W. H. Baker's Cocoa Tin
W. H. Baker's Cocoa Tin
- This yellow and brown container once held W. H. Baker's drinking cocoa. The front contains a multi-colored design of a woman sipping chocolate.
- William Henry Baker formed his cocoa business in 1893 near Winchester, Virginia. There were at least two legal battles between W. H. Baker and Walter Baker & Co (or Baker’s Chocolate) of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Baker’s believed W. H. Baker was fraudulently trying to capitalize on the Baker name and intentionally mislead customers who had intended to buy Baker’s Chocolate but were being sold W. H. Baker’s Chocolate. In each instance, W. H. Baker was required to change his packaging to clearly highlight the difference between Baker's Chocolate and W. H. Baker's Chocolate. When he passed away in 1915, the business passed to his sons, who sold it to another confectionary company which went out of business in the 1930s.
- Chocolate had been known and treasured by Native Americans in Central and South America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first Spanish explorers in the late 1400s and early 1500s. Cacao beans were so highly prized by Mayans and Aztecs that they were used as currency in many areas of the Americas. When first taken back to Europe by the Spanish, the chocolate drink continued to be produced exclusively for the enjoyment of royalty or the extremely wealthy. As the cacao bean gradually made its presence known throughout Europe, it still remained trapped in this exclusive section of society well into the 19th century.
- The chocolate trade to North America began more than 300 years ago, primarily centered in or near major port cities of the time, such as New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Newport, RI. Due to lower transportation costs, chocolate was often less expensive in the Americas than in Europe and therefore had a broader consumer base. The Industrial Revolution radically changed chocolate production and helped propel it into the hearts and stomachs of the working class. Instead of being a labor intensive product, it became entirely machine made reducing costs even further in the late 19th and early 20th century. During this time, chocolate went from being something a person drank to being something to eat, finally becoming a treat for the masses.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- container, food
- place made
- United States: Virginia, Winchester
- overall: 5 in x 3 1/2 in; 12.7 cm x 8.89 cm
- ID Number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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