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Biscuit tin manufacturer's sample - Exposition Biscuit

Exposition Biscuit

  • Object:

    Biscuit tin manufacturer's sample

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Huntley & Palmers (made for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Offset litho printed tinplate

  • Credit Line:

    Given by M. J. Franklin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ironwork, Room 114c, case 21, shelf 1

The British biscuit tin came about when the Licensed Grocer's Act of 1861 allowed groceries to be individually packaged and sold. Coinciding with the removal of the duty on paper for printed labels. It was only a short step to the idea of printing directly on to tinplate. The new process of offset lithography, patented in 1877 allowed multicoloured designs to be printed on to exotically shaped tins.

The most exotic designs were produced in the early years of the 20th century, just prior to the First World War. In the 1920s and 1930s, costs had risen substantially and the design of biscuit tins tended to be more conservative, with the exception of the tins targeted at the Christmas market and intended to appeal primarily to children. The designs, generally speaking are a barometer of popular interests.

The advent of the Second World War stopped all production of decorative tin ware and after it ended in 1945, the custom never really revived.

Physical description

Biscuit tin for manufacture's samples, offset litho printed tinplate, rectangular, decorated with a shield and laurel leaves on the lid.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1900 (made)


Huntley & Palmers (made for)

Materials and Techniques

Offset litho printed tinplate

Marks and inscriptions

On the lid.


Height: 1.2 cm, Width: 5.7 cm, Depth: 4.5 cm

Object history note

M.J. Franklin Collection of British Biscuit Tins (Advertising Ephemera)

Descriptive line

Biscuit tin, (free manufacturer's sample), `Exposition Biscuit', offset litho printed tinplate, England, made for Huntley & Palmers, 1900.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Michael Franklin, British Biscuit Tins, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1984, ISBN. 0905209621

Labels and date

FACTORY SAMPLES, ca. 1870-1930
Manufacturers often produced sample-sized boxes to promote their latest designs and products.
Museum Nos M.793, 799, 822, 826, 831, 840, 845, 846, 848, 857, 861-1983 [07/1994]




Offset lithography


Containers; Metalwork; Children & Childhood; Eating; Food vessels & Tableware

Production Type

Mass produced


Metalwork Collection

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