Chromolithographic advertising plates Van Houtens Cacao


3 plates in good condition, dimensions 16 x 10.5 cm, 14 x 9 cm and 13 x 8 cm

1 in stock


This post is also available in: Nederlands

Van Houten is a brand name, after the family business, of chocolate products.

Casparus Sr.

Casparus van Houten Sr. (1770-1858) was a chocolate manufacturer in Amsterdam. In 1815 he opened a chocolate factory on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. There was a treadmill in the building that was powered by manpower. At that time, cocoa beans were ground to a fine mass, which was then mixed with milk to make chocolate milk, or which, with the addition of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, served as the basis for making cookies. However, the high fat content made the cookies highly digestible.

In 1828 Casparus van Houten Sr. patented an inexpensive way of pressing the fat from roasted cocoa beans. This discovery is usually attributed to his son Coenraad, but research by the publicist Peter van Dam suggests that his father was the inventor of this hydraulic cocoa bean press. The core of the bean, better known as the nib, contains an average percentage of 54 percent cocoa butter, mainly consisting of natural fat. Van Houten’s machine reduced the cocoa butter content in the raw cocoa chunks by approximately half. These chunks could easily be pulverized into cocoa powder, the basis for all chocolate products. Van Houten introduced a further development by processing the powder with alkaline salts such as potassium and sodium carbonates, so that the powder became easier to mix with water (alkalisation). The end product, an originally Dutch process, has a dark color and a mild taste. Nowadays this process is used worldwide and it is also called Dutching. The introduction of cocoa powder made the preparation of chocolate drinks much easier, but it also became possible to combine chocolate with sugar and then add cocoa butter to it, so that chocolate paste, for example, could be made. The patent expired in 1838, so that other manufacturers, like Van Houten, could produce cocoa powder and more and more chocolate products came on the market.


Coenraad Johannes van Houten (Amsterdam, 15 March 1801 – Weesp, 1887) was the son of Casparus van Houten Sr. He succeeded his father as the owner of the then globally known Dutch chocolate factory. Coenraad van Houten married a namesake, Hermina van Houten (no family), from Groningen in 1835. In 1850 he moved his production from a windmill in Leiden to a steam factory in Weesp. He turned the factory into an internationally renowned company and exported chocolate to England, France and Germany.

Casparus jr.

Casparus van Houten Jr. (1844-1901), son of Coenraad, worked for the factory from 1865. He had a sense of marketing and thereby contributed to the growth of the company. He was one of the first to advertise on trams in major cities throughout Europe and in the United States. In 1899, the Van Houten group already produced an advertising film for the cinema, in which a tired and sleepy office clerk miraculously comes to life after eating chocolate. The factory in Weesp was a huge boost for the town: population growth doubled in the second half of the 19th century. Casparus Jr. built a house for himself, Villa Casparus, with 99 rooms. The construction of this building, designed by the Amsterdam architect Abraham Salm, began in 1897 and was completed in 1901, the year in which Van Houten died.


Our Own Journal

Our Own Magazine was a monthly magazine by Van Houten. It appeared from November 1922 until the end of 1936 – from 1934 under the title Van Houten’s Eigen Tijdschrift – and was available to users of the cocoa from this company. In the journal 1923 to 1929, 25 articles were published by Johan Briedé and others with dozens of illustrations by Briedé. He also designed the title page, the decorative border around the separately added content page, the colophon, end pieces and the initial decorative letters and the design for band and back for the bound volumes of Ons Eigen Tijdschrift.

In 1925 a special edition of Ons Eigen Tijdschrift, Het Sint Nicolaasboek, was published by A.B. van Tienhoven, with 95 pages one of the most extensive books in this field in those years. It was available as well as the magazine through coupons supplied with the cocoa items. The cover was designed by Eelco Martinus ten Harmsen van der Beek, while he and Johan Briedé provided the book with illustrations and graphic finishing. Illustrations of other well-known artists could also be found in the book. Johan Briedé also made designs for various candy boxes for Van Houten.

Van Houten’s factory was sold to W. R. Grace and Company in 1962, after which Van Houten and his wife moved to Switzerland. The factories in Weesp were closed in 1971. However, the brand name is still in use and changed ownership several times. Today the owner is the Belgian company Baronie, which took over the Barry Callebaut brand name in 2011.


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