1862-1939 is our oldest subcategory of sustenance and taste sensation advertising. Thereafter the subdivisions are broken up by decade: 1940-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, 2010-2019.
It is astonishing how text heavy ads from this time period were. Only the legalese of drug advertisements warnings have as much text these day. Our oldest food ad (it’s actually a book that instructs you how to better grow food) from 1888:
From the Youth’s Companion, 1898, we have a Quaker Oats ad that pre-dates the formation of the Quaker Oats company (which formed in 1901–until that time it was called the Quaker Mill Company). We also have an ad for Beardsley’s Shredded Codfish which leverages the abstentions of lent by letting the devout know that they can still indulge in a delightful dish of fish cream and fish balls.
Also from the Youth’s Companion, 1898, is this romantic little Wheat Germ ad:
I do not have exact dates for the following four ads, but I guess they are from approximately 1900.
“This four year old girl was raised entirely on Eskay’s food.” & “For Infants and Invalids.” This is so very sinister:
I am John Mackintosh the Toffee King, and just as the moon controls the tides, I control your children:
From 1901, this may be the ugliest ad that I have ever seen:
We have many Libby’s ad from different time periods. This one, from 1904, I believe is our oldest:
I remember deviled ham sandwiches (as if I were Joe Brainard). I didn’t care for them as a child, but I could really go for one right now. 1924:
1930 era Pep cereal depicts the boy of the house usurping the man of the house (not pictured) to the great adoration of the woman of the house.
The bread diet, 1939!
And finally, also from 1939, a comic ad for All-Bran featuring “The Regulars” sharing a page with a fencing baby.