These vintage collectors items are original Cash’s woven bookmarks, still in their original packaging. Each contains a woven bookmark complete with gift folder and envelope. These are all designs that are no longer manufactured.
J and J Cash was one of the oldest companies in Coventry, founded the early 1800s by Joseph, Josiah and Newman Cash. By 1846 Joseph and his sons Joseph and John were ribbon manufacturers with offices and a warehouse on Hertford Street. They opened their first factory, in West Orchard, the same year.
At this time Coventry was the centre of ribbon weaving in England and around half the population of the town made a living from the industry. Cash’s was just one of many ribbon weaving companies, but the family were Quakers and like other Quaker businessmen were concerned with the well-being of their workers.
In 1857 John and Joseph built a cottage factory next to the canal at Kingfield in Coventry. This consisted of two rows of houses which Cash’s rented to weavers. Each house had a topshop above the living spaces with a loom powered by a steam engine provided by Cash’s. The houses were of a much higher standard than most weavers’ dwellings and even had small gardens. Other benefits provided by Cash’s included an annual trip to the seaside for their workers, a canteen, a mutual improvement society, a sickness benevolent fund and a welfare officer.
In 1860 the ribbon industry suffered a severe slump. Many companies went bankrupt, but Cash’s survived by branching out into other narrow woven goods. These included cotton frillings, patented in 1860. Later in the 1800s they began making woven nametapes, badges and clothing labels, which were to be their main products for over 100 years.
In the early 1900s Cash’s set up factories in the USA, Canada and Australia. After the Second World War Cash’s took over several of the remaining ribbon weaving companies, until by the 1970s they were the only narrow weaving company in Coventry. The company continued to be run by members of the Cash family until 1976.
In the 1970s Cash’s introduced a range of woven pictures and bookmarks, including birds and butterflies. However their main products continued to be labels, badges and nametapes.
Cash’s went into administration in 2014, and were taken over by a Hong Kong based company who now trade as Cash’s Name Tapes. Alongside name tapes, they continue to produce a limited range of bookmarks and silk pictures.