Something to crow about!

White Crow’s promotional recipe book
Longmore’s 1923 How to Prepare a Dessert that Is Sure to Come out Right (NAA: A1336, 12110)

Carlisle Francis Longmore, pioneer advertiser and food manufacturer, burst onto the Melbourne market in the early twentieth century. By the 1930s, Longmore’s White Crow jellies, sauces and essences would be household names.

Technological innovation and a flair for marketing enabled Longmore to meet the changing demands of an urbanised market for choice, convenience, cleanliness and a touch of class.

Carlisle Francis Longmore (1882–1956), pharmacist and avid amateur golfer built his fortune on the ‘wonderful tissue building, nourishing, and strengthening properties’ of the humble jelly crystal. In 1923, Longmore launched a three-year advertising and mail-out campaign in the Melbourne Argus promoting White Crow Jelly Crystals as a sophisticated dessert, nutritious food for baby and a restorative for invalids – the latter could rally themselves on sherry, champagne, madeira and port wine flavours.

Readers were urged to mail the advertisement to the company for a free copy of ‘dainty desserts’, reassuringly titled How to Prepare a Dessert that Is Sure to Come out Right: A Book of Exclusive ‘White Crow’ Recipes for Special Occasions. With just one packet of White Crow Jelly Crystals, homemakers could confidently whip up a plum pudding, salmon salad or a delicious table jelly ‘for serving with fowl or lamb’.

Longmore used scaremongering to justify higher prices, with advertisements emphasising that White Crow was ‘prepared on a highly scientific basis’, and warning that the ‘cheap gelatine’ used by his competitors ‘contains arsenic, zinc, lead, and copper’.

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    Tasty jelly salad
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    Highly scientific jelly
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    Jelly plum pudding

Selected records relating to jelly and cake production

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
PhotoWobbly jelly on the plate1945B4498, 77G10
PhotoA hundred-and-one things to do with jelly1964B942, FOOD DISPLAYS–JAMS & JELLIES
PhotoMaking food flavours for jelly crystals1945–86B4498, 73D8
PhotoGetting cakes out for Christmas1964A1200, L49467
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017