Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretty vintage sales cards

I don't have a large collection of vintage ephemera, but I do own a few pieces - mostly postcards. Among my more unusual pieces are these wonderful advertising placards which I purchased thru Ebay a few years ago. The cards, which measure about 4 x 9 inches in size, are from a Burlington, Iowa company called John Blaul's Sons Co. They were probably used by the sales force of this eastern Iowa wholesale grocer to promote the "Four BBBB" product brand. They could have been used as premiums or trading cards, or perhaps they were intended to have a small month-by-month calendar stapled to the lower half.

With pieces like these, I like having a bit of history to put them into context. Although they aren't dated, the printing quality and images look to me to possibly date from the early 1900's. The John Blaul's Sons Co. began in 1856 in Burlington, run by Mr. John Blaul who was eventually aided by his sons John Jr., Charles, Theodore and Louis. Originally a grocery, the Blaul family expanded their operations over time to include wholesale grocery distribution, coffee/tea & spice manufacturing, and canning. They also expanded into nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During its heyday in Burlington, the company employed as many as 150 people, plus 18 traveling salesmen. Later, John Blaul Jr.'s sons Milton and Mark took over the family business. They sold the company to the Benner Tea Company in 1954.

More soon!

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