Hultsdorf Mills - Vulcanite

Colombo, Ceylon

A well designed token made of Red or Black Vulcanite, (vulcanised natural ruber with sulpher) struck in England and introduced at the Hultsdorf Mills in 1872. It represented the price paid for picking a hundred-weight of coffee at the greatly reduced rate of 25 cents a hundred-weight. The use of tokens was discontinued in the mill in 1891.

SPECIFICATIONS
Value25 Cents
AlloyVulcanite
Diameter34.9 mm
Thickness3.5 mm
Weight3.2 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
DieAxis180°
Issue
_obverse _reverse
Lowsley #17 Pridmore #64 Mitchiner

Obverse : G&WL. monogram within beaded rim inside raised rim.
Reverse : HULTSDORF MILLS,
COLOMBO CEYLON
along periphary between plain circle and raised rim.
A Ceylon catamaran in center with spreaders under sail in water.

The Company called The Hultsdorf Mills Co. (Ceylon) Ltd. was founded in London to develop the Mill called Belmont Oil Mill (in Belmont Street) founded in 1835 on a tract of land on the banks of the Canal at Hultsdorf. The name of Hultsdorf itself commemorates the name of General Hulft (A Governor of Ceylon during the Dutch regime). On the death in 1840 of the founder of the Mill, the new management christened it as Hultsdorf Mills, Colombo . Crushing machinery for coconut oil was installed. A saw mill was erect and in 1855 soap making was added to the mill's activities. In 1865 when the Hultsdorf Mills Co. went into liquidation the property was acquired by G. B. Leechman who with his brother William Carey Leechman as partner, founded the firm of G. & W. Leechman, the initial letters of this firm G. & W. L. are monogramed on the Token.

In 1886 a new competitor in the person of Philipp Freudenberg entered the field. He took out a lease of the Hultsdorf Mills and later in 1896, he purchased the premises. In the meantime, Leechman had erected a modern mill at Grandpass.

In early 1890's Lowsely very rarely met with these curious tokens, but was told that they have been occasionally used by Moorish gamblers as chess-men for their peculiar chess-boards.

The Red Vulcanite token has two varieties one which is similer (P#65) and the other without a inner beaded rim (P#66). It has also known in brown Vulcanite token (Not listed in Pridmore).
The word catamaran is derived from Tamil word Kattamaran. BTW Pridmore has a typo cataraman which is not infrequent.

Hultsdorf is now the center of legal activity in Colombo being the location of the Sri Lanka Law Courts. Also in 1835 in nearby Wolfendhal the Colombo Academy was founded. Renamed Royal College and moved to residential Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo, it was the School I attended in Sri Lanka.

Reference
* Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Lieut. Col B. Lowsley, Num. Chron. Sr III Vol. XV, 1895.
* The Coins of British Commonwealth of Nations to the end of the reign of George VI 1952 Part 2 - Asian Territories by F. Pridmore Spink & Son Ltd., 1965. Tokens
* Oriental Coins AD 600 - 1979 by Michael Mitchiner 1979

The EF token was scanned at 300 dpi and the images are displayed at 180 dpi. It was won on E-bay 2002 December from a dealer in Texas.