Mackintosh's Toffee Candy Tin

Mackintosh's Toffee Candy Tin

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This green, rectangular tin with white and red writing and black and white design once contained Mackintosh's Extra Cream Toffee. The design includes a picture of John Mackintosh proclaiming himself as the Toffee King.
John Mackintosh began his toffee shop in 1890 in Halifax, England. His wife had created a recipe combining hard butterscotch candies and American soft caramel which became a huge success. Within five years, he moved from a retail business to a manufacture and wholesale business and began calling himself the “toffee king.” The company continued to grow and expand over the years. In 1899, he changed his company to John Mackintosh Ltd, and in 1920 after his death, his son Harold changed the company once again to John Mackintosh & Sons Ltd. In 1969, the company merged with Rowntree & Company to form Rowntree Mackintosh. In 1988, Rowntree Mackintosh was taken over by Nestlé.
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 Kingdom: England, Calderdale, Halifax
United States: New Jersey
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
overall: 16.3 cm x 10.2 cm x 15.9 cm; 6 7/16 in x 4 in x 6 1/4 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Can Manufacturers Institute
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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