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Towle's Log Cabin Tins

by Mike Reilly

    When P.J. Towle took a disliking to the syrups offered for sale in his St. Paul, Minnesota grocery in the 1880's he decided to create his own. In 1887 he introduced his Log Cabin Syrup formula with a maple flavor he felt his customers would enjoy. It became an immediate success.

    An April 1917 Ladies Home Journal ad depicting Log Cabin Syrup products shows a one lb. tin selling for 25 cents, a 2 lb. for 50 cents and 5 lb. going for $1.

    In 1927, the Towle Maple Syrup Co. joins forces with General Foods.

    The log cabin-shaped tins were discontinued shortly after WWII brought out but there appear to have been some circulated, plain tins w/o cartoons, sometime during the late 1940's, early 1950's.

     The following is a listing taken from Ray Klug's book "Antique Advertising Encyclopedia" copyright 1978. Ray is probably one of the first authors to list and picture any Towle's Log Cabin products, among them the tins in his personal collection. Ray introduced this cataloging method, I have added to it or modified certain information.

TLC-1 paper label, 5 3/4 x 4 x 6".

    It is widely accepted that there exist 3 different sizes of the cartooned Log Cabin Syrup tins (but not all styles may come in the three sizes). I've expanded on Klug's numbering system with the addition of the a, b, c notation, a being the smallest tin and c is the 5 lber. Many collectors strive to acquire an example of each size. There are also other variations where the ends can be cartooned or not. We can then designate a tin as this: TLC-11ape, this would be  Boy in Doorway, 1 lb. with Plain Ends. A TLC-11cce would be the same style tin but a 5 lb. with Cartooned Ends.

TLC-2a litho, Boy with Lasso, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4", 1 lb. 1/2 oz.

TLC-3a litho, Woman and Girl in Door, Bank, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4", 1 lb. 1/2 oz.

TLC-4c litho, Trading Post, 6 x 4 x 5 3/4", 5 lbs.

TLC-5c litho, Frontier Inn, 6 x 4 x 5 3/4", 5 lbs., 1950's? (an example sold on eBay for $175.00 9/27/98, I don't know if the ends were plain or cartooned)

TLC-6b litho, Blacksmith, 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 4 1/2, 2 lbs. 1 oz.

TLC-7b litho, Stockade School, 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 4 1/2, 2 lbs. 1 oz. ( an example marked General Foods Corp. sold on eBay, 10/8/98 for $41)

TLC-8b litho, Express Office, 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 4 1/2, 2 lbs. 1 oz.

TLC-9b litho, Children Playing, 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 4 1/2, 2 lbs. 1 oz.

TLC-10a litho, Doctor R.U. Well, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 1 lb. 1/2 oz.

TLC-11a litho, Boy in Doorway, 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 1 lb.

TLC-11b litho, Boy in Doorway, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 4 3/4, 2 lbs. 3 oz.

TLC-11c litho, Boy in Doorway, 6 1/2 x 4 x 5 3/4, 5 lbs.

(TLC-11 comes in Plain Ends and Cartooned Ends, no tin in boy's hands)

TLC-12a litho, Girl in Doorway, 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 1 lb.

TLC-12b litho, Girl in Doorway, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 4 3/4, 2 lbs. 3 oz.

TLC-12c litho, Girl in Doorway, 6 1/2 x 4 x 5 3/4, 5 lbs.

(TLC-12 comes in Plain Ends and Cartooned Ends)

TLC-13a litho, Bear in Doorway, 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 1 lb.

TLC-13b litho, Bear in Doorway, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 4 3/4, 2 lbs. 3 oz.

TLC-13c litho, Bear in Doorway, 6 1/2 x 4 x 5 3/4, 5 lbs.

(TLC-13 comes in Plain Ends and Cartooned Ends)

TLC-14a litho, Boy in Doorway Holding Tin, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 1 lb.

TLC-14b litho, Boy in Doorway Holding Tin, 5 x 3 1/4 x 4 3/4, 2 1/4 lbs.

TLC-14c litho, Boy in Doorway Holding Tin, 7 1/4 x 4 x 5 3/4, 5 lbs.

TLC-14d litho, Boy in Doorway Holding Tin, 7 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 7 1/2, One Gallon.

(TLC-14 comes only(?) in Plain Ends)

TLC-15a litho, conventional styling, no cartoons, plain ends, 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 3 3/4, 16 oz.

TLC-15b litho, conventional styling, no cartoons, plain ends, 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 4 1/2, 2 lbs. 1 oz.

TLC-15c litho, conventional styling, no cartoons, plain ends, 6 1/2 x 4 x 5 3/4, 5 lbs.

TLC-16 litho, convention upright rectangular, 6 1/2 x 4 x 9 1/2, 1 Gallon.

TLC-17 litho, Wigwam Syrup, triangular ends, 4 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/2, 1 lb.

TLC-18 litho, sample size log cabin-shape, paper label, 2 x 1 1/4 x 2.

TLC-19 Ray Klug's book lists this as a Pull Toy (a log cabin on four wheels titled "Log Cabin Express"). Was this actually a tin? It's very similar to TLC-11.

TLC-20 In Ray Klug's book, this item is a bottle with paper label thought to be one of the first used. It is a 1 lb. 1/2 oz. size, 3 1/4 x 8 in.

(In the late 1960's, a glass Log Cabin bottle (cabin-shaped) was produced with the intention of using it as a bank after it was emptied.)

   

 

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