History of Christmas Crackers: Cosaques (1883)


THE Novelties in COSAQUES designed and made specially for this season by Messrs. T. Smith & Co. are, as usual, of the highest possible phase of excellence, and fully maintain the reputation the firm has so long sustained of being one of the very foremost among the leading houses of producers in this special branch of art-manufactures.

Among the specialties are the ” Esthetic Crackers,” the box itself and the picture with which it is adorned being perfect gems of art, and the crackers themselves, each decorated with wrappers of peacock’s feathers and gold, adorned with well drawn heads bordered in sunflowers, and containing sesthetically designed head-dresses and mottoes, are among the most successful illustrations produced by the enervating noodledom of arch aestheticism.

The ” Musical Toy Crackers ” is another startling novelty, and one calculated of all others to create and sustain amusement at Christmas or other parties ; in each cracker is a musical instrument, so that an impromptu toy concert—each recipient playing the one in the cracker he or she ” pulls,” becomes the feature of the evening.

Other boxes have concealed in each cracker some article of dress, others a set of masks and grotesque faces, and others again contain exquisitely-formed flowers, or jewellery, or what not ; whatever their characteristic, all are alike excellent in point of manufacture, pure and faultless in artistic taste, and admirably adapted for every home and every occasion of rejoicing.

If they who produce the greatest amount of harmless amusement, and help the most to make Christmas parties happy and joyous, may be ranked amongst benefactors of mankind, then assuredly Messrs. Tom Smith & Co. may be considered the greatest benefactors of all.

THE COSAQUES of Messrs. Sparagnapane & Co. are of the very highest quality, both in point of design and in every detail of manufacture ; while in novelty of idea, beauty of execution, and richness of colouring, they are unsurpassable.

Two of these novelties which not only bid fair, but must of necessity become, general favourites, are their ” Tel el Kebir Cosaques,” and their ” Egyptian Luggage,” which contain articles of naval and military costume, Sphinx cards, puzzles, and other delightful articles, and are chastely decorated with Royal arms, trophies, and the universal ” red, white, and blue.” The ” Upper Crust Cosaque ” is another of their novelties, and each one is charged, ready to discharge, with costumes, cigars, chatelaines, books, flowers, and the like. The ” Vauxhall” box, too, is highly amusing, with its quaint head-dresses of our grandmother’s days. The ” Sappho ” box is, however, the most delicately and beautifully arranged of all. Whilst the others are all ” ablaze ” in their sea of rich colours and gold, these are arrayed in silver, and the ornaments are of the most chaste and elegant kind—they are, indeed, fit to be used at a fairy bridal. Each contains a choice and lovely flower, deftly arranged for wearing in the hair or on the dress. Messrs. Sparangapane & Co. are adepts at all that’s clever, fascinating, and elegant in these essentials for the home circle, and our readers may rely upon being pleased with all they produce.

Source: The Reliquary and illustrated archaeologist: a quarterly journal and review devoted to the study of early pagan and Christian antiquities of Great Britain, 1883
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