What do candy wrappers from 150 years ago tell about the pre-revolutionary history of Russia?
What do candy wrappers from 150 years ago tell about the pre-revolutionary history of Russia?

Collecting candy wrappers can be considered a frivolous occupation, however, it is a hobby that is very popular today. Examining huge collections, you can find rare packages of sweets that are more than 150 years old! In addition to collectors, they are of interest to historians, because the vivid pictures can be used to trace the history of our country, starting from the middle of the 19th century.

The first candy wrappers appeared less than two hundred years ago. For a long time, sweets were the creation of chefs and they were served only to the table. When mass production began, they did not immediately think about packaging - plain paper stuck to the sweets, and greatly increased their cost. However, for the sake of ease of transportation, storage and simple hygiene, sweets in England and France in the 19th century began to be wrapped in foil. Thomas Edison is generally considered the inventor of the wrapper. In addition to the commercial version of the light bulb, phonograph and many other useful patents, waxed paper, which ideally met the needs of the confectionery industry, turned out to be in his creative baggage.

It immediately became clear that a candy wrapper with a bright picture would attract the attention of buyers, so candy wrappers quickly began to be decorated with colored drawings. The fact that the candy wrapper can become a platform for political propaganda was not invented at all in the Soviet Union, but long before it. From the point of view of advertising, the packaging of sweets is an ideal field - it definitely falls into the hands of the consumer and arouses not only interest, but also pleasant associations, so Russian industrialists immediately began to fill this promising niche with relevant information.

Shop for the production of caramel factory "S. Siu and K", the end of the XIX century

Large manufacturers of sweets in Russia in the 19th century began to compete in the originality and beauty of their product packaging. So, for example, one of the co-owners of the Eneim factory, Julius Gray, himself was engaged in the development of the design of candy wrappers, he was fond of art photography at his leisure, and his competitor, the famous manufacturer Alexei Abrikosov, went further - he created a whole artel of artists who began to create sketches for chocolate packaging and sweets. 30 professional painters worked in his packaging workshop, headed by Fyodor Shemyakin (this family, by the way, gave Russia several wonderful artists). In his youth, many stars of art made their living by drawing pictures for candy wrappers: Ivan Bilibin, Ivan Ropet, Konstantin Somov, Victor and Appolinarius Vasnetsov, Sergei Yaguzhinsky, Boris Zvorykin, Evgeny Lansere.

Chocolate wrapper, 19th century

As for the subject of candy products, it fully corresponded to its time, reflecting the brightest moments in the social and political life of the country. In addition to ideal children and beauties, crowned persons began to appear on candy wrappers from the middle of the 19th century. This gave the manufacturers and products solidity, and it is never superfluous to curry favor with the authorities. For example, the Tsarskaya caramel produced by the A.I. Aprikosov and Sons”, it depicted a monument to Emperor Alexander II. Later, the same caramel was launched into production by other concerns, the candy wrapper was pompously decorated with the attributes of royal power.

Tsarskaya caramel, popular in Russia in the 19th century, was produced by several concerns

The Eneim partnership went even further, creating a line of elite sweet products.Opening an exquisite, expensive package of cookies or coffee, the buyer found multi-page colorful brochures with portraits of royal persons or images of significant events for the country: the expulsion of the Polish invaders from Moscow, the people's militia of Minin and Pozharsky, the feat of Ivan Susanin, the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812, or the vocation of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov to the kingdom. On the back of the inserts, one could read a brief historical note. By the way, in addition to information about the royal dynasty and history, it was possible to learn about the peoples of Russia, its flora and fauna, get acquainted with the types of weapons and learn the alphabet. This sweet encyclopedia was very much loved by children even in the Romanov family, and the Einem partnership in 1913 was awarded the title of supplier to the court of His Imperial Majesty

A series of patriotic and educational postcards-inserts of the Association "Eneim" (early XX century)

There was even a tradition in Russia to celebrate historical events or their anniversaries with the release of new confectionery products. It has very ancient roots - back in 1861, after the abolition of serfdom, the A.A. Savinova put on sale the candies "Reform", "Volia", "Liberation of the peasants" and "Abolition of serfdom." Today candy wrappers from this historical series are a real rarity.

Candy wrappers issued in honor of the abolition of serfdom Antique candy wrapper dedicated to the war of 1812 A series of sweets released for the 100th anniversary of Nikolai Gogol

In 1896, candy makers instantly responded to an important political event - the trip of Nicholas II with his wife to France. French President Felix Faure, who promotes rapprochement between the two countries, then appeared on candy wrappers. And in 1903, the counters were filled with sweet goods with views of St. Petersburg - this is how confectionery concerns celebrated the 200th anniversary of the capital.

President of the French Republic Felix Faure on a candy wrapper (late 19th century)

By 1913, all the manufacturers of sweets in Russia were preparing in advance and very seriously - the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty promised to be a grand event, so new types of sweets were specially developed for it and especially luxurious packaging was created. By the way, one of such sweet gifts for the royal family was the “Jubilee” cookies presented by the confectionery concern “A. Siu and K” to the emperor himself. The manufacturer Adolphe Siu came up with a special recipe for the biscuit, which Nicholas II really liked. In just 4 years, this company will turn into the Bolshevik confectionery factory, but the famous biscuits will somehow retain their name. We can still feast on them today, however, now very few people know that this anniversary has nothing to do with Soviet holidays.

Series of sweets "In memory of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanovs", Kharkov partnership of Dmitry Kromsky, 1913 Historical packaging of the "Yubileinoye" cookies, issued in 1913 for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty

Especially for those with a sweet tooth: All the colors of the rainbow in photographs of sweets by Emily Blincoe

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