Sunday, February 17, 2013

Paul Walser & Co. Ltd.

Paul Walser & Co. Ltd. was a well-known hat manufacturer in London and Luton from 1906 until 2009. The company began as a straw plait and braid business and became one of the main suppliers of fur felts and straws to high-end milliners. The firm had a hat factory in Luton and a popular shop at 13 Great Marlborough Street in London. Historically Luton and the surrounding area was the centre of the straw hat trade in England, producing a large share of all the womens' hats manufactured and worn in the country.

Paul Walser & Co. Ltd. is best known for its hats produced in the 1930s and 1940s under the "Reslaw" brand name – Reslaw is Walser spelled backwards.

A Paul Walser (Reslaw) wedding hat from 1947

by Mark Matlach

Galbraith, Grant Limited

 Galbraith, Grant Ltd. was a wine and spirit merchant. The company was begun by William Robert Galbraith and George Grant who had a distillery at 157 Whitecross Street in London. In 1884 the company was described as "distillers and rectifiers of spirits and general wine and spirit merchants and makers of cordials and methylated spirits."

by Mark Matlach

Newton, Chambers & Co. Ltd.

Newton, Chambers & Co. Ltd. were ironfounders, colliery proprietors and chemical and disinfectant manufacturers. The company was founded in 1789 and would become one of  England's largest industrial companies of that era.

George Newton was a businessman, Thomas Chambers a craftsman in iron and their partnership had the aim of smelting and casting iron in various forms. In 1792 they bought the mining rights to the Thorncliffe valley and set up their works on the Thorncliffe site, to the north of Sheffield. Coal from the mines was provided as charge for beehive coke ovens which were built on the site. By the end of the 19th century the company was not only mining coal and ironstone, but building blast furnaces, coke ovens and chemical plant. Heavy section iron cast in the foundry was used in two iconic structures : Tower Bridge, crossing the River Thames in London, and the Eddystone lighthouse. During the 1890s the company introduced its “Izal” disinfectant made from distilled coal tar.

In 1939 the Thorncliffe works came under the control of the Admiralty. A new workshop was constructed close to Thorncliffe, which was used to build army vehicles and became the largest manufacturer of Churchill tanks for the war effort.

The nationalisation of the coal and steel industries in 1948 meant that Newton, Chambers & Co. was forced to sell off its interest in these fields. However, the company remained heavily involved in iron and steel founding and the production of chemicals from tar distillates. The firm also designed and supplied all manner of process plant and equipment for the coal-gas, chemical and steel industries. In the 1950s the company diversified into the production of excavators, draglines and other construction equipment.

In 1972 Newton, Chambers & Co. was taken over by an industrial holding company called Central & Sherwood, and the Izlal division was sold to Sterling-Winthrop.

Advertisement 1946

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strange Overprints

Here are some things that you don't see every day--two stamps with overprints in what appears to be the same font and using the same kerning (that is, the same amount of space between letters) on stamps issued decades apart. It is a bit difficult to tell this because the Specimen overprint is indistinct on the left side.

Even more intriguing is that the House of Commons overprint has never before been reported.

The final overprint--complete with misspelling of "Northern" as "Northen"--is on a stamp not previously known to have been overprinted and the company overprint has also not previously been reported. Also, I have been unable to find any reference to the Northern Gas Company ever having existed outside of the Middle East--and even those references are recent.

Collect safely, everyone.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

David Thom, Domeier & Co. Ltd.

David Thom, Domeier & Co. Ltd. was established by Scotsman David Thom as a manufacturing chemist and agent in 1864 at Whit Lane in Pendleton, Manchester. The company specialized in producing glycerine, carbonate of potash, fine chemicals and essential oil.

By the 1920s the firm was named David Thom & Co. Ltd. and had evolved to become a soap manufacturer and later a producer of cleaning products such as bleach and washing up liquid.

In c.1968 the business was acquired by Mansell, Hunt & Catty, who in turn were shortly bought out by an American company called Sterling Plastics. The factory in Pendleton was subsequently closed down.

The overprint of the shortened company name “David Thom// & Co. Ltd.” can be found on 2d Wilding stamps.

by Mark Matlach

J. & J. C. Ld (J. & J. Cash Limited)

J. & J. Cash Ltd. is a Coventry based manufacturer of woven name tapes, clothing labels, personalized luggage straps and badges.

In 1846, two brothers--John and Joseph Cash--began a silk ribbon manufacturing company in Coventry. The city of Coventry was at this time already famous for its silk weaving. Skilled jaquard weavers (Huguenots escaping persecution in Europe) had settled there and soon thousands of local people were employed in this cottage industry. Workers owned their own jacquard looms and the Cash brothers distributed the silk for them to weave in their own homes. A fixed price was paid for each finished piece.

The Cash's soon outgrew this system and in 1857 they commissioned the construction of a series of three-storey weavers' cottages in Kingfield. Initially 100 such cottages were planned, but actually only 48 were built. On the top floor of each cottage was a well-lit work area, known collectively as "Cash's Topshops", housing a jacquard loom, powered by a central, steam-powered beam engine. J. & J. Cash opened for business in 1857 and the individual workshops were combined into single, large workspaces in 1862. The cottages still stand today.

The Cottages at Kingfield

During the 1960s, J. & J. Cash Ltd. absorbed a number of other Coventry weaving companies. Other local competitors failed, leaving Cash's the only survivor of the type in the city. The company was sold to the Jones Stroud Group in 1976, ending the involvement of the Cash family. In 1984 the Kingfield site was vacated and the company moved to more modern premises on Torrington Avenue where it remains today.

by Mark Matlach

Roy Gault, the Perfin Society Catalogue Editor, believes that the commercial overprint is from J & J Colman, Mustard Mfrs, Norwich.  

Barclay Perkins & Co. Ltd.

Barclay Perkins & Co. Ltd. was a major brewing company in Southwark, London from 1781 to 1955.

In 1781 David Barclay purchased the Anchor Brewery in Park Street, Southwark from Henry Thrale & Co. for the sum of £135,000. Barclay placed his nephew Robert Barclay in the firm together with John Perkins who had been chief clerk of Thrale's establishment.

The company name was changed to Barclay Perkins & Co. in 1798. By 1810, the production of beer at the Anchor Brewery had been increased to over 200,000 barrels a year, making it the largest brewery in the world at that time. By 1815, Barclay Perkins was the leading brewer in London, producing more than 330,000 barrels of beer a year. The company became famous for its Russian Imperial Stout which was widely sold on the continent. In 1832 a fire at the brewery destroyed many buildings resulting in considerable rebuilding of the site. Anchor Brewery employed around 430 men in 1830 and had the largest output of beer of any London brewer. Barclay Perkins became incorporated as a limited company in 1896.

In the 1950s Barclay Perkins & Co. Ltd. was the first of the large UK brewers to produce lager. Barclay's London Lager became the company's best seller, accounting for 20% of sales. In 1955 the company merged with Courage to become Courage Barclay & Co. Ltd. In 1981 the Anchor Brewery was demolished and the land was sold for housing.

by Mark Matlach