Company Scrip?

Chris717

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Sep 5, 2019
13
44
South Central PA
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Hello! My son and I found our first item last night that is not borderline trash. I think it's a company scrip token but wanted to see what you guys thought as I can't find any square shaped ones via my internet searches.

We found it in the middle of the Yellow Breeches in South Central PA. There were a lot of mills in the area and I'm guessing it came from one of them? Not having much luck figuring out what the W.W.F. would stand for, maybe the last W.F. stands for 'Woolen Factory' as I see some of them in the area on old maps.


Thanks for any input!
 

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Digger RJ

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Hello! My son and I found our first item last night that is not borderline trash. I think it's a company scrip token but wanted to see what you guys thought as I can't find any square shaped ones via my internet searches.

We found it in the middle of the Yellow Breeches in South Central PA. There were a lot of mills in the area and I'm guessing it came from one of them? Not having much luck figuring out what the W.W.F. would stand for, maybe the last W.F. stands for 'Woolen Factory' as I see some of them in the area on old maps.


Thanks for any input!
Nice!!! Congrats!!! Definitely not trash:)
 

SeabeeRon

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Great save! I think you could be on to something as to it being a company script.
What's the obverse look like?
 
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Chris717

Chris717

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Great save! I think you could be on to something as to it being a company script.
What's the obverse look like?
Thanks everyone! My 11 year old was so stoked when he dug it and saw that there was writing on it, I was too!

The back is blank, but picture included in case it can help at all.

Thanks again
 

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Red-Coat

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Dec 23, 2019
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Good find. Company scrip is quite likely, but it could also be a picker's token, with the 'F' standing for 'Farm'. It wasn't unusual for tokens of different values to be differentiated by shape, and there is a 5.00 token that seems to be from the same series in 'Token Catalog':

http://tokencatalog.com/display_rec...ingAnyWord=&HomePageSearch=&view=All+Listings
Dillsburg.jpg

Doesn't help much in attributing it, except that it was found "in a creek in Dillsburg area" so that at least suggests its from some kind of business very local to the area where you found yours, and not something that was carried in from elsewhere.

Looks like you need to consult local directories from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Might your local library be able to help?
 

Chilli

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Hello! My son and I found our first item last night that is not borderline trash. I think it's a company scrip token but wanted to see what you guys thought as I can't find any square shaped ones via my internet searches.

We found it in the middle of the Yellow Breeches in South Central PA. There were a lot of mills in the area and I'm guessing it came from one of them? Not having much luck figuring out what the W.W.F. would stand for, maybe the last W.F. stands for 'Woolen Factory' as I see some of them in the area on old maps.


Thanks for any input!
Interesting find😀
 
OP
Chris717

Chris717

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Good find. Company scrip is quite likely, but it could also be a picker's token, with the 'F' standing for 'Farm'. It wasn't unusual for tokens of different values to be differentiated by shape, and there is a 5.00 token that seems to be from the same series in 'Token Catalog':

http://tokencatalog.com/display_rec...ingAnyWord=&HomePageSearch=&view=All+Listings
View attachment 2047701

Doesn't help much in attributing it, except that it was found "in a creek in Dillsburg area" so that at least suggests its from some kind of business very local to the area where you found yours, and not something that was carried in from elsewhere.

Looks like you need to consult local directories from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Might your local library be able to help?
"in a creek in Dillsburg area" is exactly where I was, so definitely from the same series. That is pretty amazing to me. Really appreciate you looking that up in the token catalog. Yes, I think the local library and the historical society might have some resources I can use. Thanks for the suggestion.

The picker's token idea is intriguing as well. I had not considered that the final 'F' could be for 'Farm'.

Thanks again
Chris
 

Red-Coat

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"in a creek in Dillsburg area" is exactly where I was, so definitely from the same series. That is pretty amazing to me. Really appreciate you looking that up in the token catalog. Yes, I think the local library and the historical society might have some resources I can use. Thanks for the suggestion.

The picker's token idea is intriguing as well. I had not considered that the final 'F' could be for 'Farm'.

Thanks again
Chris

You’re welcome Chris and good luck with the research. Do keep us posted and I’m sure that ‘Token Catalog’ would appreciate pictures of your token with an attribution, if you are able to track it down.

There are lots of possibilities and this one is a bit of a hunch. There was a business called “Well’s Whip Factory” in York (about 20 miles from Dillsburg) and they moved location to Wellsville (about 8 miles from Dillsburg) in 1841. They changed name in 1859 though (so the token would have to be before that date) and then several times to ultimately become the Wells Whip Company.

From “The History of York County, Pennsylvania” by John Gibson [1886].

Well’s Whip Factory – This industry originated in York, in 1837, with McIntyre & Wells, Judge McIntyre and Abraham Wells forming the copartnership. In 1841 the factory was moved to Wellsville, the home of Abraham Wells, and John E. Wells became a partner. They also started a tannery. In 1859 a branch establishment was started at Pittsburgh. At this time William Riddle became a partner and the firm was changed to Wells, Riddle & Co. This partnership ceased in 1865. During the civil war this firm did an extensive business in making all kinds of whips for the general trade, and furnished the United States government with several large contracts of artillery whips and belts. Sixty of the employees at different times during the war entered the Union army. About this time, in the establishments at Wellsville and at Pittsburgh, 150 workmen were employed, and, on account of the scarcity of hands, boys from the House of Refuge of Western Pennsylvania were taken and trained to work in the whip factory.

When the business, in 1865, was discontinued at Pittsburg, the firm changed again to A. & J. E. Wells, and all the interests removed to Wellsville. Abraham Wells, the senior member of the firm, died in 1870, and the business was then continued by J. E. Wells & Co., with James Gowen Wells, a son of Abraham Wells, as a partner. In 1878 the Wells Whip Company was formed, under whose direction the present extensive business is conducted. Twelve traveling salesmen are regularly employed. The old building first used is still standing near by the new factory, which was erected in 1880. A fifteen horse-power engine, and a thirty horse-power boiler are used as a motive power to run the machinery. The new building is heated by steam. All kinds of whips now in use are made here, and a business of $100,000 annually is done. About forty employes, men and women, are at present (1885) at work in the home factory. The same firm, by a special contract with the legislature of New Jersey, have a leather whip factory in the State prison at Trenton, at which place about forty men are employed. Thirty or forty of the employes at the home factory, at different times, have been boys from Girard College, Philadelphia.

Wells.jpg
 
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Old Dude

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That is a really nice find! I would love to find some coal scrip as the little town I live in here in NEPA was a coal town.
 

CRUSADER

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Its a nice historic token & 1 Dollar hundred years ago was a fair amount of money. I will be interesting to track down the issuer, we did used to have some token specialist on here, hopefully they can attribute it.
Welcome to Tnet & one of the best hobbies in the world.
 
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Chris717

Chris717

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You’re welcome Chris and good luck with the research. Do keep us posted and I’m sure that ‘Token Catalog’ would appreciate pictures of your token with an attribution, if you are able to track it down.

There are lots of possibilities and this one is a bit of a hunch. There was a business called “Well’s Whip Factory” in York (about 20 miles from Dillsburg) and they moved location to Wellsville (about 8 miles from Dillsburg) in 1841. They changed name in 1859 though (so the token would have to be before that date) and then several times to ultimately become the Wells Whip Company.

From “The History of York County, Pennsylvania” by John Gibson [1886].

Well’s Whip Factory – This industry originated in York, in 1837, with McIntyre & Wells, Judge McIntyre and Abraham Wells forming the copartnership. In 1841 the factory was moved to Wellsville, the home of Abraham Wells, and John E. Wells became a partner. They also started a tannery. In 1859 a branch establishment was started at Pittsburgh. At this time William Riddle became a partner and the firm was changed to Wells, Riddle & Co. This partnership ceased in 1865. During the civil war this firm did an extensive business in making all kinds of whips for the general trade, and furnished the United States government with several large contracts of artillery whips and belts. Sixty of the employees at different times during the war entered the Union army. About this time, in the establishments at Wellsville and at Pittsburgh, 150 workmen were employed, and, on account of the scarcity of hands, boys from the House of Refuge of Western Pennsylvania were taken and trained to work in the whip factory.

When the business, in 1865, was discontinued at Pittsburg, the firm changed again to A. & J. E. Wells, and all the interests removed to Wellsville. Abraham Wells, the senior member of the firm, died in 1870, and the business was then continued by J. E. Wells & Co., with James Gowen Wells, a son of Abraham Wells, as a partner. In 1878 the Wells Whip Company was formed, under whose direction the present extensive business is conducted. Twelve traveling salesmen are regularly employed. The old building first used is still standing near by the new factory, which was erected in 1880. A fifteen horse-power engine, and a thirty horse-power boiler are used as a motive power to run the machinery. The new building is heated by steam. All kinds of whips now in use are made here, and a business of $100,000 annually is done. About forty employes, men and women, are at present (1885) at work in the home factory. The same firm, by a special contract with the legislature of New Jersey, have a leather whip factory in the State prison at Trenton, at which place about forty men are employed. Thirty or forty of the employes at the home factory, at different times, have been boys from Girard College, Philadelphia.

View attachment 2047714
That's really interesting. If that factory were just a bit closer I'd say that's a high probability guess. Even with the 8 miles or so distance, it's still the most likely answer. Thank you kindly for looking that up on my behalf! Gives me a lead to work with.

-Chris
 
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Chris717

Chris717

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Sep 5, 2019
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Its a nice historic token & 1 Dollar hundred years ago was a fair amount of money. I will be interesting to track down the issuer, we did used to have some token specialist on here, hopefully they can attribute it.
Welcome to Tnet & one of the best hobbies in the world.
Thank you! My son and I still haven't even found a coin yet but this find is certainly fueling our desire to get back out there : )
$1 in 1890 would be equivalent to about $33 today, so you're very right, that was a valuable token back then.

Thanks again, and for the warm welcome also

-Chris
 

Red-Coat

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Its a nice historic token & 1 Dollar hundred years ago was a fair amount of money. I will be interesting to track down the issuer, we did used to have some token specialist on here, hopefully they can attribute it.
Welcome to Tnet & one of the best hobbies in the world.

That's really interesting. If that factory were just a bit closer I'd say that's a high probability guess. Even with the 8 miles or so distance, it's still the most likely answer. Thank you kindly for looking that up on my behalf! Gives me a lead to work with.

-Chris

Thank you! My son and I still haven't even found a coin yet but this find is certainly fueling our desire to get back out there : )
$1 in 1890 would be equivalent to about $33 today, so you're very right, that was a valuable token back then.

Thanks again, and for the warm welcome also

-Chris

Valuable indeed, but the inflated purchasing power calculation isn't always the most reliable way of looking at the equivalence of historic values to modern day worth.

A general labourer in Pennsylvania might have expected to earn around a dollar a day in 1850, rising to around $1.50 by 1900 [Source: Fraser digital library of the Federal Reserve System]. Since the series for this token also included what appears to be a $5.00 token, that's what makes them much more likely to be scrip in lieu of wages, whether from a manufacturing business, farm, lumber-mill or whatever.
 
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Chris717

Chris717

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Sep 5, 2019
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South Central PA
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Valuable indeed, but the inflated purchasing power calculation isn't always the most reliable way of looking at the equivalence of historic values to modern day worth.

A general labourer in Pennsylvania might have expected to earn around a dollar a day in 1850, rising to around $1.50 by 1900 [Source: Fraser digital library of the Federal Reserve System]. Since the series for this token also included what appears to be a $5.00 token, that's what makes them much more likely to be scrip in lieu of wages, whether from a manufacturing business, farm, lumber-mill or whatever.
Good information, thank you. Sounds like that $5 token would have been a major loss for someone.

-Chris
 

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