longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Wattie Cannery Ltd’ Category

A Frosty Phenomenon

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

Crest Surprise dried  beans box recreation  copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crest Surprise dried apples  box recreation  copy

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

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

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

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

Crest Surprise quick-dried Sliced Beans box 12      copy

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

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

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

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

Woman's Weekly  1964_Part1 CREST SURPRISE PEAS copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (1) edit sml

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (2) edit sml

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

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (3) edit sml

Surprise beans-Hocken Library Collection  (4) edit sml

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

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Bean And Gone

In Beans, Bernard Roundhill, Canned vegetables, Peas, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on March 15, 2014 at 10.46

Wattie's Garden Peas 1950s  pre Feb 1952 edit further smaller

An early-mid-1950s label design, image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.

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Today’s post is a short and sweet one, focusing on labels, that I know of,  for Wattie’s peas and beans that have been produced over the years (excluding boxes or packets  for frozen and dried products).

Canned peas were one of the all-time most popular and enduring products along with peach halves, tomato sauce, Bartlett pears in syrup, creamed sweet corn, and baked beans or spaghetti (I imagine that their ranking would be quite low today given the quality of quick frozen product). One of the earliest Wattie’s products launched in 1937, canned peas have been relentlessly advertised through the decades. Although, seemingly Wattie’s felt no need to advertise at all until after the second world war was over when their contracts for ration supply had really wound down, and they were planning on keeping the ball in the air as far as profit margins – meaning a slew of new products urgently needed to be marketed.

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garden peas on shelves 1959

This can label was in use between at least 1956-1959, as evidenced by slides I previously wrote about here. This design was also made into a miniature and given away as a promotional lighter, now rare and highly collectible. I recreated the design from the images captured on film as they came off the conveyor belt.

The company had the foresight to launch “experimental” packs of asparagus and peas into the marketplace in 1936 as a test run, and it had been met with a very positive response from the consumer. This was great foresight, since through 1935-1937 fruit crops met with massive failure due to a combination of brown rot and hail – which effectively destroyed them.

At the point Wattie’s launched canned peas, it was a fledgling company, less than three years in and had a total range of seven products (peaches, pears, cherries, asparagus, tomato soup and a range of jams were the others), and also manufactured eleven different types of bulk fruit pulps – which were for the most part sold to other jam, jelly and conserve manufacturers.

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gren peas l;ate 1940s

This design probably dates from the late 1940s. It really looks like classic Bernard Roundhill artwork.

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Beans were added to the roster in 1938. By this decade it’s known that commercial artist Bernard Roundhill was already working on the Wattie’s account – and continued to do so right through to the 1970s that I know of – so it is quite likely he worked on most, if not all of these label designs.

However I am not aware of any labels that date before the late 1940s that have survived – although I’d love to see some, of course. Even when Wattie’s issued a range of reproduction labels on their cans for the fiftieth anniversary of the company, supposedly representing the 1930s – it looks like they actually dated from early 1952-early 1954 judging by examples I’ve seen from the range of that era. So it seems likely that even the company don’t have any archive record of their earliest labeling endeavors.

garden peas on shelves 1963

A version of the classic pressure-cooked peas can, which was on the market around 1964.

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french sliced beans

A label that I would have guessed dates from the early to mid 1960s, judging by the range of the time – which mostly had a similar standard layout of a lemon background and a navy strip at the bottom. However the logo tells the story of a design that could go back to the 1950s.

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garden peas 1 lb 14 oz

The classic pressure-cooked garden peas can that was in use from the mid 1950s – at least 1956 – until well into the 1970s. Judging by the logo this dates from the late 1950s to early 1960s. The change of label designs was fairly arbitrary and some didn’t get a revamp for as long as ten to fifteen years, with other designs for the same product in the market concurrently.

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garden peas 11 oz

An eleven ounce version of the above label that I recreated. The logo tells the story of a design issued mid-1960s onwards, possibly as late as 1972. Both these and the pair of stringless sliced French beans labels at bottom were alleged to be part of a collection that was amassed by a marketing manager who worked at a company from the 1950s  through the 1970s, and retained samples of all the products he handled during that period. I’ve covered this story here, here herehere, here and here.

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Wattie's Label green beans late 1940s-early 1950s     pre Feb 1952 edit more copy  smaller

This can label  was known to be on the shelves around 1954. By this time Wattie’s now had quite a large range of products. Up until the end of the war the range was quite compact. This image originally courtesy of Peter Michel.

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green beans early 1960s-early 1970s 1 lb

A label for French beans was definitely on the supermarket shelves in 1963-1964 although the logo indicates it was likely in production later in the decade.

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green beans early 1960s-early 1970s 11 oz

An eleven ounce version of the above label, again around 1963-1972. Both are recreations. There was also at least one completely different bean can design also on the market at the same time.

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

Bite Size: Sweet and Fizzy Memories

In Fonzies, Food Processors Limited, Frist, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Green Lime soft drink, Happy Days, Kandy soft drink, Laverne and Shirley, Leed soft drink, Lemonz, Life, Old Stoney soft drink, Pasito, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on July 20, 2013 at 10.46

CALENDAR 2012 LWK copy sml

Kandy was a drink I remember very well from my childhood, although – I don’t know if we were ever actually allowed it – I think it was probably a bit too trashy so it stayed on the shelves at the dairy. Not to mention that there’s not one thing about it that isn’t man-made. Its pop-style garishness signifies that Australasian obsession I’ve mentioned before – a fascination with all things American and retro in the mid-late 1970s period, probably inspired by the popularity of TV shows like Happy Days, Sha Na Na and Laverne and Shirley (and inspired Rocker stylings in adverts like Bluebird chips, Perky Nana, and Sparkles) at the same time as Kiwis were busy un-tethering their Union Jack apron.

KANDY  Soft Drink Can 1970s-80s copy sml

Unlike Leed, as I’ve recently found out, Kandy was endemic to Aotearoa as far as I am aware. Kandy came in a crown-capped bottle as well , although I don’t remember ever seeing it. I’ve always loved the design which could not be more consummately “Seventies.”

Soft Drink Cans FOOD PROCESSORS Ltd Watties 1980s sml

Three drinks manufactured by Food Processors Ltd: Old Stoney and Kandy are 1970s versions, Green Lime Flavour is a 1980s product.

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It was manufactured by a company named Food Processors Limited, which I think was a sub of Wattie’s under the General Foods Corporation umbrella. Food Processors Ltd also made Old Stoney, a popular canned ginger beer which was around through the Seventies and into the late Eighties, maybe longer, and others like one that was just called Green Lime Flavour. I think that Wattie’s probably acquired Food Processors Ltd in the 1980s as suddenly their logo is emblazoned on some of the later cans.

Soft Drink Cans 1970s-80s NZ KANDY-WATTIES edit sml

A selection of late 1970s-early 1980s drink cans; One of the Wattie’s products under their own brand top left. Image courtesy of and ©  Steve Williams collection.

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Wattie’s of course also did a large number of drinks in the 1970s and 1980s that readers will remember like Pasito, Frist, Lemonz, and Life. Most of these are not too hard to get on auction sites and come up on a fairly regular basis. Under their own brand Wattie’s did canned lemonade, sparkling lemon, orange fruit drink , and lemon fruit drink. Also a range of fruit nectars – peach, pear, apricot, and nectarine. Citrus and tomato juices were of course a mainstay of the product roster through the decades and were produced from the 1950s onwards.

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

A Sugar-Sprinkled Universe

In Canned Goods, Desserts, Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Ice Cream, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Pudding, Sunshine, Sunshine Chiffon Whip, Sunshine Jelly, Tip-Top, Tucker, W.F. Tucker & Co, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on June 5, 2013 at 10.46

Spacetaste 100 dpi 30 x 21 cm sml

Here is a recreation of a cardboard point-of-sale poster that was sold on Trade Me a few years back, and I have redrawn it from a photograph that accompanied the auction at that time. I suppose it was intended to give housewives dessert ideas – hopefully prompted by kids pulled in by the space theme; a popular mode of advertising that more or less took over from aviation to up-sell everything from jelly to drinks to cereals, in the second half of the 20th century. I started this a couple of years back and it was when I was just changing over to using vector-based graphics so it’s a bit raggedy compared to my usual standard.
I’m taking a guess that this poster dates from around the mid 1970s, given what I know of the brands, products and logos – but mostly indicated by the font styles. Here we have three of New Zealand’s most enormous brands of the time – together in one advertisement, bouncing off each other in a friendly joust.

Sunshine Chiffon Whip (1963) W F Tucker edit copy sml

Advert for Chiffon Whip, 1963. The product was two years old at this point, and lasted well into the 1970s.

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I’ve previously written briefly on the Sunshine brand here, and recreated jelly crystal boxes here, and here.

It was an Auckland-based company owned by W.F. Tucker – and in particular baby boomers will remember Sunshine well for their custard powder, jelly crystals and peanut butter which were very popular through the 1940s to the 1970s – although the company were around a lot longer than that and started using the Sunshine name as far back as the 1910s. The company did a variety of instant desserts and Chiffon Whip was launched in 1961 in flavours lemon, orange, raspberry, and eventually marshmallow.

Watties Sliced Peaches 1 lb Label recreation copy

This Watties design was on the shelves in the early-mid 1960s.

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What else is there to say about Wattie’s? I know I’ve done more than several posts, such as fruit-related ones here, here, and here…and I keep saying I am going to get around to some kind of feature on what is probably Aotearoa’s biggest brand of all time. But lately I’ve been thinking …do I really need to? Books have been written and I’m not sure I have anything to add. It would depend on any new information I can scrape up. And quite frankly, looking at the archives there just may not be a lot of that – given that Wattie’s seemed to feel no need to advertise their wares or have any of their business reported on, until well after WWII, when part and full page ads for the product start to appear (I suspect their major contracts with the government suddenly ending had some bearing on this change). Apparently until that point they were so successful so quickly there was no reason to do so. Anyway, it’s a daunting task to consider writing a full article on this topic, and I guess if somebody really wants to know all about it – they could buy Geoff Conley’s book (1984) which is not that hard to find to this day.

watties can fruit -tip top ice cream - sunshine jelly sml

The original picture I redrew the poster from.

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I have had a story half -prepped on Tip-Top for ages but again it’s a tall mountain to climb. However I feel there’s a lot of things that need to be set straight and expanded on. The most detailed article I have seen on the brand was a fairly brief and pretty stock standard issue from the PR department on the 75th anniversary of the brand, for one of those weekend-type magazines like Canvas – and I think quite inadequate given the iconic status of the product – and the archive of material they have at their disposal.

TIP TOP Classic  60's sign Double sided  Measures 460mm x 600mm EDIT copy

Tip-Top tin signage manufactured for dairies of the 1960s.

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That’s all from me for this week. Come July it will be difficult to focus on this blog as I’ll be back to studying however you can expect briefer, probably picture-based stories and maybe some longer ones if I have time to finish up on them – the James Smith Ltd department store, Aulsebrook’s, commercial artists Alison Fyfe and Bernard Roundhill, and a couple of amazing caches of retro advertising and packaging stuff that have recently been found around the country.

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

When It Finally Dawns: Sunrise Cordial and The Galliens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

W Kinder north East Valley Gardens copy  smaller

The Packaging of Progeny: Wattie’s Baby Foods

In Defiance, Farex cereals, Glaxo Laboratories (NZ) Ltd, Heinz, Joseph Nathan and Sons, Robinson's, Sir Frederic Truby King, The New Zealand Plunket Society, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's, Wattie's baby food, Wattie's junior food, Wattie's-Plunket Society baby food on October 2, 2012 at 10.46

Wattie’s baby foods can labels over a number of years, from top: 1968-69/1972-73, 1966, 1968-69/1972-73, 1968-69/1972-73, 1958, 1966, and 1968-69/1972-73.

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I realise that I have done probably ten or more posts on Wattie’s over the last couple of years, and I still haven’t gotten around to a “definitive” one. Well, it’s on the list, with quite a few other things – believe me. There is a lot of ground to cover on that brand but today I am just going to focus on the ranges of baby foods that they did.
There were various Brands of what was considered “infant foods” in New Zealand in the early days which usually went in hand-in-hand with what was dubbed “invalid food”.
From at least the 1860s onwards the popular and long-lasting Robinson’s brand, most famous for their lemon barley water – produced barley, groats, and also a mixture of both.

A still from one of the early Wattie’s baby foods ads, late 1950s.

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It wasn’t until the 1890s-1900s that the concept of baby food and infant dietary supplements became a trend and brands like Mellin’s, Benger’s, Neave’s, Nestlé and Virol cropped up and hung around for a few decades into the 1930s-1940s. By the 1910s- 1920s, baked rusks for teething were becoming a popular idea specifically marketed to infants.
Probably the most popular and long lasting brand of all was Glaxo by Glaxo Laboratories (NZ) Ltd, which was created and made in Bunnythorpe in the Manawatu-Wanganui region when Joseph Nathan and Sons founded the factory in 1904 (starting out as Defiance brand dried milk powder and butter).

Wattie’s first launched their infant food line in 1958 in direct response to the government cutting imports of this product by half. The company immediately responded to this opening in the market with apple, prune and meat-based meals. By the following year, the baby line had nine varieties and the junior line seven.
So this was not a new concept in new Zealand; food specifically for babies. I don’t know what other brands were being brought in previously- I am taking a guess at Heinz for one.However Wattie’s can claim the first domestically produced line.

Wattie’s baby foods advertisement from a magazine, 1966.

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Recently I was lucky enough to get hold of a rare booklet that was issued to introduce it to consumers, well – the mothers of consumers really. It doesn’t seem that it’s early days of this product going in store because the range is quite expansive – yet it appears to be around time that the product was first being produced in glass jars in addition to the two sizes of cans – so I would date it between 1960 and 1965.

You can see a page from the booklet shows the entire list in the first range which was actually fairly large, and comprised of two lines: baby foods (strained) and junior foods (chopped, for more mature infants).
The New Zealand Plunket Society was founded in 1907 in Dunedin by child health visionary, Sir Frederic Truby King – to help mothers improve infant malnutrition rates and prevent disease. Wattie’s worked with them and gained their official approval for the product – which of course was an immediate success as a result.

The line was regularly revised, changed and added to over the years with the products being introduced in jars in the mid 1960s, shown here in the advert I recently purchased. I’ve recreated both the labels from it. I’m pretty sure I remember the labels and in other colours as well, such as pink and orange, from the early-mid seventies. But I haven’t come across any yet, or maybe I’m remembering it wrong. It took ages just to get hold of the artwork for the baby’s head and I was able to revise my earlier attempt at recreating it here in May 2011

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/grocery-archaeology/

which was probably one of the first things that I actually made when I started this project. Looking back on it now I guess it is pretty bad – but I did the best that I could of the time with little material available and the couple of collectors I approached about it – being difficult about even answering whether they had any baby food labels, like it was some kind of state secret. Anyway finally the problem resolved itself.

Wattie’s relaunched the range as “Wattie’s-Plunket Society” in 1990. Over fifty years strong, the range continues to be produced today and comprises of over eighty varieties in the Baby and Organics ranges as well as additional lines of Heinz Simply and Little Kids, and also Nurture formulas and Farex cereals. Wattie’s continue to work closely with the society and and have created the ForBaby project and website resource.

Wattie’s “Lullaby” advert for their baby food line, early 1960s

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A still from one of the early Wattie’s baby foods ads, late 1950s.

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Branded with a K: Kirkpatrick’s Canny Colossus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bite Size: Souped up

In Canned Goods, soup, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on July 29, 2012 at 10.46

So here’s my third post in less than a week, trying to catch up after a significant event has ripped a quarter of my schedule from the year.
The same old story as previously posted on quite a few times now – recreations of 25 or so labels that were offered up for auction by a Trade Me seller in early 2011, apparently a portion of the collection that belonged to a former merchandising manager who had kept an archive during his tenure at one of the plants. More details here.

 

as well as quite a few others over the last year or so in which I talked about it. Just click on the Wattie’s category and scroll down for the other stories on labels. Otherwise this post has a list of specific urls in relation. You know you’re really making progress when a post becomes a list of self referential links!

These were actually some of the first labels I had a go at recreating over a year ago and I probably picked them because of their clean graphic nature thinking they would be a simple first project. I don’t have an exact date on these three soup labels; I expect there were quite a few more in the range but these are all I have ever seen. I’m taking an educated guess that they date from the very end of the 1960s to perhaps the very early 1970s.

I’ll be back next week with either a post on Four Square supermarkets (finally) or the Tip-Top brand (which I can promise will be better than any puff piece that’s been churned out by their PR department). Of course this all completely depends, not surprisingly, on whimsy.

Bite Size: Canny Conservation

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Cool, So Fresh

In Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Hastings Blossom Festival and Parade, Unilever, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on December 13, 2011 at 10.46

In 1936, the Wattie’s company was only two years old when the peach and pear crops they depended on were destroyed by severe storms. Instead of taking it on the chin and possibly going under, a decision was made to try out canned vegetables, starting with tomatoes and peas – which was predicted by naysayers to be a failure in the marketplace. This was not how things turned out; it was an immediate sell-out success and the market for canned veges rapidly expanded internationally.

Birdseye float, for the Hastings Blossom Parade,1956. I am not sure what those red blobs represent, frozen strawberries perhaps. I would kill for a better look at that canopy showing the product packaging. Image courtesy of Hastings District Council’s Historic Image Archive. 

The first substantiated record I have of Wattie’s selling frozen peas in a cardboard box under their own name is in 1950; however in 1947, Unilever of Great Britain contracted with Wattie’s to produce frozen peas under its Birdseye brand. During this time, frozen foods of all kinds were becoming enormously popular and more profitable than canned products so Wattie’s snapped to it.

Wattie’s frozen and canned peas float, for the Hastings Blossom Parade,1958.  Image courtesy of Hastings District Council’s Historic Image Archive. 

 With the establishment of a new plant at Gisborne in 1952, Wattie’s added corn and quickly became the world’s biggest frozen food manufacturer outside of the U.S.A.
The ten ounce packet was sold to me privately by some established collectors in Levin. It was fairly worn and damaged and I did a lot of digital repair work on it to bring it back into condition. They tell me that it dates sometime after 1963, and no later than 1973.

The second one, mint flavour frozen peas – is a digital recreation of a set of bags that was being sold on trade me a few months ago for a ridiculously low price. Of course another auction where I missed out as I was absent and no amount of begging and pleading would get me the contact details of the buyer to make an offer for some of the many duplicates. I remember this well as it was in use in my childhood; so through the mid to late 1970s. The big clue here as far as dating these is the inclusion of both imperial and metric weights to comparatively demonstrate the difference (or rather, lack of it); meaning that they were produced around the year of changeover – which was 1971-1972 in New Zealand. This means that the other design is a little earlier, between 1964 -1969 in my estimation. Since Wattie Cannery Ltd acquired Tip-Top to deal with their frozen foods arm  and assembled under the umbrella of  General Foods  Corporation (NZ) Ltd in 1968-1969 – that puts a fairly tight date on it.

I have a couple of other images of earlier boxes and I hope at some point to recreate the packages of those too.
You can go to the “Wattie’s” category underneath the title, to read the other posts on the same brand from the last year.