Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spratt's Patent Limited

Spratt's Patent Limited was the world's first large-scale manufacturer of dog biscuits. The company was begun by James Spratt, an American entrepreneur, who had originally come from the United States to England in order to sell lightning conductors. Spratt observed  how London market porters would make chewy gristle meals for their dogs and decided that there was commercial potential for making and canning his own version of dog food.

Spratt's company was established in Holborn, London in 1861 and Spratt's “Meat Fibrine Dog Cake” was patented the same year. It was made from a concoction of blended wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and meat. Spratt was to remain secretive about the meat source for his product for the rest of his life. The “dog cakes” were initially sold to English country gentlemen for their sporting dogs.

In the 1870s the company expanded, producing other items for dogs such as portable kennels, collars, chains, and clothing. Foods were also manufactured for poultry, game and other livestock. Spratt's had a factory in Aintree for biscuit production, a factory in Wisbech for canning and a dog food factory in Poplar, London. In the 1900s Spratt's dog biscuits were sold throughout Europe and the United States. Spratt's became one of the most heavily marketed brands in the early 20th century, with product recognition developed through logo display, lifestyle advertising, and support through devices such as cigarette cards.

In 1961 Spratt's Patent Limited was acquired by Spillers for £3.94 million. The acquisition enabled Spillers to increase its range of dog foods and gain a foothold in the canned section of the pet foods market.

Advertisement from 1955

by Mark Matlach

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