Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Saves coal every wash-day


A selection of colourful metal advertising signs, collected together from various points around the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.  I have often thought it would be nice if there were a few old signs scattered around Saltaire, but there aren't.

It's interesting to read the selling points: I suppose a great little cigarette is better than a great big one! Saves Rubbing... I should think that would be a good thing if you were a housewife doing the family wash in a tub.  But if you could just soak in Rinso and Save Coal Every Wash-day wouldn't that be even better?  And what was the £1000 reward Sunlight Soap were offering?  I'm glad that royalty enjoyed their Fry's Celebrated Chocolate - and as for Cadbury's being Wholesome, well, I'm going out to buy some now.  But eat too much chocolate and not enough meat and green veg and you'll need the Virol, girl!  (Virol was a thick brown syrup, a kind of malted vitamin tonic.  Tasted weird - I used to be given it when I was a child.)

As for Camp coffee.... As John commented a couple of days ago, it had little to do with coffee, being mainly made from chicory essence, I seem to remember.  It must have been a war-time coffee substitute.  My parents always had a bottle in the pantry.  It's a real nostalgia thing; the labels on the bottles were very collectible too, though the picture was changed a few years ago after allegations of racism. (It originally showed a Sikh serving coffee to a kilted soldier.  Now they sit side by side drinking coffee together.)  I doubt anyone would give Camp that name these days though!  It even has its own fan site. Also see here for a blog post that's a bit of fun.

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful old signs jenny.
    Glad to see your posts again.
    Costas.

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  2. I an in the midst of reading (well listening to actually as it is the audiobook version I have) Deborah Cadbury's "The Chocolate Wars" and therefore that competition between the existing market leader (Fry's) and the new boy on the block (Cadbury's) is especially intertesting. What is it about this late Victorian period that was so visually attractive?

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  3. Nostalgia is clearly not a thing of the past! A great post, thanks.

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  4. What a beautyful collection of old signs!I only know Cadburry. We had the same problem in France with a chocolate powder called Banania. The picture showed a black man and they had to change it because some said it was racist.
    I agree with Alan, old signs often had a wonderful design!

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  5. We always had a bottle of Camp 'coffee' in the pantry too. I hated the stuff. It tasted disgusting! Mum mianly used it for flavouring though, which was OK.

    I don't remember Virol. I escaped that one. (Though I do remember being given spoonsful of Cod Liver Oil on occasion!)

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  6. Camp Coffee I remember the taste! I think we only ever had one bottle with only the top-most amount taken off. We all hated it, but Mum kept the bottle, 'Waste not Want Not!'.
    Luckily I missed out on the Virol, tho' all my Uncles smoked Woodbines, and Fry's made my favourite chocolate.
    The signs are so colourful and it's lovely that they have preserved them and placed them all together.

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  7. What an interesting post, Jenny! Loved your commentary :)

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  8. Cadbury stuck to that 'wholesome' idea for years. Remember 'a glass and a half in every half pound'? Of course we were a Rowntree's family. Even learned the colours of the rainbow as 'Rowntree's of York give best in value'!

    But we had Camp coffee in the pantry and it was used to flavour coffee and walnut cake. And Dad smoked Woodbines.

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  9. Very fun! These old metal advertising signs bring in a lot of money when I see them at the auctions!

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  10. I think Tristan Farnon smoked Woodbines. Fun post, Jenny!

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  11. We escaped Virol but endured Camp Coffee and Cod Liver Oil. My daughter visited England from Calgary recently, and asked what she should bring me. Without hesitation I said "Fry's Mint Chocolate " Oh the power of advertising! Thanks for going to all the trouble of assembling all those ads in one wall!

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  12. I just love old signs and this is indeed an excellent collection. Really cool!

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  13. Yes, I've heard about your Westfield hole :)

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  14. Jenny, these old signs are so interesting because they provide links to the past, even in the U.S. Whenever we travel, we always look for signs of the past - in most cases it's more interesting than the present.

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  15. This is an entertaining post. I think Cadbury is the only one that has hopped across the Atlantic. I still associate Cadbury with Easter eggs, but I now know that they have a much more extensive line of candies.

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  16. Such fun, these signs and your story. I recall trying chicory "coffee" once, with the demented thought of giving up caffeine, but one sip and I knew it would work! Camping out with the Queen of Sheba is a howl too.

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  17. Oh those are great signs! And of course I always look forward to a visit from the Cadbury Easter Bunny here! I'm thinking it's the same company. ~Lili

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