Cranston, Rhode Island: Narragansett Brewing Company, circa 1940. Unbound. This 12” diameter multi-color Narragansett Lager & Ale features the company’s iconic cigar store Indian, Chief Gansett, mounted on wheels and racing to deliver a draft beer. Text includes two company slogans, “Gangway for Gansett!” and “Too Good to Miss!” Images of barley and hops fill the inside of the tray’s 1.25” tall rim. The image is ‘signed’ Dr. Seuss in the lower right.The tray displays well. Its colors are bright. There are no scratches or dents as commonly found. Overall, a very nice example with some table rubbing/soiling to the bottom, and minor pitting to the surface. Very good. Item #009359
In the early 1930s, “Robert Haffenreffer, Jr. and his brother Theodore came to Narragansett Brewing Company to help their father, Robert Haffenreffer Sr. “liven up” the company. As it happens, both the younger Haffenreffers had attended college with a budding artist, Theodor Geisel, soon to be the famous “Dr. Seuss”. Robert Haffenreffer, Jr. was also a fan of cigar store Indians, so Dr. Seuss’ “Chief Gansett” was a natural!” (See the Narragansett Beer website.) At the time this tray was produced, Narragansett Beer was the largest brewery in New England. It dominated the market, primarily through sponsorship of Boston Baseball teams. After both teams switched sponsors, the Red Sox to Ballantine in 1950 and the Braves to Schaeffer the next decade, Narragansett lost control of the New England market. The Falstaff Brewing Company purchased Narragansett in 1965, intending for the Haffenreffers to continue to run it as an independent subsidiary. The State of Rhode Island, however, objected and pursued an anti-trust suit against Falstaff. Although, Falstaff eventually prevailed in the Supreme Court after a long-running court battle, the cost was staggering, and Falstaff was bought by a corporate raider who moved Narragansett production to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cranston plant shut down in 1982.