Tuesday, November 17, 2015

19th century advertising card: Liebig Company's Fleisch-Extract

This colorful card is advertising Liebig Company's Fleisch-Extract (Extract of Meat). It measures approximately 4¼ inches wide by 2¾ inches tall.

Fleisch-Extract was, essentially, highly concentrated and spreadable meat that was sold in bottles and tins. It is described as "a thick, dark, syrupy beef extract paste" on Cook's Info. While it was used in different ways over the decades, its primary use, for flavoring, has been replaced by bouillon cubes.1 (Bovril, a modern product, is a meat extract that is similar to Liebig's Fleisch-Extract.)

Advertising trade cards were a major part of the product's marketing (as they were with Echte Wagner margarine cards, which I wrote about earlier this year). Here's an excerpt from Cook's Info:
"The company released beautiful, coloured lithograph trading cards throughout its history. ... There are over 7,000 sets in all, in different languages. The earliest cards in English date from somewhere between 1873 and 1878, appearing both in England and in America. Many of the cards were advertising, but many were also meant to be educational on topics from plants to fish to music, at a time when many families couldn't afford books. They were produced up until about 1964 in most places; 1974 in Italy."

The card featured in this post has German-language text. The caption on the front states: "Der Sperling mit der geschlitzten Zunge. (Japanisches Kindermärchen) No. 1."

The translates to: "The sparrow with the slit tongue. Japanese children's story."

Shita-kiri Suzume ("Tongue-Cut Sparrow") is a Japanese fable that, at its essence, has a similar theme to other worldwide fairy tales2, including "The Three Little Men in the Wood."

One version of the story, titled "The Sparrow with the Slit Tongue," appears in Andrew Lang's The Pink Fairy Book, and it can be read for free on Gutenberg.org. Read it to your kids as a bedtime story tonight!

Here's the back of this Liebig Company's Fleisch-Extract card.

1. Did anyone else out there suck on bouillon cubes as a kid? Oh look, there's a Facebook page for that.
2. The tale is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 480, "The Kind and the Unkind Girls."

1 comment:

  1. As a kid, I loved the smell of bouillon cubes dissolving in hot water, but I never went as far as to suck on one.