Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Banknotes issued by Irish Private Banks ca1700–ca1833
Post Reply
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

During the 1820’s , the Malcomson Brothers built a large cotton mill at Portlaw, Co. Waterford, on the Cloddagh River, a tributary of the River Suir. The factory was apparently highly successful until the American Civil War when supplies of cotton became difficult to obtain.

Malcomson Brothers are noteworthy from a numismatic point of view as issuers of cardboard tokens to their employees. These lacquered paper tokens were often called ‘leather money’ due to their appearance. The sound reputation of the Malcomson business meant that these tokens were readily accepted as payment by shopkeepers and tradespeople within the local district.

Denominations observed to date are for 4 Pence, 1 Shilling and a Half Crown, with dates in the range 1838-1854 and varieties in different colours. Here is an octagonal 4 Pence token, undated, with the signature of T.W. Brabazon.
Attachments
Malcomson Brothers 4 Pence Token ca. 1854 T.W.Brabazon.jpg
Malcomson Brothers 4 Pence Token ca. 1854 T.W.Brabazon.jpg (49.27 KiB) Viewed 591 times
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

Here is an image of a 1 shilling token issued by Malcomson Brothers of Portlaw. The cardboard token is dated 1854 and signed by T.W. Brabazon.
Attachments
Malcomson Brothers Portlaw 1 Shilling Token 1854 T.W. Brabazon.JPG
Malcomson Brothers Portlaw 1 Shilling Token 1854 T.W. Brabazon.JPG (64.29 KiB) Viewed 544 times
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

Here is an issued example of a Half Crown token, dated 1854, issued by Malcomson Brothers of Portlaw. In this case, both sides are identical and the cardboard token is signed by two different signatories.
Attachments
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token 1854 Front.JPG
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token 1854 Front.JPG (33.78 KiB) Viewed 491 times
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token 1854 Reverse.JPG
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token 1854 Reverse.JPG (34.63 KiB) Viewed 491 times
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

Unfinished, unissued tokens are also known which provide some information as to how the tokens were made. The tokens were printed on cardboard and subsequently cut out, assembled and lacquered. Here is an example of a cardboard strip containing the two faces of a half crown token.
Attachments
Malcomson Bros. Portlaw Unissued Half Crown Tokens 1854.jpg
Malcomson Bros. Portlaw Unissued Half Crown Tokens 1854.jpg (72.36 KiB) Viewed 318 times
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

The Mayfield Factory, referenced on the tokens of Malcomson Brothers, was at time of construction, believed to be the largest single span building in the world. Here is an antique colour print of the factory.
Attachments
Malcomson Bros. Mayfield Factory.jpg
Malcomson Bros. Mayfield Factory.jpg (79.18 KiB) Viewed 275 times
User avatar
Mac
Taoiseach • Admin
Taoiseach • Admin
Posts: 1640
Joined: 23 Jan 2015 15:05

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by Mac »

These tokens would sort of count as paper money!
User avatar
DOC
UNC
UNC
Posts: 935
Joined: 26 Jan 2015 18:15

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by DOC »

Yes, I think these tokens can be considered as paper money like the Ballykinlar and Knockmahon Mine Tokens. It is interesting to note that they were often described as “leather” money and this may be due to darkening of the lacquer finish over time which gave the appearance of leather.
Attachments
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token  1854 Dark Finish.JPG
Malcomson Bros. Half Crown Token 1854 Dark Finish.JPG (84.15 KiB) Viewed 196 times
Waterford Standard 28th August 1948.JPG
Waterford Standard 28th August 1948.JPG (85.28 KiB) Viewed 196 times
User avatar
Mac
Taoiseach • Admin
Taoiseach • Admin
Posts: 1640
Joined: 23 Jan 2015 15:05

Re: Malcomson Brothers, Portlaw, Co. Waterford, 1838-1854

Post by Mac »

They did well to survive for us to collect them.
We will add a page to the website on them in due course.
Post Reply