Your Gel, It Smell

Product: Royal Gelatin
Date: 1933

Do you ever stop to think what gelatin is made from? Many people think horse’s hooves. It’s a common misconception, but no, gelatin cannot be made from hooves. What it does contain is not actually any more palatable: cattle and pork bones, pig skins, and cattle hides.

These days, of course, gelatin’s image is carefully groomed. There is nothing in the product or the packaging that even remotely hints at its gruesome ingredient list.

1933 gelatin ad

But back in the ’30s, consumers weren’t quite so lucky. It seems that some brands of gelatin gave off a rather, er, noxious smell. This ad for Royal Gelatin repeatedly describes their competitors’ aroma as “gluey.” The smell must have been quite pronounced and quite unpleasant for Royal to play up their fruity aromas as a key point of difference.

I wonder if they used the word “gluey” to tap into the public’s misconception that horse’s hooves were an ingredient in “inferior” brands of gelatin, since in the early 20th century, horse hooves and bones were often used as a source of glue.

Bon appetit?


1933 gelatin ad

Click to enlarge.

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