Sunday, September 28, 2014

EEB / C (Eastern Electricity Board)

The Eastern Electricity Board (EEB) was formed in 1948 as part of the nationalization of Great Britain's electricity producers, legislated by the Electricity Act 1947.

The board had a variety of commercial overprint patterns; the ones of interest here are the EEB/C patterns. The main EEB/C patterns are:

  •  Small letters (1.6mm high), widely spaced. These appear on sideways watermarked stamps from SG 488a to 613ab.
  • Medium letters (2.0-2.2mm high), tightly spaced. These appear on stamps with normal and sideways watermarks from SG 518a to 613ab, and the unwatermarked SG 727.
  • Large letters (2.8mm high), tightly spaced. These appear on stamps with normal watermarks (SG 579 and 613a) and the unwatermarked SG 726, 727, and 736.
Those patterns are read with the stamps on their right side. However, the 2.8mm high pattern is also known read from its left side.

Based on receipts I have, the "C" could refer to the Chilterns sub-area (small letters pattern on SG 506a, dated 14 September 1954) or  Cambridge (medium letters pattern on 573 or 573a, dated 24 May 1966). It seems that the EEB/C patterns may have been used interchangeably with the more common E.E.B. patterns--in addition to the receipt from May 1966 just mentioned I have an E.E.B. pattern on SG 573 to the same address dated 25 May 1965.

by Michael Behm

References: Electricity Act, 1947

Sunday, September 21, 2014

W M G B (West Midlands Gas Board)

The West Midlands Gas Board was formed by the Gas Act of 1948. From their use of commercial overprints on SG 488, we can infer that they started using overprinted stamps on receipts soon after being established.

There are two main patterns:
  • The W M/G B pattern is a sans-serif font that is known in two font sizes:
    • The 2.8mm pattern is known on SG 488, 506, 506a, 518, 518a, 543, 543a, 543b, 543bd
      573, 573a, 579, 613, 613a, 726, 727, and 736.
    • The 2.0mm pattern is known on SG 573a, 613ab, and 727.
  • The W. M./G. B. pattern has a typewritten appearance and also is known in two font sizes: 
    • The 2.5mm pattern is known on SG 506, 518, 543, 543b, and 573.
    • The 2.2mm pattern is known on SG 488, 506, 543, and 543b. 
It is very difficult to distinguish between the 2.5mm and 2.2mm patterns by font size alone, but the letters in the 2.5mm pattern are spaced 2.5mm horizontally while those in the 2.2mm pattern are 4.25mm apart.

by Michael Behm

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scholl Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

William M. Scholl was a pioneer of foot care in the United States. In 1904 he invented and patented an arch support and founded the company Dr. Scholl's to sell it. Scholl's skill was not limited to his ability to design patented footcare products, but also in his ways to become innovative and inventive in marketing his company. Scholl initially distributed his products via shoe retailers, demonstrating the medical advantages of his designs by using a skeleton of the human foot. To expand his enterprise, Scholl employed salespeople whom he paid more if they studied and passed a podiatric correspondence course.

In 1908 Scholl's brother Frank joined the business. William despatched him to expand the company in Europe, and in 1913 Frank opened the company's first retail store in London called the Scholl Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The London store was a great success and in 1928 William Scholl opened his first retail shop in the United States. By the early 1960s, there were around 100 Dr. Scholl's shops in the United States and over 400 overseas.

William M. Scholl died in 1968 at the age of 86, with over 1000 patented footcare products to his name. Following his death, Scholl's family sold the company to Schering-Plough. In 1984 Schering-Plough sold the global brand and non-U.S. operations to British company SSL International, who today manufacture footwear and foot care products in China distributed under the Scholl brand.

William M. Scholl (1882 - 1968)

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, September 7, 2014

G. B. Kent & Co.

G. B. Kent & Co. have been manufacturers of brushes since the 18th century and are one of the oldest established companies in Britain. Kent Brushes, as the company is now more commonly known, manufacture a wide range of brushes for hair, body, clothes, make-up, teeth and shaving. The company has held a Royal Warrant consistently for nine reigns, beginning with King George III, and today makes over 250 different brushes, exporting to 52 countries worldwide.

The business was established by William Kent as W. Kent & Co. in London in 1777. The firm became G. B. Kent & Co. from 1854 to 1900 when George Barton Kent took control of the enterprise. George presided over a massive expansion in the range of products and the quantity of items sold. By the end of the 19th century the firm was making so many bone-handled toothbrushes that they were using the leg bones of 600 bullocks a week.

The company became G. B. Kent & Sons Ltd. in 1900. During the First World War, Kent made hundreds of thousands of brushes for the War Office. A soldier's kit included a hair, tooth, shaving, cloth, shoe blacking, shoe polishing, and button brush.

The Kent family continued to run the company until 1932 when Eric Cosby, of Cosby Brushes Ltd., took control of the firm. In a top secret operation during the Second World War, Kent made shaving brushes in which maps and compasses could be concealed for forwarding to overseas British prisoners of war to enable them to find their way home in the event of escape. The work was carried out in a special locked and windowless room at the Kent factory with access allowed only to a chosen few.

In 1984 the company headquarters were moved from London to Apsley, Hertfordshire, and remain there to this day.

Kent were prolific users of perfins throughout their history, however I am aware of only two overprints used by the company :

Received for / G. B. Kent & Co. /........./  £.......  (h4a) (IRL)

Received for / G. B. Kent & Co.                         (h2a) (IRS)

George Barton Kent

by Mark Matlach