How far would I have to travel to find someone that doesn't know Disney? Disney is an enduring visual legacy and still a massive modern day behemoth of entertainment, producing and publishing both high qualities and quantities of mouse-eared visual stimulation, often initially received at a young age.
Lee Bofkin
Mid - late 1900s
Early 2000s
20th century
Disney – the 20th Century's most well-known producer of nostalgia-inducing Ephemera – turns 100 this year!

You'd assume (correctly) that we have quite a bit of Disney represented in our gallery. For this post we selected objects in threes: three books, three games, three rugs, three paper objects (it could have gone on longer), three snow globes, three silk handkerchiefs from the 1930s, three cookie jars, three pencil cases, three lunchboxes... Did we do bubble baths? We definitely skipped over board games. Anyway…
Sets of beautiful slides display Disney’s early animations at a time when simply reading a story aloud and projecting static glass plate slides would have been entertainment enough.

Disney in the classroom allowed children, for the first time, to express themselves more fully with pop culture.

For most of us, Disney is a childhood memory primarily, then carried into adulthood. As such, the icons and images of Disney evoke strong nostalgia and fragile feelings. There is wonder, adventure, art, joy, colour, character and product, all in one. One Magic Kingdom!

The lunchbox as we know it can be traced to 1935 when the first character lunchbox was produced, featuring Mickey Mouse.

Pencil cases and lunchboxes no longer carry the same relevance as they did in and before the 90s, because the classroom has changed - pencil cases became clear before becoming generally sidelined as classrooms have become more digital.

Because everyone has their own take on Disney – as an institution, as an idea, as an aesthetic – and as a constant series of visual innovations has moved through every facet of merchandise and all known media channels – there is enough incredible material to consume that it's possible to take a holistic view of Disney’s impact on visual culture over the last 100 years.

Cookie jars are modern sculptures with a single simple function; beyond this, their form ranges enormously. Disney has produced many, many cookie jars over the years, adorning kitchen tops and shelves all over the world.

Disney is a huge producer of snow globes, many of which have become collector’s pieces. It is thought that Disney’s earliest-known snow globe dates to 1959, containing a miniature Bambi.

These three silk scarves were produced by Disney in the 1930s. They are remarkably well preserved. Apparently, the former band manager of East 17 was a big fan of early Disneyania. These handkerchiefs used to belong to him before he sold much of his collection.
We had to heavily edit down the number of things we showed as our collection of Disney Ephemera is rather voluminous. So, we’re only showing one Disney book, one game, and one other paper item – the Pluto mask.

Disney has been a huge book publisher over the years, too. This stunning old book on the Art of Walt Disney is one of our favourites.

The Pluto mask is especially interesting because it was produced in the UK by East-London-based Spratt’s (the world's first large-scale producer of dog food). It was created as a giveaway in the 30s or 40s. Spratt's legacy is perhaps best remembered today as the company that founded the Crufts dog show.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our whistlestop sample of some of the things in our collection that Disney has produced over the years. Here’s to the next 100 years!

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