An Advertising Token of Ackroyd & Best Ltd. - Flame Safety Lamp & Check Manufacturers.
The token illustrated below measures 27 mm in diameter. It is struck in brass and has a milled edge. Its obverse bears the following legend within a wreath;
ACKROYD / & / BEST, LTD / MORLEY, LEEDS / ENGLAND
The company of Ackroyd & Best Ltd. will be very familiar to lamp and check collectors alike and has been the subject of previous NMMA articles. The company traded under this name until 1927 when it was reformed under the title of Hailwood and Ackroyd Ltd.
A brass advertising token of Ackroyd & Best Ltd. Morley Leeds, England.
Ackroyd & Best Ltd. were well known internationally through their sales of miners' safety lamps and to a lesser extent their distinctive brass and alloy lamp checks. What is less well known is that the company produced a whole range of other checks, tallies, tickets, passes and tokens. In addition to this for a very limited period c.1920 they were also contracted to mint coins for British East Africa.
A 1947 advertisement for Hailwood & Ackroyd Ltd. (formerly Ackroyd & Best Ltd. prior to 1927) gas detector flame safety lamps.
The token illustrated above is interesting, as it is believed that its reverse depicts the company's Beacon Works at Morley, Leeds. This almost certainly makes it the only token known that depicts a British Lamp works. The company's manufacturing facilities were located in these premises after 1911. Previously they had been based at the Preservence Works (1902-1911) and earlier the Hembrigg Lamp Works (1896-1902). Both of these earlier premises were also located in Morley near Leeds.
The token in question was probably made for one or both of the following purposes;
As a commemorative piece to mark the company's move to the Beacon Works in 1911.
As a salesman's advertising piece/sample to indicate to prospective customers the quality and competence of Ackroyd & Best Ltd. as token manufacturers.
Since the discovery of the token discussed above similar examples in white metal have come to light. These additional specimens bare small counter stamped numbers and are believed to have been trial pieces used to test the effect of various levels of mechanical stamping pressure during the minting process.
A typical pre 1927 brass lamp check manufactured by Ackroyd & Best Ltd. for use at one of the Yorkshire Iron & Coal Company's collieries at Tingley near Leeds. Similar lamp/cage riding checks are known in aluminium with the same standard obverse designs plus incised colliery specific details on their reverse sides (Actual size 40.5 mm).
Based on an article in NMMA Newsletter No.16, Winter 1999. © Mark Smith.