OK, so this weekend's find may not have been a pot of gold but to us the unearthing of a stash of Cash's lingerie ribbons still in their tiny cardboard boxes was like finding pure treasure! A smidgeon of both domestic & textile history which you can comfortably hold in your palm. And what names were printed upon them!
Did you know that the Cash's company dates as far back as 1846?
Established by Quaker brothers, John & Joseph Cash they began their woven silk ribbons business in Coventry, an area once famous for it's woven silk, where the company HQ is still based today. They were one of numerous Victorian Quaker businesses which were instrumental in improving the working conditions (and lives) of their employees. Originally, the weaving of their silk ribbons was outsourced to cottage industries - skilled jacquard weavers who worked from home often in dark and cramped conditions. Wanting to improve worker's conditions and the demand for production, Cash's built rows of weavers cottages for these workers, the top of which housed jacquard looms in long, well lit and well ventilated workrooms which became known as Topshops. As well as making silk commemoratives and fine ribbons which adorned the dresses of Victorian society ladies, it was from these workrooms that the first woven name labels were produced in 1870. However, it took almost another 100 years before they gained royal approval in 1964 and were able to boast, 'Manufacturers of Woven Name Tapes to Her Majesty the Queen'.
We shall enjoy putting these labels to work in a future project. If you'd like to get your hands on a set of contemporary labels, sadly minus a lovely cardboard box, go to Cash's website here:
Where you can still find some very lovely fonts to choose from.