1911 Philadelphia Caramel Company 15-Card Aviation Set

s-l1600-1AJ1.jpgHaving had my head stuck researching cards in the Wills’s Aviation card series’, I have been blind to many other period card sets involving aviation.

This time, let’s take a look at the 1911 set of 15 Airships cards from Philadelphia Caramel Company – apparently of Camden, New Jersey, United States of America.

The card set is designated in the collector volumes as E40.


A very cool business card for a Mr. W.H. Good of the Philadelphia Caramel Company circa 1910. Dig the horse-and-buggies in the two images.

As the cards’ reverse states, it is the largest packers of candies with picture gifts (cards) in the United States. It also mentions what other collector cards were issued by them before this… and I know that they issued baseball cards in 1909 and 1910.

Designated by the collector’s guides as series E40, the 15-card set is handsome enough, reminiscent of the Wills’s cards artwork on the front, but lacking any aviation information on the reverse.

The cards lack a specific number, and do not state how many cards there are in a series, but at 15, it would appear to be an easy enough series to collect, if you were collecting back in 1911.

It appears to be a tough set to find nowadays, however. Available, but pricey.

I guess fewer people ate caramels than smoked tobacco, implying that fewer cards were issued.


Here’s an advertisement card depicting the manufacturing facility of the Philadelphia Carmel Company of Camden, NJ, circa 1906.

On a brief glance at the cars, however, I did notice a spelling gaffe on one of them: the Langler aeroplane… I’m pretty sure they mean Langley.

It’s not a typo. It’s a flat-out error. Langley had been quite well-known in the field of aviation before the issue of these cards in 1911. The error was never corrected during the print run—to the best of my limited knowledge.

You can read about Langley HERE, in an article I wrote for this blog.

Be aware, despite evidence to the contrary, the cards were issue with square corners – NOT rounded ones. The card dimensions are: 1½ × 2⅝ inches.

Above is the complete set of 15, less the Wright Brother’s card, below.


The whole 15 card set (image at top plus the Wright card sealed) was selling for US$180 on E-Bay, plus $17.85 in shipping and $28.82 in import charges if you are outside the U.S…. meaning, if you were a Canadian collector like myself, the mostly Good/Very Good cards are selling for US$226.67. It’s not a bad collection to purchase, condition-wise, I just feel the price is a little steep.

Consider also that the set price dropped by about 50 dollars from the precious time the same set was put up for sale.

I think that’s a little high… but obviously, any buyer supports the theory of “what the market will support.”

The unnumbered 15 cards in the series are, in alphabetical order. I have provided live links to some of the articles I have created previously for the topic, but not for these cards – still… the information will be correct. At some point, I will create articles for all of these cards here:

  1. BALDWIN, Dirigible;
  2. BATES, Biplane;
  3. BLERIOT, Monoplane;
  4. CHINESE, Dirigible;
  5. CURTISS, Biplane;
  6. FARMAN, Biplane;
  8. KNABENSCHUE, Dirigible;
  9. LANGLER (sic Langley), Monoplane;
  10. LATHAM, Monoplane;
  11. LEFEBVRE, Biplane;
  12. REPULBLIQUE, Dirigible;
  13. SANTOS DUMONT, Dirigible;
  14. ZEPPELIN, Dirigible;
  15. WRIGHT, Biplane.

Below, are close-up examples of some of the cards in the set – from another seller, who was selling individual cards:


Really, this is the Langley Monoplane… a success as a gas-powered mini model, but a tremendous failure as a real aircraft in 1903. In 1914, Glenn Curtiss successfully flew a modified version of this aircraft. So it had potential in 1903. It just needed Curtiss to find it.




Always more to collect! And research.














About mreman47

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat. He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. He has written and been an editor for various industrial magazines, has scripted comic books, ghost-written blogs for business sectors galore, and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. He works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers - even though it takes him so much time to do. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.
This entry was posted in Aviation Art, Heavier-Than-Air, Lighter-Than-Air, Tobacco Card, Zeppelins & Dirigibles and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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