Are you stuffed to the gunwales with chocolate? If you have children around I have no doubt it came in all shapes and sizes yesterday; eggs, kittens, chickens, bunnies and fish.
It seems there is a healthy collector’s market for the moulds that are used in their creation be they antique, vintage or even contemporary.
Here’s the story.
Throughout most of its history, chocolate was enjoyed (mostly by the well-to-do) as a liquid. It was not until 1830 that Joseph Fry and Sons developed a type of solid eating chocolate that enabled the product to be more easily and widely distributed, ensuring that its popularity would increase and spread around the globe.
Of course, the new product necessitated the utilization of new equipment in its creation, so it was not long before entrepreneurs took note of the commercial opportunities. The French were already renowned for their pastry and other moulds when Jean-Baptiste Letang set up shop in Paris in 1832 to make and distribute metal moulds that were specifically designed for chocolate. Already established companies like Matfer, founded in 1814, added chocolate moulds to their product lines.
Early moulds – small, shallow and simply shaped – were often mounted together in frames referred to as “flats” able to produce multiple “flat-back” pieces of chocolate. By the 1840’s, the French had developed the “double mould” method hinging or clipping the pieces of the mould together and then filling the cavity with melted chocolate to produce a three-dimensional figure.
In the latter half of the 19th century the French lost their dominance of the market to the Germans, who were manufacturing the most varied and detailed moulds in the world. The Anton Reich company alone (Dresden, 1870-1960) created over 50,000 different moulds that are among the most sought-after by collectors today.