Ovaltine was developed by Swiss chemist, Dr Wander, in 1904 as the first convenient and complete milk fortifier, intended to give strength. Manufacturing started in the UK in 1913 at the factory in Kings Langley; the location was chosen because of the plentiful supply of water, good transport links and suitable farmland to produce barley, fresh eggs and milk. Ovaltine was at the forefront of advertising, utilising new techniques, and this Ovaltine Maid was an icon worldwide.
Ovaltine was developed by Swiss chemist Dr Wander in 1904 as the first convenient and complete milk fortifier, intended to give strength. Athletes at the 1932 Olympic Games were even served Ovaltine as a health boost. The factory in Kings Langley opened with an original workforce of just 13, but by 1950s this had risen to 1,400 people. When the factory closed in 2002, much of the collection came to Dacorum Heritage.The collection is varied and includes advertising materials, packaging materials, and artefacts associated with the factory and farm at Kings Langley. The collection ranges in date from the early to the late 20th Century. Some of the highlights of the collection are recordings produced by Radio Luxembourg of the children’s group, “the Ovaltineys”, singing “We are the Ovaltineys”. Other highlights include the original artworks created for advertisements. Film which was recently digitalised through funding from Garfield Weston Foundation can be found on the Dacorum Heritage YouTube channel. The collection contains several large paintings of women and children which were used to advertise the Ovaltine product. This painting, as one example, showing three typical shots of women enjoying their cup of Ovaltine. These include her stirring in a spoonful of Ovaltine into milk, sleeping and waking from a restful night sleep.The original artworks were all used in print advertisements both nationally and internationally. The Ovaltine lady was an icon of world importance, she was the face of the brand, and she was very recognisable and reminiscent. Ovaltine company was a major local employer. The company was, and to some extent is still, very highly regarded and it played a major part in the life of the community.