“Kitchen Klenzer” from Steadmans’ Corner
1. Droste Effect
First sold in 1908, Kitchen Klenzer is another example of an early packaged product whose illustrated label, in attempting to depict the product “in use,” wound up creating a recursive “Droste Effect.” (Named after Droste cocoa, which was packaged in a similarly recursive illustrated container.)
Kitchen Klenzer label via: Vintascope
A somewhat later version (late 1940s? early 1950s?) for sale on eBay for $18
(2 other things about Kitchen Klenzer, after the fold…)
Much of Kitchen Klenzer success was attributed to their newspaper advertising—some of which featured anthropomorphic Kitchen Klenzer cans.
3. Off-Label Use…
A CHEAP BELT CLEANER
While visiting a factory recently, the writer noticed several cans of “Kitchen Klenzer” among the machine supplies, and wishing to know to what use this preparation was put, he questioned the foreman of the department. For answer the foreman walked over to a machine and rubbed a thick coating of oil on the contact side of the driving belt; he then started the machine and the belt immediately began to slip. Taking a can of “Kitchen Klenzer” he sprinkled some of the preparation on the belt. After this was done he let the machine run for a few minutes, and then, bringing the machine to a stop, called attention to the fact that the oil had disappeared from the belt. The powder had absorbed all the oil and then worked off the belt leaving it clean.
The foreman explained that he found out about the belt cleaner through an agent who came into the plant one day with a can of “Quick Belt Cleaner.” After a demonstration of the efficiency of his powder, the company purchased several cans. A short time afterward, the label on the can, having become oil-soaked, was removed, and it revealed the original label “Kitchen Klenzer.” The agent’s label had simply been pasted over the original label. As the agent charged 30 cents a can and “Kitchen Klenzer” can be bought at almost any grocery store for 6 cents a can, it is needless to say that he did no more business with the company.
Machinery Magazine, 1919