Let us tour the ads of yore and see what we can learn. I wrote this earlier when I had some energy.
Says this piece:
Harold Clapp, of Rochester, N.Y., “launched this soon to be $200 million business quite inadvertantly in 1921. Clapp’s wife was ill at the time and it fell to him to prepare a special diet for his young son.”
Clapp developed a formula that consisted of “beef broth, vegetables and cereal.” Their infant son did so well on this “soup” that Clapp started selling it to friends and soon sold it through area drug stores. The Clapps eventually sold the formula to American Home Products Company.
The ads were done by Dorothea Fox, whose husband Charles was also an ad illustrator. Up to a point. Dorothea noted that property maintenance had a crippling effect:
"It wasn’t a happy ever after story for us. My husband found that he was too busy clearing brush and cutting down trees and building stone walls on our property to be able to do drawings for Esquire magazine or Kramer Tobias. So he developed what is called an ‘artist’s block’ and found that he couldn’t do those things at all.”
The link describes how their careers played out.
Clapps’ facility was eventually sold to Whitehall Labs, which made Advil there until it shut the plant in 1991 to take advantage of changes in the tax laws.
No idea what became of the infant Clapp, but it's likely he saw Dad's Broth in the store. If he made it.
If not, well, that's not a story the corporate bios would include.
Here’s a soup-name with which you may be unfamiliar:
Hurff! Ask for Hurf! That would be Edgar Hurff, who founded the Hurff cannery. Sold to DelMonte later; the run of 1937 ads seems to have been their first big push and perhaps the last hurrah.
And speaking of soup:
It’s our old friend, George Rector. As familiar a culinary endorser as Duncan Hines, perhaps - but people were much more likely to recognize his mug, since he slapped it on all sorts of products. Krusty the Klown was more circumspect about endorsements. As with the previous Rector mention, a link to the story about how he helped embellish the dining habits of Diamond Jim Brady is in order. The Lee DeForest of Sauce!
This isn’t the Phillips you see in the stores today; that brand came later. I suspect the actual cans gave an indication as to the contents, as opposed to "Soups." Although it is amusing to imagine that was an old generic term. "I think I have myself a bowl of some soups."
And by “lost” I don’t mean the brand or the history or anything about Texcel tape, a subject of little interest to anyone. I mean the store display. There was no reason to keep those things; no reason to take a picture; no reason to do anything but set it up and knock it down when it was done. The stores were full of them. It’s impossible to reconstruct what the stores really looked like, because things like these - the essential commercial furnishings - were so impermanent.
It’s a name we associate with jelly, not candy:
Different Welch. James Welch’s company made Sugar Daddies, Junior Mints, and Sugar Babies. What about Sugar Mamas? you ask. Yes, but they didn’t survive like the other brands. He sold the lot to Nabisco.
Ah, but the tale’s more interesting than that. Welch had a brother, Robert, who was also a candy maker. Wikipedia:
Welch was inspired one day while making a batch of caramel to pour out a flat piece and put a stick in the candy so it could be eaten like a lollipop. He named this candy a Papa Sucker and licensed the idea to the Brach's candy company in Chicago.
If you’re thinking that the Papa Sucker sounds a lot like a Sugar Daddy, you’re right. But there’s more. The wikipedia entry on the Sugar Daddy:
Sugar Daddy was invented in 1925 by a chocolate salesman named Robert Welch at the James O. Welch Company. Sugar Daddy was originally called the Papa Sucker. The name was changed to Sugar Daddy in 1932.
Hmm. That seems to confuse the timeline; Robert didn’t work at the Welch company in 1925. He joined it when his own confectionary went bust in the Depression. He prospered at his brother’s company, retired a rich man in 1956, and founded a little think-tank and political action committee called the John Birch Society.
Kelloggs had a total redesign of their line in the early 50s, and prepared the nation with some then-and-now ads.
A consistent look. More or less.
"All-Bran" went with that "Old people can defecate regularly now" look, which wasn't as influential as they might have hoped.
Had some Carter’s boxes a while ago; here are some more. These must have been beautiful to see on the shelves.
There’s a hint of the site to come on Friday. Hint: Beethoven.
I have no doubt someone will get that in the comments. Bonus question: tie it to Donald Duck.
Off to write the column; should be up to full speed tomorrow. Thanks for the visit, and I'll see you around.