9. Premiums for Bee Soap Wrappers. Over
200 Articles. 1000 Books. Something for Old Folks, Young People,
and Little Folks.
This little catalogue of premiums available from the Colgate Company is an early example of a corporation promoting its products with a tie-in to a popular work of children's literature. During the 1890s, the Brownie books of Palmer Cox (1840-1924) were the equivalent of J. R. Rowling's Harry Potter series, igniting a fire storm of commercial spin-offs, of which the Brownie camera is the best known.
Here one of Cox's Brownies in an academic robe and a mortar board
(possibly an allusion to scientific showmen) lectures to his fellow
elves about the virtues of Bee Soap. In the lower left hand corner,
a Brownie inserts a slide into a magic lantern which is the same
model being offered as a premium for 250 black bees clipped from Bee
Soap wrappers. One could be obtained for only 55 black bees and 78-cents'
worth of postage stamps, but that still must have been a lot of soap
for Mother to buy!