By Debbie McArdle
Candy containers and their history
The 19th century candy container was early packaging and merchandising at its best, designed to delight the affluent child, first with the candy and, afterwards, with the toy that remained. The early 1900s were the golden years for candy containers. The first commercially made in the late 1800s are generally of German origin, originally of a flour and paste recipe and later, mold-pressed papier-mâché, all with a hidden inner chamber to house the candy surprise. Begun as a cottage industry, companies in Germany, France, Japan and the U.S. expanded upon the idea and began to mass produce a wide variety of containers, not just in the original traditional materials, but also in glass, cardboard and tin litho to name a few.
“Any collection of holiday items (Easter, Christmas, Halloween, etc.) will ultimately lead to candy containers,” says collector Jackie Kojis who, decades ago, was busy collecting bears. “I have two candy containers with Roosevelt bears on them but bought them because I was collecting antique bears. Same with dog or cat containers … they often look like a stuffed toy and it’s a surprise the head comes off and the bodies are hollow!”
Jackie Kojis will be participating with Scott Tagliapietra, Lee and Roxanne Bernard and other advanced collectors in the special exhibit. “Antique Candy Containers” is comprised of many prized examples from personal collections. The exhibition can be seen at the Wisconsin Antique Dealers Association’s Fall Show, Oct. 5-6. These experts will be prepared to answer questions and to share their knowledge with other candy container enthusiasts.
Much more than candy containers offered
After visiting the special exhibit, guests can wander the three large rooms at the show. Exhibitors offer everything from vintage Christmas to fine jewelry to antique cupboards. The Waukesha County Expo Center’s Forum Building, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha, WI 53188, is the home of this semi-annual event. Show hours are Friday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Also at the show, antiques (more than 100 years old) and vintage (50-99 years old) items will be collected. These items will be sold by the Friends of the Wisconsin Historical Society in its upcoming “30th Star Benefit Antiques Auction.” Tax deductible receipts will be provided to all donors.
About the WADA show
The Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association, founded in 1948, is a not-profit organization that produces two antiques shows annually. Show admission ($7) funds college scholarships as well as grants to Wisconsin historic preservation groups. A $1 discount coupon for admission to the Antiques Show is available at www.WisconsinAntiquesDealers.com.
This article was originally published in Antique Trader magazine. If you like what you’ve read here, consider subscribing to the print or digital versions of Antique Trader it’s available for $26 per year (print) or $20 per year (digital) to receive 24 issues.
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