July 23, 2014

Emily's Scrapbook

Emily Meek was my husband's grandmother who died when he was quite young.  A few of her things have trickled down to us, one of which is a very battered, deteriorating scrapbook filled with what must have been the prized collection of her youth.
Pasted inside are dozens of Lion Coffee collectable cards, carefully saved from the one pound sacks of coffee probably purchased by her parents.  I believe she saved these as a youth because intermingled with the cards are awards of merit from school and classmate's name cards (to be discussed in a future blog).

Lion Coffee was first roasted and bagged in 1864 in Toledo, Ohio by L. B. Shattucck, who also had a spice grinding business, all located on Summit Street. The Lion Brand Company carried on under several different owners until 1882.
After the Civil War, a young man named Alvin Woolson, returned home to Ohio, and after trying his hand working with the railroads in the West, he came back to Wauseon, Ohio, where he started in the grocery business in 1875.  Eventually, he married and moved to Toledo where he formed the Woolson Spice Company, after buying the foreclosed Lion Brand Co.  
He wanted to make Lion Coffee a nationally known brand and he worked hard at advertising. Much money was spent on newspaper advertising and big ad campaigns.  Buyers could save wrappers or cut out lions' heads to turn in for premiums. Giveaways included dolls and sheet music.   Offering these colorful picture cards, some three dimensional, in every pound of coffee was another lure to buyers.
Woolson retired and in 1897, he sold his business for about two million dollars.

But the subsequent owners did not do well, and eventually, the assets of the company were taken over by the Lucas County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court.  Lawsuits had been filed against the new owners for fraud.  And there it was until 1980 when a company from Hawaii obtained the rights to the Lion Coffee name and the assets of the old Woolson Company.  Lion Coffee was born again in Hawaii and can be purchased today under that name.

The cards in the scrapbook are bright in color and beautifully printed.  Sadly, I have not been able to safely remove some of them from their glued existence on the yellowed scrapbook paper.  About half have just fallen off the page and remain in great condition.

Front and back views of some stand-up shadow pictures

"The cup that cheers but not inebriates."
"A luxury within the reach of all."
"Lion is the King of Coffees!"
"A beautiful picture card in every package."

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