Cooks Imperial Wine Serving Tray, American Wine Co., St. Louis, MO 1902

This is a serving tray from the Cooks Imperial Brands of Wine and Champagne, manufactured by the American Wine Company in St. Louis, MO, 1902.  The American Wine Company was one of the largest wine producers in the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The Cook’s Imperial Brand was the largest selling champagne in the U.S.

The Cooks brand featured the top hat man in their early advertising starting in 1902. Interestingly, the top hat man was also used by the Lemp Brewery in St. Louis as their advertising mascot.  However, the character was slightly different and looked more distinguished on the Lemp tray compared to the Cooks tray.  The top hat character on this Cooks tray is drinking champagne and eating oysters in the scene however is not very sophisticated looking. Both the Cooks and the Lemp top hat trays were produced by the Chas. Schonk Advertising Art company based in Chicago, IL.  The American Wine Company went out of business with the start of Prohibition in 1918.