Skip to content Skip to Menu KAL Accessibility Statement

OP: The Grocer's Encyclopedia

Write a review
| Ask a question
by Artemas Ward

The James Kempster Printing Company, 1911. Hardcover. Very Good.

From abalone to zwetschenwasser (plum brandy), this trade reference book is a conscientious gathering of practical information for merchants selling food and household products during the late Victorian period. 

Assembled over the course of thirty years by importer/exporter and renowned advertiser Artemas Ward (1848–1925), The Grocer’s Encyclopedia (1911) is an update to his earlier work, The Grocers’ Hand-Book and Directory. The original handbook was intended as a serial but only published in 1883 and 1886 editions. Ward refers to it as “crude but well intended.”

The over 1200 entries here vary in length, many quite brief, and others reflecting user interests and needs. Tea, for example, is covered across twelve-and-a-half pages with multiple illustrations and photographs, while aquavit, broccoli, and catsup take up only a few lines each.

Supported by 80 full-page color plates and over 400 illustrations and photographs, the articles range from produce and ingredients to such non-food items as paraffin, cigars, and gunpowder. The appendices contain common food names in five languages, a glossary of culinary terms, and a table of weights and measures. It is a valuable and revealing source of historical information and, happily, also makes for good reading. 

Our copy is in Very Good condition, containing no edition remarks. A presumed first and only printing. Scuffing and discoloration to the verdigris cloth case and a previous owner’s name on the front pastedown. 11.5” x 9” x 2.25.” Acquired from the Sontheimer Foundation Library. Carl Sontheimer (1914–1998) invented the original Cuisinart food processor.

Shopping Cart