Feast on FEASTO

July 5, 2010 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

The 1920s and 1930s were the golden era of the candy bar. War-time sugar shortages had inspired candy makers to stuff all kinds of “fillers” into candy form to keep prices lower and supplies up; the resulting innovations were the earliest forms of our modern candy bars of nuts, nougats, grains, caramel, coconut and the like. (See my post on Candy Bar Fillers.)

The earliest of the bars that began to appear in 1919 and 1920 were fantastic confections, to be sure. But candy makers seemed to be putting all their creativity into the candy. Modern marketing gimmicks were just a glimmer on the horizon.

Many of the bars of 1920 were marketed with names that were descriptive, but uninspiring. Planters Nut Co. (yes, the same) brought out the Chocolate Nut  Bar and the Chocolate Peanut Mound, which as you can see were just what they said they were.  D. Auerbach and Sons of New York offered an array of bars including Auerbach Chocolate Marshmallow, Auerbach Chocolate Pineapple Fruit, Auerbach Chocolate Cocoanut Cream. The Ideal Chocolate Company offered its Ideal Sweet Milk Chocolate with Toasted Almond Bar. Honest names, to be sure. You would certainly know what to expect from one of these.

Others had more fanciful names that still suggested what sort of candy you might find in your mouth.  The Cluster Cake, the Jelly Bun, Cocotene, Peanut Goodies, Tropical Nut and Fruit Cake, and Mapeline Walnut Cream bar were available from the C.S. Ball Candy Co. of Dayton, Ohio.

But a few candy bars were beginning to move in a more fanciful direction. Names like Mason’s Peaks, a chocolate coated coconut bar, didn’t so much describe a candy were named in a way that didn’t so much describe the candy as describe an experience. Such candy would rely much more heavily on advertising to make the connection between the idea and the confection.

When I’m mining the candy archive, I often hit on these long-gone candies that exist only in their advertising. And in many cases, all that we can know is the name. What was a Sambo bar like? or a Ouija bar? Both of these were on offer from the Euclid Candy Co. of Dayton, Ohio, but the ads focus on the names and not what is inside the wrapper.

What strikes me when I look at these earliest efforts to attach  names and ideas to candy bars is the wide range of possibilities that are evoked by the names. Candy can be anything! And you can be anything when you’re eating candy.

My favorite from this period is the Feasto Bar, “a luscious combination of chocolate, peanuts, marshmallow, and caramel”: Introduced in May 1920, Feasto is the first bar that I found that refers to the act of eating the bar in its own name. And the rotund figure at the bottom suggests, perhaps, the amplitude of satisfaction one will experience after a feast of Feasto.

Source: Advertising appeared in Confectioners Journal 1920, various issues.

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Entry filed under: Marketing, WWI to WWII. Tags: , , , , .

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

(C) Samira Kawash

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