From sweets to smoke grenades: The history of legendary Moscow Einem factory

From sweets to smoke grenades: The history of legendary Moscow Einem factory
Fragment of an Einem Partnership card promoting its The History of Paper cocoa line. Late 19th – early 20th century. Cardboard, typographic printing. The Museum of Moscow collection
This article is about Moscow confectionery appreciated by Parisians and about a factory owner who was among the first entrepreneurs to understand the importance of advertising.

The heroes of the new issue of the ‘History of Things’ are advertising cards, cards for the legendary Moscow company, Einem: The Partnership of a Steam Factory for Chocolate Sweets and Tea Cookies, which was founded in the mid-19th century and renamed Krasny Oktyabr after the revolution of 1917. The Museum of Moscow collection includes many advertising leaflets, packages, cards and boxes from Einem through which you can trace the company’s history from the very beginning.

The factory was established in 1851 on Arbat Street by Theodor Ferdinand von Einem as a small company for the production of chocolate and sweets. Throughout the Crimean War, Einem would supply the army with his products. The revenue allowed him to expand production and relocate the factory to Myasnitskaya Street. In 1857, von Einem invited Julius Heuss to be a partner, recognizing Heuss’s obvious commercial instincts and entrepreneurial mindset. Heuss did boost the business – new kinds of sweets, cookies and chocolate treats appeared. Theodor and Julius opened a confectionery on Teatralnaya Square and ordered the latest steam engine from abroad. In 1867, they built their first factory building on the Moskva River’s Sofiiskaya Embankment, and in the late 19th century another building was established on Bersenevskaya Embankment. The company’s architectural ensemble had taken its final shape by 1914.

A token exchanged for a gift from The Partnership of Einem in Moscow. Late 19th–early 20th century. Paper, typographic printing. The Museum of Moscow collection

The Moscow public knew the factory’s name immediately – the factory’s placards were true works of art. In the 19th century, advertising was considered in bad taste in Russia since good merchandise sells itself. However, Einem realised that it was not just chocolate that they needed to promote but a legend, instilling a feeling of product prestige. All of the company’s creative potential went to achieve this effect.

Einem mostly depicted rosy-cheeked, chubby kids when promote their products. They were either grasping a chocolate bar, furrowing their eyebrows while daring, Try to Take it Away!, or jumping over the Moskva River from the Kremlin to the plant above the slogan My First Step Is Towards Einem Candies. Einem also promoted coffeeon placards with nice ruddy-cheeked ladies, and cocoa – by sisters of mercy with kind eyes and modest smiles.

Einem products were showcased at many international and Russian exhibitions, gaining more and more popularity. In 1896, the factory received a gold medal at the National Industrial and Art Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod and the Grand-Prix at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. In 1913, the Einem partnership was conferred the title of official supplier of the Court of His Imperial Majesty.

Transporting fragile goods required a good container. The factory developed a packaging solution that had an attractive shape, colour, images and text.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the factory was nationalised and in 1922 it was renamed Krasny Oktyabr. Throughout the Great Patriotic War it sent its produce to the war front. The factory also produced flame arrestors for aircraft, coloured smoke grenades for the fleet and concentrated porridge. After the war, Krasny Oktyabr became an experimental platform for introducing new technology in the confectionery industry. In the 1960s, the factory was renovated and expanded, giving the buildings a present-day look on Bersenevskaya Embankment.