This pretty Guernsey cow and her mischievous calf date from the 1920s. Guernseys are one of the hardest breeds to find in the dairy cow and calf advertising sets used by the De Laval Cream Separator company. These date from around 1920 - 1930. They are lithographed figures stamped from very thin sheets of tin, highly detailed and wonderfully realistic. They were made by the American Art Company of Brooklyn, New York.
This pair is complete with their original shipping envelope AND a rice-paper foldover that apparently covered the calf. The cow is approximately 5 inches long; the calf approximately 2-1/2 inches long. Please note, it is very hard to find both cow and calf together.
CONDITION: Appealing in the warm golden chestnut coat color so desirable in this breed, the cow and calf are "as good as it gets outside of their original packaging" -- Nearest Mint condition. They are absolutely beautiful with bright, rich color and NO fading. There are NO rust spots, NO bends and NO paint chipping. The envelope does show "desk drawer grunge" -- age darkening, light folds and bumped corners (but no creases) and a short tear on the back flap, expected in old paper that was intended to be discarded -- but it did a wonderful job protecting the figures inside.
PLEASE NOTE these animals were made to be stood up: this cow was made with her right-side legs "impressed" so that they would look as though they are "behind" the left ones. The line showing clearly on our cow's hind leg is NOT a bend or crack!! Nor has the calf been bent, either.
This Guernsey set is one of many that DeLaval had made for distribution to farmers as advertising, usually through feed or machinery companies. See the note printed on the back of the cow's head: Farmers were encouraged to send them back to DeLaval to receive a company catalog. Other breeds depicted were Jerseys, Holsteins, Ayrshires and Brown Swiss.
The DeLaval Company originated in Sweden. Started by Gustaf de Laval (1845-1913) the company invented and produced machines to improve dairy farmers' operations. In 1887, they patented the first centrifugal machine to separate cream from milk, substantially reducing the hand labor previously required on the farm. They later developed several early milking machines. From the early 1880s, De Laval's cream separator was promoted internationally. In 1888, moving into the United States market, the company founded the De Laval Cream Separator Co. as a subsidiary, with a sales office in New York City and its production facility in Poughkeepsie, New York. They creatively reached out to the farmers themselves to market their products.
Advertising included sets of lithographed tin cows and calves like these Guernseys. Other cattle breeds represented were Jerseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss and Holsteins.
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