Monday, January 2, 2017

Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing Company & Wrigley's Nips




This is stamped “Bridgeport Hwe Mfg Co., Bridgeport, Conn No. 120” as well as “Wrigley’s Nips (Candy Coated Gum).”  For a history of the company, visit my earlier blog post.

Wrigley’s Nips was a gum introduced in 1921, so this is clearly a promotional item, presumably offered to dealers to assist in opening the wooden crates in which the candy was shipped.  

Below, a less elegant and undoubtedly later crate opener stamped just "Wrigley." I can't find any information online about a Wrigley tool company, so I assume it was yet another promotional item made for the candy company. Lower production costs probably dictated this change, and there's no way of knowing whether it, too, was a product of the Bridgeport Hardware company.



William Wrigley Jr.’s father was a soap maker, and so the son began a business in Chicago in 1891 selling Wrigley’s Scouring Soap.  He began adding a premium of baking powder with every bar sold, and then found it more profitable just to sell baking powder.  In 1892, he came up with the idea of offering 2 packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder, which proved a great success.  So, he switched to making this product, initially under the brand names Lotta and Vassar.  Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint were introduced in 1893.  He was one of the first to advertise heavily, creating a strong demand.  In 1910, he established a factory in Canada.  Wrigley’s was acquired by Mars Inc. in 2008.

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