Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Chocolat D'Aiguebelle Trading Cards

If you have seen my recently begun tumblog, you probably get the idea that I love old packaging design. Combine that with dinosaurs and other paleo subjects, and I'm just about as happy as a tapeworm in a hog's belly. Copyright Expired hosts a very cool set of trading cards from 1905 issued by the D'Aiguebelle chocolate company. All images here come from that site, which is run by David Goldman.

This guy, who would be more properly identified as Scaphognathus, made an appearance in last week's Vintage Dinosaur Art post, too. And he'll probably be back at some point. This pose is one of those memes, like the bird-chasing Ornitholestes, that pops up over and over and over again.

A site devoted to old painted roadside advertisements at provides some interesting background to the company.
"To make ends meet after the French Revolution the monks of Notre-dame d'Aiguebelle were forced to look for more income than their traditional occupations in agriculture could yield. A monk with a sweet tooth suggested to go for chocolat. His idea proved to be a very good one. It was soon necessary to build a dedicated production plant. The Chocolat d'Aiguebelle became one of the bigger chocolate brands in France during the early 1900s."

Their choice of iguanodon is based on Dollo's studies of the mass death site at Bernissart, Belgium. This is a great representation of the "kangaroo-stance" that was the prevailing view of ornithopods around the turn of the 20th century. Equally interesting are the Iguanodons in the background image, whose behavior seems to be modeled after the marine iguanas of Galapagos, save for the fact that one of them is depicted eating fish!

"Brontosaurus" will forever be associated with improper head association, and the D'Aiguebelle Bronto is no exception. Is it just me, or does it look like this guy's been saddled with the skull of a mammalian carnivore?

The set also includes plenty of members of the Paleogene, including this mammoth and the Dinornis below.

More information on these cards and more at, which says that these cards are "some of the highest quality chromolithographs to be found anywhere in the world." This set is one I'd love to see with my own eyes sometime.

1 comment:

  1. Arrgh! On the fourth card, they called it Brontosaurus instead of Apatosaurus. That's one of my top paleontological pet peeves!!!


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