Artifact Corner: Child’s Music Box

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at this adorable children’s toy. This toy is made from paper mache, with a whimsical scene of kid’s toys along the side of the piece. It is red overall, with a metal crank, topped with a red painted wooden knob. When you crank the handle, the box plays a song. Now, try as we might, none of us could figure out the small tune it plays. It has a paper tag attached to it, which states that this was a gift for a little girl named Ellen. This piece is early 20th Century in date, and was likely a Christmas present. Let’s learn a bit more about music boxes, and mechanical music making pieces.

So, how does a music box work? Musical boxes are mechanical musical instruments that produce sound when tuned prongs are plucked by a revolving cylinder. The deeper the teeth or tuned prongs are cut into the comb, the lower the pitch that is produced. The more shallow the teeth, the higher the pitch. The first mechanical musical instrument was invented by a pair of brothers in what is today Baghdad, Iraq, in the 9th Century. They invented a hydropowered organ which payed interchangeable cylinders. In the 13th Century in Flanders a bell ringer invented a cylinder with cams attached that would then move to ring different bells at different times. In 1665, a clockmaker in London designed a clock that would strike a series bell every quarter hour, again using a cylinder. He also made it so that the cylinders could be changed, so it would play a different tune.

The real heyday of mechanical musical boxes comes in the 18th Century. In the 1760’s watch makers in London began to create watches with a pinned drum playing popular tunes on several small bells arranged in a stack. This meant that you could literally carry a tune in your pocket. This might seem like a small and even rudimentary thing to us today, given that we carry a device in our pockets that allows us to play any song in the world. But, imagine how magical it must have been for someone 260 years ago to hear music coming from their watch?! In 1796 Antoine Favre-Salomon, a clockmaker from Geneva replaces the stack of bells by a comb with multiple pre-tuned metallic notes in order to reduce space. This combined with a horizontally placed pinned barrel produces more varied and complex sounds. Music boxes continue to grow in popularity straight through the 19th Century, until 1877 when Thomas Edison invents the phonograph. This invention allowed people to hear their favorite singers actual voices, or their favorite musicians as if they were in the same room. Edison’s amazing invention spelled doom for the music box. By the 1920’s & 1930’s most music box manufacturers had either gone out of business or scaled down their production dramatically as demand had dwindled.

Our little toy was created at the end of the craze for music boxes. Manufacturers stopped creating high priced items for adults, and decided to make far less complicated items for children. This piece is in lovely condition, with very little wear, which is rare for a children’s toy! Most of the time they were heavily used, and therefore in poor condition, and often discarded. It is a wonderful glimpse into the early 20th Century, and we are so lucky to have it in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: Thanksgiving

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Also, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Kent Delord House museum. We took a look through the Delord family letters to see if they specifically mentioned Thanksgiving. We only have one letter that survives from Betsey Delord Swetland to her Granddaughter Fannie, that she wrote in 1855. The letter reads as follows:

My beloved child,
Thanksgiving Day I had all Mr. Coit’s family but Henry Coit and Lucy Ann’s family to dinner, ten besides your grand father and myself. We had a large roast turkey, a boiled turkey with oyster sauce, fricassee chicken with toast and white gravy, a variety of vegetables, apple and pumpkin pie, Snow Ball apples & grapes; to finish off, a strong cup of coffee. I wish you had been here. They seemed to enjoy it. Nichols and Lynde have met with a loss. Their canal boat was swamped in a high wind. A great number of hogs heads of sugar, molasses &c. rolled off in the lake. The boat filled and wet all their other goods with Mrs. Nichol’s furniture. They have insurance upon the whole, but the loss of sale must be great. Mr. Nichols and Mr. Lynde are going to N.Y. for more goods. A day or two since I was walking to the village and Mr. Lynde overtook me. He inquired if I had heard from you and if you got home well. He said he should have called oftener, but that it was very painful to him and he must try and forget [you]. Our little bay is frozen over and fill’d with boys skating. Do cheer my heart by writing more frequently.
Your loving g. mother. E. Swetland

The meal sounds familiar to us, even 170 years later, with only a couple of exceptions. I think I might take a pass on the boiled turkey in oyster sauce, but maybe that’s just me.
I think every American knows the story of the first Thanksgiving when the pilgrims and the local Native Americans, the Wampanoag, gathered together to share a feast of thanks for a good Autumn harvest, and the peace treaty they had agreed upon. Initially the holiday was celebrated mainly in the North East, but slowly began to spread across the country when people began to move West, and brought the tradition with them. Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday is largely due to one woman, Sarah Jospeha Hale. Sarah was the editor of the magazine Godey’s Lady Book, and she campaigned for Thanksgiving to become a formal holiday that would be recognized by the nation. Sarah Hale is a fascinating woman who was not only an influential editor & activist, but also talented author, and guaranteed you know one of her works. Sarah Hale wrote the children’s nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb, a classic in American literature. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. All of Sarah’s hard work and petitioning had paid off.

From that time on, Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Traditional fare for the meal includes a turkey, vegetables, and of course, some pumpkin pie. No matter what you serve today, we hope you have a beautiful meal surrounded by family and loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: Historic Graffiti

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at a unique piece in our collections. It’s a piece of stone. Now you might ask, why on earth would a family keep a piece of stone? This one has been carved, and held some special significance to the carver, and subsequently his family. This stone is carved with I.C. BLooDgoo / AD 1807/ MAX. The “d” appears to have been lost from the end of the name Bloodgood. This must be a family piece for Frank Bloodgood Hall, who was married to our Fannie Delord Webb Hall. We do not know the history of this stone, or why Frank had it in his possessions, but clearly it had some importance to him and his family. Carving things into stone was not a new phenomenon, even 200 years ago. Let’s learn a bit about stone carving, or what we might today call historic graffiti.

Since the New Stone Age (between 10,000 BCE to 2,000 BCE) people have been manipulating stone to make tools, sculptures, and other important and useful objects. And just like today, people wanted to leave their mark on their surroundings. One of the ways they did this was by carving images or messages into stone. This style of expression is called a petroglyph, which means a rock carving made by using a chisel on stone. Stone carving messages became insanely popular with the Greeks and Romans, and museums around the globe have tablets covered with Greek and Latin text. But people were also carving messages and art work into stones in their landscape. Roman soldiers posted at Hadrian’s Wall left messages about the fact that they were rebuilding of the wall, who the commanding officer was at the time, and even left behind a caricature of a low-level officer who they apparently didn’t care for. There is also a ton of graffiti in Pompeii that has been beautifully preserved thanks to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The trend of carved graffiti continued through the Middle Ages. Archaeologists working on the excavation of the church of St. Mary’s in Stoke Mandeville in England have been finding lots of stone graffiti. The church was originally built in the 11th Century, and was expanded in the mid-14th Century. Most of the graffiti appears to be made to ward off evil spirits, and protect those inside the church. Not all graffiti in the Middle Ages was religious though. The Tower of London is rife with graffiti from prisoners. This makes a lot of sense, because the people imprisoned had a lot of time on their hands. The sheer volume of stone carving at the tower is astounding and quite varied. Some of it is beautifully wrought with intricate motifs, while others seem hurriedly scrawled. The trend of leaving one’s mark continued throughout the Renaissance, and through the 18th and 19th Centuries. It was a very common practice in the Victorian period to carve your name into stone at historic sites, like you can see here. This is a picture from just down the road from us at His Majesty’s Fort at Crown Point. Victorian tourists flocked to this site, and couldn’t resist the urge to leave their mark behind.

Today it is very much frowned upon to mar historic sites, so if you are visiting one, please leave your stone chisel at home. This piece is in good condition, and thankfully because it is stored indoors and out of the elements, it will be preserved even longer. It’s a lovely example of Regency Era stone graffiti and we are so lucky to have it in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: 19th Century Earrings


Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at some beautiful earrings that we have in our collections. All of these earrings are from the 19th Century. All of the earrings are a dangle style, as opposed to a small stud earring. They are all quite stunning and dramatic. All of these earrings are also for pierced ears, which was incredibly common for the Victorian era. Let’s learn a bit more about the history of earrings.

We can say with certainty that people have been piercing their ears as far back as 5,000 years ago. In September of 1991 a mummy was discovered in the Alps near the border between Austria and Italy. The man, dubbed Otzi, was determined to be around 5,000 years old, and he had pierced ears. The Egyptians also pierced theirs ears. In King Tutankhamen’s tomb they discovered earrings, and his mummy had pierced ears. In ancient Turkey, Africa and even some parts of South America it was believed that evil spirits can infiltrate humans through their ears. Metal was seen as a repellent to evil spirits, and therefore ear piercing was a common practice.  The trend continued, and was brought to Rome by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In Roman society, the custom or trend of piercing ones ears was far more common in men than in women. In the early Middle Ages, earring were quite popular amongst all the classes of society for both men and women. This trend quickly shifted though, and the popularity of pierced ears fell very much out of favor. There are two possible causes for this. The first reason is fashion. Women’s heads were mostly covered during this time period. If you were a married women, you would wear some form of hair cover, and this also obscured your ears. Therefore, why would you wear earrings? The second reason was religious. In the 13th Century, the Catholic Church condemned any kind of body modification, and ear piercing was considered just that.

All of that changed during the Renaissance. As both women’s and men’s fashions became more flamboyant, and women’s head wear no longer obscured the ears. Both men and women fully embraced the trend and the styles of earrings were very elaborate. Of course if you were wealthy, that meant you could afford to adorn yourself with jewels, and that’s just what people during this period did. With the increase in shipping and trade, and the discovery of America, this meant that there was a new class of wealthy people, the nouveau riche merchant class. One of the ways they liked to display their new found prosperity was with their clothing and jewelry. Both fabric and metals were expensive, and to adorn yourself with lots of luxurious materials was not only a fashion statement, but also a status statement. People continued to wear earrings right through the 18th and 19th Centuries with women, but began to fall out of favor with men. The earrings were often dangle earrings, and used a variety of metals, jewels, wood, ivory, and bone. In the late Victorian/early Edwardian period, ear piercing began to fall out of fashion. Whether it was due to the strict morals of the time period, or the outright racism against immigrants with pierced ears, it’s hard to pinpoint just one reason why the popularity dwindled. That’s not to say that women didn’t still want to wear earring, they did. This began the rise in popularity of the clip on or screw back earring. The clip on saw it’s heyday in the early to mid 20th Century, and was an alternative for women who wanted the fashionable look, without having to have their ears pierced. Pierced ears came back into fashion in the swinging 1960’s, and has grown in popularity. It is estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of women in America have their ears pierced, and that the trend is increasing in men as well.

The earrings that we have in our collection are in beautiful condition, and could be worn very easily today, with no one guessing they are well over 100 years old. They are such a lovely reminder of women’s fashions in the early to mid Victorian period and we are so lucky to have them in our collections. Thank so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: 1800 Newspaper and the sinking of the LUTINE

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at a newspaper from Ulster County, NY, dated January 4, 1800. This is the Ulster County Gazette, published at Kingston, NY by Samuel Freer and Son. We think the reason why this newspaper was saved is because it was the paper that announced the death of George Washington. This was obviously a pivotal moment in American history, and therefore something that people would want to remember. The paper is adorned with black “mourning” boarders throughout. The paper published speeches made in congress and letters written to the press from local politicians and foreign dignitaries, all commemorating Washington’s life. Since the Delord household was patriotic, and had an affinity for holding on to things, it’s unsurprising that this paper was kept. The paper also has the normal advertisements, public announcements, etc. But, the editors of the paper make it clear that the paper is mostly dedicated to the passing of George Washington. In one small section of the paper they give scant details of the other pressing news, and one of the events listed states, ” The frigate Lutine, lost on the 9th of October.” Let’s learn a bit more about the sinking of the frigate LUTINE.

The LUTINE was commissioned to be built by the French government in October of 1778, and was launched on September 11, 1779. She was a 32 gun Frigate, and she was launched in Toulon, one of France’s most important naval ports. The LUTINE was captured by the British after the siege of Toulon on December 18, 1793. In 1795 she was rebuilt as a fifth rate frigate, now carrying 38 guns. She then was put into action in the North Sea, and served at the blockade of Amsterdam. In October of 1799 the LUTINE was set to be a transport vessel for passengers and cargo, bound for Hamburg Germany. The main reason for this mission was to carry 1.2 million pounds sterling to the city of Hamburg as a financial bailout in order to prevent a stock market crash. In the late 18th Century Hamburg had become one of the biggest shipping cities in Europe. They were an important trading port for Europe’s commodities, and by 1799 their warehouses and store fronts were bulging with inventory. The winter of 1799 was particularly harsh, and the harbor at Hamburg froze over bringing the busy port city to a stand still. By the the time shipping activities could resume in the Spring, the market speculation for all of these goods had dwindled, and the city was faced with financial ruin. Great Britain stepped in to help the busy port city, by sending a cash bailout. The LUTINE had gold and silver bars, gold and silver Spanish coins, and gold and silver French coins, all carefully placed in her hold. The LUTINE also had 240 passengers and crew on board the vessel.

The LUTINE was captained by a man named Lancelot Skynner. Skynner had been serving in the British Navy since he was just 13 years old. His Uncle had been a Navy captain, and had died during a particularly vicious battle with the French fleet. Clearly, being in the navy was a family tradition. Skynner was captaining the LUTINE, and was being accompanied by a sloop named the ARROW for this trip across the North Sea. On the evening of October 9th, a very strong gale kicked up, and doomed the LUTINE. Here is a letter from the British commander whose squadron was nearby:

“Sir, It is with extreme pain that I have to state to you the melancholy fate of H.M.S. Lutine, which ship ran on to the outer bank of the ‘Vlie’ Island passage on the night of the 9th inst. in a heavy gale of wind from the NNW, and I am much afraid the crew with the exception of one man, who was saved on a part of the wreck, have perished. This man, when taken up, was almost exhausted. He is at present tolerably recovered, and relates that the Lutine left Yarmouth Roads on the morning of the 9th inst. bound for the Texel, and that she had on board a considerable quantity of money.
The wind blowing strong from the NNW, and the lee tide coming on, rendered it impossible with Schowts [probably schuits, local fishing vessels] or other boats to go out to aid her until daylight in the morning, and at that time nothing was to be seen but parts of the wreck.
I shall use every endeavour to save what I can from the wreck, but from the situation she is lying in, I am afraid little will be recovered”

All 240 souls aboard the LUTINE were lost, except for one passenger who managed to hang on to a piece of floating wreckage. The gold and silver meant to bail out Hamburg was lost at the bottom of the sea. Thankfully the vessel was insured by Lloyd’s of London, and the payout to Hamburg was received.

The ships bell was retrieved from the wreck site in 1856, and sits in the main entrance to Lloyd’s of London’s firm. Many attempt have been made to retrieve the gold and silver from the wreck site. The first attempts began in as early as 1800, and the last attempt was in 1979. The most successful attempt was in 1876 when some Dutch fishermen retrieved almost 83,000 pound sterling worth of the gold and silver. Over the years, a few more gold or silver bars have been found, and some more coins have been recovered, but the bulk of the money remains in the sea. Many of the bodies were recovered, and were buried on Vlie island, including the remains of Captain Lancelot Skynner.

This disaster story is just a quick foot note in our newspaper, as the dominant story was the death of our first president, George Washington. And if you read the paper quickly, you might have missed it. But the sinking of the LUTINE was a huge event in Europe, and a fascinating story, that was overshadowed by Washington’s passing. The newspaper is in great condition given it’s age, and only has a few stains. We are so lucky to have this piece in our collections, as it gives us a glimpse into life in the very beginning of the 19th Century. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: 19th Century Sampler

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at a beautiful piece called a sampler. This is a sewing sample done by a young woman in 1821, when she was just 10 years old. This piece was made by Susan Ketchum. She was born in Canada on August 16th, 1811, and lived in Chazy, NY. Betsey Delord was born Elizabeth Ketchum, and so Susan was likely related to our Betsey. Samplers were done by young women as a way to showcase their sewing and embroidery skills. This sampler is made using a linen backer, with silk and wool thread. Let’s learn a bit more about the history of samplers and embroidery.

The English term sampler comes from the Latin “exemplum” or from the old French term “essamplaire,” meaning an example. The sampler is an example of all of the different stitches that a child had learned up to that point. It could also be used again as a reference guide to remind the student of all the different stitches they know. Remember, young people did not have Youtube to reference hundreds of years ago. The first reference book for embroidery was published in Germany in the early 1520’s. Similar books were published throughout Europe following that, and samplers became very popular in Tudor England. Many samplers from this period included lettering and artwork, such as animals, flowers, hearts, and a variety of other motifs.

As Europeans moved across the ocean and settled on a new continent, they brought their customs and traditions with them, including samplers. The earliest known American sampler was made by Loara Standish of the Plymouth Colony about 1645. Children, almost exclusively women, started working on these pieces by as young as five years old. By the 1700s, samplers depicting alphabets and numerals were worked by young ladies to learn the basic needlework skills needed to operate the family household. By the late 1700s and early 1800s, schools or academies for well-to-do young women flourished, and more elaborate pieces with decorative motifs such as verses, flowers, houses, religious, pastoral, and/or mourning scenes were being stitched. The parents of these young women proudly displayed their embroideries as showpieces of their work, talent, and status. Being able to sew was vital for women in the 18th and early 19th centuries. There were no sewing machines yet, and so being able to sew and mend garments was incredibly important, and sewing was considered women’s work.

Our beautiful sampler has the alphabet, both in block and in cursive, upper and lower case. It also has Susan’s name beautifully embroidered, along with the date. In the lower right corner there is a heart embroidered with green and red wool thread. There are some small stains on the fabric, and some of the thread has faded, but bearing in mind that this piece is 200 years old, it’s in pretty fantastic condition. This is a beautiful piece of history, and a unique window into the life of a 10 year old girl from Chazy. Susan Ketchum spent so many hours working on this piece, which was an important part of her education. We are so lucky to have this in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: Urns and Potpurri

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at this lovely porcelain urn from the late 18th or early 19th Century. This piece is hand painted with reds, greys, and browns and also has some gold leaf applied to the decorations. It is adorned with flowers, leaves and birds. The urn is egg shaped with a solid cap, and a separate lid that fits under the cap. Upon opening the piece, we found that it is filled with dried rose petals, and an assortment of other dried flora, what we today call potpourri. Let’s learn a bit more about potpourri, and why we might have this in our home.

Potpourri is a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant materials, used to provide a gentle natural scent, commonly in residential settings. It is often placed in a decorative bowl. The word “potpourri” comes into English from the French word pot-pourri. This often was a mix of dried flower petals, herbs, and spices, that would provide a pleasant fragrance to the room in which it was placed. Potpourri has been used throughout human history, but really comes into common use in the Middle Ages in Europe. Homes were quite cold and drafty in the Middle Ages, and one way of combating that was to lay rushes on the floors. Whether you lived in a castle with stone floors or a small home with beaten earth floors, you would have rushes across them. The rushes provided insulation against the cold that permeated the Northern climates of Europe. These rushes were supposed to be changed seasonally, but sometimes, that simply didn’t happen. We have an account from 15th Century scholar Erasmus in regards to the changing and condition of rush floors in England. He states that;
“The doors are, in general, laid with white clay, and are covered with rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for twenty years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned.”
Clearly, Erasmus was not a fan of rush floors, and who can blame him?

One way to combat the mighty odor that could sometimes emanate from the floor covering was to scatter flower leaves, herbs, and spices throughout the rushes. This would provide a gentle scent that might just make being in these rooms covered in rush mats more bearable. The next big development for potpourri was the invention of potpourri holders in the 18th Century. It became all the rage for people to have pierced ceramic or porcelain jars in their rooms filled with sweet smelling dried plants and herbs. This practice continued through the Victorian period, and was popular even to this day. Modern potpourri is very different from what our predecessors would have used in their homes. Most modern potpourri are dried flower petals and plant matter that is scented now using natural or synthetic fragrances. This means that our potpourri is probably far more heavily scented than what they would have had in the Middle Ages.

Our beautiful Chinese urn was not designed to be a potpourri holder, but someone in our family decided that it would work just fine for that purpose. This piece is one of a matching pair we have in our collections. We are not sure who in the family purchased them, or if they were a gift. Henry Webb was a fine china and porcelain merchant, so it’s possible that these might have come through his store in Albany, but there is no way of determining this for sure. Regardless of how they came to our home, they are really lovely objects, and we are so lucky to have them in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,

Artifact Corner: Good Housekeeping Magazine

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another Artifact Corner. Today we will be looking at this copy of Good Housekeeping magazine from December of 1914. The magazine has your normal articles, some advice columns, and just like today, dozens of advertisements. The cover of the magazine is in color, while the interior is printed in black and white. Because it is the December issue, much of the magazine is about Christmas and New Years. Let’s learn a bit more about the Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Good Housekeeping’s first magazine was published on May 2, 1885. The mission of the magazine was “to produce and perpetuate perfection — or as near unto perfection as may be attained in the household.” This is certainly a lofty mission. The magazine became a monthly publication in 1891, and by 1911 it had a circulation of around 300,000 people. Now, Good Housekeeping is not only a magazine, but also an Institute that was designed to provide consumer protection and wellness. Founded in 1900, the Good Housekeeping Institute was, at first, called the Good Housekeeping Experiment Station. The invention of electricity had introduced many new labor-saving home appliances but few consumers had any real knowledge of their operation and maintenance. With the goal of studying “the problems facing the homemaker and to develop up-to-date firsthand information on solving them,” the staff at the GH Experiment Station tested products and housekeeping methods and published articles about their discoveries and observations. They also reprinted advice from readers who wrote them. One reader offered a cure for callouses (she used olive oil and cotton); another reader advised about how to launder lace drapes; and another gave tips about the best way to clean a meat chopper.

In our edition of the magazine there is a discussion about the act of gift giving around the holidays, and whether or not it is still in vogue. Here is an excerpt from the article; “It would not be advisable to stop all Christmas giving, as many conscientiously try to give gifts of value and utility. But the usual orgy of shopping, when anything, no matter how ill chosen, is purchased and sent to get someone off the list, should by all means be stopped – by each one’s not taking part in it. What is the most acceptable gift? There is none for all people. A box of candy will be just the thing for one to give; a ton of coal for another. Give what you please, but give advisedly – put your heart in it, or don’t give.” To be perfectly honest, this seems like good advice, even 100 plus years on.

Our magazine has seen better days. The cover has a lot of wear, and has come away from the main body of the magazine. This is unsurprising given that the magazine is 107 years old. Other than the cover, the body of the magazine is in quite good condition. This is a fascinating look back at one of the first women’s magazines in the United States, and we are so lucky to have it in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot

Artifact Corner: 1910 Heinz Sales Pamphlet

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at this Heinz sales pamphlet from 1910. The pamphlet is an advertisement for all of the different products that Heinz offered in 1910. Most of us know Heinz as simply a ketchup company, but as you can see in the pamphlet, they had a large variety of not only savory, but sweet condiments. Let’s learn a bit more about the history of the H.J. Heinz Company.

Henry John Heinz started selling his condiments in Pittsburgh in 1869. By the age of 16 Heinz had several employees working to cultivate he had built, and to deliver his produce to local grocers. Heinz was selling horseradish, pickles, vinegar, and other sauces, all in clear bottles so that his customers could see the quality of his goods. The original name of the company was the Anchor Pickle and Vinegar Works. By 1876, Heinz had developed its now world famous ketchup and starts manufacturing and selling it. Also in 1876 they introduce the very first sweet pickles to the market. In 1893, Heinz had a booth at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Their booth was a bit out of the way, and so Henry decided to hand out free pickle pins and samples. By the time the fair had ended, the Heinz company had handed out more than one million pins. In 1896 the company coined the slogan 57 Varieties. This was not because that’s the number of products they sold, but simply because Heinz thought the number sounded lucky.

By 1908 the Heinz company had become the largest tomato manufacturer in the world. They had also become the largest producer of pickles, vinegar, and ketchup in the United States. By 1919 the company had over 6,000 employees and 25 factories. Heinz was also a relatively progressive employer for his time. He was one of the few food manufacturers to support the federal Pure Food Act of 1906. This act prohibited the sale of misbranded or adulterated food and drugs. It also laid the groundwork for the Food and Drug Administration.

Our pamphlet lists 57 of Heinz’s products. The range of condiments that they offer is quite large. They have a number of baked beans for sale, including a vegetarian offering. They also have soups and even canned spaghetti (A L’Italienne). They have fruit preserves, butters, and marmalades. They have a wide variety of pickled goods, ranging from pickled onions, pickled walnuts, and the one that makes us scratch our heads the most, pickled stuffed mangoes. The description for these is as follows; “small melon mangoes cored and filled with finely chopped sweet pickles, deliciously spiced and seasoned, then preserved in Heinz sweet pickling liquor.” They sold for $1.00 a jar. They also sold olives, olive oils, and vinegars. Of course they have a wide variety of Ketchups, they have regular tomato ketchup, but they also have mushroom ketchup, mustard ketchup, and the oddest one of all, walnut ketchup. All of the ketchups sold at the time for 25 cents a bottle. Our pamphlet is in great condition. It has little to no wear on it, and the color is beautiful. This is a fantastic look back at vintage food advertising, and we are so lucky to have it in our collections. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,