Sleepy Eye Flour Tin Sign, Minneapolis, MN. Circa 1900

One of the more collectible advertisements sought after today features a distinctive Indian chief which was put on just about every Sleepy Eye Flour brand of advertising giveaway possible in the early 1900’s. The Sleepy Eye flour brand logo featured a distinguished Indian in full headgear who was named Old Sleepy Eye. Interestingly, quite a bit of the Sleepy Eye Flour advertising items from the early 1900’s also featured Indians in full war-like settings in the advertising. The featured sign is a perfect example of this. Shown on top are a few scenes of Indian’s in a fight setting, while the only image which demonstrated the Indian in a good light is at the far-right bottom. This image appears to show an Indian in some sort of trade with a white man, perhaps for some of their flour? Sleepy Eye Flour billed itself as the Meritorious Flour in many of their ads from this era.

The Sleepy Eye Flour Milling Company was started in Sleepy Eye, MN. However, the company went into receivership in1909 and shortly thereafter it moved to Minneapolis. The original milling building was torn down in 1915, and by 1917 the newly relocated company was sold off to the Kansas Flour Mills, due to financial issues in 1921. The old mill is still being used today, but for other business purposes. While there are many signs to remind us of the once thriving business, the majority of what remains today are the thousands of Sleepy Eye pottery pieces in collections throughout the world. Many of these pieces have the Indian Chief logo embossed into the pottery, most commonly found in a blue/white pottery design