Museum Monday: Log Cabin Syrup

By Sarah Lyon

Welcome back to Museum Mondays! This week we’re talking about our Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup tin. Log Cabin Syrup is one of the most iconic syrup brands in U.S. history, so it’s nice to keep a bit of its history here.

The Nevada State Museum in Carson City has partnered with us to be able to display this piece. The old tins are shaped like log cabins, which is a large part of their charm and iconic branding. Our tin is from a later batch when the company started blending their maple syrup with sugar cane.

Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup was started in 1888 by a St. Paul, Minnesota grocer named Patrick J. Towle. Originally, Towle’s Log Cabin Syrup had strong ties to the maple industry and produced pure Maple syrup in their tins. By the 1900s Towle had three lines of syrup: a pure maple syrup, a blended recipe of cane sugar and maple called “Camp Syrup”, which were considered much more popular, and from 1904 to 1909 there was also a third syrup called Towle’s Log Cabin Penoche Syrup which was a maple flavored and maple colored syrup made from cane sugar and marketed for candy making. Today, Log Cabin no longer uses maple in their syrups at all.

Towle patented the first log cabin shaped metal tin used used for his maple syrup in 1897. It was covered in paper labeling at first, but later would have the label printed onto the can. The earliest cabin-shaped tins indicated that their contents were maple syrup and included a claim of purity that offered a $500 reward if someone found evidence of adulteration in their maple syrup, which would be like offering a $15,000 dollar guarantee today!

See the Log Cabin syrup tin at the Last Chance Outpost and visitors center. If you liked this article, read other Museum Monday pieces.