For those who love hand made lace.
Please, does anyone know for sure how lace tokens were used in Great Britain in the 1700s?
I have read theories that the tokens were given in lieu of governmental coinage due to a coin shortage, but another theory suggests that they were payment which limited the lacemaker to purchasing supplies only from the company issuing the token.
I understand that they were used to purchase things from certain stores only. I have not heard of a coin shortage. I understood that they meant the profits stayed within a certain family, or area.
It will be interesting to read other answers to this interesting question.
I don't know any facts relating to this issue, but common sense tells me that the 2nd explanation is the most likely. The same tactic was used with other workers in the 19th and early 20th centuries (miners, factory workers).
Liz - I agree.
Thank you both for replying. I suspect that what you, Elizabeth, sugested and you, Lorelei, reinforced may have been the case, but actually only from what I have read about company stores and Navajo trading post practices in which workers were limited by the token system to dealing only with the token issuing or the employing company, but I wasn't sure if the same thing had also happened in Great Britain.
I understand better what your question was really about. I don't know if there were similar practices in Great Britain at that time. I doubt that only American industrialists used such tactics. But, like I said, I don't know. Interesting question, the whole issue of exploitation of the workers.
Lorelei, I actually just was curious about the lace tokens and how they were used.
I guess for all we know, they may have just been more for advertising than anything, although worker exploitation, like the poor, will apparently always be with us.
See my LaceNews posts on English tokens at
I go into a lot of detail on this subject, and I still have a few new items to add. Got some help from professional token collectors.