22. August 2022
Hatamen brand cigarette cards depicting early 20th century Chinese beauties. Such trading cards were inserted in cigarette packaging as collectibles to drive brand loyalty.
14. August 2022
1930s Silk hosiery box with film-noir style cover illustration. From the MOFBA collection
A stunning illustration on this vintage box by the Chinese “Healthy” Pure Silk Hosiery brand (健美牌). The voyeuristic perspective and dramatic interaction of light and shadow is reminiscent of American realist painter Edward Hoppers art. Even more intriguingly though, the lady’s thin long eyebrows and her short hairstyle with romantic waves undoubtedly dates the image to the 1930s, while the low-key black and white setting in an inner-city apartment with Venetian blinds is much more...
07. August 2022
Yuen Kiang cigarettes advertising poster by Taiyuan Jinhua Cigarette Factory. From the MOFBA collection
In the autumn of 1930, the national government of Shanxi province established the Jinhua Cigarette Factory (晋华卷烟厂) in the city of Taiyuan by merging several smaller private tobacco producers. The state-owned enterprise produced cigarettes throughout the 1930s until November 1937, when the Japanese army occupied Taiyuan and took over the operations. It remained active under the name “No 13 Factory” until the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War after which it was nationalized again...
03. August 2022
A Pinhead brand cigarette pack sold in China under BAT post-1902. From the MOFBA collection
Pinhead was the first US American cigarette brand introduced in China. Its manufacturer was W. Duke, Sons & Co founded in 1871 by Washington Duke in Durham, North Carolina. As early as June 1882 W. Duke and Sons sent their salesman Richard H. Wright on a nineteen-month tour around the world to place their company’s tobacco in key export centers and its products may have already reached China by then.
22. July 2022
Harper's Weekly September 15, 1900 A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF SHANGHAI. From the MOFBA collection
Probably our favorite panorama of Old Shanghai from our collection: an illustration from Harpers Weekly, September 12, 1900. Also an amazing reminder on how developed both the Bund on the Puxi side, as well as the Pudong side were already at that time. From a viewpoint most likely on top of the American Cigarette Company Co factory, on the Pudong side, we can see the building of the British Cigarette Company Ltd to the left (BAT was only established in 1902), on the right the Pootung Hotel, the...
27. June 2022
A 1930s Agfa Film Wallet in art-deco design by Mackenzie Sports Co. Shanghai. Mackenzie Sports was a mid-1930s sports store in Shanghai, offering a wide range of sports equipment such as for tennis and boxing, and seemingly also offered photo development services. The shop was owned by R. Nymphius, an active tennis player in the local leagues of the time himself.
22. June 2022
If you’ve read Paul French‘s excellent book City of Devils you of course heard of famous Shanghai slot machine king “Jack” E.T. Riley. Jack was known to have been a longtime supporter of the Marines, and they in turn helped save his butt more than once. What, to our knowledge, previously was not known is that before joining spirits merchant Gande, Price & Co in late 1933 (where his “commercial record was above reproach”), Jack gave it a shot on his own to distribute U.B.C. –...
20. June 2022
A beautiful (and unopened!) art-deco design tea tin of "Selected Tea" by the Sincere Co. Shanghai. Sincere was the first Chinese-owned department store in Shanghai, opened in 1917. It was also the first of the "4 Big Department Stores" of Old Shanghai, followed by the Wing-On, the Sun Sun and the Sun. The relentless competition between them spurred modern retail innovations throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s, such as in this case consumer packaged goods under "Sincere's" own private label brand...
06. June 2022
A kerosene lamp branded by Lockwood Bros, Pampa, Sheffield and Shanghai Rex & Co (公发英行 - "Kung-Fah" ). From the MOFBA collection.
30. May 2022
Vintage Chinese Pei-Heng's "Hand Bird Brand" (擒雕牌) enamel advertising sign. From the MOFBA collection
The Eagle Brand can be traced to 1856, when Gail Borden introduced condensed milk as the flagship product of his newly formed dairy company. In Asia the brand was licensed by the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company and, in 1874, became the first registered trademark in the then-British colony of Hong Kong. On the mainland the "Fēiyīng" (飞鹰) brand was protected by a “proclamation issued by the Taotai in the ninth moon of the thirtieths year of Kuang Hsü”, meaning the...

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