Friday 11 September 2015

Aulsebrook's Cocoa helps to "Put It Over"

The prompt this week shows an advertisement for H Boettcher, a Californian wine grower, vintage unstated.  I was really struggling to come up with anything vaguely connected to this prompt, but when searching for the names of family members on the National Library of New Zealand's very useful web site Paperspast, I discovered the following item. It includes the name of my great aunt, Flora Forbes, who is listed as 3rd prize winner in a competition run by local manufacturer Aulsebrook's Cocoa. The competition results were published under the business notices in the Christchurch newspaper The Press, on 30 April 1900.  This was a fortnightly competition in which entrants had to identify a famous quote. 

The quote included in the advertisement above would have been for the following fortnight, but the quote published in the advertisement for the previous fortnight (12 April 1900)  was

Hence the answer that Flora and her fellow regular users of Aulsebrook's Cocoa would have needed to give was The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred Lord Tennyson.  So very easy now to discover instantly using the power of the internet, but before then, 'in our day', and certainly back in 1900, young Flora would had needed to have either learnt it at school or to research it, perhaps at her local or school library. Her father Charles or mother Jane Isabella may have been able to help her.  Her prize was 10/- , and this would have been the cause of great excitement in the Forbes family.  

Here is  a photograph of Flora and her three sisters, including my grandmother Mona. Flora was the eldest, born in 1888, with Mona being 9 years younger. It was probably taken sometime between 1915 and 1920.   Flora was very good at sewing and became a tailoress in adult life. She worked in a city factory, as you can see here

I've included other photographs of Flora in previous posts, for example here and  here, but unfortunately I have none of her aged eleven. To my mother she was always known as Aunty Flo.

Back in the 1960s, when I was not much older than Flora was in 1900, I participated in a competition run by the Argonauts, which was a children's radio club. The competition was called "What Book is That", and to  enter you needed to listen to passages read out by the presenters each week for 10 weeks in succession, and then send in your answer identifying the books and authors of all the passages. With my mother's help, I found all the answers and won a book prize one year at least, but sadly I don't seem to have my prize book any longer.  It was a lot simpler for Flora's great great niece Laura to win herself this 10 kg box of chocolate in 2002, as she had simply picked up and filled out her details on a wrapper that someone else had dropped in the school locker room. We were all very pleasantly surprised at her good fortune when the large box subsequently arrived on our doorstep!

I also found the following selection of entertaining advertisements around the relevant time period for Aulsebrook's Cocoa  that I thought you might enjoy, on Paperspast and on the Alexander Turnbull Library web site . They make some rather bold claims for their product's powers!
Taranaki Herald, 5 September 1901

Star, 18 June 1913

Press, 17 May 1902

West Coast Times, 23 June 1913

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser,  3 October 1902

Press 12 December 1900 (this must be referring to the Boer War or earlier conflicts)

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington NZ, Ref 12 - 124052-F

Here is an undated photograph of the Aulsebrook Biscuit, Cocoa and Chocolate Works in Christchurch NZ, taken by photographer Steffano Webb, 1880-1967. A horse and cart looks like it is about to depart, loaded up with boxes of cocoa, biscuits and chocolate products for local delivery.  It seems that Aulsebrook & Co ceased operations in about 1963, but would have been in its hey day in the early 20th century.

Steffano Webb Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

I haven't discovered a picture of a box of Aulsebrook's Cocoa, but an Aulsebrook's Chocolate Assortment box is currently for sale on Ebay, listed under vintage collectors items.

To see more advertisements, labels or anything else that other Sepians may happen to fancy this week,  just click and go to Sepia Saturday #296

Postscript, 10 November 2015

Just re-reading my mother Jean's memoirs today and I discover that she actually mentions visiting Aulsebrook's factory, which was located not far from where her family lived. In her words, " Before we left Christchurch, our Rugby packed tight with family and belongings on our way to [Leithfield[ Beach, we'd call in at Aulsebrook's factory and buy a bag of broken biscuits - animal crackers and chocolate biscuits were favourite finds." Her Aunty Flo, aka Flora, who had won the 10/- prize as a child, was very likely with the family on those beach trips. 


Barbara Rogers said...

What fun, the contests and winners! I've never won a thing, and gave up being a contestant long ago. That cocoa that "sustains" sounds wonderful...I want some of it right now!

Barbara said...

Hello Jo, I love all those vintage adverts, especially the last one. I wonder who did the illustration. It looks a little like Chloe Preston, but I don’t think it is. Aulsebrook’s is a complete new brand to me. We used to drink a lot of Cadbury’s cocoa when I was young, but I don’t like the taste now. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy the odd bar (or three) of chocolate. I've just gone off cocoa.

Unknown said...

Love old advertisements, Jo -- the graphics are just wonderful. And I like the photo of the Aulsebrook Co. building, too!

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

I bet the ad men weren't drinking chocolate when they came up with all those claims. My favorite is
"Aulsebrooks Cocoa is Liquid Life" - that says it all. A fun post!

Jofeath said...

I think Aulsebrooks Cocoa was simply a local NZ product, not exported even to Australia, and I'd never heard of it before either, although I did see that their biscuits won prizes at the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show in the early 1900s. Sadly I can no longer ask my mother whether she remembers the brand at all.

Anonymous said...

I was interested to see people winning prizes. I had a distant relative who made a hobby/business of entering anything and everything and she won some amazing prizes but I was too much of a pessimist to be bothered entering. I hadn't heard of that brand of cocoa before but I fall for anything that is chocolate flavoured.

Jofeath said...

Once as a teenager I won a casserole dish as a consolation prize for guessing how many cans of baked beans could fit inside a mini minor. I expect the main prize was the car, but I still have and use the dish!

Kristin said...

Those little plump kids in one add look a lot like the Campbell's soup kids. I wonder how many people had a taste of that giant candy bar!

Mike Brubaker said...

Magic elixirs were probably the reason advertising was invented. It's interesting how the children were encouraged to demand the right brand of cocoa.

Alex Daw said...

What a fun post. I particularly liked the photo at the end...such an unusual way to market a box of chocolates. I thought it was a jigsaw puzzle box at first!

Wendy said...

I can win a prize at a baby shower but never a real contest. And here you have 3 winners in the same family. Amazing!

Tattered and Lost said...

I've won quite a few prizes, but never anything like a huge box of chocolates. Just the thought of all that chocolate in front of me makes me tremble.