Saturday, February 8, 2014

Egg-O-See cereal postcard (This is what our table looks like at meals)

This well-worn postcard is an advertisement for Egg-O-See breakfast cereal.

Some initial thoughts:
  • I chuckled when I first saw this illustration, because our dining room table is often surrounded by cats and the dog at meal time. (The dog, Coby, to his credit, sleeps through most of the meal and does not actively seek handouts.)
  • If you look at the size of the cats compared to the boy and the dog, they must be HUGE. Nearly the size of lynxes! These are not cats to be trifled with.
  • It looks like this boy has had a good upbringing. He's in a nice room and there is some fine tableware apparent. Do you really think he would utter the phrase: "Dere aint go'n'er be no leavin's"?

Regarding Egg-O-See cereal and the Egg-O-See Company, there's a good amount of information available in cyberspace. Some of it, however, is a bit murky and even contradictory. Egg-O-See was established as a business sometime between 1901 and 1905 and was based in Quincy, Illinois. Later, it ran into financial difficulty — this was a frenzied period of breakfast cereal companies competing against each other in the United States — and was, I believe, purchased by the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company (which was renamed Kellogg’s in 1922).

Egg-O-see was made from "from the whole grain of the the very best white wheat grown." The postcard phrase "Dere aint go'n'er be no leavin's" was in fact the official slogan for the cereal.

Here's some of the copy from one advertisement:
"Make your boy's food tasty — Mother — for it has to do some big things. It has to make flesh, blood, bone and muscle and supply boundless Energy. Remember, the boy of today is the man of tomorrow. Don't injure him physically and mentally with indigestible meats, pastries, rich puddings, etc., that act as a drain on his nervous energy. But feed him plenty of Egg-O-See."
The advertisement further states: "Egg-O-See keeps the blood cool and is the ideal summer food."

Here are some links for additional information about Egg-O-See:
  • The Egg-O-See page contains some good information1 and a handful of advertising images.
  • The Old Foodie: A 2009 post about Egg-O-See being on the breakfast menu of the SS Minnesota in 1914.
  • BiblioBuffet: A detailed post by Lauren Roberts about the history of Egg-O-See and other breakfast-cereal companies. The best part: It features a circa 1906 Egg-O-See bookmark!
  • Illinois Digital Libraries: A small collection of Egg-O-See-related photographs.
  • Circa 1906 Egg-O-See magazine advertisement. (It looks like the illustration on today's postcard originated from this photograph, or composite photograph, more likely.)
  • Heritage Battle Creek: A good history of the origins of breakfast cereal in the United States. It only mentions Egg-O-See in passing.

1. The page includes this interesting tidbit: "The unusual cereal name may have come from an accented-delivery of the phrase 'I'll go see'. According to one tale, a salesman asked for corn flakes in a diner and was told by a Scandinavian waitress, 'Eg go see'."

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