Monday, 9 February 2015

Daphne's Name Tapes: JJ Cash

Up to this point there has been a lot of mention of gloves and not so much about the name tapes which were also given to the artists as part of their project material last Autumn. 
The labels in question were manufactured by British company, JJ Cash - whose name you can see punctuating all of those Daphnes on the name ribbon above. The Daphne Bryant tapes were found in a junkshop in Leominster, Herefordshire, complete with their original lime-green storage box and gold paper wrapper.  
Sadly, JJ Cash no longer keep historical records of past label or box designs but with the help of Keeper of Collections, Huw Jones, at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry we were able to confirm our suspicion that 'Our Daph's' labels were indeed woven in the 1930's. Thanks to Huw we were also able to piece together a little more about the history of JJ Cash as follows...
Quaker brothers, John & Joseph Cash began their woven silk ribbons business in Coventry in 1846. At that time Coventry was famous for it's woven silk and JJ Cash were just one of several ribbon manufacturers in the area. The company HQ is still based there today.
Over time JJ Cash became one of many Victorian Quaker businesses which were instrumental in improving the working conditions (and lives) of their employees. For example, originally the weaving of their silk ribbons was outsourced to cottage industries - skilled jacquard weavers who worked from home in often dark and cramped conditions. In around 1857, wanting to improve worker's conditions and keep up with demand for production, the Cashs chose a site at Kingfield Road, Coventry, to build rows of weavers cottages for these workers, over which an upper storey was built housing jacquard looms in long, well lit and well ventilated workrooms which became known as topshops. 
After 1860 when the ribbon trade crashed, Cash's diversified into other woven items such as cotton frillings, woven badges, book marks and woven labels for clothing and blankets. As well as making silk commemoratives and fine ribbons which adorned the dresses of Victorian society ladies, it was from these topshops that the first woven name labels were produced in 1870. Although the business premises had been modified by then, the topshops were still in use until the 1970's. This is where Daphne Bryant's name tapes would have been woven.
By the Twentieth Century all of the Coventry weaving companies made woven labels and badges, however, Cash's were the first (and only company for some time) to make woven name tapes.
In 1964 JJ Cash received royal approval and became, 'Manufacturers of Woven Name Tapes to Her Majesty the Queen'.   
Cash's woven name tape boxes from between approximately 1930-1960

 Many thanks to Huw Jones and JJ Cash for their help in putting this piece together.

9 comments:

  1. Such detailed and interesting information on JJ Cash, thank you

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, so much detail in the information about JJ Cash and their labels

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  3. There will be more on that little green box sometime soon...

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  4. fascinating! I'm just loving this blog and the inspiration the gloves are bringing to the artists. thank you all!

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  5. Love the history and the idea of the "topshop".

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    Replies
    1. They were in use for such a long time too!

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