Cows are still a very popular item in country and farmhouse decorating so I thought I would pair up two wonderful pieces that create an interesting gathering. This advertising tin pail boasting a cow’s head on the front surrounded by an intricate floral motif dates from 1875 to 1921. The darling Viscoloid cow calls home inside the tin and is very happy with her surroundings. The contents is also included.
”Cottolene” was actually a brand made of shortening using beef suet and cotton seed oil, as an alternative to lard produced in the U.S. from 1868 until the early part of the 19th century. The renamed “N.K. Fairbank Corporation of Chicago was purchased in 1875 by the “American Cotton Oil” company. The last two images show strategic ad campaigns for “Cottolene” shortening, one from 1897 (image 19) and the other is from 1905 (image 20).
The cow graphics on the front of the pail are still strong depicting no large losses. Appropriate surface wear is apparent throughout along with areas of limited rust mainly on the lower portion of the tin near the bottom. Images 6 & 9 portray an area of graphic loss (printing) on the back right side area under the title, “Important Directions”. However the rest of the printing is legible.
The lid was missing when I purchased this piece and so was the handle. We added a bail handle to complete the look although this pail would have originally come with a wire handle without the wooden carrying piece. Harry was able to replicated the wire pieces on both sides of the pail to accommodate the handle as shown in images 4, 8 & 9. He made the handle a little shorter so it could rest in the upright position which offers a great look! This tin is in overall good condition without any dents, holes or creases to report.
I decided to get creative by adding an array of interesting items inside the pail so the cow would feel more at home. She has flax, corn tassels and Sweet Annie that can be munched on and this cow will never go hungry! A sweet heart pod dotted with anise along with cones and half of a walnut shell grace the cheesecloth sporting color and interest. This pail was filled with kraft paper and chocolate brown excelsior to gain height and to create yet another texture.
It was the year of 1914 when the Viscoloid Company of Leominster, MA. decided to produce pyroxylin (also known as celluloid) toys and started production in 1923. This company soon became the leading celluloid toy manufacture in America and continued business until 1977. Although celluloid was a generic name for pyroxylin plastic, Viscoloid was a proprietary and essential material because of the exclusive manufacturing process incurred. This company produced their toys using a special “blow-molded” process. To achieve this, steam was blown between two thin sheets of Viscoloid placed side by side into a mold. The heat softened the material forcing it to acquire the molds shape. Ingenious, don’t you think?
This happy little cow is the result of the efforts by the company described above and her detailed features and personality are wonderful! Look at her face shown in image 12 that seems to resemble cows made in Germany depicting the distinct eyebrow feature. This full bodied cow has plenty of exciting texture attributes along with realistic facial features including horns. She is classified as a Charolais breed because of her solid light color and has roots stemming from the Emerald Isles. She is in great overall condition!
For convenience sake, this gathering is ready to display as soon as it is received. I can envision this piece holding high regard on a shelf in a cupboard or perhaps placed on a kitchen counter so she can keep you company while preparing meals. This one of a kind gathering is sure to please and will get attention where ever you choose to place it! Enjoy!
Pail stands 8 ¼” tall, measures 5 ½” across the top opening, measures 5” at the bottom. Cow stands 2” tall (head to feet), measures 4” across (head to tail), measures ¾” over rear area (front to back). Dried flower spray measures 8” by 2” across @ the widest point. Pods vary in size from 3”, 2” & 1”.