This advertising cover is not only intriguing, but it has also been unusually difficult to research, with the information coming in ‘dribs and drabs’ over the past 2 years. The behatted and bearded man catches one’s attention, while he contentedly smokes his pipe. His hat is adorned with ‘CORRECT THING’, and the rest of the inscription apparently reads ‘At Last, Petersburg Va. U.S.A’ (probably referring to the place of origin of the tobacco). Below the hat ‘American Dark Tobacco’ is inscribed. Above the hat we are told to ‘Smoke: “CORRECT THING” which I presume is his favourite pipe tobacco. At top left there is the usual ‘If not claimed within seven days please return to King, Engel & McCullagh Ltd, Late Lange & Thoneman, Melbourne’. It is addressed to Herrn Siegfried Wiesenthal, 7 Arlenstrasse, Berlin C, Germany, and he has not been identified. The blue 2½ ‘Allegorical Figure of Australia’ stamp is cancelled with a duplex SYDNEY/ NO 12/ 1-PM/ 94/ 32 with the stamp obliterated by the 3-ring oval N.S.W. (Figures 1&2).

The reverse has an admonition to Drink “HEALTH TEA” , and there is a purple 18 Barrack St. Sydney handstamp on the flap, as well as an arrival postmark in Germany 15/12/ 94 (Figure 3).

The most comprehensive mention of the Lange and Thoneman firm was not found in Melbourne or Sydney, but at a website entitled ‘They Went to New Zealand’, referring to gold miners, which was dated 11 September 1863, and it reads as follows:

“It is always a subject for congratulation to be able from time to time to chronicle not only extensions of the business of Dunedin merchants, but also the establishment in this city of branches of Melbourne and Sydney firms of recognised standing. Among the latest and most welcome additions in this way, we notice that Messrs. Lange and Thoneman, importers, of Melbourne, and who have already branch establishments on Avoca and Creswick, (and they) have purchased, through the agency of Messrs. Gillies and Street, the stores adjoining those of R. Wilson and Co., in Stafford-street. We are informed that it is the intention of Messrs Lange and Thoneman to partially rebuild the premises, so as to afford every facility for the carrying on of an extensive business.”

The first mention of the firm Lange and Thoneman in Australia was in The Argus (Melbourne) on 27 December 1859 when Emil Thoneman and Christian Lange notified that they were breaking a partnership with Charles Meyer, and they will continue the firm in Melbourne at Creswick, and Avoca, “adopting from the 1st January 1860, the firm LANGE and THONEMAN” instead of the name C. Meyer and Co.

A short obituary was found in The Argus (Melbourne), page 5 on 17 October 1874 concerning the death of Emil Thoneman: “We regret to learn that a telegram from London was received yesterday, announcing the sudden death of Emil Thoneman on the 13th inst. Mr Thoneman was well and favorably known to the commercial community as a partner in the firm of Messrs. Lange and Thoneman. For the last two years the deceased gentleman held the office of the Austrian Consul, and was held in much esteem by his brother consuls.”

In 1881, the firm of Lange & Thoneman published a book entitled A private code to be used by Lange & Thoneman and their correspondents in Australia, New Zealand, and the East. Thirteen years after Emil Thoneman’s death, a law report in the Supreme Court of Victoria was found in The Argus (Melbourne) dated 23 December 1887 which describes that Mrs. Marie Louise Thoneman, his wife, was contesting his will.

On 16 November 1888 in The Sydney Morning Herald, the death of Mr. F.C. Lange was reported: “To-day information was received by cable of the death, at Bonne, on the Rhine, on the 18th inst., of Mr. F.C. Lange, of the well-known firm of Lange and Thoneman, merchants, Melbourne. The late Mr. Lange arrived in the colony in 1852, and shortly after commenced business, taking Mr. Thoneman as partner. He was in the Jolimont railway accident, and though he escaped without apparent injury symptoms of paralysis, (it) gradually developed 18 months ago. He retired from the firm early this year and proceeded to Europe. He leaves a wife and four daughters and two sons.”

On 24 September 1889 a burglary was reported in The Argus (Melbourne) at Messrs. Lange and Thoneman, general importers and merchants of William Street, Melbourne. On 1 February 1892 there was a customs seizure in Melbourne as reported in The Brisbane Courier at the premises of Messrs, Lange and Thoneman, Melbourne, in regards to the fixture of labels to bottles of beer purporting to their being imported German beer, when they were of colonial origin. This report was followed 3 days later in The Argus (Melbourne) reporting a trivial fine with the removal of the labels. The year 1892 was the latest date when the firm appeared as Lange and Thoneman.

On 10 March 1894 in The West Australian (Perth) the newly named firm of S. King, P. Engel and H.S.A. McCullach, Limited, William-street, Melbourne, Victoria, merchants, applied to register a trade mark in respect of tea. On 12 May 1894, Richard Strelitz, manager of King, Engel and McCullagh in The West Australian gave notice that he was going to apply for a Spirit Merchant’s Licence for the High Street Fremantle, Western Australian branch of the firm.

On 8 October 1895 in The Argus (Melbourne), King, Engel & McCullagh, was described in an Alleged Breach of the Trade Marks Act. The company was accused of applying false labels to bottles of rum, whisky and brandy.

By virtue of the quality of the photographs taken of the homes of both original partners, F.C. Lange and Emil Thoneman (photos cited by the State Library of Victoria (SLV) as being taken ca.1860 to ca. 1879), the homes of the original partners attested to the financial success of the Lange & Thoneman firm. I have reasonable confidence that the SLV home photo is the home of ‘our’ Emil Thoneman, and it is the identical home as shown at the following website.

The author of this website mentions the dates of Residence of Emil Thoneman Esqr. Austrian Consul, c.1860-79. State Library of Victoria Accession Number: H87.91/12 Image Number: b47385, but these dates do not refer to Emil Thoneman when he was the Austrian Consul, for he had died in 1874. They do refer to the timing of the photograph being taken of the home. This is confusing, for the identical dates are also seen on F.C. Lange’s home photo, which were taken by the same photographer.

This remarkable website devoted to ‘The 1st Australian Ice HockeyTeam, Melbourne 1906′, athttp://homepage.mac.com/carpenter.architects/icelife46/future/1stTeam.html#Thonemann, has more information about the Thoneman family than all other websites combined. This website has some lesser important inconsistent information, but the one important piece of data that is not open to argument, namely Emil Thoneman died on 13 October 1874.

The Melbourne Thonemann family descends from an old patrician family of Warburg-Westphalia in Germany, which dates back to 1275, and from which also descended the Confessor to Kaiser Karl VI; an Abbot of Hardehausen; the Founder of Warburg Grammar School; and a number of nobles.

‘Our’ Emil Thoneman was married to a Marie Louise and was an Austrian consul for Australia for 2 years up to his death, whereas Julius Emil Thonemann (b. ? –d. 1891), an Austrian Consul, was married to a Louisa Mary Piper. I am not questioning the difference in the Thoneman(n) name, and ‘our’ Emil Thoneman was married to a Mary Louise (which may be a coincidence?). The appointment as a consul is not infrequently ‘handed down’ in the family, and this is documented elsewhere in the Thonemann article. There are other several Thonemann individuals with Emil in their name at this website, whose death dates which makes them even less likely than Julius Emil, as the partner in the Lange and Thoneman firm. Unfortunately there is no email address available to enable contact with the author, in order to clarify the inconsistencies, and I hope that our readers can shed some light on this family.

Addendum (June 2011):  An advertising  postcard with a printed purple ‘ONE PENNY’ Laureate stamp of Victoria (the first postcard issued in the colony of Victoria on August 1876) had a printed advert on the reverse for LANGE & THONEMAN, Merchants, 33 & 35 Market Street, MELBOURNE & Bond Street, DUNEDIN (N.Z.).


                     HOPS.  SPIRITS.  INDIAN CONDIMENTS.

                     MALT.  TOBACCOES.  OILMEN’S STORES.

                     RICE.  CIGARS. &c.  &c. &c.

Our representative Mr. I.B. Finney will have the pleasure of waiting on you in a few days when the favor of your orders will oblige (Figure 4).