Liebig's Extract of Meat Company

Justus Freiherr von Liebig was a German chemistry professor who, amongst other achievements, developed a means of manufacturing beef extract. This beef extract was commercially manufactured as Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company leading eventually to their Oxo cube. The company went on to manufacture Fray Bentos pies with factories in the Uruguayan city and also in Colón (presumably “Colon Pies” being a marketing non-starter in the UK). His extract process is even considered to have made possible the invention of Marmite (hurrah!).

So what does this have to do with Suburban Militarism?

The answer is that Leibig’s Extract of Meat Co. also produced a wide range of collectable trade cards whose subjects included historica and military topics.

Admittedly, ‘extract of meat’ might not sound too pleasing, but some of the illustrations here are! Here are a brief sample of some of the 100 (mostly Belgian) that have found their way to Suburban Militarism’s store of military artwork:


From “Belgian generals from the 16th to the 18th century”:

General Clerfayt, a Walloon Belgian, leads the Austrian forces to victory over the revolutionary French at the battle of Neerwinden in 1793.
Jean-André van der Mersch commands the Belgian Patriot army against the Austrians at the Battle of Turnhout during the Brabant Revolution in 1789.
The 1732 Spanish conquest of Algerian Oran included regiments of Walloon Guards and was led by a General Bosseau. He was of humble orins and a veteran of Marlburian wars including playing a key role in the battle of Ramilles.

From “Combat Formations”:

5. “The French infantry square against the Cossacks”
6. “Modern infantry attacking the trenches”. Interesting to see that the Belgian idea of modern infantry includes the wearing of felt hat with a black feather in it! These look like WWI Italian Alpini moutain troops.

From: “Belgian Expeditionary Corps”

The concept of a Belgian Legion within the French army had a long precedent and this set of cards details the Belgian Expeditionary Corps, a force sent to Mexico during Napoleon III’s ill-fated invasion in 1860s.

“The volunteers of Maximillian in Mexico”; The Belgian Legion (as it was known) looking like the more famous French Foreign Legion.
2. “The Papal Zouaves” – These troops consisted of mostly catholic volunteers from very many different nations, Belgium itself being very well represented.