3 different brands: Foster Clark’s “Sumshus” brand’s Jelly Crystals packaging, the original “Shirriff’s” Lushus package and “Stevens” Lushus packaging (via: LongWhiteKid)
I first noticed the 1930s triangular packaging for “Lushus” jelly crystals on artist & grocery archaeologist, Darian Zam’s LongWhiteKid site.
Although the same basic packaging has been sold under a number of different brand names (Shirriff, Stevens, Samshus) it was the Shirriff family that first developed the product and its triangular packaging:
During the same period that W.K. Kellogg was experimenting with cereals… F.A. Shirriff was actively developing the flavouring essences, jelly powders and marmalades that brought the Shirriff name into prominence.
Mr. Shirriff founded the Imperial Extract Company in 1883. During the 1920’s, the company developed the method of sealing flavour into a soluble capsule called a “bud”. It was a landmark discovery in food production. The new concept in flavouring dessert products was first applied to jelly powders that were put on the market under the “Lushus” brand.
The Blue Book of Canadian Business, 1981
On left: 1960s graphics on N. W. Stevens version of “Lushus” (from KiwiGames Flickr Photostream); on right: Foster Clark’s “Sumshus” brand’s Pineapple Jelly Crystals packaging (from Newcastle Cultural Collection)
An early triangular prism pack, I was delighted to discover that Shirriff also patented a hexagonal six-pack of close-packed individual cartons.
PACKED TO SELL THE PACKING SELLS THEM
The packing of Lushus is unique as the jelly. These gaily coloured triangular boxes—arranged on the clever stand— make an irresistible appeal whether in windows— on counters or on shelves.
Dairy Engineering, 1933
SHIRRIFF’S, LTD., Toronto, …has another unusual package. It comprises six triangular boxes nested together in a hexagonal cardboard base. Each box contains a different kind of dessert mixture. This package has proven quite successful, they say.
Food Engineering, 1935
In addition to the triangular Jelly Crystal box, there was also another polyhedral pack developed for Shirriff’s “Fancy Free” dessert…
(More of Lushus Jelly Crystals’ patented polyhedral packaging, after the fold…)
“Lushus,” “Fancy Free” and “Sweet Mystery” were 3 Shirriff brands that originally came in packages with unusual polyhedral structures. I haven’t been able to find photos of any surviving “Fancy Free” or “Sweet Mystery” packages, but newspaper ads and patent drawings provide us a glimpse into our polyhedral packaging past…
Shirriff’s “Fancy Free” dessert appears to have come in a rectangular carton with an oblique display face at the top. Granted a British Patent in 1938, G. E. Havinden (a UK distributor of Shirriff dessert products) notes that a key feature of this box shape it that—although exotic-looking—it could still be close-packed into a rectangular carton with no wasted space. (See Fig. 4 below)
Interestingly, Havinden credits Shirriff for the invention…
“Unusual Display Boxes Folding boxes or cartons for the display of goods are made in unusual form according to a patent (No. 488.723) granted to G. E. Havinden), of London (the invention being communicated by Shirriff’s Limited, of Toronto, Canada). The aim is to provide a form which, whilst being attractive for display purposes, will permit of easy packing of a number of the boxes for transport. In the accompanying drawings, Fig. 1 is a plan (not a perspective view) of a blank for a box or carton ; Fig. 2 is a perspective view showing the box or carton in partly erected condition ; Fig. 3 is a perspective view illustrating the method of packing the boxes or cartons ; and Fig. 4 is a perspective view showing the boxes or cartons packed in an outer box or carton which is shown partly open.”
In this 1944 newspaper ad, Shirriff manages to make its brand packaging seem simultaneously artistic and lascivious.
Eventually (by the mid-to-late 1940s?) Shirriff’s desserts were mostly packaged in ordinary rectangular cartons like Jello. [although there is some evidence that triangular “Lushus” packaging was still being sold in some places in the 1960s…] But although they largely abandoned their trademark triangular packaging, the company still found unusual ways of promoting its products.
This recording by Ken Nordine was released on an album entitled, “Flavour Bud in Way Out Sounds from Shirriff.”
More recordings from this album at Mr. Ed Music Roundup.