Castle Farms owner Linda Mueller started her wedding cake topper collection after reading a magazine article about brides using vintage cake toppers. Linda still had her own cake topper from her wedding to husband Richard in 1969. Linda dusted off the family heirloom, found an empty display cabinet in the Main Office Foyer, and thus a new Castle collection was born.
The tradition of wedding cakes can be traced back to ancient Roman times, but it wasn’t until the Victorian era (1837-1901) that cake toppers gain popularity. This piece, from the 1880s, features a couple made of spun sugar. In keeping with Victorian times (known for its high moral values), the couple stand apart, rather than in a formal embrace.
During the Victorian era, a pair of clasped hands signified friendship, courtship, love and marriage. The image of clasped hands proved so popular, it became common for use on wedding cakes. This topper with wax hands dates back to the early 1900’s.
Cake toppers were often sold in bakeries, along with the wedding cake. This Victorian cake topper features frosting more than one hundred years old. Victorian bridal cakes also sometimes featured orange blossoms and sprigs of myrtle, which were handed off to wedding guests as party favors. Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed over 300 lbs. The bridal figures stood nearly one foot tall.
Renowned artist Rose O’Neill gained international fame with her Kewpie dolls circa 1912. These rare toppers are made of bisque porcelain (1920-1950). Crepe paper was often used for the clothing, as well as scraps of tulle, lace, and other items.
Use of wedding cake toppers in the United States gained in popularity after World War I. One of the most significant reasons can be traced back to Sears, then the largest mail order catalog company in the world. Albert Loeb, 1st owner of the Castle, was President of Sears when the catalog began featuring cake toppers for sale. This topper was sold in the Sears catalog for $1.47.
During WWII (1941-1945), toppers often featured soldiers in uniform, hand-in-hand with their brides. Once the war ended, jubilant bridal parties paraded across wedding cakes such as in this example from 1950.
A recent addition to the collection is the kissing bridal couple. It was specially made for Chris Muller (Linda and Richard’s son) and his wife Karrie when they married in 2011. Linda’s historic Bridal Cake Topper Collection started with her own cake topper and now takes up an entire wall of showcases in the Castle’s Main Office Foyer. The collection can be seen by visitors when taking a tour.