Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vintage Chocolate Advertising Art

Some of the most interesting advertising art from the late 1800s and early 1900s was for chocolate. Not for coffee. Not for cookies or cake . . . Chocolate. Why? Because chocolate was new. It tasted like heaven. And it didn't hurt that the industrial revolution could mass produce it to crazed lovers of the new stuff.

While cocoa existed in the Mayan and Aztec times and even as far back as 1400 BC, it was only introduced to the European / American culture in relatively modern times. The Mayans thought it was magic. Well, the modern world, does, too.

Europeans Invent Modern Chocolate

The Europeans thought it was too bitter to be any good when the conquered the New World. Aren't you glad they did something about that? They added sugar and milk, and it caught on as a chocolate drink. In fact, they couldn't get enough of the stuff -- Casanova was said to be literally in love with it.

In 1830, solid chocolate was invented, and the world was introduced to a dizzying array of chocolate inventions over the next few years -- bonbons, chocolate creams, milk chocolate, fondant, filled chocolates, and the lovely chocolate bar.

Vintage Chocolate Advertising Art

In the mid-1800s, chocolate advertising was born as manufacturers competed in a busy market that craved the world's new confection. The manufacturers had the money to hire the best commercial artists of the time to create some of the most wonderful illustrations. And that's what this article celebrates.

Many of the illustrations were in full color, an expensive process back in the 1800s. Full color advertising cards were given to customers, which the manufacturers hoped would be attractive enough to make the customers take them home and display them in a prominent place in the home. The better quality and the better the illustration, the more likely people would keep it . . .  And of course remind them to buy chocolate. Tricky.

It certainly worked! Chocolate has become an institution in the modern world. Vintage Chocolate advertising art is almost as wonderful as the sweet stuff it represents.

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