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Object in Focus - Ovaltine painting

a colourful set of three paintings show a 1930s style women smiling with short black curled hair pouring a spoonful of ovaltine in a mug of ovaltine
© Associated British Foods, Cared for by The Dacorum Heritage Trust Ltd

Ovaltine was at the forefront of advertising, utilising new techniques when they became available. It was one of the first brands to be promoted when commercial television launched in 1955.

Ovaltine was developed by Swiss chemist Dr Wander in 1904 as the first convenient and complete milk fortifier, intended to give strength. Athletes at the 1932 Olympic Games were even served Ovaltine as a health boost.

Manufacturing started in the UK in 1910 at the factory in Kings Langley. The site was chosen owing to its plentiful supply of water, good transport links and suitable farmland to produce barley, fresh eggs and milk. It also had a large enough population to provide workers for the factory. Production ceased in 2002 and the art deco building was converted into flats.

Read our online exhibition titled The Ovaltine girl and her advertising journey.

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