|Food & Cigars Index|
From Al Trojanowicz:
In the early 1950s when I was little, I remember walking past a large commercial/factory building that made Spratt's pet food. They were a British company that originated dog biscuits (they called 'em dog cakes) but also made cat food too.
What was interesting about the building was that at the corner(s) near sidewalk level were glass frames with the "Spratt's" name made of 3D wooden letters in their trademark design of the shape of a "Scotty" dog. I think the letters were painted white on black, but some signs may have been black letters on white.
I would think this factory was in the area of Market Street and Riverbank Park. Does anyone remember the building or the signs. I would sure love to see a picture of it. I also wonder if this was their only plant in the USA.
Spratt's also marketed cat food, and for that had their name designed into the shape of a cat. Both designs were very clever.
From Pete Bruno:
Spratt's was the world's first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. Its "Meat Fibrine Dog Cake" was the brainchild of American entrepreneur James Spratt who launched the biscuit in London circa 1860.
Spratt's American operations coincided with the country's burgeoning love affair with dogs in the 1870s. Spratt’s Patent (America) Ltd. launched operations at 239-245 E. 56th St., New York City, but moved, in 1895, to Newark, NJ. In 1881, the company received an American patent for its "Meat Fibrine Dog Cake" and the product was sold coast to coast.
Spratt's became a relentless advertiser, convincing Americans who usually fed their dogs table scraps to buy a product they didn't need. The company employed snob appeal to hook the public, targeting participants and spectators at dog shows, and, in 1876, focusing on the centennial exhibition with free food for exhibitors. The company bought the entire front cover of the first journal of the American Kennel Club in January 1889 to broadcast its involvement with American and European kennel clubs, and to trumpet the company's "Special Appointment" to Queen Victoria. In the 1890s, Spratt's products retailed at approximately $7.00–$8.00 per hundredweight and even more for smaller portions—a considerable expense at a time when $1,000–$2,000 was the average annual income for a middle class American family. The company also targeted health-conscious dog owners and pioneered the concept of animal life stages with appropriate foods for the various stages. In the 1950s, General Mills acquired Spratt's US business.
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