Mars produced the first M&M's candies in 1941 as military rations during WWII. This tin was a gift to the Founder's husband from their daughter to her 26-yr. retired vet father. If you don't know what the two red & blue striped edges represent, ask a baby boomer to tell you the story of yesteryear's mail, and maybe show you an onion skin example. 😉 (a 2017 tin)


Collecting Tins . . . . .

The #1 tin that began it all, bought in Geneva, IL, the day before flying to live in Europe the next 9 years! (June 1982)
The #1 tin that began it all, bought in Geneva, IL, the day before flying to live in Europe the next 9 years! (June 1982)

collecting art - advertising & graphics - history - German Lebkuchen tins - British biscuit tins (which began it all in the late 1800s) - - - The National Bread Museum's Tins of Taste Museum is a historical preservation collection, representing a few hundred companies in over two dozen countries so far, of usually quite decorative tin containers, in shape or design.  Sold through the past 125-or-so years, they were used for food items such as cookies, crackers, candy, tea, cakes, coffee, oatmeal, hot chocolate + all other forms of chocolate, German stollen, Italian panettone, Brazilian cheese, spices & baking ingredients, (plus a few tins regarding history & cultural heritage for non-food items such as pencil cases - puzzles - games - cards & stationery) --- & the list goes on.  But it all began as a way to package English biscuits (cookies) in order to ship them to customers.  Today this industry continues for our pleasure & enjoyment of the beauty of the tins & affordable art!  

The cover to the above tin.
The cover to the above tin.

            It will be the greatest blessing when we are able to share the 40+-year art collection of 4,000+ food tins (half European & half American) in an on-land museum with you and the general public, with most tins dating from the mid-1900s to the present time!  They are exquisite!!  There's nothing rusty about any of them :), and neither will be the enjoyment & enrichment with this experience.  You will be amazed with the connection of history (via art-on-tin of cultures & foods, people, historical events, geography, calligraphy, marketing & advertising, & more) - challenging you, & those connections will give you the opportunity to story-tell to those with you.  You'll preview places of the world you hope to see (dreams) & get to revisit some of those you've been to (memories).  It'll be a treasure trove that is the only one-of-its-kind in this country (or maybe the world???).  That in itself is priceless!  

What's holding up this next step? . . . finances.  The foundation as a nonprofit has already been established, with a few items on this website to present the "bread culture museum idea" to you.  The next step - - put everything in an on-land museum for the USA as quickly as possible.  Would you please consider giving a financial donation & then advertise the to your social media family & friends to encourage them to also join our "Thanksgiving to Grandmas?" Just think . . . a million of us "We the People" each gifting a $25 tribute from our hearts, in gratitude to our ancestors who baked (& wrote the recipes down . . . see the "Cookbook Culture" section), will quickly help to establish this museum complex in no time, AND help people in the NBM Program Outline areas.

a beer tray representing the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence
a beer tray representing the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence

 In 1982, our family got to live in England for 6 years (via the military), and it had a great impact on me wanting to gather as much English history as possible, to eventually take home (a connection to remember some of the first settlers who came to America & the close friendship the USA still has with England). That began "collecting England" (and then more of Europe, and then the U.S. when we came back) and its history via art on food tins.  Thanks to importing, many European tins were available to buy in the U.S. up until the recent time of 2020 (COVID didn't help!).  The best periods of time for the majority of imported tins is generally Easter and Christmas.  

Dutch cookie & 2 German (Max Weiss & Schuhmann) Lebkuchen tins maybe 1988 - 1990
Dutch cookie & 2 German (Max Weiss & Schuhmann) Lebkuchen tins maybe 1988 - 1990

Following England, we lived in Germany 3 years and the tins had a great impact on me in order to learn of German Lebkuchen history (gingerbread spice, nut, & honey cookies & cakes, shipped worldwide).  Today this historical Lebkuchen tin collection (800+, but most in storage!!) is believed to be the largest, or 2nd largest in the world.  There is no such collection kept & exhibited anyplace in Germany itself!

This 40+-year collection represents & recognizes:
1) the enormous 1850-1920 German immigration
2) the result of a significant contribution to some of the main "flour grains" we have in the USA today which have had a major impact, & have given a great benefit to the baking development of Bread Culture in this country, and also
3) the first Bread Museum in Ulm, Germany, in 1955.  Hopefully in 2024, the hearts of enough people will understand the significance of preserving this art & help to take part in establishing a museum on our land.  If so, then these will be donated to enhance our art world & be available to all of us (via this website & in real life) as the only such art museum in the United States.    


One of the goals for the Tins of Taste Museum's Study Center throughout the future is to date as many of its tins as possible, especially the German Lebkuchen tins. The intent, for a historical record, is to have at least all of the tins in this museum (currently about 4000 --- 2K European and 2K U.S.), in an online archive with a production date & the designer / company, if possible. Sadly, this date information is rarely included on the tin.

This would be an invaluable benefit for historians & collectors because today with eBay & other similar sites, sellers do a LOT of guessing & apply many inappropriate dating & word descriptions to tins. An antique has to be 100 years old, but what age is "vintage" or "rare" or "early?"  The front of this tin on the left is 2 doors which swing open.  It is a German Lebkuchen tin by Haeberlein-Metzger, 13.5"x10"x4".

          As we go into the future and the world goes on, reselling is only going to increase, and it would be helpful to have a "home base" appropriated to tin dating, so there will be a reference. There could be tens of thousands of tins collected around the world, so in time, this could/should become a collaboration of an archive for many (a hub in order to link many collections - especially if they're public); & it's not the goal of Tins of Taste to have every tin in the world . . . so far it's been a personal collection, usually considered "decorative," related to having sold some food item, and the design usually relating to history, art, or having some other significance like the company, place, or other subject matter it represents. 

Your support is needed in order to include this historical preservation and educational project in The National Bread Museum complex.  Therefore, please make a donation and encourage some others to also donate with their support.  Please pass the on to your  social media family & friends so we can reach the people necessary to achieve the needs and goal to see this project into existence.  

          NOTE of INTEREST:  A lady in Belgium has been collecting tins since 1991 and in 2021, had 60,000.  Her husband helped restore or build up to 5 buildings by then to have all the tins on display.  Information says visits are by appt. w/50E admission.  Her collection may have the largest number of Lebkuchen tins in the world, but that's still unknown.  The results of a personal visit & contact with almost all Lebkuchen companies in Germany in 1991 were that none had even kept a sample of each of their own tins through the past century!  What a shame. 

The other NOTE of INTEREST is the Huntley & Palmer tin collection at the museum in Reading, England.  It's who began it all.  This is the main page with a wonderful history of the biscuit tins:

At the bottom of the above page, click on collections online website & on the next page (, type tins into the search bar.  Now you'll be at a 20-page photo index of hundreds of the old-to-1980s Huntley & Palmer tins.

personal musings . . .The fun about collecting something you're passionate about is that usually there's a back-story to almost each item, & that is so with this tin that looks like a set of books.  I was able to be back in England in 1999 & went to Reading to see their museum with original biscuit tins that I had read about, from the 1800s (the beginning of decorative, & then "shaped" tins).  Well, wouldn't you know it, that year all the tins were in storage due to a remodeling of the museum!  So I continued to a few towns in the Cotswolds, very quaint English (i.e. fairytale-like) villages.  One town had an antique shop, & generally from my former 6 years of living there, I had learned that most really old stuff is "very dear" - the English term for we Americans saying "an arm & a leg!!"  I saw a gorgeous wooden grain cradle, & "dear" was right --- £450.00 --- Whoa!  About $720.00!  A grain cradle isn't "suitcase" fare, so it was O.K.  

Then I saw this unusual, & a first time "book tin," & it was priced at £10.  Yes, I could afford that ($16) AND put it in the suitcase.  THEN through the years with the internet, Reading's Museum eventually put some of their tins online, & here there were "book tins" from the late 1800s - early 1900s.  So I believe the English Cadbury Chocolate Co. picked up on that "book" design at some point in time & made one of their own, & they used their name as if they were the book publishers!  So someday, if I have time to write to Cadbury (or one of you reading this does some research to find out & emails the info to me), I'll ask whether they have kept their tin history & see :).  . . . . . ..................... Now for a bit of a side story ....................... remember that grain cradle?

Within the next few years as I'd drive back home to my mom's in Wisconsin, I found a local area "antique" dealer in the next town over.  It was like walking into the size of half a barn & you could smell the grease like in the old farm machine shops in the 1950s.  It seemed as if this man had all the left-overs for no matter what you'd need to fix on a farm . . . untold boxes, tables, cabinets, shelves, etc. filled to overflowing with nuts, bolts, tools, machine parts, pipes & fittings, & everything of that sort imaginable.  And lo & behold, guess what?  There was a grain cradle - not polished as in £450/$720 (!!!), but the original (more authentic).  How much?  $75.  This was Wow, not Whoa :)!  And that wasn't all.  The following year I stopped in again, & wouldn't you know . . . another grain cradle, only this was even older!  The supporting arms between the handle & the blade/teeth on the 1st one were wire rods.  The supports on this one were all wood!  Amazing.  The guy deserved a hug - - - $60!  So, again, we also found a way to maneuver that one into the backseat of the car.  Those things are HUGE.   (Look at images when you type "grain cradle" into a search engine.)  O.K., time to get back to the tin business!  

History via art began with God's creation of the world, then man & woman, & what we've done with our talents.  All art-on-tins above & below teaches us history.

  Let's raise enough by the end of 2024 to create our National Bread Museum project, AND to keep it going!

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