Just over two months ago, I wrote about the history of Rolo. At the time, the earliest wrapper I had to show you was from 1952, but today I get to reveal what the very first Rolo wrapper from 1937 looked like.
Shortly after I wrote that article, I received an e-mail from the United Kingdom. The e-mail was from the son of a gentleman who had collected chocolate wrappers during a few years in his youth. That man was now 87-years-old, and he held onto those wrappers through the decades.
Over the following few weeks, I exchanged e-mails with the man’s son and daughter. I quite enjoyed getting to meet and know this family in this small way. I was curious to hear about how and when he saved his collection, and he was gracious enough to pen this reply:
“As a schoolboy from 1935 to 1940, I spent pocket money on chocolate bars, usually priced 2d. Shops would have a number of different brands and I collected as many different makes as possible. Whenever towns apart from my home town were visited, I would look for new bars , so some are from various parts of the country.
Collecting finished with the war when RATION chocolate bars became the only ones available.
Every bar was eaten by me!
After the war I took no further interest in wrappers and the collection has remained untouched since 1940 with no additions.” – Leo Harwood.
I worked out a deal with Mr. Harwood to acquire a few of the pieces from his collection, and to say that I was thrilled to do so is an understatement.
Knowing that these wrappers were coming directly from the man who, some seventy-years earlier, purchased and saved them himself, was pretty incredible. Writing about it today, I’m still quite moved by the idea.
Among the wrappers I acquired were a pair of Rolo pieces, one of which turns out to be the very first Rolo wrapper released. Here it is, the very first Rolo wrapper from 1937:
I wasn’t aware when I first saw that Rolo wrapper that it was THE first. However, when I noticed the “provisional” trademark indication, that was a big hint. A deep search into the U.S. Trademark Office Archives turned up the following proof; an image which verified that this was, in fact, the very first style to grace Rolo packages:
There was one other Rolo wrapper that came to me from this collection. Likely from just a few years later:
You’ll notice that wrapper no longer has a provisional patent indication. It’s also a bit smaller, with no price marking included.
And that’s everything I have to share today on the very first Rolo.
In the coming months, I hope to be able to share more from the wonderful collection that these Rolo wrappers came from, so stay tuned.
See you next time!
That is awesome to get part of this gentleman’s collection. To think he saved it all of these years is even better, and for him and his family to find your website…well that is just perfect. Thanks to everyone involved for sharing.
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Dear Mr Liebig, I hope you get to read this as I have just discovered your site and it is now 3 years old. I would like to tell you that I have adored Rolos for most of my life – I am now 68. I was telling my sister that one cannot purchase them at motorway stopping areas as Nestle do not, obviously, have a licence to sell at this places. I always love to have Rolos on a long journey. In the early 1970’s I was a secretary in a company but I had to make deliveries for them in their van as part of my job. I would always buy a packet of Rolos and eat them quickly, one by one, as I drove around. I am absolutely tickled pink to read your adventures in purchasing the original wrappers. Until now I had never thought of the history of my favourite sweet. Thank you so much, Mr Lieberg! With best wishes, Patience Whittles