Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coffee and Tea Billheads

I am a huge fan of both coffee and tea. There were so many companies out there, that this would be a great collecting area to get in to. I do collect tea billheads, but that is because they fit into my collecting category of US and UK Billheads re-1840. I will purchase billheads beyond my 1840 range if they are particularly nice - usually only if they are UK billheads. I have my eye on one right now from 1853 that is graphically awesome. I will post it if I win the thing. Coffee billheads are mainly a US issue. Coffee companies advertised a ton - think of all the McLaughlin, Arbuckle and other coffee cards out there. If you like the trade cards, maybe you should also consider adding a billhead from the companies to your collection. The more I sell billheads, the more I learn about what people want to buy. I always thought the graphic was the huge seller, but more and more people email me questions about the products that were purchased on the billheads.

Back to coffee and tea, coffee billheads usually include graphics of the actually coffee product packaging and tea includes boxes of teas and the infamous “Chinaman” graphic.

This first billhead is for the infamous McLaughlin Coffee - this company put out lots and lots of trade cards. W.F. McLaughlin & Company was founded in Chicago, Illinois, on LaSalle Street in 1852 and became well-known for its coffee.

The second billhead should be of interest to Peanut Butter Glass collectors or Boscul Glass Collectors. It is for the William Scull & Co. Coffee Roasters. William S. Scull & Company was founded in 1831 by Joab Scull. In 1858 William S. Scull became the head of the company, which traded for many years as William S. Scull & Company. William S. Scull would lead the firm until 1916, when he was succeeded by William C. Scull. R. Barclay Scull was president of Boscul Coffee in Camden until about 1960 when it was sold. Sometime after 1947 the company changed its name to to the Boscul Coffee Company, it's most famous brand. In the 1930s the Scull company began packaging peanut butter in floral printed glasses. These glasses have become collectors items.

Next up Arbuckle Brothers. This is a very plain billhead, but important to coffee as Arbuckle printed a collected series of trade cards. Operated by brothers John and Charles Arbuckle, the Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Company was the world’s largest importer and seller of coffee during the latter part of the 19th century and early into the 20th century. While the company’s greatest accomplishment was perhaps the development of technology allowing sealed paper packages of coffee to be mass produced, what the organization is most recognized for today are its promotional trade cards.

Next up, JA Folger & Co billhead. Again, not particularly graphic, but it is nicely engraved and the type is decorative. Folgers Coffee is still around today. James Folger was dubbed the Coffee King. The original name of the business was the Pioneer Steam and Coffee Mills. Folger initially worked for the company and then purchased it in 1872, renaming it JA Folger & Co.

Last is a billhead for Chase & Sanborn. Some of you may be familiar with them for the black americana trade cards.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cracker & Biscuit Billheads

Another interesting collecting area is that of billheads for cracker and/or biscuit companies. First, a little history. Crackers are an American invention. In 1792, John Pearson of Newbury, Massachusetts made a cracker-like bread product that he called "pilot bread". It became a hit with sailors because of its shelf-life - some of you know it by its other names hardtack or sea biscuit. In 1801, another Massachusetts baker, Josiah Bent, burnt some biscuits in his oven and the crackling noise that emanated from the oven gave way to the term "cracker". By 1840, three cracker varieties were on the market - butter crackers, soda crackers and sugar biscuits. Because crackers were less perishable than bread and thus more widely distributed. Since crackers were unleavened production was simpler and easily mechanized. In 1845, the Kennedy bakery in Arlington Massachusetts introduced steam power to run its machinery and fleets of wagons were soon leaving the factory. Crackers also became an important food for armies during the Civil War due to them being nonperishable. In 1890, the National Biscuit Company (today now known as Nabisco), developed the automatic wrapping machine. Biscuit and cracker companies expanded into wholesale distribution of their products over a wide area in the 1870s and 1880s. Jobbers were used to take advantage of rail transportation and to operate in the national market. Competition drove companies to merger and consolidation in the 1880s. In 1898, the National Biscuit Company was formed through the efforts of the Moore Brothers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Australian Billheads

As promised from by last post, here are some examples of Australian billheads I found on the website Print and Printmaking Australia Asia Pacific. Based on the Australian print collection at the National Gallery of Australia there is free online access to over 22,000 images. The databases can be searched by artist, subject or print techniques such as etching, woodcut, wood-engraving, linocut, lithograph, screenprint, monotype and other print related processes such as posters and artists books. Index to online information on printmakers, print workshops, print publishers, print galleries and public and private collections.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Funeralia - Billheads

Funeralia consist of memorial cards, funeral service programs, billheads, undertakers' announcements, printed fans, and printed armbands or ribbon badges are all ephemera. I know, kind of a morbid subject for Easter, but these billheads are certainly interesting. Did anyone see the woman's mourning ring collection on Antiques Roadshow last week? I have to say, the rings were neat, but I never would have thought to collect them. Here are several examples of funeralia billheads - note that most have coffins and some have the hearse carriages on them. The cameo coffin is an excellent billhead - I can't get vampires out of my head everytime I see it. I also like the early Australian billhead. I found a website that will hopefully yield more Australian billheads for a future post. Check out The Victorian Funeral for more interesting information - limited availability on google books.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stove Billheads

Starting the 1840s stove and heating ranges were designed and by the turn of the century there were over 7,000 patents. By the end of the Civil War designs had become affordable enough that there was a surge in putting stoves in homes. The first large family purchase typically was a large stove. Wealthier families had their pick of stoves designed for specific rooms. The competition was fierce and many companies advertised their products with large colorful trade cards which carried over onto their billheads.

In order by date follow some examples:
Nice plain 1819 stove billhead. Note the simplicity of the stove.
The Youle billhead is an early American example that includes both a graphic and decorative typeset. Dated 1822. The stove is more decorative than the 1819 example.
1845 and the stove still looks similar to Youle's product. Note the plain billhead style of this compared to the Youle.
This 1857 example is of a heating stove vs. the cooking stoves of above. Nice billhead with an extra large graphic of the stove.
Back to cooking stoves, a 1867 example - looks more like our 1819 example. Maybe original was better!
1877, same cooking stove with tea pots on it looking more like a furniture piece.
Another 1877 example, but of a heating stove again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Newly Acquired UK Billheads

Thought I would show off the two billheads I acquired from ephemerafly on ebay uk. I have had my eye on them for awhile and decided that I had to have them, so I made an offer on one which was accepted and the other was reasonable and just clicked the buy it now.

The first billhead is for Jno Schneider Skinner & Furrier Succesors to M Kleinart dated 1802. Highly graphic with banners across the top with a center crest and has two animals on both sides. Banner reads across Kleinert, Furrier of the Robes in Ordinary to his Majesty. London address. I especially love the animals on this billhead. On the scan you can see the plate press marks. Item bought was a 2 black bear tippets. A tippet is any scarf-like wrap, usually made of fur, such as the 16th century zibellino or the fur-lined capelets worn in the mid-18th century. Furrier of the Robes means that Kleinert made clothes for the King. There were two Kleinerts that were Furriers to the Robes, Tobias Kleinert in 1759, S.G. Kleinert in 1785 and JN Schneider was also a Furrier to the Robes starting in 1809. Click here for more on the Robes.
Next billhead is a blank billhead for James Rouse of Charlbury sometime in the 1800s. Rouse as a Wholesale and Retail Grocer, Tea Dealer and Tallow Chandler. Awesome left side graphic of Chinamen with cargo and a ship in the back ground. This billhead also has a large plate mark.