Market Lavington Museum


This is an example of how the museum blog works for us.

About a fortnight ago we published an item about a tin of mustard ointment.

Jim, in Easterton, saw it and thought, ‘I’ve got a tin a bit like that – and I can guarantee its local provenance”.

This tin is now a part of the Market Lavington Museum collection and it is a tin of Vaseline.

Chesebrough vaseline

Chesebrough Vaseline

Almost inevitably, the tin has seen better days but we can see it is petroleum jelly produced by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Robert Chesebrough was the inventor and first producer of petroleum jelly and he invented the name Vaseline for it. He set up his company, in the USA in 1875 and through dint of hard work built up a huge and worldwide market for his product. It is very hard to date the tin but in 1955 the company became Chesebrough Ponds and that name quickly appeared on their products. The tin is at least 60 years old.

Interestingly although the tin clearly says London, in small writing around the tin it tells us that the product was refined in U.S.A.


Refined in U.S.A.

And now the local provenance. Jim knows that this tin had been in the shop operated by his uncle, Harry Hobbs. Harry had a grocery store almost immediately opposite The Green Dragon pub. We have, in the past, seen quite a few of the large product advertisements which Harry had.

In fact the Vaseline was unsold when Harry gave up his shop and several tins were given to Jim who found the product very useful for engineering purposes.

Harry was given the shop by his father in law after a serious accident left him in a state where he was told he wouldn’t walk again. This was in the early 1930s. In fact that medical advice was wrong and Harry was able to lead a very full, active and long life.

The extra issues point to a twenty year span for the origin of our tin – from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s.

Thanks, Jim, for another interesting addition to our collection.