When studying history sometimes I think "they were just like us back then." But not today. I'm trying to figure out in what sort of world did this advertisement help sell cocoa?
This is an ad from the December 18, 1896 Hood River Glacier. Don't try to find it online, because 1896 is one of several years which never made it onto microfilm and thus didn't get put on the Digital Newspapers Program website. Fortunately some of the missing years survived in single very fragile copies at the Hood River County Library. Matt and I are scanning these pages so that they can be added to the digital archive. These papers are so fragile that some have to be pieced together on the scanner bed, and many crumble being removed from the scanner. While it is a shame to destroy the physical newspaper to make a digital copy, this is our last chance to save the information on those pages before it is lost forever.
As for this ad, their questionable motto was in use as late as 1921, when they boasted, "Contains more flesh forming matter than beef. Baker's cocoa is for robust men and all who must have a great deal of tissue building material to repair the waste caused by physical and menial labor."
I don't think human nature has changed much. Marketing techniques for so-called health products is more sophisticated today, But the multi-billion dollar industry that will allegedly make us prettier and healthier is for the most part still snake oil.
Buzz on 10th October 2014 @ 7:57am
First of all.....thank you and Matt for preserving the early issues of the Glacier. A great advantage of the digital age....we can preserve a little faster the perishable written word rather than trying to write it out by hand like the early scribes.
Perhaps Walter Baker recognized the high fat content from cocoa beans might be healthier than animal fat.
He probably had trouble convincing the men who wanted "meat and potatoes" on the table after a hard days work.
And by the time you added enough sugar to make it tasty and edible, the necessary fat was probably not as healthy.
l.e. on 10th October 2014 @ 8:04am
Food of the Gods
I wonder if it was considered women's food in the late 1900's so the ad is to encourage men to consume it?
I had always assumed that Baker's Chocolate was meant for use by bakers, it had never occurred to me that Baker might be a family name.
In looking at Wikipedia I see that German Chocolate is also named for the sir name of its inventor, Samuel German, and not the country.
longshot on 10th October 2014 @ 9:51am
A fascinating bit of history! Who knew??? So the family recipe for "German Chocolate cake had nothing to do with it coming from or being popular in Germany. It was just a brand name. At least I always knew that those pancakes we ate were not really from our Aunt Gemima!
steve s on 10th October 2014 @ 10:00am
I just bought a box of Baker's chocolate today. The box is now only 4 ounces instead of the usual 8 and it is now made in Canada. Bet I paid the same price I used to pay for the 8 ounce box.
Norma on 10th October 2014 @ 6:12pm
Gosh, because of today's HHR, I learned a lot about Baker's and German's chocolate. Both with an apostrophe. Now I know why.
Walter was very involved in how his products were advertised..."Advertising, I conceive, at proper seasons is the best mode of reaching both city and country traders”, but he died in 1852.
During the time of the above advertisement, family member Henry Pierce was in charge of the business, but he died the same year as this advertisement.
In 1897 the "Baker's business and property were bought by a conglomerate of high powered Boston businessmen, although, I also read that it became a publicly held company under the laws of Mass.
A new production facility was created in Montreal, Canada in 1911 and now as a part of Kraft Foods is manufactured in Quebec.
The factory in Delaware has been renovated into high end apartments.
l.e. on 11th October 2014 @ 8:37am