Nectar Brand spice store bin for black pepper

This is a Nectar Brand Spice display bin manufactured by St. Louis Coffee & Spice Mills located in St. Louis, Missouri circa 1910. It highlights “Ground Black Pepper” on the top and was intended to store a large quantity of pepper at a general store for customers to scoop from. This decorative dark blue store display accentuates its colorful lithographic illustrations with orange, aqua, green, gold, yellow and cream colors. The front and center of this lithographic tin features a woman with wings encircled with the words, “Strength. Purity. Flavor”. The front reads, “Nectar Brand Spices, St. Louis Coffee & Spice Mills.” Both sides prominently showcase the brand name “Nectar Coffee, Tea, Spices” for better visibility. The manufacturer of the display bin, Columbia Can Co. St. Louis, is included in a small inscription on each side. This rectangular-shaped bin is sizable for a spice container measuring 11” tall, 9” long and 6” wide. It is hinged on the top to make it easier for opening. The top of this bin reveals a message, ”Guaranteed Pure Serial No. 7988.” It was important for a food manufacturer to guarantee its purity after “The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.” This was the first of a series of important consumer protection laws to prevent misbranded or harmful foods, medicines or liquors. Eventually, bulk foods stored in shared containers were slowly replaced with individual packages or tins. This was a significant change after people more widely-accepted the “Germ Theory of Disease” during that same time period. Consumers embraced the belief that germ-infested hands that touched public food, such as from the communal food containers in general stores, could cause contagious diseases. Lithography Process The lithographic artwork on these types of bins was the best way for products to stand out on counters and shelves of the general stores and grocery stores. Tin advertising went through a lithographic process, a printing method that started in the early 1800’s. The lithography process was made easy with the invention of the lithographic offset press. The process printed one color for each run through the press. Accordingly, each color required a new printing plate for the individual color application. So the more colors on the tin, the longer and more complicated it was to produce the item. Today, lithographic advertising collectibles such as this Nectar brand spice display bin are highly sought after by antique advertising collectors because of their unique company history, bright colors, striking artwork and rarity.