N. K. Fairbank & Co., advertising trade cards

Anonymous, United States, (c. 1880-1890)

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • Fairbank’s Cherubs

  • Presented with the compliments of N.K. Fairbank & Co., lard refiners, Chicago & St. Louis
  • [cc. 890], print on card stock
  • 3 x 4.3 in. (7.6 x 10.8 cm.)
  • Private Collection
  • Editor’s Note:

    In the United States in the 1870s, the rapid growth in manufacturing necessitated the need to build new markets for manufactured goods and maintain them. The Fairbank Co. successfully used the technique of a long series of trade cards advertising their lard products.

    Familiar poetry, art, literature and famous people were all strategically adapted or punned in references to the Fairbank Co.’s products. The pig cherubs above are a parody of the Sistine Madonna (c.1513-1514) by Raphael (1483-1520), an oil on panel in the Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S HEAVY WEIGHT

  • A dream of the sweet bye and bye. 400 lbs.
  • (cac. 80-1890), print on card stock
  • approx. 3 x 4.3 in. (7.6 x 10.8 cm.)
  • Private Collection

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S LARD

  • Can be had of any FIRST CLASS Grocer in the UNITED STATES.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S LARD

  • No swill here, nothing but pure corn juice.
  • What is home without a mother?

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S LARD

  • will fatten the youngsters.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • SAMPLE HOG

  • from which N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S Lard is made.
  • Corn makes me king.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S CHOICE FAMILY LARD

  • from selected hogs.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • No Water in this Brand of LARD.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S FAMILY LARD

  • MADE FROM THE CHOICEST CORN FED HOGS.
  • Children! Come here at once.
    Dont you know better than to associate with those slop fed Pigs?

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S LARD

  • is Pure CORN JUICE Boiled down.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • N.K. FAIRBANK & CO’S LARD

  • IF YOU WISH TO GROW RICH AND SASSY.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • THAT SWEET EXPRESSION ALL MY ART DOTH FOIL
    IMPOSSIBLE TO RENDER IT EXCEPT IN PURE LARD OIL
    OF
  • N. K. FAIRBANK & CO.

  • Anonymous - N.K. Fairbank's Co. trade card
  • HOLD ON MY BOY, DON’T LET US TRY
    THIS GOOD SAFE LOCK TO SPOIL.
    THE OWNER, AS I READ ABOVE, SELLS
  • FAIRBANKS PURE LARD OIL.

About the Artist

The trade cards above are examples of the art of persuasion favored by the advertising planners at N. K. Fairbank & Co. They correctly understood the need to create and grow markets for their new and expanding product selection.

They also knew how to suggest and build on the often artificially created status and need implicit in a particular product or possession.

I have yet to discover any records of those responsible for either the art work or the ad designs and copy. Perhaps such records do exist, but because of this current lack of any reliable attribution, I have classified these trade cards as anonymous works.

Additional Information

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