The Malcolm Ross Yarn and fabric ticket book

by admin on 06/08/2012

I have just completed the task of scanning and creating an eBook of an old Machester book containing tickets which go back to the 1830’s.

Malcolm Ross & Co. primarily sold cotton thread into Japan, China and India and this book was put together in around 1925 as a definitive catalogue of the trademarks used by Ross and their customers in the Far East. Judging by the style of printing and illustration, some of the tickets date from the 1830’s and there are some dates in the book as late as the 1920’s, so this collection is unique in that in spans the 100 years of printing and trademark development from plain color bookplate type labels, to 16 colour tickets….

Early label design






Indian loop the loop ticke 









The ethnic variety is astounding and if any of you can help translate or explain some of the text and imagery, I would really appreciate it. The reason why there are several ticket designs in a variety of colors is that each color denoted a different type of thread, so the buyer could buy using the color coding if they were illiterate.

I would be interested to know the meaning or use of these for instance

letter tickets



























The book contains a photograph of an Indian looking child holding a cricket bat

Indian child cricketer









and the ticket that was created from the photo, which shows that Manchester ticket printers used images supplied from foreign markets to create designs. I assume the child may be the son or daughter of the import merchant

Cricketer ticket










Many of the tickets are listed as being printed by Norbury Natzio of Manchester which was a large   printing company famous for employing Adolphe Valette at the same time these tickets were drawn, so maybe he had a hand in their creation.





{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Maube Mor August 29, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Do you hae a newsletter? I am interested- liked this article and would like to follow and see more.


admin August 29, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I update this website with new info or updates periodically, so just bookmark and check back once in a while


David Boyk March 3, 2014 at 2:09 AM

These are beautiful; thanks for uploading them. About the one labeled “Mofussil Court Ticket” – mofussil is an Indian English term (from Persian and originally Arabic) that refers to the “provinces.” The ticket depicts a British colonial official holding court in a generic small town in India. The one with the ten cameos on a red background is labeled, “Sri Dashavatara,” or “The Ten Avatars [of Vishnu],” in Hindi. The label on the right is in Bengali, and on the top and bottom it’s in Hindi. The idiosyncratic spelling of the Hindi suggests that it was supplied by a Bengali speaker.


David Boyk March 3, 2014 at 2:10 AM

Oh, and the labels on the right and the bottom just give the same information as the English label on the left.


David Boyk March 3, 2014 at 2:11 AM

Although they translate “Delhi” as “Bombay”!


Monideepa Chowdhury March 5, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Very interesting and illuminating the hindu traditional deities that is almost forgotten by the modern hindus


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