Ingredient, aftershave or none of the above?

Posted 9 February, 2009 13:04 by Karla Baker

The Bartholomew Archive is full of advertisements. Be it photographs from the 1920’s advertising Bartholomew maps, or posters advertising a brand of pen, the Bartholomew Archive has it all.

One item that caught my eye recently was this poster for Rorrison’s Cattle Spice.

Rorrison's Cattle Spice

Bartholomew printed 5050 sheets of this advertisement on 2 December, 1879. Whilst it must have been perfectly obvious just what Rorrison’s Cattle Spice was to its intended audience it is something of a mystery to me.

What is known is that John Rorrison was based in Dumfries and his Cattle Spice came in packets, boxes and bags!

The advertisement retains its original vivid red colour, bold typeface and beautiful detailing. This includes the centrepiece image of assorted animals, clearly indicative of the wide applicability of the product.

Centrepiece drawing

There are many potential explanations as to what Cattle Spice was. Instinctively it seems most likely to have been a type of cattle feed. However, the implied inclusion of some sort of spice seems a bit odd in that context. It may have been a form of veterinary medicine and I suppose it could possibly have been an ingredient for use in cooking. Maybe the least likely explanation has come from one of my colleagues who suggested it could have been an abandoned early moniker for a member of a famous girl band known for ending their names in Spice!

One Response to “Ingredient, aftershave or none of the above?”

  1. this a really cool poster, my great grandfather John Rorrison grew up in Dumfries. I wonder if this is a relative of mine?
    I have cows and would like some cattle spice too.

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