Monday, June 2, 2014

Object of the Day: A Trade Card for Kellogg, Adams and Eaton

Click image for full-sized weirdness.

Four naked children—they’re not cherubs as they have no wings, and, therefore, have no real excuse to be nude—are romping about. Two of them are riding baby ducks and one, a chick. Now, let’s take a moment to reflect upon this. Either these are very large baby ducks and an enormous chick or these children are unusually small. I think that we must err in favor of the children being atypically small since one of them is wearing a morning glory on his head—not something a normal-headed baby can do. However, given their size, we must question the proportion of the things around them.

While the second duck-rider and the chicken-rider are holding aloft bottles of Kellogg’s Extract, their leader—for he must be since he’s driving the cart and, therefore, controlling the fowl—holds an American flag which has been unpatriotically marked with the words “Kellogg’s Extracts.” This makes sense, on one hand, since, clearly, they are the Kellogg’s Extract Brigade. However, we must call into question the size of the bottles, cart and flag given the stature of these diminutive nudist tots. It’s all very confusing.

Dating to about 1880, this trade card advertises, obviously, for Kellogg’s Extract which was produced by Kellogg (yes, I believe it is THAT Kellogg), Adams and Eaton of Boston, Massachusetts. This bottled syrup came in flavors much like the vanilla and lemon extracts that we use today. Usually, the extracts were, as best I can tell, marketed for use in ice creams and baking.

This fun bit of Victorian weirdness was part of a lot of ephemera which I recently bought. Actually, it’s quite a rare find and I’m very pleased to have it. While odd, it is delightful in that peculiar way unique to Victorian advertising. I think we should have a caption contest for this one. As always, post your answers in the comments section. Could it be a sly bit of trickery for a different company involving the famed two-d Addams clan? 

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