A Rare Pair of Early 20thC Enamel Dog Bowls Advertising Spratts Pet Food


Origin: English
Period: Early-Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920-30
Diameter: 10.5 inches (at bases)
Height: 4 inches

The large circular enamelled tin dogs bowls inscribed in blue and buff with the word Spratts,and Spratts Patent Ltd, Made in England, each having two handle cut outs survive from the early Twentieth Century.

The bowls are in fair to good condition, there is wear to the enamel around the top rims and to a lesser extent on the bottom rim and around the handles. One bowl has a couple of small pin-prick sized holes so it does have a slow leak but not if used for solids. They are in useable order if so desired. We believe the bowls to have been made in two different colourways rather than of the thinking that one of the bowls has faded from blue because we still see the ‘Spratts Patent Ltd, Made in England’ stamp in blue on the buff lettered example.

Spratt's was the world's first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. Its "Meat Fibrine Dog Cake" was the brainchild of American entrepreneur James Spratt who launched the biscuit in London circa 1860. The company began operations in the United States of America in the 1870s and, after Spratt's death in 1880, the company went public and became known as Spratt's Patent, Limited, and Spratt's Patent (America) Limited. Spratt's pioneered the concept of animal life stages with appropriate foods for each stage. The company successfully promoted their array of products for dogs and other domestic animals through the astute use of snob appeal.

The company was established in Holborn, London and the first dog cake, a concoction of blended wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and meat, was prepared and baked on the premises of Walker, Harrison and Garthwaite, a firm which then claimed to have baked the first dog biscuit. Spratt was not only the first to manufacture pet foods but the first to farm out his production. His "Dog Cakes" were initially sold to English country gentlemen for their sporting dogs. These bowls would have been used at shop fronts to advertise the commodities.

Bowls of this kind are scarce survivals and are excessively rare sold as a brace. Woof!