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The forges of Fagersta

Started by Figleaf, February 11, 2021, 08:09:17 PM

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Fagersta Bruks was a steel plant. So how does that connect with a liter of sweet?

I have seen that little decoration at 6 o'clock before. On French phone tokens like TTX3. Did Sporrong make them? It doesn't seem likely, but it is certainly possible.

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


looks to be a dairy token , ive seen söt (Sweet) on other dairy tokens, what the sweets refering to im not sure.


In archaic Dutch, sweet milk is a term used to distinguish it from buttermilk  :P. A steel plant canteen token, perhaps? But who wants to drink a liter of milk with lunch?

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


It is indeed a dairy token, for 1 litre of fresh, unskimmed milk (sötmjölk). Söt, which as you found literally means "sweet", is also used to mean "fresh" in some contexts. Sötvatten is fresh water as opposed to saltvatten.

Many brukssamhällen, or foundry communities, had associated dairies. The nature of the Swedish landscape and the (lack of) density of population meant that these industrial areas cropped up in the middle of nowhere. On the one hand this meant that the people living and working there didn't have the kind of access to general shops and suppliers that industrial workers in, say, England's northern cities had; on the other hand, there was a lot of space around each bruk where agriculture and crafts could be practised.

In some places, the dairy tokens probably formed part of the truck system that kept workers beholden to their employer by paying them in tokens that could only be redeemed in the company's own shop. But dairy tokens in particular are far commoner than those for other commodities. It may be that more communities found it sensible to see to their own dairy needs without looking elsewhere, as milk is not particularly easy to transport long distances without railways or decent roads.

Other terms you may find useful on dairy tokens:

skummad mjölk - skimmed milk
smör - butter
grädde - cream
gräddfil - sour cream


Fresh makes sense and the same happens in Dutch. Zoet water is not actually sweet, but it is in principle drinkable and the opposite of zout water. In addition, there is brak (brakish) water, an in-between condition that occurs in parts of the sea that were recently turned into a polder.

The token may have been a social service, but there is another consideration for a big plant to own the farms around it: the land is a reserve just in case the factory wants to expand. Since the company already owns the land, it doesn't need to go begging and haggling for it when it wants to expand. Turning the produce into a social service is indeed a solution to a logistical issue and the tokens would reserve a subsidy for the plant's employees.

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