H&A Antiques: A new film records our 'throwaway history'

Consumer historian Robert Opie looks at the brands that shape our daily lives

Consumer historian Robert Opie looks at the brands that shape our daily lives

Do you remember Kellogg’s Puffa Puffa Rice?  How about Spangles sweets, Boy’s Own annual or Oxydol soap?

In a new feature-length documentary, consumer historian Robert Opie takes a trip down a branded memory lane, looking at over 3,500 products from 1750s tobacco papers to today’s sweets wrappers.

In Search of Our Throwaway History records the importance of products that we use everyday but think nothing of. ‘As a society we keep the most fabulous, exotic objects but we throw away the most meaningful things from daily life that connect us with the past,’ says Robert.

While Robert, who founded the Museum of Brands in London, has over 500,000 pieces of packaging in his collection (you can find 12,000 of them in the museum), branded things aren’t as easy to come by as you might think.

‘It’s easier to find a pot dating back 4,000 years than everyday objects. You can’t dig up a frozen food packet!’ he says. Currently on his ‘to find’ list are a wartime can of spam, a pre-1925 pot of Marmite and one of the first packets of Coco Pops.

It’s objects and brands such as these that trigger memories – which is what Opie hopes the DVD will do. As the man himself says, ‘Branding is everywhere. We are literally wrapped up in it!’

In Search of Our Throwaway History is out now. For information on where to buy the DVD click here.

The Museum of Brands, 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, 11am-5pm.

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