Every kid remembers that magic moment of getting to the bottom of your cereal or Cracker Jack box and finding a prize. It could have been a plastic ring, or a puzzle, or a toy of a cartoon character. It was the best part of the morning. So here are a few of our favorite food-related toys from the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Ephemera, a collection of which is on display in our Luce Center.

Toy/ Food, 1940-1970. Plastic. Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.936

Henry J. Heinz began their pickle-and-ketchup empire in Pennsylvania in 1869, soon advertising “57 varieties” of foodstuffs. One of the original Heinz logos was a pickle emblazoned with the name, like the toy above,  but in 2009 retired it in favor of a “vine-ripened tomato.”

Toy/Food, 1940-1970. Plastic. Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.935

Elsie the Cow has been Borden’s Milk Product’s mascot since 1936, who briefly had a home in the Bronx. From 1960-1964 Freedomland USA, a US-history themed amusement park, operated in Baychester, and featured Borden’s Barn Boudoir, a fully-furnished apartment for Elsie. And did you know Elsie is married to Elmer the Bull, mascot for Elmer’s Glue? Lucky gal!

Toy/Food, 1950-1990. Plastic. Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.949

How much would you have loved to find this whistle in your pack of hot dogs? In 1936, Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl G. Mayer, created the first Weinermobile, where drivers (or “hotdoggers”) would ride around to promote and advertise their products. Drivers would also distribute these weiner whistles to kids in the ’50s, and by 1958 they came packaged with the hot dogs in the grocery store.

Did you have a favorite food toy when you were a kid? Is there one you wish you could get your hands on? Let us know in the comments!

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