Thursday, February 14, 2013

Co-Op Check Tin



So you stumble over some item for sale, puzzled by the object and curiosity wants answers. Said item is a co-operative check tin possibly from the 1920's. It's not made by a co-operative but is made for co-operative shoppers to keep little slips of paper safe. On paying for their purchases customers were given a small paper receipt with the amount spent and their membership number.

I suppose some would keep these safe and calculate if their dividend on purchases had been tallied correctly. I suspect not many could be that bothered and accepted the dividend listed by the co-op head office.

Nostalgic history forums always quote people who can still remember their divi number of the family. It was ingrained into memory at an early age, for ever, and is recited for life.

Metal boxes were given away to promote a company's products. Who doesn't like a bright useful tin to keep safe items and make homes tidy. This one came compliments of Hargreaves Brothers & Co. and maybe dates from the 1920's. It's four sides announced that you must remember to buy the following :- Linoleo Floor Polish, Gipsy Black Lead, Ocean Blue in squares & Bags, and Glosso Metal Polish. An age of coal powered grime and relentless cleaning. Note those brand names they end in the letter "O". As in Brasso, Silvo, Zeppo and so on.

Hargreaves Brothers and Co started as makers of black lead and metal polish in Gipsyville which is in Hull way back in 1868. When this tin was issued the company may have been taken over by Reckitts & Son in 1922. An even older Hull company, founded in 1840 that also made starch and cleaning products.

Whether any of these products were sold alongside the CWS own brand, can't say. You get the impression from co-op histories that only CWS goods were sold but that wasn't the case. Leading brands and own brands did stack side by side in the stores. It's that co-operative magazines and advertising promoted CWS products. Very likely Glosso was available at your local co-op.

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