Friday, March 18, 2016

Golden Fleece Margarine Antique Dairy Slab


Advertising transferware looks so good in the kitchen, whether you've got one fully stocked with the finest appliances and accoutrements available or a kitchen void of top notch bells and whistles, these antique pieces add a charm to any style that can't easily be replicated.   I've bought and sold these pieces for a while, and along the way have acquired several that I just adore.    

 The piece I'm showing, below, is by Royal Doulton and was made around 1930 to advertise Golden Fleece Margarine, as you have probably surmised just by looking at it!   

It is made of very heavy ironstone that's about 1/2" thick all around.  It stands on three feet that run the length of the piece.


You can probably tell from my pictures that it has some serious damage.  I had it shipped from England and it arrived in pieces, some of them looked like they'd been pulverized into a powder.  I really believed it was a goner...but I couldn't bare to throw it out so I glued it together as best I could.  Fortunately it still displays fairly well even though you can see a big crack through the letters I and N and over the E above.  The back part of the slab suffered the most damage and has got some big chunks missing but they are hidden by the old fashioned style glass canisters which hold my flour and sugar.  They fit in the space perfectly!  I had bought this to resell but knew I'd not get much for it in the condition it was in...so in a way, well in this case anyway,  it turned out quite nicely for me because I wouldn't have been able to keep it otherwise!  It's a favorite piece of mine.



I use a couple of transferware teacups in my glass canisters as scoops.  They really serve the purpose well.  They add a bit of color and look adorable in the canisters.  If you have any spare cups, this is a fun and stylish way to repurpose them.  At one time, I had a canister full of peanuts that the kids could scoop out with the teacups as a snack. 


 Here is a another photo with orphaned red transferware cups in the canisters.  I'm in the process of doing a little rearranging of things on the kitchen counters and am trying to keep most everything brown and green in here, so far as the transferware goes, and use the reds in my dining and living rooms.



 I wasn't able to find much information on the Golden Fleece Margarine company other than a reference or two regarding the food regulations of margarine in the United States, and I know that dairy slabs similar to this are few and far between to come by anyway, so that wasn't a huge surprise to me.


I did however learn a little more about the invention of margarine, some of which I knew but I had originally believed it to have been invented during WWII and learned it was invented much earlier than that.  It had just been popularized during WWII because of the butter shortage in the U.S.

 Here's a little more margarine information for those of you who care to know!  

In 1869 Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France offered a prize to anyone who could make a satisfactory substitute for butter that would be suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes.  French chemist Hippolyte Mege-Mouries invented a substance he called oleomargarine.  Later the name was shortened to the trade name 'Margarine'.  Margarine originally was white and because of that, it wasn't appealing to many because it resembled lard.   Dairy farms, mostly in Wisconsin, became alarmed and were instrumental in getting legislation passed to prohibit the coloring of the white product.  The margarine companies then decided to include a package of yellow dye with each purchase so you could stir it into your margarine to give it the desired appearance of butter.  It wasn't until 1955 that the coloring laws were repealed and margarine was again sold looking like butter.


One thing I did find while searching for information on Golden Fleece was this very rare, C. 1900 antique store fitting at 1st Dibs advertising the margarine on a Carrera Marble surround with a painted fruitwood base.  



It's fabulous!  It has a slate slab fitting on top of the table which you can barely see in the photo below.  Wouldn't this be fantastic in a kitchen as a small island or accent piece?  I just love it!


But I must say that I'm perfectly contented to have my broken margarine slab just as it is. Where it is.








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