This was an important decade for brands - not least because The Grocer was launched!
As Britain quietly capitalised on the Industrial Revolution that had defined the first half of the century, the 1860s was a period of stability for Britain - at least, compared with other nations. America was in the grip of civil war (1861-5) Italy was witnessing a series of conflicts as it inched towards unification and Imperial rule was restored in Japan (1868).
In Britain, the International Exhibition of Industry and Science opened in London in 1862, followed by the opening of the first section of the London Underground in 1863. Linoleum was patented, and the first street trams were introduced.
As the population grew more urbanised, Britain’s social conscience was being awakened: one of the most prominent advocates of social reform was Joseph Rowntree, whose brother Henry founded Rowntree’s in 1862 and who himself joined the firm in 1869. The North of England Co-operative Society launched in Manchester in 1863, uniting 300 Northern co-ops, and subsequently came to be known as the Co-operative Wholesale Society - the precursor to The Co-operative Group.
Awareness of disease and its causes was also growing thanks to pioneering work such as Joseph Lister’s development of antiseptics, and many of the brands launched in the 1860s were developed to meet a particular physiological or nutritional need. The Aerated Bread Company (1862), for instance, used new technology that dispensed with the need to knead. Its bread famously involved ‘no sweat!’ - thought to be more sanitary.
Fisherman’s Friend (1865), originally an oil rather than the lozenges sold today, was developed by pharmacist James Lofthouse to ease deep-sea fishermen’s respiratory difficulties. And Liebig’s Extract of Beef (1865), the precursor of Oxo, was developed as an affordable alternative to real meat - although it was also marketed as a seasoning to appeal to better-off households.
Similarly, Rose’s lime juice (1867) became almost ubiquitous in the Navy because its invention coincided with the Merchant Shipping Act, which required all sailors in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy to be given daily lime rations (hence, many believe, the term ‘limey’).
History of Brands
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History of brands: the 1860s