As children do today, children at the turn of the last century often found packages of candy under their Christmas trees. But the candy wasn't the as big a thrill as the boxes they came in.
The variety of candy containers was almost endless. They were made of glass, celluloid, paper maché, composition, wood, plastic, and everything else used to make toys and collectibles. Although you can still buy toys containing candies today, the golden age of candy containers was from the 1870s up into the 1920s.
Containers came in many shapes - animals (some covered with real fur), trees, people, historical figures, household appliances, furniture, decor, flowers, vehicles, holiday items, and anything else you could imagine.
My collection of candy containers is, of course, doll house furniture. I believe these were made in the early 1900s.
The red patterned armchair with matching side chairs and table is made of cardboard and covered with a print patterned paper.
When the boxes are opened you can see that the original shredded paper excelsior is still in place.
The furniture is a 1 inch to 1 foot scale, so each piece must have held only one or two pieces of candy.
The black patterned set doesn't have any excelsior, but the insides of the boxes have paper lace edging.
The construction is the same as the red set.
The sofa and the chaise would have contained more candy than the chairs, but, I am sure, would have cost more.
The piano is also paper-covered cardboard.
Here is a view of the piano looking down from the top.
The candy space is revealed when you push back the top of the piano.
Here are the two tables side-by-side for comparison of their construction.
The black patterned one has a wooden base. The red one has a base of thick cardboard.
The side chairs are identical in construction. The backs are slightly padded.
The arm chairs are quite large in comparison to the rest of the furniture. I guess these were for the father of the family. The construction is identical, but the chair on the right is missing a padded piece of cardboard on the back, which I assume represents a cushion.
You can find many other examples of antique candy containers on the internet by putting that phrase into a Google search.
I was amazed at the variety of items. Holiday themed containers like Santas and Jack O'Lanterns were very popular. Unusual papier-mâché and composition examples can bring very high prices.
There is even a Candy Container Collectors of America club.
I would have loved to find any of these wonderful items under my Christmas tree.
I wish they made such quality items to delight and entertain us today.
See more of Susan Hale's collection at Susan's Mini Homes here: http://susanshouses.blogspot.ca