Posts Tagged ‘tin’

Crème de menthe

August 9, 2015

Crème de menthe may sound like some exotic alcoholic drink. The simple truth is that actually it is the French for mint cream and the name is used for sweets as well as for an intoxicating beverage.

It is a tin for such sweets that we have adorning a kitchen shelf in the museum.

Crème de menthe tin at Market Lavington Museum

Crème de menthe tin at Market Lavington Museum

Let’s deal with the spelling first. Messrs Keiller, who made the product, have clearly put a circumflex accent on the e in the middle of crème. Dictionaries, spell checkers and French speakers insist it should be a grave accent so that is what we have used here.

Keillers were well known for marmalade, made up in Dundee. Clearly they also made these sweets and sold them as a delicious after dinner sweetmeat but with a bottle to bring up thoughts of the drink.

The tin dates from around 1911. The sweets certainly won prizes at Turin in 1911. The tin tells us so.


It also tells us we can expect to find 60 sweets inside.


We think this is a lovely tin and any kitchen worth its salt has tins containing things so it is well placed in our kitchen.



May 15, 2015

This is an example of how the museum blog works for us.

About a fortnight ago we published an item about a tin of mustard ointment.

Jim, in Easterton, saw it and thought, ‘I’ve got a tin a bit like that – and I can guarantee its local provenance”.

This tin is now a part of the Market Lavington Museum collection and it is a tin of Vaseline.

Chesebrough vaseline

Chesebrough Vaseline

Almost inevitably, the tin has seen better days but we can see it is petroleum jelly produced by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Robert Chesebrough was the inventor and first producer of petroleum jelly and he invented the name Vaseline for it. He set up his company, in the USA in 1875 and through dint of hard work built up a huge and worldwide market for his product. It is very hard to date the tin but in 1955 the company became Chesebrough Ponds and that name quickly appeared on their products. The tin is at least 60 years old.

Interestingly although the tin clearly says London, in small writing around the tin it tells us that the product was refined in U.S.A.


Refined in U.S.A.

And now the local provenance. Jim knows that this tin had been in the shop operated by his uncle, Harry Hobbs. Harry had a grocery store almost immediately opposite The Green Dragon pub. We have, in the past, seen quite a few of the large product advertisements which Harry had.

In fact the Vaseline was unsold when Harry gave up his shop and several tins were given to Jim who found the product very useful for engineering purposes.

Harry was given the shop by his father in law after a serious accident left him in a state where he was told he wouldn’t walk again. This was in the early 1930s. In fact that medical advice was wrong and Harry was able to lead a very full, active and long life.

The extra issues point to a twenty year span for the origin of our tin – from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s.

Thanks, Jim, for another interesting addition to our collection.

Lyons’ Tea

February 17, 2015

People who visit the museum do like to see things they might remember or might have used in their own home. Tins are always popular and amongst our collection is a Lyons’ Tea tin. Such tins are much loved and remembered by many older people.

Lyons' Tea tin, possibly 1920s or 30s

Lyons’ Tea tin, possibly 1920s or 30s

This was a useful item for a home to have because it could be refilled with loose tea for ever afterwards.

This tin dates from the first half of the 20th century as evidenced by its royal patron.


Lyons’ Tea was used by the King

By appointment, purveyors to H. M. King of England. Why just England and not the United Kingdom, we can’t answer, but England and the rest of the UK had kings between 1901 and 1952 but we believe the tin is pre-war, perhaps dating from the 1920s or 30s.

It came to the museum from a Market Lavington resident.

A book match tin

May 22, 2014

This item was recently given to the museum. The owner had already had research done on it and I include a copy of the researcher’s thoughts.

This Dauntsey's School crested match tin was once the property of Jack Welch

This Dauntsey’s School crested match tin was once the property of Jack Welch

The tin is just the right size to hold and protect those compressed paper matches that used to be (and may still be) given away at hotels and the like. It opens and in this case reveals one remaining match.

The tin opens to reveal just one match left from that book of matches

The tin opens to reveal just one match left from that book of matches

And now the research – and contact details for the researcher.

Dauntsey School Book Match Holder

This brass book match holder is stamped with the Dauntsey School crest.

It belonged to James Welch who was Steward of Dauntsey’s Agricultural School, the original name for the school. James Welch lived in Market Lavington.

The principle of ignition by rubbing phosphorus and sulphur together was discovered in 1680 by Robert Boyle. The chemical reaction was extremely hazardous and it was not until 1827 that John Walker, another English pharmacist, used the principal to produce the first matches; yard long “sulphuretted peroxide strikables.”

Small phosphorus matches were first marketed in Germany in 1832, but they were still extremely hazardous. In 1845, amorphous or red phosphorus was invented and in 1855 Carl Lundstrom in Sweden produced the first red phosphorus “safety matches”. These were  sold in boxes as ‘kitchen matches’.

Smoking in public become more popular during the second half of the 19th Century and wooden matches in large boxes did not fit easily into pockets. Joshua Pusey, a cigar smoking Pennsylvanian lawyer, developed and patented a paper based match in 1889. The idea did not take off until 1897 when the Mendelsohn Opera Company used books of paper matches to advertise their New York opening. Book matches became all the rage and because of their delicate nature book match holders quickly followed. As with all such small personal items the holders were often decorated. The Dauntsey School book match holder therefore dates from the early part of the 20thCentury and possibly because of it dull gun-metal manufacture, from around the time of the Great War, 1914-1918.

Research by Lt Col Robin Hodges, Court Hill Farm, Potterne, SN10 5PN     01380 723371

What a lovely addition to the museum collection.

Nuttall’s Mintoes

May 4, 2014

This is a fun, recent acquisition for Market Lavington Museum and a reminder of a once popular sweet which is no longer available (although there are others which are very similar).

Nuttall’s Mintoes were originally made by William Nuttall in Doncaster. They made lots of money for William, who used his wealth helping the poor of Doncaster.

What we have is a large tin, to hold seven pounds weight of the sweets.


Nuttall’s Mintoes tin, possibly from around 1960


As you can see, the tin is not pristine which is hardly surprising. For the last fifty years it has been in Market Lavington and used as a container for dog food. The owner, who gave it to us, wasn’t sure where she had obtained it, but thought it might have been from a local shop.

The price on the tin is, of course, interesting at 8d per quarter pound (about 3p for 100 grams) But for whenever that was, inflation was clearly an issue for if you turn the tin round, a different price is shown.


The other side of the tin shows a different price.


We can see, of course, how wonderfully unhealthy in today’s terms these sweets were with only sugar and fat based products mentioned.

The tin, of course, would originally have been held by a retailer who could weigh out smaller quantities for his customers. The retailer was charged more for the tin than the customers were for the sweets.

Retailers 'hired' the tin for a deposit of 1/6

Retailers ‘hired’ the tin for a deposit of 1/6

!/6 is 7½p. It was a deposit which the retailer got back when he returned the tin to Nuttall’s.

What a lovely item to have. But can anyone out there date it from the price? Maybe it was around 1960?

Churchman’s Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture

April 10, 2014
Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture tin from the early years of the twentieth century

Tortoiseshell Smoking Mixture tin from the early years of the twentieth century

Tins like this are not uncommon. No doubt, once the contents had been used, the tin was useful for storing other things. It’s the sort of item you might find in a shed with assorted nuts and bolts in it.

But of course, the original content was tobacco and whilst we might ‘tut-tut’ these days it is from the past when life was different. If we go back 100 years, most men smoked and many would have had tins like this one.

It is not, of course, made of tortoiseshell. It is a ‘tin’ with tortoiseshell effect paint. This one is quite a large tin holding four ounces (¼lb) of the mixture.

The tin held a quarter of a pound of tobacco

The tin held a quarter of a pound of tobacco

The Churchman firm who made the tobacco were based in Ipswich and they had a long pedigree. Records suggest that the company began in 1790 and production of tobacco products continued until 1972.

We can’t find any mark on the tin to suggest who made it but we do think it dates from the early years of the 20th century.

A tin of varnish

December 17, 2013

Once again we give thanks for the hoarders. An item, that might have been of no interest 100 years ago, becomes interesting when re-found some 70 years later. And here we have just such an item – a tin of varnish.

A varnish tin dating from around 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

A varnish tin dating from around 1900 at Market Lavington Museum

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this tin which we think dates from around 1900 is not in tip top condition and its interesting paper label has certainly  suffered from the ravages of both time and usage. But there is enough there for us to read it so we know that this tin of best white oil copal varnish was made by Henry Matthews and Co Ltd, Premier Colour and Varnish Works. They had premises on Lewins Mead in the centre of the city.

Copal is a naturally occurring tree resin that was found to help produce a hard varnish.

We know very little of these works but a 1912 photo found whilst searching online for Lewins Mead shows the premises and a truly bustling urban scene.

The tin, which has been in the museum since we opened in 1985, is a lovely reminder of past times.

A Jubilee Tin

July 20, 2013

2012 might have been deemed our Royal Year as we celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen, Elizabeth II. But royal artefacts still arrive at the museum and are still of interest and value to Market Lavington Museum.

This tin arrived from a family who lived in Easterton and was made to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of our queen’s grandfather, King George V. He came to the throne in 1910 so the tin dates from 1935

A 1935 Silver Jubilee tin - now at Market Lavington Museum

A 1935 Silver Jubilee tin – now at Market Lavington Museum

We can see that the tin is not in perfect condition. In particular, Queen Mary’s face has suffered a bit of damage. We can see, below, that one of the hinges has also suffered a bit, but it is still in working order.


The tin was well made but has no information about the original contents, but like many royal artefacts it was clearly regarded as a souvenir item and the family kept it and, no doubt used it. It would be eminently suited to biscuits.

Of course, what we like about this item is that we can attach a family to it – it has its local provenance.

Medical Supplies

July 17, 2013

Time was (and still is, no doubt) when households kept stocks of proprietary remedies for many ills and ailments. Here we see a small selection of bottles and tins of household medicaments.

Medicine bottles and tins at Market Lavington Museum

Medicine bottles and tins at Market Lavington Museum

The near bottle contains cresolene, a mixture based on coal tar which was used as a disinfectant or antiseptic. It was not to be taken internally but rather used as an ointment to clean wounds. It could be put in a special heater so that fumes could be breathed. It was manufactured between 1881 and 1950 and was probably, of limited medical value.

The blue bottle once contained blood mixture which was advertised as a cure-all. Again, it probably had very limited medical value.

The Green coloured bottle once held Eclectic Oil.  It was another cure-all. It claimed to cure toothache in five minutes and lameness in two days. Again, it was just about worthless as a medicine. An earlier name had been eclectric oil – a portmanteau word for what clearly claimed to be a portmanteau product.

The brown bottle bears the legend Hardy and Son, Chemist of Salisbury. As this company produced ‘aerated waters’ this is probably a fizzy drink bottle.

The tin contained mustard ointment which, supposedly, gave warmth and relief to aching muscles.

It is often said that ‘The lesson from history is that we don’t learn from it’ Most of our bottles are 100 years or more old. They didn’t do much then but people still persist in buying quack remedies. Your best bet out of this collection was probably the fizzy drink!