Posts tagged with "historic"



05. December 2022
A Shanghai Bakerite "Sullivan" Assorted Biscuits box. From the MOFBA collection.
The crumb trail of Bakerite leads us back to the American James David Sullivan, who after serving in the Spanish American War, came to China at the turn of the century and established the Denniston & Sullivan photo supplies store on Broadway (today’s Daming Rd.) in the Shanghai International Settlement. In June 1906 Sullivan sold the business to former employees Messrs. L.L. Hopkins and J.J. Gilmore who continued to operate it but moved it to Nanking Rd. (todays Nanjing East Rd.)
28. November 2022
1930s Christmas cards print advertising from the Tientsin Press Ltd. From the MOFBA collection.
A friendly reminder from the Tientsin Press Ltd. (天津印字馆): NOW is the time to order those Christmas cards you’ll want to send to your friends!
21. November 2022
Before the electrification of China starting in 1882 and the introduction of battery-powered torches in the 1910s, oil lamps were the predominant means of illumination. They were cheap to manufacture & became popular promotional merchandise - most famously exemplified by the Standard Oil Company of New York (SOCONY).
14. November 2022
Chinese version of the ca. 1925 "Quaker Oats Book of Health" written by C. Houston Goudiss. Most likely localized by Carl Crow Inc. From the MOFBA collection
The Quaker Oats trademark was registered in 1877 by Henry Seymour, an Ohio milling company owner. In 1901 his former company was merged with several other producers under the newly formed Quaker Oats Company, founded by Henry Parsons Crowell, and soon started to sell its products internationally through global distribution networks. In 1908, Quaker Oats introduced the first in a series of cookie recipes on the box and the iconic cylindrical package made its first appearance in 1915.
07. November 2022
In November 2022 the Chinese government issued new regulations for celebrity related advertising. Among others the updated rules prohibit celebrity endorsements of medicines, off-campus education and – finally - tobacco. What sounds fairly reasonable for today’s standards actually took the authorities over a century to crack down on: the practice of Chinese singers and movie stars unscrupulously peddling cigarettes goes back to the early 20th century and, as we will see, sometimes even with...
28. October 2022
1932 City Directory Map of Shanghai by Millington Inc. Supplement to the "City Directory of Shanghai". From the MOFBA collection
This large 1932 map of Shanghai was produced by Millington Inc., one of the “Big 4” advertising agencies of old Shanghai. It was issued in the same year when Millington also started to produce the monthly “The Cathay” hotel magazine and features almost the same advertisers. The map was a supplement to the “City Directory of Shanghai”, a publication issued by Millington and which complemented the “Rosenstock’s Business Directory of China” which the agency also produced annually...
24. October 2022
Sweetie chewing gum ad by Shanghai Henningsen Produce Company featuring Liang Saizhu (梁赛珠), one of the 3 famous Liang sisters. From the MOFBA collection.
In 1848 John B. Curtis from Maine developed the first commercial chewing gum, inspired by American Indians who chewed resin made from the sap of spruce trees. The product innovation soon became popular across the USA and beyond. Already in 1890, we find a first mention of chewing gum being available for Christmas season in the International Settlement of Shanghai from American trading firm Mustard & Co. But it took another 20 years before mass-marketing to a wider Chinese audience would...
17. October 2022
-“Gee, honey look there’s a dragon in the sky!” -“Yay!” A classic example on how symbolism in marketing differs between the West and East-Asian countries. While in the culture of the former dragons are depicted as evil, in China they are traditionally seen as friendly and the bringers of good luck. A fact the historic Yutai flash light factory (裕泰电筒厂) from Shanghai cleverly used for its “Dragon head” brand (龙头牌).
10. October 2022
A stunning Chinese “My Dear” post-war color ad from 1946 with a voluptuous brunette bombshell on the beach, modelled after the prevalent 1940s US pin-up style popularized for and by the G.I.’s overseas. From the MOFBA collection.
My Dear, or Měilì (美丽牌) meaning “beautiful” in Chinese, was the most popular Chinese cigarette brand out of Shanghai during Republican China. Since its inception it was famous for the attractive, confident and modern “new women” featured in its advertisements, ubiquitous across billboards, magazines and newspapers. Its Chinese slogan 有美皆备,无丽不臻 literally means “everyone wants the beauty because without beauty there is no completeness” but in more creative...
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.

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