Sign advertising 'Fry's Milk Chocolate', c 1920.
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Metal signs like this were a common form of advertising between 1890 and 1900. This sign publicises the fact that Fry's supplied chocolate to King George V and Queen Alexandra. Chocolate is derived from the seeds of the cacao tree, native to tropical America, but today mainly cultivated in West Africa. It was first introduced to Europe by the Spaniards after Hernando Cortez tasted 'chocolatl', a drink enjoyed by the Aztec emperor Montezuma. J.S. Fry & Sons is the oldest chocolate firm in Britain, and posibly in the world. It began when Dr Joseph Fry, a young Quaker physician, began to make chocolate at his apothecary shop in Small Street, Bristol. Fry's son expanded the busines considerably and, by the end of the 19th century, the premises had expanded to fill a large area in Bristol. At first Fry's sold only plain solid chocolate, but diversified into milk chocolate after this was invetned in 1872.