Stokes by Leigh Blackburn and Gregory C. Eccleston

Stokes: A proud heritage, 140 years in Australian manufacturing Industry

Seal engraver, letter cutter, stamper, button check and token maker

This beautifully produced hardback book has been published by the co-author Gregory Eccleston and for those of you who bought his magnificent Granville Stapleton book you’ll understand why we are so impressed with the production. The book is lavishly illustrated in both b&w and colour, has a superb index, a bibliography, ribbon bookmark and detailed appendices.

In many ways, the history of the Stokes company – a byword in Melbourne – reflects the history of Australia over the second half of the 1800s and the whole of the 1900s. The founder, Thomas Stokes, a failed gold-seeker, grasped opportunities and responded, as a qualified die-sinker, to one of the urgent needs of the colonies in the mid-1850s: a great shortage of coinage. Thomas Stokes came to the colonies’ rescue, making tokens for use by the many commercial businesses, as substitute for real coins.

As the colonies developed their defence forces, Thomas Stokes provided an important service by producing buttons for the uniforms of the military forces as well as the police, customs, fire brigades railways, tramways and other civic bodies.

As the colonies prospered, they marketed their production by way of agricultural shows and exhibitions; Stokes produced beautiful medals for the attendees, exhibitors and winners, as well as displaying their own silver creations.

Royal visits to the colonies created much local excitement and of course Stokes were at the forefront in producing commemorative medals and magnificient gifts for the visitors. War-time came and Stokes was involved with the production of our famous ‘Rising Sun’ slouch hat badge.

The fortunes of the Stokes company continued to wax and they moved every so often to larger and larger premises. However, late in the twentieth century, Stokes, along with many other Australian manufacturing companies, went into massive decline due to severe and long-lasting adverse economic difficulties, the flooding of cheap imports, and poor political and Reserve Bank decisions.

This book is based on a history of the Stokes company written by the late Leigh Blackburn up to the mid-1990s, but never published. He in turn made use of an unpublished history, written in 1934 by George Taylor, Factory Manager of Stokes & Sons of Caledonia Buildings, Caledonian Lane, for over 45 years (retiring in 1928). Leigh Blackburn was a friend of Russell Stokes, Managing Director of Stokes (1932-1974). Leigh Blackburn was awarded an RHSV Award of Merit in 1998 and he received the award from the RHSV’s then Vice President, Dr Alan Gregory, who gave a fascinating and moving speech at the launch of this book.

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Description

Stokes: A proud heritage, 140 years in Australian manufacturing Industry

Seal engraver, letter cutter, stamper, button check and token maker

This beautifully produced hardback book has been published by the co-author Gregory Eccleston and for those of you who bought his magnificent Granville Stapleton book you’ll understand why we are so impressed with the production. The book is lavishly illustrated in both b&w and colour, has a superb index, a bibliography, ribbon bookmark and detailed appendices.

In many ways, the history of the Stokes company – a byword in Melbourne – reflects the history of Australia over the second half of the 1800s and the whole of the 1900s. The founder, Thomas Stokes, a failed gold-seeker, grasped opportunities and responded, as a qualified die-sinker, to one of the urgent needs of the colonies in the mid-1850s: a great shortage of coinage. Thomas Stokes came to the colonies’ rescue, making tokens for use by the many commercial businesses, as substitute for real coins.

As the colonies developed their defence forces, Thomas Stokes provided an important service by producing buttons for the uniforms of the military forces as well as the police, customs, fire brigades railways, tramways and other civic bodies.

As the colonies prospered, they marketed their production by way of agricultural shows and exhibitions; Stokes produced beautiful medals for the attendees, exhibitors and winners, as well as displaying their own silver creations.

Royal visits to the colonies created much local excitement and of course Stokes were at the forefront in producing commemorative medals and magnificient gifts for the visitors. War-time came and Stokes was involved with the production of our famous ‘Rising Sun’ slouch hat badge.

The fortunes of the Stokes company continued to wax and they moved every so often to larger and larger premises. However, late in the twentieth century, Stokes, along with many other Australian manufacturing companies, went into massive decline due to severe and long-lasting adverse economic difficulties, the flooding of cheap imports, and poor political and Reserve Bank decisions.

This book is based on a history of the Stokes company written by the late Leigh Blackburn up to the mid-1990s, but never published. He in turn made use of an unpublished history, written in 1934 by George Taylor, Factory Manager of Stokes & Sons of Caledonia Buildings, Caledonian Lane, for over 45 years (retiring in 1928). Leigh Blackburn was a friend of Russell Stokes, Managing Director of Stokes (1932-1974). Leigh Blackburn was awarded an RHSV Award of Merit in 1998 and he received the award from the RHSV’s then Vice President, Dr Alan Gregory, who gave a fascinating and moving speech at the launch of this book.

Additional information

Weight 1.23 kg
Dimensions 26 × 20 × 2.5 cm

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