Ads From The 1800s


"Soup of some kind, and of varying degrees of excellence, may be said to form an essential part of the dinner of civilized man wherever you find him." ~Culinary Wrinkles: Or how to use Armour's Extract of Beef

When I read this advertisement, the things that popped out to me were 1) little children dressed up in formal wear and how that fit with the culture of the day, and 2) what was "Culinary Wrinkles" and what did they have to say about Armour's Extract of Beef?  So, of course, this is where I started my research...but I only made it through one of my thoughts above.

I decided to start with a short article entitled, "Culinary Wrinkles: Or how to use Armour's Extract of Beef," which I found as an 8-page PDF at Duke University Library's Digital Collections website.  You can view the whole thing (quite short) by clicking on the link above.  The official "Culinary Wrinkles" was apparently a full-length book of practical recipes for using Armour's Extract of Beef, which was written by Mrs. Ida Palmer and published by Armour & Company in Chicago. 

It contains over 58 recipes in a WIDE range of categories - things you would never really think to make with soup (or maybe some of you would): Eggs a la Creme, Creamed Lobster, and Aspic Jelly.  Both this book and the shorter article (of the same name) that I included above seek to prove that making soup with Armour's Extract of Beef is cheaper, quicker, more versatile, and just as good, if not better than home-made soup.  Sounds like the general gist of new "technologies" today. The Duke Library article puts it this way: "It [Armour's Extract of Beef] takes the place of meat and soup bones in soup-making, supplies the foundation for gravies and meat sauces, strengthens and flavors stews, curries, and salads.  Armour's Extract is made from prime lean beef, and the process of manufacturing is mechanical, perfectly clean, and uniform."

Modernism and the influence of the Industrial Revolution made terms like "mechanical," "perfectly clean," and "uniform" part of the mandatory checklist for American consumers.  The mechanization and "simplification" of lives through new inventions and technology were part of the essential fabric of everyday life.  It was as if the scientific world was packaging the latest and greatest discoveries and sending them right to your front door! (for only $1.00 S/H) 
See mad scientist below...

In closing, here are some tid-bits I found out about Armour & Company:

    *They sold every kind of consumer product made from animals: meat and meat products, glue, oil, hairbrushes, oleomargarine, buttons, fertilizer, and drugs.
    *During the Spanish-American War (1898), they sold 500,000 pounds of beef to the U.S. Army; an army inspector found that 751 of the cases contained rotten meat, which resulted in the food poisoning of thousands of soldiers.
    *At its peak, Armour & Company employed over 50,000 people.
    *Although it closed its Chicago slaughterhouse in 1959, Armour & Company continued making and marketing "Dial" soap, deodorant, and shaving cream.
    *In 1970, Greyhound Corporation bought Armour-Dial and moved the headquarter to Phoenix, Arizona.  In the early 1980s, after strikes and unprofitable ventures, the meatpacking portion of Armour was sold to Con-Agra Foods, Inc., but Greyhound retained the meat canning portion and licensed the Armour-Star brand name.
    *Armour-Dial acquired the Purex Corporation, Twenty-Mule-Team Borax, and Breck's hair products.  The company changed its name to The Dial Corporation in 1991.
    *Many more changes happened within the company, and the Dial Corporation sold off its food-related brands in 2006/07, but you can still buy Armour hotdogs, vienna sausages, and more, which are now owned by Smithfield Foods.

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