Huntley & Palmers got its start in 1822, and was originally based in Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain. It was one of the world’s first global brands, and ran the world’s largest biscuit factory by 1898 with 5,000 employees working a many facilities scattered over a 24-acre footprint.
From time to time, Huntley & Palmers would provide giveaway collector’s cards with the purchase of the goods, and in fact produced hundreds of cards of various theme.
All the cards had a colorful image on the front with details about their latest products on the reverse.
These cards were given out by retailers, and even then, these giveaway cards became much sought after by collectors.
This Aviation set, written in French (I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it was only for French consumers) was distributed in 1910, consists of a card-size of 3.375 inches (8.57 centimeters) wide x 4.50 inches (11.43 centimeters) high.
It is apparent that the images in this set show a very early aeroplane race. While all the images are brilliant, I really like Card #9 – showing the plane involved in a bit of friendly competition against an unsuspecting steam locomotive.
Of particular note, is that even though these cards are from 1910, the design featured prominently in this set is a monoplane!
The set of cards show on this blog are mine, and are a reproduction set from 2001 costing about CDN$10. Getting your hands on an original set will set you back about $950.
Now… although the writing on the card is in French, I will present the title first in English.
Card 1: Preparations for departure
Card 2: Exit the hangar
Card 3: Last glance
Card 4: Farewell
Card 5: The departure
Card 6: In full flight
Card 7: A failure
Card 8: The competitors beyond me
Card 9: A match (A game)
Card 10: Flight supreme
Card 11: The arrival
Card 12: The triumph
And – just because it needs to be shown, here is the reverse of the Aviation series of cards:
As for just what sort of aeroplane we are looking at – the French have always been proud of their heritage (and why not?), so since this is a French-language aviation series, I am making a leap that the plane must be of French-origin. Or Belgian. Maybe Switzerland.
Look… I apologize for ignoring French-Canada and the African nations and Luxembourg and Monaco. I just doubt there were any monoplanes made and flown there as of 1910, as there were not that many monoplanes out there, as the bi-plane was thought to be the practical and safe design. You know… more wings… more lift.
So… I am searching for a French built monoplane from 1910 (or earlier) with an open frame.
I will not search for a design with the proper tail, because it appears as though the tail changes in more than a few cards.
As of 1910, there were not many monoplanes to be seen. And French monoplanes? Also, with an open frame body.
Of course… one also has to consider that the artist may never have actually seen an aeroplane in his or her life. Or, if they had, what they saw was not a successful flier.
Now, it might surprise you, but the French were very keen and active in the design, manufacture and flying of aeroplanes of all types, and there are quite literally dozens of planes from 1910 alone that could be the plane in the trading card.
However… it is, I am sure, a Bleriot XI monoplane, and the pilot represents Louis Bleriot.
On July 25, 1909, Bleriot was the first person to fly across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air craft. Bleriot is presented here on Card #38 of the Wills’s Aviation 50-card set of 1910 where his Bleriot XI plane is featured. He also makes an appearance in card #67 of the Wills’s Aviation 75-card set, which I believe is from Australia or New Zealand and the year 1911 or 1912. As of January 2017 (I update these things – sometimes) I am not yet up to that card.
Here’s the Bleriot XI monoplane for comparison purposes:
Thanks for coming out. We hope you enjoyed the race.