Here at Jacob’s, we have been imagining and creating biscuits for Irish tastes since 1851. Take a trip down memory lane and explore the evolving Jacob’s range and the changing faces of your favourite biscuits!
The Biscuit ‘Boom’
In the 19th Century, demand for convenience food began to develop and the biscuit, the most convenient of them all, grew in popularity.
People were enjoying plain biscuits with cheese for lunch, while sweet biscuits (the more decorative the better!) were served for afternoon tea. ‘Fancy’ biscuits were associated with luxury and social status, so people would always serve these biscuits to their guests.
The Story of the Cream Cracker
The most well-known Jacob’s creation was the Cream Cracker, which first appeared in 1885. William Beale Jacob travelled to America to investigate cracker manufacturing and returned with recipes which he perfected for the local market. With that, he created ‘Wave Crest Crackers’. After going to the expense and trouble of registering the name, Wave Crest was unfortunately never a strong seller.
But he didn’t give up! Continued improvements to the cracker recipe eventually resulted in Cream Crackers, and they quickly became Jacob’s best-seller.
“Cream Crackers, the second runner, the name of which was not registered, gained immediate popularity… This is surely a lesson from the past, when I reflect on the appalling imitations of the Cream Cracker which have been produced by competitors during my lifetime, and are only suitable for tiling a floor.” Jeffrey Jenkins, Managing Director of Jacob’s, 1971
In 1985, one hundred years after the first batch, 2,500 Cream Crackers per minute were emerging from Jacob’s ovens, and they remain a staple in households nationwide to this day!
Did you ever wonder where some of our more exotic biscuit names came from?
Biscuit themes were topical, reflecting current obsessions and fashionable subjects – the more unique the better!
‘Telephone’ biscuits were launched indicating the widespread appeal of Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 invention. By 1939, the list of Jacob’s biscuits reflected activities available to an increasing number of people, such as; tourism (Riviera), fairs (Carnival) and sea bathing (Holiday).
Biscuit names also evoked the spirit of the times in which they were first baked. Mikado conjures up the colourful oriental world of Gilbert & Sullivan opera, while Kimberley captures the glamour of South African diamonds.
Even today some of our new products are named after the locations that inspired them, such as Caffè Di Milano and Mediterraneo Crackers!
If you want to find out more about the vast history of Jacob’s biscuits, make sure to pop into the Dublin City Library & archives on Pearse Street for the #JacobsAssorted Exhibition!
Exhibition opening hours: Monday to Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday & Saturday 10am to 5pm (8 September – 28 October 2017)
A special thanks to curator Wendy Williams and Ellen Murphy for the great Exhibition and archive content.