Tag Archives: boxes

Tins, Boxes and Ad Hoc Containers

If you are the keeper of a craft box, needlework, or tool box, you might be surprised to find a family memory item among your oddments. Pins, hooks, beads, nails and screws are often kept in small containers from your past.

On a FaceBook group recently there was much discussion about tobacco tins, Coronation memorial tins and more.  I enjoyed viewing the images which each provoked memories of days gone by.

While sorting some sewing items, I came across this gold hinged tin, containing ceramic, glass and wooden beads from my macramé days in the 1970s.  It measures 3 1/2 inches in length.

It is a gold plated cigarette case from the 1960s that belonged to my Mother.  Now, a little worse for wear from use, it is tarnished and dented. I was, however thrilled to discover a maker’s mark stamped inside the closing clip:

“Made in England by KIGU.”

An Internet search bought forth a little history of the maker.

Ruby Lane Antiques offers… “KIGU was one of the two British compact premier brands (Stratton being the other). The London business was established in 1939 by a man who was the son and grandson of compact makers in Budapest. KIGU quickly gained a reputation for quality and innovative design. In 1949, members of the Royal family were known to carry KIGU compacts.”

Whereas The Vintage Compact Shop mentions… “The makers described the case as follows ‘The ripple of the silvery engine turned background gleams through the opalescent enamel in the delicate shades of blue, pink or white.  (Some are decorated with flower or dolphin enamel motifs.’

….  this range was also described by the manufacturer as ‘modern in conception, is delicately curved and fits snugly into the palm of one’s hand…………….handy in size yet holds 12 full-size cigarettes.’  In the 1960s cigarettes were smaller than they are today and this case is ideal for roll ups or cigarettes or small items of jewellery like earrings, necklaces or slender business cards.”

Vintage Collectables Org. UK suggests….. “Kigu of London is most famously known for its powder compacts. Josef Kiaschek created the very first powder company in his workshop in Budapest, Hungary. He was a master goldsmith. His son named Gustab founded Kigu in Budapest. The name Kigu was derived from the first two letters of his surname and christian name. Kigu were renowned for their high quality in design, innovation and their product during the boom years of Powder Compacts.”

So, who knew?  and what to do next…. ? Add the photographs of the folder of family artifacts, tagged with date, maker and owner. Then return the beads, and pop it back into the craft box for another day of reminiscing!

Identifying Military Buttons… Fun Research!

British Royal Navy jacket button, rating, circa 1945.

With recent commemoration of WWI – 100 years on!  Remembering family members who were lost and served, for me November 2018 has had a strong military focus!

Working on a few more family artifacts, I dived into the subject of Military Buttons – fascinating!

As always, Google searches can help find lots of useful information. I relied too on help from ex-military colleagues on FaceBook Groups I belong to.

One very useful website for button research was melitomnes.org  A website based in Malta…. but Malta had strong ties with the British Navy.  Over the years my grandfather, uncles and then my father were stationed in Malta. Many of our family members lived in Malta during their assignment, including my grandparents, and one cousin was born there. In 1958 I recall a trip to visit… flying for the first time my mum bundled my brother and I onto a military plane, unfortunately shortly after our arrival, our dad’s ship was called away to some trouble in Aden.

My father held a Malta driving licence. Folded linen card, 2″, 1958.

Back to the buttons…. a wooden trinket/cigarette box holds a number of buttons, among other bits and bobs.

Identifying the backing, the maker, the crowns and other images, allowed me to identify one of my mother’s WAAF button, and my father’s early (pre-officer/rating) button.

Photographed at the top, we can see the edge is plain, without a rope design around the boarder.  This means the button dates before my father (Peter Colin George, Chief Petty Officer, Fleet Air Arm, 1926-2008) took his Petty Officer course in 1950. The crown is the Tudor Crown used from 1902-1953.  The button therefore dates somewhere between his joining date of 1942 and the date he became an officer in 1950.

Identifying the shape of the crown…. helps date RN buttons.

The back of the button has a fixed loop. Again there are various styles of fixing over the years.  The maker’s mark identifies the button was made by Buttons Ltd., Birmingham.

RN Button made by Buttons Ltd, Birmingham, circa 1945.

Our family comes from the naval port of Portsmouth, Hampshire. I was thrilled to discover at sometime earlier there were two button makers in our city.  Gieves also was a company that started in Portsmouth.

To finish up…. I mentioned a trinket box.  That too has a history of its own. I had always thought it was my father’s box, but discover it was more likely it belonged to my mother! The box was made as a fundraiser in aid of Red Cross in 1943.  Made from the mooring mast from the makers of Airships and Blimps at Cardington. My mother was in the Woman’s Air force and Cardington became an Air Force base.  Likely she purchased the box.