Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Festive Christmas matchbook from D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co.

I never thought I'd call a matchbook a piece of art. But this one is.

This beautiful Merry Christmas/Happy New Year matchbook was produced by the D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co. right here in York, Pennsylvania.

When closed, it measures 3⅜ inches by 4¼ inches. The matchbook is promoting Stauffer's Nifty-brand cookies, crackers and pretzels.

There is no year listed anywhere on it.

(If anyone has any idea what year this was produced, or any other information about it, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.)

Stauffer’s Biscuit Company (official website, Facebook page), which claims to be "the original animal cracker company", originated in York in 1871. In 2004, it became a fully owned division of Meiji Co. Ltd. of Japan.

According to Stauffer's history page:

"Each day Stauffer’s produces more than 250 tons of animal crackers1, cookies, and snack crackers on fifteen oven lines using only the finest ingredients. Taste the rich cheddar cheese flavor of Whales available in several package sizes. Stauffer’s produces a variety of scrumptious cookies, such as Ginger Snaps, Lemon Snaps, Shortbread Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Vanilla Wafers and Graham Stix."

And Stauffer's is famous for upping the ante during the year-end holidays with its seasonal products, including Dark Chocolate Stars and Milk Chocolate Stars. Again, from the website:

"Celebrate the holidays with a delicious assortment of Stauffer’s cookies. Our signature item is the holiday tin collection, which is produced once a year and has become a much sought after collectors item. Enjoy the rich taste of Stauffer’s Chocolate Stars, Gingerbread Men, and White Fudge Holiday Cookies."

What's not clear to me at this time is whether Stauffer's still makes any products that are branded "Nifty," as mentioned on the matchbook.

And, no, I haven't forgotten about the matchbook. Here are two more images — from the other side of the cover and from the inside of the matchbook.

Like I said, it's an absolute work of art. And a neat piece of York County's manufacturing history.

1. Why are there holes in Stauffer's animal crackers? The company answers this in its FAQ: "The holes in the Animal Crackers are called 'dockers.' The holes are there to let some of the air out of the crackers and reduce the rising process. This helps retain the animal cracker shape."

Stauffer's, helpfully, also provides an online Animal Cracker Identifier.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Is that your matchbook? If not and you would like one, I am pretty sure that I have a few of them. Let me know if you would like a walk down memory lane about the D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co. I have quite a collection dating back to nearly the founding days when my Great, Great, Great Grandfather started the company downtown on George St. where the McDonalds stands today. There is also a similar matchbook from that period too. I believe that they were made in the mid to late 30's, but could have been into the early 40's. Unfortunately, my great grandfather would have known for sure, but he passed away in 2005, just short of his 104th birthday.

  2. Dear Sean,
    You and my husband Fred must be cousins as his great,great Grandfather was D.F.Stauffer.
    we had a large collection of Stauffer memorabilia,b ut did not know of the matchbooks. If you have any extra, I would love to surprise Fred and Rick with them.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Sue Stauffer