1960s and 1970s, and was available for a nominal price by writing to the company.

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However that has not at all stopped enjoyment of the same products over time – whether home or factory made. And it has certainly had a hobby revival in the last few years with the re-trending of vintage Kiwiana and home cooking – as people have a yearning to get back to old-fashioned ways, signifying simpler times and other unfounded romantic ideas that enter their heads. “It did have a bit of a lull for a while, but it’s never really gone away”, says Marjorie Symonds, one of the current owners of Perfit.

100_4109 edit sml probably late 60s-early 70s as booklet now 30 cents up from 1968

Back of large blue dome box. This probably early 70s as booklet price is now five cents up from around 1968.

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Preserving memorabilia is in a little category of its own, not quite lumped in with food and drink products, but associated kitchen ephemera – “cooking stuff”. Brands of bottling gear were imported (Atlas, Mason, Fowler, Ball, Mason to name some) and a lot of companies got in on the lucrative preserve seal/ cover act like Reidrubber, KB (by IGA ), Deeko, and Jet Set (by Lane Latimer who were well known for their King brand of foodstuffs). There was Four Square and Pam’s (by Foodstuffs NZ Ltd) as well, but the two most popular were domestically produced brands Agee, and of course Perfit – which is in the oeuvre of an iconic NZ brand remembered by a number of generations.

100_4112 edit sml probably late 60s-early 70s as booklet now 30 cents up from 1968

Front of large blue dome box. Manufacturer is Finch & Co.

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Perfit is an old French /British surname which originally stems from “Parfait” although the name of the brand seemingly has nothing to do with that and is simply an amalgamation of two words – “perfect” and “fit” referring to their function as a superior method of sealing preserved goods.

Perfit Screw Bands 12  Green copy copy

Perfit screw bands during the period they were sold in plastic rather than the classic box.

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For decades Ms. Susan Baker, Perfit‘s ”home preserving consultant” has beamed beatifically from the cartons, with a confident glow that says “of COURSE you can do it, and all your efforts will turn out perfectly, so I’m not expecting a letter from you.” However if you ran into problems, she was at your service ; you could write to her, and she would do her best to answer. Oh – and also, for the nominal fee of a few cents, send you a home preserving handbook ( which was being produced in the 1960s and 1970s that I know of, and also L D Nathan & Co Ltd. had produced an earlier one, thought to be from the 1940s that is in the MLNZ ephemera collection). I always imagined her sitting on a spindly, high stool at her little wooden desk in the high-ceilinged Perfit warehouse somewhere in a 1950s-looking industrial division in South Auckland, with a few reference recipe tomes book-ended, and a soft lamp at her elbow, earnestly answering letters from housewives as storemen bustled around in the background preparing orders. So who was this Susan Baker, that, if you were like me – was gazing back at me every time I opened the cupboard that held the Edmonds jelly crystals, Gregg’s spices, Maggi stocks, cake decorations, and bits of preserving gear? She became an unwitting icon of our childhoods. Yet, we knew nothing about her.

Perfit Seal 12 Green Screw Bands (B2) EDIT  copy

Perfit screw band box showing contents. This looks like a recent revived version of the box.

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As it turns out – Susan Baker was not a real person – she was invented by the marketing department of the time. “She was a fictitious character, made up when Unilever had it. They just picked out a name and put the picture of some lady on the box. There was no such person as Susan Baker”, says Marjorie Symonds, who with her husband Don acquired both the Agee (in the late 1990s) and the Perfit brand in 2000. In reality, it would have been employees like Diane Horne , who, working at L.D. Nathan‘s Fort Street building in the 1960s – who answered the inquiries during her tenure working for Ray Lowe in the Perfit Seal Division.

42 Home Preserving by Susan Baker of Perfit - Nelson Photo News - No 75 February 4, 1967

Home Preserving article by Susan Baker (apparently) for the Nelson Photo News, No 75, February 4, 1967.

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I can’t say for sure but the brand was likely created by Nathan ( today the international behemoth based in Australia –Lion Nathan Limited ); when it was known more formally as “The Perfit Seal” – the earliest ads I can find mentioning the Perfit product are 1944-1945. Museum collections show preserving jar seals by that company from the 1950s but do not mention an actual brand name.

perfit seal auto preserver and box Kauri House Auctions 2012 cropped

An early version of the Perfit auto preserver with original box, waiting to be auctioned in Havelock North last year. This one is probably from the late 1950s-early 1960s. Image courtesy of Kauri Auction House.

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Don Symonds has had a long history with brands prior to that – spanning thirty years or so with agents Gunn Gollin Ltd who handled the Agee product. Belinda Cimino, a former employee, recalls that GGL dealt also in “half of New Zealand’s tea”, as well as pineapple, herbs and spices, seeds, frozen seafoods, steel and cast iron kitchenware, wine and spirits. ”

“I started with Gunn Gollin (GGL) in 1981 as national sales manager, and in this role I looked after the Agee brand along with several other brands – for many years. GGL was the distributor for Agee. This came about because GGL imported and supplied the compounds to make the rubber seal, to what was then named Alex Harvey Industries (AHI), manufacturers of the metal components. AHI did not have the expertise to market the product – hence we at GGL assumed that role. “

Perfit Seal Electric Home Preserver (M EDIT  copy

A late 1960s version of the Perfit auto preserver.

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Marjorie seems to think that both Perfit and Agee stemmed from the same original business, which could be true, however the sealing components for the jars (domes, rings, seals) were both made in the same factory in Mount Wellington. I have two boxes that state “manufactured by Finch & Company Ltd.” Don Symonds says: ” I think that Finch were taken over by AHI later on. Agee and Perfit were manufactured side by side – the only difference was the colour of the compound and the outer packaging. These were both made in AHI‘s Mount Wellington factory which later became National Can Industries (NCI). Packing of the product was originally done by the Blind Institute, and later contracted out.”

100_4071 edit to blue B1 box  copy

The recent revived version of the classic blue Perfit screw band box. Most of these items are from my own personal collection.

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Eventually like everything domestic that was hanging on, the factory could no longer compete with foreign manufacture and the new owners of the brands had to look overseas for another component fabricator . “Eventually they closed manufacture of the line down, hence why we now import them”, says Don. These days the product comes from Canada.

41  Ellesmere Guardian Volume 66 Issue 12 16 February 1945 Page 6 Advertisements Column 2 ORMANDYS

An early mention of Perfit in the  Ellesmere Guardian, February 1945. I’m not sure when Perfit was on the market but I am assuming that it was at the end of WWII.

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The actual Agee bottles themselves were first made by Australian Glass Manufacturers Co. Ltd (AGM, established in 1915 ), their logo commonly found on many New Zealand bottles and handy for dating. The company were later famous of course for Agee Pyrex cookware – as well as insulators and baby feeders also under the Agee brand. “I believe that originally the jars were made in Australia but it could have been in the 1970s – I’m not sure of the exact date – that New Zealand changed the lid size to the US measurements – and Australia did not. hence our lids do not fit Australian jars. From then on all our jars were made domestically by a manufacturer named NZ Glass in Penrose. The jars were never sold by either Perfit or Gunn Gollin, NZ Glass sold them direct to retailers themselves. We never handled them.”

Perfit Seal - Gregg's coffee jar promo box EDIT copy

This  smaller screw bands box was a tie in product with W. Gregg & Co is probably around 1967-68 as the stamped price  shows both decimal and imperial currency – indicating it was produced when the conversion was recent enough for people to still be confused.

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Perfit Seals New Zealand Weekly News  Jan 1966 - Perfit and Gregg's promotion box - prob circa 1968 as it shows price decimal and imperial

An advert of January 1966 explaining that special edition screw bands are now available to recycle 4 ounce Gregg’s instant coffee jars to use for preserves. The box indicates the Perfit preserving book is now in its fourth edition. This is the earliest reference I can find for it, though – at 25 cents.

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The Perfit brand name its self wasn’t registered until 1960 by L D Nathan & Co according to IPONZ records, and interestingly, it doesn’t seem that “Susan Baker” was ever registered.

An early box of Perfit G Dome Seals made for L D Nathan sold recently on Trade Me and showed that the instruction book price had risen to fifty cents. This indicates it was produced post 1967 decimal currency introduction, and so that information tells us it was after that time Nathan on-sold the business to Unilever. A trademark registration, with no party named, shows up for the product in 1972; this seems to match up with the year of some acquisitions and changes at L D Nathan who may have decided to divest their interest in – what they likely considered at the time – a  waning brand with limited future.

5 perfit stuff 1 EDIT copy probably late 60s-early 70s as booklet now 30 cents up from 1968

A look at the design for the metal domes – early-mid 1970s.

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It now seemingly stayed with Unilever through to 2000, although one box I have is marked “Quality Packers Ltd”  Nielsen Street, Onehunga ( a company founded in the 1930s who were well-known for their “Q-P” baking powder, and later also produced a serious Kiwi foodstuffs icon – Choysa tea, as well as Roma).Choysa (established in 1905) came from Bond & Bond, whose company became “LD Nathan Wholesale Ltd” after it was purchased by them around 1972, as Christine Cox, a former employee, remembers happening while she worked in the L D Nathan offices in Auckland central.

perfit jar holder copy edit

Box for the Perfit jar holder – it was a rubber-sheathed loop used for lifting bottles in and out of the auto preserver.

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Eventually, the Choysa brand was moved over from LD Nathan Wholesale Ltd to Quality Packers, (which Nathan had also snapped up around the same time) to handle. Clearly Perfit was eventually slotted in under the QP division in the 1970s-1980s for reasons we don’t really know. Perhaps it seemed to be in marketplace competition with another of the numerous brands Unilever owned – or perhaps QP were just better equipped in some way to handle such a product. It could have been a myriad of reasons. So that’s how Perfit ended up being “produced” by QP. Quality Packers were liquidated in 1993 and then struck off the following year (it turns out 100% of the shares were owned by Unilever at the time) and yet they decided to retain the Perfit brand for a few more years until they finally decided they’d had enough of it.

Agee Preserving Jars and pint preserving jar box perfit seal box EDIT  copy

A variety of Agee and Perfit preserving products.

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Don and Marjorie Symonds took over Agee first (Unilever had acquired it from Wiltshire NZ Ltd at some point – who had registered it around 1957), and “then Unilever…came to us and said would you like to have Perfit too? and we did. In 2003 we ceased production of Agee because it turns out there wasn’t really room for two brands in the market at that time, and Perfit was more popular”, says Marjorie. Don recallsPerfit was sold to us in 2000, as Unilever had decided to shed lines that were no longer classed as core business.”

6A 100_4079 edit  copy

An original version of the red screw bands box, probably early 1970s.

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I’ve got quite a collection of the various boxes that have been issued over the years – including one that is specifically marketed for its ability to fit on a certain size of Gregg’s coffee jar that people were taking it upon themselves to recycle and use for preserving. I’d noticed that recently a lot of the older style boxes were cropping up – but in fact seemed to be a recent product. “We’ve gone back to the two older boxes, the ones that originally came out the forties or fifties. So the ones that are on the shelves now are the original box designs they used many years ago”.

6B 100_4082 edit  copy

An original version of the red screw bands box, probably early 1970s.

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I ask if it was a deliberate decision to go back to that to give it a more traditional feel and honour that long history of preserving.“Well, yes – the product was only in plastic bags with a card label and they’re no good sitting on supermarket shelves” says Marjorie.” It doesn’t look good. So I said – let’s put them back into the original boxes. So we had them redone.” 

It’s good to see that every once in a while a company is upholding its own history and celebrating it, even if it’s in small ways.

Ellesmere Guardian Volume 66 Issue 13 20 February 1945 Page 3 Adverts column 1 FARMERS

An early mention of Perfit amongst the preserving range on offer at Farmers”. Ellesmere Guardian, February 1945.

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Addendum, early Aug 2013: I had been trying to save up some good images for years for this article, and then of course just the week after I posted this article, someone immediately came up with a couple of much better ones, including some of the Perfit auto preserver and the jar holder with a good shot of the box it came in.

Perfit Seal Jar Holder - For Bottling copy sml

I’m not sure what to make of this seal box. I’ve never seen this version before. Presumably it’s a little older than the others I’ve featured – probably early 1960s, maybe even late 1950s. But who knows for sure. Also, who knows why exactly they needed so many different boxes for what was essentially the same basic product!

older Perfit seal box front and back 200 dpi copy sml
Addendum  mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. I’d say these pages come from two different editions of the Perfit Seal Home Preserving booklet: early 1960s and another from the mid 1960s. Unfortunately all are undated so it’s pretty difficult to tell bar the use of imperial versus decimal currency, which gives a general clue. I’ve never seen either of these versions before – just what I think of as the “regular” version that I posted in the article above, which seems to crop up on a regular basis. Anyway, for the most part they are interesting pages with some colour. All following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Perfit Seal a  - Owain Morris Collection

Perfit Seal  Preserving Items  - Owain Morris Collection

Perfit Seal b  - Owain Morris Collection

Perfit Seal large booklet  - Owain Morris Collection

Perfit Seal Susan Baker - Owain Morris Collection

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

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Fruits Of Commerce: The Bountiful Depictions of Joseph Bruno Moran

In Abel Dykes Ltd publishers, Alexander Turnbull Library collection, Auckland Art Gallery collection, Auckland Star newspaper, Bank's Box Company, Brett Printing and Publishing Company Ltd, Brown Barrett, Bushell's coffee and tea, Champion Flour, Charles Haines agency, Clark & Matheson map publishers, commercial artist, Dominion Mark Fruit, Frank Duncan & Co Ltd, graphic designer, Household Necessity Company, Johnstons Ltd tea, Joseph Bruno Moran, N.Z. Fruitgrowers' Federation Ltd, Northern Roller Mills (NRM), NZ Herald newspaper, Palmerston Buildings, publishers, Roma tea, Smith & Caughey department store, Wilson & Horton publshers on February 22, 2013 at 10.46

Dominion Mark Fruit Book 1934 (NZ) EDIT

The front cover of the Dominion Mark recipe book, published 1934. A beautiful design attributed to Moran, and refers to the series of greengrocers’ posters in the back, but no specific mention of one that links back to any of his known work.  

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Generally the artist does not matter a great deal in the scheme of the finished product, and stays forever in the background – never to get any attention or acknowledgement for their sometimes spectacular work. Having spent nearly fifteen years in that commercial art realm myself I certainly understand this aspect.

dominion mark  fruit - health fruit poster diet - Probably by Joseph Bruno  Moraalexander turnbull image and pictorial

Poster for greengrocers commissioned by Dominion Mark, c. 1920s-1930s, watercolour, pencil and pen. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-F-MORAN-01.

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I also  certainly know that the commercial  artist  often has more input than we are aware of; well – that’s the point which is confirmed when talking to commercial artists of yore – back in the day when roles like the high-faluting  “art director”,  and even “copy writer”, were terms that had not yet been created or at least were far and few between – the artist would often encompass an element of all of those jobs.

19th century fabric design gouache on paper French

An example of late 19th century fabric design, in gouache on paper.

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 Although some celebrated artists like Dick Frizzell not only were elevated to more of a creative input role, but went on to garner cred in the fine arts world as well – Joseph Bruno Moran was an artist who embodied the completely authentic role of purely making commercial work , as exemplified in the Alexander Turnbull Library collection as well as that of the Auckland Art Gallery–  of which both institutions share a  collection of  Moran’s most beautiful items.  This is underlined by the fact that you can see the rendering process in a number of them; pencil marks and notes and paint brush strokes just underline the legitimacy.

New Zealand gravenstein unexcelled for dessert health fruit poster Probably by Joseph Bruno  Moradietalexander turnbull image and pictorial

Poster for greengrocers commissioned by Dominion Mark, c. 1920s-1930s, watercolour, pencil and pen. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-F-MORAN-02.

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Many examples are lush, beckoning  fruits – pears, apples, and citrus – created as crate labels for Dominion Mark, the “brand” of the N.Z. Fruitgrowers’ Federation Ltd,  and they will be familiar to many as they are often held up as some of the best early examples of New Zealand commercial art. I bet the fruit boxes have never looked this good (before or) since.

Champion Flour Ad - Mucle Raiser copy colour corrected

Champion flour poster, gouache, circa 1920s. Auckland Art Gallery collection, Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mrs K M Marsh, 1976. Accession Number: 1976/40/1/12

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aHe also created  a number of posters  on the same topic,  commissioned  for display in greengrocers’ shops around the same time he completed the cover of their Dominion Mark Fruit Book (1934). It seems that the posters were in conjunction with the NZ Herald, so they may have been given away in the newspapers of the period. (Wilson & Horton, New Zealand’s leading news and information company owned the NZ Herald –  and were one of Moran’s private clients).

Nabob Bombay chutney condiments Probably by Joseph Bruno  Moran alexander turnbull image and pictorial

Watercolour, pencil and pen rough for chutney label, circa 1920s. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-A-MORAN-07

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aJoseph Bruno Moran was born in 1874 at Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, Lancashire to mechanical engineer James (1940-1900) and Eleanor Mary A. Moran nee Weightman (1852-). He was one of five children and the oldest. His siblings were James Aloysius (1876), Agnes (1879), Clara May E. (1884), and Eleanor Mary (1893). The family stayed in Stretford, residing at 18 Rose Street in the 1881 British census, and remained in the area well into the 1890s.

It was here  that he began in the field of textile design. By the time he was 17 years old, and living at 50 Combrook Road, Stretford with his parents and one brother, he is already a designer’s apprentice.  Given some of the gouache art samples I have seen produced by mills in the late nineteenth century his later skill with the brush in this medium for advertising makes sense – as his brilliance would stem from his training in this field.

Joseph Bruno Moran political cartoon

Political cartoon, pen and ink, likely for the Auckland Star, circa mid-late 1910s.  Credit: Auckland Art Gallery collection, Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mrs K M Marsh, 1976,  Accession Number:1976/40/3/5

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In 1901 he is living at 31 Leaf Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock,  South Manchester, as a boarder. He lists his profession at the time as fabric and embroidery designer. As a result of the  Industrial Revolution, the population of Chorlton as well as many other areas of Manchester, quickly increased  “a hundred fold” and the town became filled with textile mills, and overcrowded, poor quality housing with  dismal  sanitation. Still, it meant plenty of work locally  for those of a creative disposition.

Kowhai Brand apricots Whoisit & Co fruit canners Auckland 1920s Joseph Bruno Moran

Watercolour, pencil and pen rough for canned fruit label, circa 1920s. Probably a sample for portfolio – I doubt “Whoisit & Co” really existed. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-B-MORAN-08

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He left the U.K. for New Zealand,  from the London port in 1912 and travelling to Auckland via Sydney, Australia. Why he decided to emigrate will probably remain a mystery. He had married Emma Barbara (nee Travers) in Chorlton in 1907. She was  a number of years younger than him,  being born 1885 in Prestwich, Lancashire.

Joseph Bruno  Moran Fruit 1920-30s not it says NZ Herald Ltd alexander turnbull image and pictorial

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Lithograph illustration commissioned by the NZ Herald newspaper c 1920s-1930s, Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-D-MORAN-1920s-03

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 In 1911 he was working as a designer for calico prints, in South Machester. The couple were  living at 5 Baldock Road, Didsbury, South Manchester, with a baby daughter, Kathleen Marie Moran (1910-1986). Both Kathleen and her mother followed Joseph to Aotearoa one year later, leaving from London in 1913. There were three other children born in New Zealand of which both sons died in their twenties; James Rene (known as Jimmy, 1918-1944), Edward (Teddy, 1916-1937) and Annie Moran.

buy lemons and make lemonade joseph bruno moran

Poster for greengrocers commissioned by Dominion Mark, c 1920s-1930s, lithograph. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-D-MORAN-1920s.

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Upon his arrival he worked as a salesman for a couple of years. He was living in a building named “Kelvin”, in Reimers Ave, Mt Albert. Concurrently Emma Moran was either living separately in  Edendale Rd Kingsland, or the Kelvin address was a studio to build up freelance work (a more likely scenario, although why give it as a residential address and not ascribe his true profession). The other obvious possibility is that the couple were simply separated at the time.  He was employed by the Auckland Star newspaper as a commercial artist some time during or after 1914.  A few examples of his political cartoons in pen and ink, done for this paper survive, but whether he conceptualized them as well – we don’t know.

Maori wonder land Frank Duncan & Co Ltd c 1920 possibly designed by J B Moran add logo   copy copy

Maori Wonderland picture album, published by Frank Duncan & Co Ltd, c. 1920. Possibly the cover, as well as the company’s logo, were designed by Moran. Courtesy of Early Canterbury Photographers blog, canterburyphotography.blogspot.com

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In the mid-1910s he was working as an assistant lithograph artist, then there is an indication that he served briefly in the first world war,  as he is listed in the  New Zealand Army WWI Reserve Rolls of 1916-1917  – this may have been in the capacity of war artist.

EAT FRUIT by Joseph Bruno Moran 1920 copy

Poster for greengrocers commissioned by Dominion Mark, c 1920s-1930s, lithograph. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-D-MORAN-1920s-01.

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aIn 1919  he is again on record as working as salesman. The family are living at 102 Burnley Terrace, Mt Roskill. This same year he started his own business in the Palmerston Buildings opposite the Auckland Post Office, on the corner of Queen and Custom street (an Italiante office block from circa 1900 – demolished around 1970). His clients included: Bushell’s (tea, coffee), the Northern Roller Milling Co (flours and cereals), Harvey & Company, Clark & Matheson (mainly travel maps and posters), Smith & Caughey (department store on Queen Street which is still operating today), John Weeks Ltd,  Duncan & Co (postcards and other  tourist goods such as books and albums).

Troopship_ZTPAR_01 The Parting of the Ways Troopship Journal Digital image courtesy of Dunedin Public Libraries  by Abel Dyke Ltd poss J B Moran

“The Parting of the Ways”  Troopship Journal,  by Abel Dyke Ltd, published 1919. Digital image courtesy of Dunedin Public Libraries, Ref: Troopship_ZTPAR_01. I thought this may have been possibly designed by Moran, thus included it. However since writing this article some time back, a copy turned up at auction showing an advert on the back cover for Cailler’s chocolates designed by leading advertising agency Charles Haines. It doesn’t mean that Moran didn’t design the cover illustration; but seems unlikely now. 

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Also – Johnstons Ltd (tea, the warehouse was at 20 Customs Street East), Household Necessity Company (No Rubbing laundry help was one of their products ), Brett Printing and Publishing Company Ltd,  Roma Tea company (I have a lot of ads, it’s hard to say which if any are Moran’s, and Charles Haines Agency definitely still had Roma as a client in 1920).

William Bon Cretien Pears - Gravenstein

Crate label designs in Watercolour for Dominion Mark Fruit, N. Z. c1930s. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Numbers: Eph-B-MORAN-11 and Eph-C-THORP-01.

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In addition – Brown Barrett & Co (which I covered recently here),  Abel Dykes Ltd (printers, engravers, and bookbinders – their big business was stationery). In 1920 he designed an illuminated address from the Legion of Frontiersmen for the visit of the Prince of Wales which was  held at the Art Gallery in Manchester- going full circle.

Smith and Caughey Ltd 1926 Turnbill M & P Reference Number Eph-A-COSTUME-1926-01-cover

Fashion illustration, not confirmed as Moran’s work but does look like his style. Photo-lithograph, Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Number: Eph-A-COSTUME-1926-01-cover.

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The fact that he was described as a “salesman” again when he was most likely running his own business as a  commercial artist makes me wonder whether the previous same description just after his arrival in the country was just a way of describing him as a freelancer. Although, again – why not just ascribe an accurate profession as done at all other times? It makes more logical  sense that it is an accurate description and during times of difficulty or urgency he did indeed take other work. How relative it was to advertising, I do not know.

In 1928 the family were living at 27 Mountain View Rd, Mt Roskill when they picked up and left for Wellington, where Joseph worked for the Bank’s Box Company briefly while they lived at 45 Karepa Street. Sometime between 1929 and early 1931 they returned to Auckland.  Apart from that work foray he resided the rest of his life in Auckland at 18 Reimers Avenue, Mount Albert. their unmarried daughters are registered as living with them; Kathleen in 1938, and Annie during 1946-1949.

Bushell's Tea - Old King Cole ad Joseph Bruno Moran

Bushell’s tea  poster, gouache, circa 1920s. Auckland Art Gallery collection, Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mrs K M Marsh, 1976. Accession Number: 1976/40/1/1.

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The N.Z. Fruitgrowers’ Federation Ltd was also based in Wellington so they were obviously relative to his period  there (and likely explains why he didn’t choose to stay in Auckland and work for the Bank’s Box Company branch instead);  and it was around this time that Moran started to do his most well-remembered work for them. Most sources quote circa 1931-1935 for his fruit labels and posters but I’d take a quite educated guess they were done between 1928 and 1931.

ROMA JOHNSTONS ADS POSS MORAN  copy

I have dozens of ads that could possibly be by Moran. These are two examples of work that may possibly be his – as they were both clients at this time. Johnston’s teas,  Auckland Star ,  October 1922, and Roma tea,  Auckland Star, December 1925.  Courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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aBy mid-1931 was employed as head of the Art Department at the NZ Herald in the commercial printing section; and there he stayed for over twenty years. He worked almost up until his death, finishing at the Herald just twelve weeks before he passed away.  He died in 1952  at 78 years old.

Johnston tea tin probably designed by Moran  copy

Johnston Ltd tea tin probably designed by Moran, circa 1920s.

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aFor someone who was precise enough never to fail in using their middle name, there is surprisingly little documented about his life and career.  I don’t really  know anything else about his background or persona, or expect to find anything more than I have – excepting that he and his wife bought land off a Denis Joseph Whelan  just a few years prior to his death in 1945. His wife died quite some time after him in 1970, at the ripe old age of  84 in Murrays Bay on the upper North Shore, and it was likely after this event that his daughter ( by now Kathleen Marsh-Wildgoose) thought about preserving his memory through his work.

DOMINION MARK FRUIT BOOK NZ 1934 artwork must be by Joseph Bruno Moran

The front and back cover of the Dominion Mark recipe book, published 1934. Undoubtedly Moran’s work. The cooking manual contained recipes for jams, preserves and instructions for bottling. 

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He was skilled in pen, watercolours and oils, a lithographic expert, and a magician in gouache. If  it was not for his daughter supplying some notes on his career  as well as a small collection of art and ephemera in the mid-1970s to the Auckland Art Gallery and Alexander Turnbull Library –  it is likely we would know nothing of Moran and his career today except for some odd  surviving examples of  incredible, but potentially anonymous  artwork.

Cox's orange- Washinton

Crate label design for Cox’s, for Dominion Mark Fruit, N. Z. c1930s,  Lithograph, Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection, Reference Numbers: Eph-C-THORP-02. Crate label for Dominion Mark Fruit, N. Z. c1930s, photo-lithograph. Auckland Art Gallery collection, Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mrs K M Marsh, 1976. Accession Number: 1976/40/1/16. Both attributed to Moran.

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

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Addendum mid-April 2013: Whilst scratching around in the process of  trying to find more information, I followed up a lead on property-seller Denis Joseph Whelan to see if there were any more clues on Moran. There weren’t that I could find – it seems Moran and his wife bought the property planning for retirement and that is where Emma Barbara Moran lived out her days. It revealed scant data associated to my story, however it took me on a little journey and I ended up connecting with a Whelan descendant who sent me via the USA some wonderful pictures of the Whelan/Robb  family taken in an Auckland studio, I’m speculating in the mid-late 1880s. 

Denis Joseph Whelan  (1869-1947)  likely immigrated to New Zealand in the 1880s , between 1881-1890, just  prior to UK passenger records being kept. The only Denis Whelan born 1869 shows up in the UK census as living in Gloucestershire in 1871,  then Essex in 1881 – yet born in South Australia.He is absent from the UK by 1891.  There is nothing to rule out he and his family  travelled back and forth. You would think that with a journey taking months on board, that anyone would be reluctant to re-live that experience more than once in a lifetime – however it happened more often than you would imagine.

 Whelan was a former blacksmith who had once owned a carriage builders Wharton & Whelan in Newton Rd on the corner of  Symonds Street, Auckland with Robert Sydney Wharton, in the early 1890s. They were “makers of waggons (sic), drays, carts, buggies, & vehicles of all descriptions ” . The partnership dissolved in 1894.  He went bankrupt in 1899, and was discharged from the bankruptcy in 1900.

He  married Sarah Ann Robb (born 1871)  in 1894 and they had several children: Joseph 1894, Lilian Maria 1896, Catherine Irene 1897, Muriel Constance 1899, Evelyn Aileen 1902, Albert James Roy 1903, Edward Leslie Raymond 1905.

The same year he sold land to the Morans, he also sold Hector Sutherland McKenzie and Edna Freer McKenzie some land he owned. He died just two years later. His wife had predeceased him in 1942. One can assume he was ill and needed the money to get by to the end.

The images below are of the Robb family; Denis Whelan’s in-laws James and Maria Robb, and possibly Sarah Ann Robb and/or her sisters Eliza Peel  Robb (born 1866) and Maria Jane Robb (born 1868). James and Maria Jane’s other children were James Robb 1869, Henry Robb 1875, William John Robb 1878, and Anna  Robb 1874 – who  died at 9 weeks old and is buried with her parents,  in the Symonds Street Cemetery in Auckland in the part on the corner of Karangahape Rd. Presumably if there were other offspring they entered the world before the family emigrated from Ireland and there were not  records. Little directly relevant to my topic but it was an interesting  side trip, anyway!

 

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Sarah Robb Denis Joseph Whelans wife and-or her sisters Eliza Peel  Robb (born 1866) and Maria Jane Robb (born 1868) EDIT SML

James and Maria Robb’s children  circa late 1880s; photographed in Auckland. Likely  Sarah Robb, Denis Joseph Whelan’s wife, and/or her sisters Eliza Peel  Robb (born 1866) and Maria Jane Robb (born 1868). Image courtesy of Jennie Shelley.

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WHARTON & WHELAN coachbuilders - Bay Of Plenty Times  18 February 1895 Page 1 copy

Advert for Whelan’s coach-building business from the Bay Of Plenty Times, 18 February 1895.

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Sarah Robb (wife of Denis Joseph Whelan) parents were James and Maria Jane Robb (d 1898) EDIT sml

James and Maria Robb, circa 1880s; Sarah Robb’s parents photographed in Auckland. Maria Jane Robb Sr. died in 1898 described as “settler”. I doubt the two pictures were done in the same studio of R H Bartlett who was working in an Auckland studio from 1866 to at least the early 1890s. Image courtesy of Jennie Shelley.

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Wharton & Whelan dissolution of partnership - Auckland Star  9 August 1894 Page 12 copy

Advert for  dissolution of Wharton and Whelan’s coach-building business partnership, from the Auckland Star,  9 August 1894.

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Addendum mid-Jan 2014: I’ve done a lot of updates to this story because of new information that has come in about Moran’s life both in England as well as in Auckland. It was a bit thin on the ground before; but I’ve filled in some of his movements, for instance – it was 1928 he moved to Wellington, not 1925 as other sources claim. Which means his stay in the capital city was fairly brief. Perhaps it was not a success. Thanks to descendant Barbara Sheridan for providing information on her ancestors which has helped give a better picture of Moran’s life and career. In addition, I’ve also run across some images lately that I suspect may be his work: 

Canterbury Souvenir Tourist Booklet -  South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce- 1926 edit

This souvenir tourist booklet published by the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce in 1926, came up for sale on Trade Me just recently – and bidding was fierce for this gorgeous piece of artwork. I am very sure this is Moran’s work. Everything from the child’s face, to the fonts, to the colour palette is so typical of his style.

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Oak Tomato Soup - Thompson & Hills Ltd - 11 ozs can label - Owain Morris collection

A can label from Dunedin collector Owain Morris’s fantastic extensive collection of OAK memorabilia. You can just see the note in the bottom right corner that indicates it was designed and printed at the N.Z. Herald, aka Wilson and Horton or W&H for short. This was produced in the 1930s and would have been created under the direction of Moran who was in charge of the art department at that time. I can’t say for sure whether any of the labels from this period were actually designed by Moran himself. Generally the work on OAK labels is verging on primitive at worst, and at best it’s usually nowhere near the level of finesse usually attributed to Moran’s amazing lithographic skills.

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OVALTINE VINTAGE ADVERTISING POSTER - c 1920'S edit

This 1920s era lithographed poster for Ovaltine also came up at auction recently. It was a bit damaged but a lovely piece and I’ve never seen another like it. Cursory research turned up nothing similar done in Britain or elsewhere so it’s quite possible that it was a Kiwi-designed and produced item.  I am not completely sure it is Moran’s work –  but it does look strikingly similar to his style during his 1920s freelancing period. Another hint is the font. Moran’s hand-painted fonts were deceptively simple and yet upon examination are usually quietly flamboyant with all kids of kicks and curls in them. Yet they never looked particularly fussy. Over all it reminded me straight away of his “Eat More Fruit” poster (in article above).

DELICIOUS APPLES ADVERTISING BANNER for DOMINION MARK FRUIT, NZ Joseph Bruno Moran edit

This point of sale banner for a grocery/fruit shop wall came up for sale on Trade me a while back, pretty sure it was just after I had published this article. It started off with a rather nominal price and within a few days jumped to about 500% (I think they may have read my piece and realised what they had). As I recall it was about a metre in length, maybe a lot longer. Undoubtedly a Joseph Bruno Moran design for Dominion Mark – not even debatable. This would have been designed in the 1930s but may have been in print for a long time, perhaps even into the 1960s. They tended to run these for a really long time. I remember quite a few of the older health and fruit poster designs were still in print when I was young. And no false advertising – it’s true that delicious apples are delicious.

Coupon Conquest

In Competition, Coupons, Crosse & Blackwell, Fropax frozen foods, Griffin’s, H. H. Brandon mail order, Kiwi Bacon Company, Linella Delight, Linnell & Co Ltd, Lushus Jelly, N W Stevens Ltd, NZ Big Swap, Rattray & Sons Ltd, Roma tea, Steelo, Sunshine, Sunshine Jelly, Taniwha laundry soap, Tiger Tea, Trinidad fruit juice, Tucker, Velvet laundry soap, Woppa Swappa on June 23, 2012 at 10.46

I previously wrote about “Big Swap” coupons here in September 2011. Finally I was able to purchase my own set a couple of weeks ago, after missing out numerous times over the past five years – and get a really good look at them. I didn’t realize that the Lushus Jelly coupon was missing from the set when I bought them until I was about to post – so I had to quickly recreate the artwork for it to match the rest of them.

North Island mail order catalogue from company H H Brandon, advertising the N Z Big Swap, 1954. Courtesy of the Turnbull Library collection, Reference Number: Eph-B-RETAIL-1954-01-16/17

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There’s some products that have become classics in the time that has lapsed over the decades (such as Griffin’s biscuits) and also some I have never seen before . Trinidad Juice was a new one for me. It appears that it’s still going – a Trinidad and Tobago-based brand that was launched in 1930. I can’t find any information on Linella at all – perhaps it was their one and only product and disappeared off the market after a few years. Linnell & Co Ltd were a Hawera-based company and the product, containing butter and eggs – was essentially that Antipodean classic lemon cheese, except Linella came in Orange and Banana flavours as well as Lemon Delight. That’s all I know.

It’s possible the “Big Swap” competition was the promotional brainchild of mail order company H H Brandon, but not entirely – as squinting I can make out that the endeavour was sponsored by “The Auckland Public Relations Office” (office of what it doesn’t specify). Previously I stated that these were “Big Swap” coupons from 1954, but in fact when I take a closer look at these and compare them to what’s in the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial and collection – they may not be.

Some of mine are the same (Steelo, Sellotape, Lushus, Taniwha) as the “Big Swap” set, and some are different (Berger, Kiwi, Gilbey’s). So I am afraid that what I wrote previously may be incorrect – it seems upon closer examination the ones I have purchased may not be the same, they were possibly called “Woppa Swappa”, and were issued for a similar competition. Linnell states on the back of their advertising coupon, a competition for their company closing on the date January 14, 1955 – so that pretty much solves the mystery about any dates – they must have been issued later the same year as the “Big Swap” competition. It will be interesting to see if any other versions turn up. Still, it’s a nice little snapshot of some of the household products of the time.

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Addendum early Sept 2012: After having an on-going “maybe I’m wrong again. No, actually, I think I AM right…no, maybe not, after all…” conversation with myself for some time, I actually discovered that my theorizing is in fact RIGHT. Since I wrote this article I have turned up at least two more competitions that issued some, or all, as well as additional coupons during  that decade. There was a  promotion in 1957 that was called “The Big Y Swopper” and was sponsored by the Optimists Club of the YMCA in Christchurch. Also, again in 1954 – was a competition named  “Jaycee Swap’em”, under the auspices of the  Wellington Junior Chamber of Commerce. I have never seen another example of these yet. The full sheet set of the latter, totalling 44 coupons, is in the Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection in Wellington:

“Jaycee Swap’em” competition, by Wellington Junior Chamber of Commerce, 1954. Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: Eph-D-RETAIL-1954-01

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Addendum mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. This is a set of coupons from the “Swoppers” competition, published in Christchurch in 1957 (Possibly this is “The Big Y Swopper” mentioned earlier). This set again has some repeat designs of others, proving that all the competitions were somehow linked, but what exactly the common factor associating them was, apart for the obvious fundraising/charity aspect- I am not sure. However this set is more focussed on local business but does showcase a few household products.

The only exception is the Forestry Service “Keep New Zealand Green” coupon which is yet another missing one from my “Big Swap” set at the top of the article. I just placed it in the middle of the “Swoppers” set to keep things kind of tidy.  I wonder how many others there are that I don’t know about? And how many other competitions there were around the country during that period? Like the “Jaycee Swap’em” coupons, I’ve never seen another example of the “Swoppers.” Whereas, more regularly Big Swap” coupons come up for auction, and by “regularly” I actually mean about once a year or so (but rarely a full set).  All following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957  2 copy Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957  3 copy Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957 1 copy

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Addendum mid June 2015: Evidence that people were actively swapping in an organised manner, to complete collections. This clipping from the Otago Dunedin Times, December 1 1973. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Whopper Swappers ODT Otago Dunedin Times December 1 1973

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

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