Although large plastic tubs of sweet assortments are a regular feature of supermarkets these days, their origin lies in these large sweet tins which lined confectioner’s shelves for many years (alongside large glass sweet jars.) You chose your favourite and they would be sold from the tin (or jar) in four ounce paper bags. The bright designs and graphics would catch your eye (and make choosing even harder!). Each tin held a standard 6lbs weight of sweets. Once they were empty, the tin would be returned to the manufacturer and earn the shop a deposit of something like 2/6d.
Inevitably not all the tins would make it back to base, as they were useful for any number of household storage purposes and still turn up, full of buttons, plastic soldiers or photographs. A couple of recent purchases of particularly eye-catching designs inspired me to photograph a selection for this blog.
Cadbury are still the biggest chocolate name on the block (though it’s not a patch on what it used to be like since the American owners took over), and the Lucky Numbers assortment was launched in 1958. At first the packaging was fairly bland but before long they made more of the fact that each sweet had a different number on the wrapper and went for a poppier marketing approach. The brand was phased out in 1968. Several of the old TV adverts for the range are out there on YouTube, including one featuring this very tin! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcC-dApfHyc
Even more remarkably some years ago I found a dealer with an unopened eight ounce cardboard box of Lucky Numbers, which teases me from a cabinet to this day.
If I remember Lucky Numbers fondly, Nestles Flair Assortment doesn’t ring a bell, but the tin looks fantastic, with illustrations of the different wrappers all over. I would think this is from the early 1960s.
Pascall Fruit BonBons are a sweet which anyone who bought them will remember well, being a boiled sweet outer shell with a soft centre. Although many sites suggest this brand originated in Australia in the 1930s, Pascall’s were in fact an old established confectioners based originally in London in the 1860s, but moving to a new factory in Mitchum around 1897 on farm land they had purchased nine years before (now demolished and replaced by an industrial estate.) They were part of Cadbury-Fry by the early 1960s.
The sweets are still made in the UK but now sold under the Bassetts name, and in Australia under the original Pascalls brand.
The lovely painted artwork makes this 1960s tin really stand out, and matches the designs on the individually wrapped sweets. This tin turned up at an antique centre recently and was in such good condition I thought it was a reproduction at first, but was clearly original on closer examination.