Author Topic: Woollen signs  (Read 333 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Woollen signs
« on: January 25, 2019, 04:47:28 PM »
Visiting the address with Google maps, you find traces of past glory. It's the last older building in the area. Some lots are now parking places, others are redeveloped. Cathedrals may survive for centuries, industrial buildings barely make it through half a century.

In 1883, Edwin James Woollen, a sign writer, and Frederick Ibbotson, a lithographic printer, decided to form the partnership of Woollen & Co. at 14 York Street. The company was awarded a gold medal for excellence in 1892 from the Yorkshire Trades and Industrial Exhibition. Illuminated signs became fashionable and in 1914 Woollens became the agents for ‘Electric Lamp Letters Signs’. By the 1930’s neon tubes were introduced.

Sheffield was heavily bombed during the second world war. The redevelopment and rebuilding of the city in the 1950’s and 1960’s proved to be one of the most successful periods in the firms history. In this period, the company's address was 19 Love street.

In 2005 Woollen & Company Limited were bought by The Sheffield Co-operative Society. In 2007 Sheffield Co-op was taken over by The Co-operative Group leading to the closure of the property services division along with Woollen & Co Ltd. In December 2007 ‘Woollen Signs Limited’ carried on where ‘Woollen & Co. Limited’ finished.

The yellow piece is of course a canteen token. It is so similar to the red piece that it is likely that the two were used together.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 09:52:14 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2019, 05:24:07 PM »
Can't help thinking they were onto a loser with woollen signs, especially in the Yorkshire climate. They'd shrink in the rain!  ;D

Offline andyg

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2019, 07:53:18 PM »
Would it be right to think that these predate STD codes? (1958)

ie.  When you had to ring the operator and ask for Sheffield 28571.

I was thinking that they might be tradesmans samples.
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 09:47:33 AM »
You may be right. Sheffield numbers (0114 then a 7-digit subscriber number) have had their current form since 1995. Before then, they were 0742 and a 6-digit subscriber number. I don't remember there being any 5-digit numbers; I'm not even sure it was/is technically feasible to have 5- and 6-digit numbers with the same STD code. The places I'm aware of that have a mixture of lengths also have a mixture of STD code lengths, so essentially the complete number is the same length.

Also, given the population of Sheffield is getting on for half a million, 5-digit numbers would have run out pretty early.

By the way, for the non-Brits tittering at the back, STD = Subscriber Trunk Dialling and not anything else.  ;)

Offline africancoins

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2019, 10:35:38 AM »
There are places that once had a mixture of 5 and 6 digit phone number...  Perhaps it was by the time of the 1995 changes that all had been phased out.... By means of a being prefixed with a digit.

It could well be that this size was the main token size that this maker produced.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker

Offline andyg

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 11:08:40 AM »
By the way, for the non-Brits tittering at the back, STD = Subscriber Trunk Dialling and not anything else.  ;)

A bit more - just by way of explanation for non Brits,
If I lived in Sheffield I could ring 28571 directly to speak to woollen,  If I lived outside the area I had to first dial the operator, then ask for "Sheffield 28571" and I would be put through.  All this changed in with STD codes in 1958 when from outside the area the number would have become 0742* 28571 to avoid the operator bit.

*possibly 0741
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Offline malj1

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2019, 11:43:53 AM »
Woollen & Co., were token manufacturers ~ see this quote from Fred Pridmore's NAAFI tokens (from Spinks Numismatic Circular 1967-68)

....One result of the announcement by Naafi on 6th July, 1944, of the introduction of 1- Franc tokens for use in France was a letter to the Ministry of Supply from a firm who specialised in the manufacture of tokens, tickets, etc., for all distributive trades, canteens, transport, etc.

This firm was Messrs. Woollen & Co. Ltd.. 86 West Street. Sheffield 1, who drew attention to their business in this field and stated they would welcome a share of any contracts for tokens. The Ministry of Supply forwarded this letter to HQ Nanfi where it was noted and placed on the files....
Malcolm
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2019, 02:18:00 PM »
That would explain the odd word "makers" on both tokens and would be in line with andygs "trading samples, but it wouldn't explain the word "canteen". I would expect canteen tokens to be more or less available, while trading samples only for army business would be pretty hard to find.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline malj1

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 11:24:02 PM »
Forget about the military connection as they were just one customer among a host of others.

These canteen tokens may have been for their own use or a generic issue sold to any undertaking requiring canteen tokens as a form of advertising their own business.

See also Manufacturers of UK transportation tokens where Woollen & Co. do get a large mention and also see John Tolson's article further down in Reply #5 where they get several mentions. This latter article deserves reading again in its entirety too.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline andyg

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 11:35:38 PM »
That would explain the odd word "makers" on both tokens and would be in line with andygs "trading samples, but it wouldn't explain the word "canteen"

I could just imagine the Salesman with his box of samples saying "oh yes we make Canteen tokens  - Here is one - you could have whatever you wanted on the back"  (where the Woollen name is)....
This is pure conjecture though!

always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline malj1

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2019, 02:05:36 AM »
I could just imagine the Salesman with his box of samples saying "oh yes we make Canteen tokens  - Here is one - you could have whatever you wanted on the back"  (where the Woollen name is)....
This is pure conjecture though!


Probably quite near the mark in fact, see this batch of Salesmans samples here




... All this changed in with STD codes in 1958 ...

These can further be dated to pre 1961 when Woollen & Co started producing injection moulded tokens ...presuming they are in fact celluloid?
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 09:26:54 AM »
Excellent, gentlemen. Thank you!

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline malj1

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2019, 01:13:46 PM »
Woollen & Co. Ltd. as before but orange this time uniface 25mm
Malcolm
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Offline malj1

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Re: Woollen signs
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 01:36:24 PM »

By the way, for the non-Brits tittering at the back, STD = Subscriber Trunk Dialling and not anything else.  ;)

We do have STD in Australia too  :P
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.