1920 Mapleine Advertisement

Advertisement for Mapleine
Source: American Cookery (April, 1920)

When I saw this hundred-year-old advertisement for Mapleine, my first thought was –  Is this product still made?  I thought that I had a vague memory of seeing Mapleine in the spice and extract section at the supermarket, but wasn’t sure.

Well, the answer is yes. It is still made. Mapleine has been around since 1908.  According to Wikipedia, Mapleine was even part of a court case:

An early enforcement action of the United States Pure Food and Drug Act in 1909 concerned a shipment of Mapleine confiscated in Chicago. The case was “United States of America v. Three Hundred Cases of Crescent Mapleine” in which it was found that the product was misleadingly labeled to represent actual maple extract. The case was cited as a precedent for the United States Supreme Court 1916 decision in United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola.

By 1920, the Crescent Company, which made Mapleine, clearly knew that advertising needed to make it clear that Mapleine did not actually contain maple syrup. The advertisement says it is a “pure vegetable flavoring” – though I’m not exactly sure what that means.

39 thoughts on “1920 Mapleine Advertisement

    1. So would I. 🙂 If I’d been around a hundred years ago, I don’t think that I would have guessed that this would be a product that would still be around a century later.

  1. I have never heard of Mapleine before! Sounds awful, though, having grown up in New England with plenty of real maple syrup for our pancakes. Too bad climate change is causing the maple trees to produce less sap in recent years. Sigh….

    1. The stores around here sell many varieties of “pancake syrup” that don’t contain any maple syrup – so maybe this was just an inexpensive alternative to them.

    1. I always find it fascinately which food items people living abroad purchase when they visit the U.S. I know someone who always buys lots of spice packets when in the U.S. because she likes them, and can’t get them where she lives.

    1. Now that’s a good deal! And, think of all the recipe ideas I’d get. Readers would probably be reading about Mapleine recipes for the rest of the year. 🙂

    1. I’ll have to look for that documentary. I’ve seen a few things about the early years of the FDA and would like to learn more.

  2. I’d never heard of this, but I will add that it’s amazing the lengths to which food scientists will go to create artificial flavorings. I suppose the goal is economy or to fill in where the actual source ingredient is very expensive or not widely available. Still, I can taste “artificial” a mile away.

  3. I shook my head at the flavor I imagined in that bottle. Thanks for checking to see if it were still on grocery shelves. I wouldn’t have remembered to look. I loved those catchy titles of the lawsuits. They were amusing.

    1. I’m sure that United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola was an important and serious case, but its name makes me smile.

        1. I have lot of bad memories of those obscure gotcha questions. The strange thing is that I still remember the answers to many of those gotcha questions today.

  4. I remember my mom making “faux” Maple Syrup occasionally, seems like I did it a time or two in lean times. Though I don’t think either one of us used this brand, just some Maple Extract, probably Schilling.

  5. Mom used to make homemade syrup but was never a fan of it. Cane molasses and the real maple syrup ( which was a rare treat as the south doesn’t do maple syrup) were what I always used. Never heard of Mapleine.

    1. I didn’t use to like molasses, but since doing this blog I’ve made a number of recipes that use it and it has really grown on me.

  6. No Mapleine in my memory but when ever my mother wanted a rich golden color for gravy or frosting or pudding, she’d add a little coffee. To this day caramel colored frosting makes me very wary!

    1. I never would have thought about using coffee to create a nice golden color. You sound pretty negative about using coffee this way – but I may have to give it a try the next time I make gravy. I’m often not happy with the way my gravy looks. 🙂

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