Posts tagged with "history"



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...
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...
22. May 2022
The brand by British manufacturer W.D. & H.O. Wills was one of the first machine-made Western cigarettes introduced to the Chinese market in the late 20th century. When British American Tobacco (BAT) was formed in 1902 it took over all the assets and brand rights for China from Wills and would turn Ruby Queen into one of the most recognized and successful tobacco brands in the first Republic of China. At one point in the 1920s Ruby Queen would even become the second most popular cigarette...
11. May 2022
Advertisement calendar posters were the most important of the many forms of visual advertisement in China. They were introduced from the West and printed in glowing color lithography. These calendars posters, known in China as yuefenpai, were directed primarily at Chinese, not Western, customers. Most often, calendar images supplied by printers had little or no connection with the product or service being retailed. They were produced with an abundance of different pictures to appeal to a range...
02. May 2022
Vintage 1940s Chinese Ever-Ready Razors (老人头牌 ) advertisement. From the MOFBA collection
The American Safety Razor Company was a personal care brand founded in 1906 by a merger of the Gem Cutlery Company & Ever-Ready and was a principal competitor to Gillette for over a century. The Ever-Ready brand had been created in 1905 and razors were continued to be sold under that name until the early 1960s.
25. April 2022
Large Chinese Bayer Aspirin & Gardan vintage enamel advertising thermometer. From the MOFBA collection.
18. April 2022
A mysterious anachronistic and out of place trading card from the MOFBA collection
While there is some debate over what event exactly marked the end of the American Indian Wars, it is commonly considered to have been the Battle of Wounded Knee in December 1890. The same year the US Census Bureau broadcast the closure of the Frontier, meaning that in the West there remained no more apparent tracts of land without settlers. What we do know for sure is that almost exactly 13 years later, on a rather windy December morning in 1903, the brothers Wright launched the first...
11. April 2022
Cycle brand cigarettes Chinese "beautiful girl" advertising poster. From the MOFBA collection
The Cycle brand was created in the early 1900s during the days of the American Bicycle Boom - a no-brainer for Big Tobacco to associate itself with the corresponding health benefits. In China Cycle was distributed by Enterprise Tobacco Co, Ltd. (和泰烟有限公司), part of the British American Tobacco (BAT) cigarette behemoth. The Chinese name is a direct translation using the now old-fashioned term 自由车, which translates to any sort of bike but comes with a nice spin as the literal...
09. April 2022

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