Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Tin of the Week: No.3 - Jacob Biscuits

The Dublin based firm of W & R Jacob were known as biscuit manufacturers during the mid nineteenth century. It was after a trip to America in 1883 that family member George Jacob decided to develop a cracker based on the American soda-cracker that he had tasted on his travels. This led to the production of the 'Cream Cracker' in 1885, which proved to be so popular that it was soon being exported throughout the world.

This is a sample tin dating from the early 1900s

The popularity of the Cream Cracker led Jacobs to develop other lines of crackers and biscuits. Can you remember that staple of school lunchboxes - the Jacob's Club Biscuit? The way to eat it was to bite off all the chocolate on the edges first, then eat the biscuit. By the way, does anyone know if you can still buy these?  

Jacobs had two branches: the main company based in Ireland and an English branch based in Liverpool. However, in the 1920s these branches decided to separate and go their own ways, with the Dublin branch retaining the W & R Jacob name, whilst the Liverpool branch was renamed Jacob's Bakery Ltd. After the two companies reunited in 1990 under the name of Jacob's Biscuit Group, the company inevitably became the subject of various buyouts and internal divisions. Currently, the brand is jointly owned by United Biscuits and Jacob Fruitfield Food Group.

And here's a bit extra too, although not connected with tins! Thanks to the lovely Vix for tagging these questions.

I often receive similar emails from friends and love answering them, so I've posted my answers to these questions that appeared on Vix's blog here. At least you'll know a bit more about me!

1. If you won a free vacation, would you choose Mountains or the Beach ? and of course, Why ?

It would have to be beach holiday somewhere hot with clear blue sea and white sandy beaches.

2. What is your favorite Movie of all time ? 

This is difficult, but I would go for The Titfield Thunderbolt
3. Sent to a desert island for a whole month ! What 3 things must you take? Bikini's not allowed ;) 

A wind-up radio (I need Radio 4), the Complete Diaries of Samuel Pepys (for the gossipy style of writing) and my Swiss Army Knife (the most practical item in my surveying kit)

4. I just gave you 500 bucks to shop with!  Which store and why ?   

Well that wouldn't go far in a top-end vintage clothes shop with my Ossie Clark lust, so I'd go out and buy an old classic banger

 5. What would your life's theme song be ? Why ? 

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. Its 1978, I'm nine years old  and suddenly this woman in a red dress is on the tv singing away like nothing else I've ever heard and I'm completely hooked.

 6. If you could teach a child one thing you've learned, what would it be ? 

A sense of humour is priceless, especially if what makes you laugh as a child can make you laugh decades later (Kenny Everett - I owe you one!)

 7. Who is your Hero ? 

Kate Bush

 8. And last but not least! If you could ask God one question, what would it be ? 

Is there an afterlife?
And an extra, though you don't have to answer. Shaving or waxing ?

A bit of both, though dependant on time available.

And a few more...

1. What is your dream job? 

Opening up my own knitting and vintage shop

2. What is your favourite item of clothing? 

Narrowing it down to two, I'd say my black Ossie Clark dress  and a very faded and old Levi's denim jacket that a boyfriend gave me.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? 

As I am now and still very happy

4. Who is your celebrity crush? 

James May. He once flashed a lovely smile at me and made my day!

5. If you could go on holiday anywhere in the world where would you go? 

Egypt and visit the places where my Mum lived before moving over here.

6. What made you start blogging?

None of my friends share my love of vintage stuff and can't understand why I like to dress up in vintage clothes and eat off vintage plates! At least here, I'm in good company amongst like-minded people.

7. If you had unlimited funds and could splurge on one item what would it be?

I would buy back my old Reliant Scimitar SE5a and have it completely overhauled, with a tuned up engine, novelty air-horn and burgundy respray.

8. What never fails to make you smile?
 My 4 year old daughter's comments about life

P.S. Thanks to Husband, I have now got my tickets for some events at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival. There are some really interesting people appearing this year; but who on earth programmed both Nigella Lawson and Cath Kidston to undertake separate talks at the same time on the same night?! Well, after some thought I've decided to miss the lovely Nigella and see Ms. Kidston instead (at least she was the cheaper option!).


  1. Club Biscuits are still going strong in lots of flavours, and still as good as they always were,which isn't always the case with things you remember as a child.

    If you could do a talk at the festival what would it be on :)

    Cate x

  2. I have a hankering for a Club, right now! mmmm, that chocolate was so thick and yummy. That little tin is a treat, so cute.

    I loved your answers so much. I'm going to have to check out The Titfield Thunderbolt for the name alone. I like your reason for blogging, it astounds me how many like-minded people I've met since I started, it's so exciting. James May though? That's weird!!!!


  3. Thanks Cate, I'll keep a look out for them. I thought that they had disappered for ever. I remember liking the mint ones best. As for my talk, I'm going to sound like a real history bore, but it would be about the cookery book as a guide to social history..... you can wake up now!

  4. Hi Vix - not as weird as Jeremy Clarkson though! Mind you, Motorhead's Lemmy Kilminster was only just pipped to the post by Mr. May.

  5. Thank you for telling the history of the tins again. Yes you can buy Club biscuits still - try Iceland!!!
    The Titfield Thunderbolt is one of my favourite films and so is the Iron Maiden
    Julie xxxx
    Please could you tell me about my tin?

  6. Hi Julie - I'll check out Iceland then! Yes, sure I'll try and tell you about your tin - can you point me in the direction of a photo?

  7. Scanned the side panel but couldn't find an email address to email a picture but you may know it from the descripton:
    It is the Cottage shape tin with Tuckers of Totnes - established 1800 printed on the bottom. I bought the tin with my pocket money in the mid 1960's so I must have been about eight at the time. It would have had fudge in because I do not like toffees.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  8. Julie, all I can find out about Tuckers is that the company was brought by another south-west based confectionary company, Bristows of Crediton, in 1993. Sorry that I can't be of any further help.

  9. I never knew Jacob crackers had their own tins!

    Loved reading you Q&A, the James May crush made me laugh! And opening your own knitting and vintage shop sounds like the ultimate dream.. and one I share!

    Tamzin X

  10. Thanks Tamzin, I'd love to be able to go for the shop idea and actually summon up the nerve to do it, but then I do enjoy my actual job, so perhaps its an idea for the retirement!

  11. Glad you found me Vintage Knitter so that I could find you right back! Enjoying having a roottle around in here...lovely images, lively debate. What more could a gal wish for? ;-)

  12. Hi Murgatroyd and welcome. I'm glad you've enjoyed your rootle - have fun!

  13. Hello, just found your blog, ive been reading back through all your posts! i love all your vintage treasures dotted around your home, ive been longing for a vintage/retro kitchen maid cupboard for so long now but our little cottage would break at the seams! fliss xxx

  14. Hi Fliss, thanks for your comment and for following me. Hope you enjoyed your read through the 'back issues'!

  15. Hey! Just stopped by to ask a favor from a fellow vintage-chick.

    I have entered a contest to win a walk-on role on the retro-licious show "Mad Men".

    If you would take two seconds to vote for me, I would really appreciate it. Just go to my blog, or use this link to go straight to my photo page.


    Thanks a bunch!


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