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F & B (Canteen) Token: The Finlay Mills Ltd. in Copper & Aluminum.

Started by asm, April 28, 2023, 10:02:09 AM

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F & B (Canteen) Token: The Finlay Mills Ltd. in Copper
Value: ½ Anna.
Round Token with Hole in the center.
Metal: Copper Weight: ~ 2.2 g. Diameter: ~ 14 mm

F & B (Canteen) Token: The Finlay Mills Ltd. in Aluminum
Inscription in English: THE FINLAY MILLS REVERSE: CANTEEN TOKEN with a sketch of a textile factory.
Value: No value mentioned on the token
Round Token with Hole in the center.
Metal: Aluminum Weight: ~  g. Diameter: ~ 14 mm

About the Mill: The Finlay Mills Limited was incorporated on 01 Apr, 1906 as a public unlisted company and was registered with the Registrar to Companies on 02 April 1906. The mill, located on 10.4-acre land at Parel in Bombay was in the business of manufacturing Textiles including Spinning, Weaving and Finishing.
The Mill was the first Mill in India designed to work with electrical drive to the machines with generators installed on the mills premises. It most famous for its superfine fabrics and saris and had its trade mark having come into use on 25th of February, 1937.
Like most Mumbai Mills, this mill too was taken over by N. T. C. (S. M.) Ltd. and run for a few years thereafter. Under a grand modernization plan, NTC got necessary approvals to dispose of the properties of many of its closed and defunct Textile Mills and establish a couple of new and modern textile mills. After a few unsuccessful attempts to sell the Finlay Mills land, the property was finally sold in 2009 to a famous Mumbai builder who would develop the Mill land for residential and commercial use and a new unit, also called The Finlay Mills was set up at Vidarbha Mill Square, Achalpur City, Amravati Maharashtra which began operations in 2017. This unit too produces Yarn and Fabrics.


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"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"


Two obvious differences between the tokens: denomination and metal.

INR was decimalised in 1957, doing away with annas. In decimal terms, 1 anna was 6.25 naye paise, so the nearest decimal denomination was 5 (naye) paisa. That became an aluminium coin in 1967. At the same time, the denomination was undoubtedly deleted because of (future) inflation worries.

The second element was the use of aluminium, a much cheaper metal, but its light weight would have caused problems within machines. It is safe to assume neither token was used in a vending machine, as inflation worries necessitating expensive technical adjustment of vending machines and cheap labour would have worked in favour of manual checking.

A pair that gives some insight in the economic situation in India in the first decades of independence: continuity, but also inflation.

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


I believe that the general population would have been oblivious to the existence of vending machines in 1950s

Let alone them being used for a canteen at a textile mill seems to be impossible


Vending machines, even today, are not very popular in India. This is because it is (at least till recently) much cheaper to employ manual labour. Also, there is a inbuilt trait in the general Indian populace that if you have some money (aka status) in society, you should not be doing such jobs yourselves. This is the mentality inherited from the Raj.

At best these tokens would have been issued to workers / junior staff to be exchanged at the canteen for the supply of Food or Beverages. The hole would have been provided to either string them or stack them.

"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"