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Advertising Belgium


In the period beweeen the two World Wars, particularly during the reign of King Albert I, Belgium produced many stamp pairs that included an advertisement (“Timbres-Publicitie”). Here at PostBeeld we have some great examples and also a large stock of very interesting stamps from Belgium.

Belgium 1929

The pairs seen above advertise the Ostende-Dover ferry, operated by the Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) – the Belgian state-owned ferry service – which was inaugurated between Ostend and Dover in March 1846. Owing to heavy financial losses and increased competition from the high-speed Eurostar Channel Tunnel train service and shorter sea ferry routes, the Belgian government took the decision to close the company in 1997. The attached stamp values have the Belgian coat of arms, an allegorical female figure playing a lyre and King Albert I of Belgium who reigned from 1909 until his death in 1934.

Belgium 1929

The first medicinal advertisement was for Syrup of Manceau (Sirop Manceau) issued 1929-1932 on labels adjoining the Belgian “lion heraldic” issue. The product was created in the 1890s by Dr. Charles Manceau and pharmacist Abel Guillion. The remedy, containing apple, fennel, coriander, and senna, was promoted as a laxative for young children.

Belgium 1929

Here we have stamp pairs promoting leather soles for shoes that have a protective dressing.

Belgium 1929

The moving coil, direct radiator cone loudspeaker seen on the above stamps was the creation of a New York inventor Clair Loring Farrand in the mid-1920s, and set a standard by replacing the horn type speaker which could not produce the sound quality of the cone speaker. Mr. Farrand held over 250 patents and his company, Farrand Industry Inc., held more than 1,000. Mr. Farrand was working as a wireless operator for Marconi in 1912, when news of the sinking of the Titanic broke. He stayed up all night to receive the names of Titanic survivors from an incoming ship. The list which was later posted in the newspapers.

Belgium 1929

Persil washing powder was invented by Professor Herman Giessler and Dr Herman Bauer from Stuttgart, Germany, at the beginning of the 20th Century. They mixed ordinary soap with a salt that was rich in oxygen. Persil got its name from its original ingredients: ‘Per’ from Perborate and ‘Sil’ from Silicate. Originally the Persil powder had to be stirred into a paste before use. Lever Brothers (now known as Unilever) bought the company in 1919 and introduced the product to the UK.

In the early 20th Century people washed their clothes using bars of soap. This new ‘scientific’ washing powder was different from what people were used to and it took a while to become popular.

Belgium 1932

More bilingual stamp pairs, this time from 1932. There are advertisements for Dutch cheese, Telefunken radios, Publibel postcard albums, a Colonial Lottery, Froede stamp catalogues, a National Stamp Catalogue for Belgian Congo, stamp albums from Ka-Be and Schaubek, and Marbrite decorative products.


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