Profusely ornamented with a floral border and a bird, this tin once housed a specific Eastern European delight, solomka. Translated from Russian as “straws,” solomka is a baked good shaped like thin sticks—something of a cross between a cookie and a breadstick. It can be sweet or savory, often coated with poppy seeds. Contemporary solomka, typically packaged in plastic, lacks the aesthetic appeal of its historical counterpart, which adds a unique charm to this piece.
The solomka tin was produced by Abrikosov and Sons, a firm founded by entrepreneur Alexei Abrikosov in 1804. He became known as the “chocolate king” and implemented, as we would say nowadays, effective marketing strategies to sell his sweet products. For instance, Abrikosov and Sons produced chocolate Father Frosts (the Russian version of Santa Claus) and hares, which were in high demand during New Year and Christmas time. In their advertisements, the firm used various animals and fictional characters, targeting younger consumers.
Abrikosov and Sons had a factory and store in Moscow, along with branded retail outlets and wholesale warehouses in Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Kiev, and Odessa, where this particular tin was sold. From 1899, the firm was a supplier to the imperial court. In 1919, the Soviet government nationalized the factory, renaming it the State Confectionary Factory No. 2. then the Babaev Factory. A similar fate befell many other firms that produced tins and sweets.