ArticlePDF Available

Chops and Trademarks: Asian Trading Ports and Textile Branding, 1840–1920


Abstract and Figures

This article is a contribution to the prehistory of modern branding, presenting a case study of the textile trade in colonial Southeast Asia. The visual appearance of brands as well as their social meaning were altered in the cultural encounter of colonial trade. Through these encounters, trademarks were modernized: the reputation of a producer became less important than the distinctiveness of the product.
Content may be subject to copyright.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the
Business History Conference. All rights reserved. For permissions, please
Chops and Trademarks:
Asian Trading Ports and Textile
Branding, 1840–1920
This article is a contribution to the prehistory of modern branding,
presenting a case study of the textile trade in colonial Southeast Asia.
The visual appearance of brands as well as their social meaning were
altered in the cultural encounter of colonial trade. Through these
encounters, trademarks were modernized: the reputation of a pro-
ducer became less important than the distinctiveness of the product.
When doing research at the business archives of former weaving mills
or textile trading houses the historian sometimes encounters some-
thing called a ticket book. It seems an odd object amidst the sober let-
ters and accounts. These tickets—paper prints the size of a postcard
or smaller—are very colorful, displaying an exotic motive, often an
Asian scene. They were used in the packaging of cotton piece goods
for overseas markets and many of them were registered as trademarks
that have largely been forgotten. Nowadays, these designs are used
to add color to company histories and can also be seen in museums.
They have even become collectable items. But their decorative value
aside, these tickets have analyticalvalue.
This article discusses the trade in European textiles in Asia and
role of the tickets therein. They are shown to be a missing link in
the genealogy of modern branding, not in a reductionist manner, but
rather as one source amongst others that influenced the development
Advance Access publication September 30, 2014
Andreas Zangger is a historian in Amsterdam and Alumnus of the URPP
Asia and Europe in Zürich, Switzerland. Contact: URPP Asia and Europe,
Wiesenstrasse 8, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:
I would like to thank Darrin Hindsill for his comments and for editing. I
would also like to thank the Diethelm Keller Holding and the various pub-
lic institutions in Switzerland and the Netherlands for granting me access to
their archives. I would like to thank Adrian Wilson for his collection of ticket
books online. Finally, I would like to thank Erich Keller, Cristoph Dejung and
the two Enterprise & Society referees for their invaluable opinions.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
of branding. The article argues for the importance of having a more
global outlook in a field that has traditionally been centered on
Western accounts. It also makes a case for the textile industry’s con-
tributions, a sector that is often ignored in accounts of branding, even
though it was a pioneer in global trade. Finally the article stresses the
role of trade in early branding, especially that of transnationaltrade.
Before addressing these issues we will examine the relevant litera-
ture for possible interpretations of the shipper’s tickets. Brands had
a long history with many shifts in their meaning, from the marks of
the Cutler Company in the seventeenth century to the polysemic tools
of (post-)modern consumers for realizing their individual or collec-
tive identity-projects.1 But while historic interest in branding is only
recent, it has been taken up by several disciplines: economic and
legal history, business history and economic anthropology. Each field
gives different answers to the questions as to what trademarks are,
and where and when they originated.
The dominant account of the rise of thebrand
In most historic research trademarks are associated with the modern
multinational corporation and its rise in the period between 1880 and
1920. Paul Duguid has critically noted that this connection has almost
become true by definition.2 Economic historians think of the develop-
ment of intellectual property rights and the legal jurisdiction accom-
panying it as a prerequisite for the rise of capitalist society.3 In her
seminal article on trademarks Myra Wilkins calls them “an intangible
asset” of the modern multinational, Chandlerian corporation.4 Wilkins
argues that the modern multinational would not be able to realize the
“scale and scope”5 of production and distribution had they no unique
name with which to attract buyers. According to Wilkins, the main
difference between trademarks and earlier forms of marking is that
the artisan marks were seen as a liability, while in the late nineteenth
century trademarks were increasingly seen as an asset of a company.
Undoubtedly multinational companies played an important part
in the development of branding and other marketing instruments,
most of which were developed in the era between 1850 and 1930.6
1. Holt, Why do brands cause trouble?
2. Duguid, Developing the brand, 406.
3. North, Structure and change in economic history.
4. Wilkins, Neglected Intangible Asset.
5. Chandler etal., Scale and scope the dynamics of industrial capitalism.
6. See Fullerton, How Modern Is Modern Marketing? or for an overview over
different theoretical and temporal frameworks Church, New Perspectives.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 761
However, reducing trademark history to the development of the
Chandlerian corporation has been challenged from different angles.
The reduction of the trademark’s development to a producer’s per-
spective and a certain type and size of firm, to the late nineteenth
century as well as to Western countries has been criticized.
Modern branding is older than thought
Recent anthropological studies trace the history of marks in trade all
the way back to ancient Mesopotamia. These studies have adopted
a perspective that focuses on consumption more than production.
They also focus on the brand as both sign and material object.7 David
Wengrow criticizes the traditional identification of branding practice
with late capitalism, and instead portrays branding as an answer to
problems of economies of scale under a wide range of institutional
and ideological conditions.8 He connects the marking of products
to practices of sealing that originate in personal seals. These seals
are used as guaranty of homogeneous quality. Anthropologist Frank
Fanselow presents a similar argument in his account of the contem-
porary bazaar economy in Tamil Nadu9: the trade in non-substitutable
products is based on personal trust between buyer and seller, with
sellers constantly under the suspicion of cheating and manipulating.
Substitutable products, in contrast, are based on standardized quan-
tity and quality. But in order to link consumers to producers, and
to hinder deception by sellers, these products must be sealed and
Scholars of Chinese history have pointed out the long history of
branding in the country. The first known complete brand in the mod-
ern sense was used in China during the Song dynasty (960–1127).
Aneedle manufacturer used a white rabbit as a symbol to help the
illiterate to identify his shop. The image of a rabbit was used as a sign
for the shop as well as on the packaging of the needles. Furthermore
the rabbit carried the symbolic meaning of feminine power, something
that resonated with the clientele targeted.10 Based on their investi-
gation of the Chinese practice of branding in the time of the Qing
dynasty (1644–1912), Hamilton and Lai argue that branding should
not be viewed as a unique feature of Western capitalist societies.11
They have shown that in the early Qing dynasty much of Chinese
long-distance trade was commoditized and that brands played a
major role in consumer choice.
7. Bevan and Wengrow, Cultures of commodity branding; Wengrow,
Prehistories of Commodity Branding.
8. Wengrow, Prehistories of Commodity Branding.
9. Fanselow, Bazaar Economy.
10. Eckhardt etal., ABrief History of Branding in China.
11. Hamilton etal., Consumerism Without Capitalism.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
In the history of Western business there also have been various
studies that found branding practices to have existed long before the
rise of the modern multinational. De Munck argues that early-modern
artisan marks in Flanders were used to transport product image.12 He
suggests, similar to Hamilton/Lai, looking beyond production and
to the embedding of a brand in a certain relation between producer,
trader and consumer.13
These recent studies in economic anthropology show that brand-
ing is a much older and more widespread phenomenon than it is often
portrayed as in business history. They also draw our attention to the
brand as physical object and to the importance of sealing practices.
However, the question remains as to when and where the transi-
tion from the pre-modern to the modern version happened, what this
transition comprises and what the driving forces were behind this
development. Paul Duguid suggests that research on this transition
should focus on the “relatively unexplored gap between Wedgwood
and Heinz,” the period between 1800 and 1880.14
What is abrand?
In order to study the transition from the pre-modern to the mod-
ern brand we first have to define and comprehend the object. Some
economic historians see the difference between ancient and mod-
ern forms of branding in the quality of information a mark carries.
According to De Munck the “distinction may be related to a shift
away from marks that convey information on the origin of a product
or the status of a producer in the context of a ‘stratified state’ towards
a situation in which trade marks and brands are instruments in the
hands of autonomous firms.”15 Brands carrying information regarding
origin and quality, representation of status, power, or value, can be
found in many societies, but the construction of product image and
something described as brand personality is a unique feature of the
modern brand.16
According to legal scholar Frank Schechter, trademark law in the
nineteenth century still viewed the mark as something connected
to the liability of the producer. This notion grew out of the practice
around the early-modern marks of cutlers or weavers, which allowed
the tracing of a product back to its producer and holding him liable
in case of damage. Schechter cites a judge who compared trademarks
12. de Munck, The agency of branding and the location of value.
13. Ibid; Hamilton etal., Consumerism Without Capitalism.
14. Duguid, Developing the brand.
15. de Munck, The agency of branding and the location of value, 1055;
Hamilton etal., Consumerism Without Capitalism.
16. Moore etal., Birth of Brand.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 763
to the brand marks on cattle that allow the identifying of the owner
or source.17 But, this metaphor of cattle branding is based on a mis-
conception of the function of the trademark. According to Schechter
“the mark actually sells the product.”18 He sees the slowly emerging
comprehension of this fact in the legal praxis as an important step for
To get a better understanding of this transition, the semiotic analy-
sis of the trademark/brand brought forward by Barton Beebe is help-
ful.19 He follows the triadic conception of the sign by de Saussure,
and makes a distinction between the signifier (the perceptible form
of the sign), the referent (the tangible product), and the signified (the
meaning to which the perceptible form refers). The ticket or trade-
mark stands for the signifier: it tells the consumer that a certain piece
of cloth (referent) comes from a certain source (signified) and that
he can expect a consistency of quality of the product. The brand
itself would stand for the overall relational system of the sign.20 This
distinction illustrates the various relations in the sign system of the
brand, such as the relation between mark and product or mark and
source. Schechter would then describe a shift: the mark that once
identified the producer now identifies the product.
In branding an important innovation was the drawing up of prod-
uct lines in place of producer branding. So-called “fancy words” for
products became more and more popular after legislation accepted
their registration as trademarks. John Mercer sees brand names as an
important contribution to a shift in the nature of branding. “Its adop-
tion marked the development from marks as descriptions of origin to
brands as items of artifice, from conveyors of information to evoca-
tive contrivances.”21 This finding goes hand in hand with those of
If we accept this view of a shift in the nature of the brand from a
mark indicating a real source to an artificial item carrying an array
of meanings, the focus is placed on ways of communicating with
Old and new industries and the role oftrade
Historians of pre-modern and modern brands usually look at dif-
ferent industries. David Higgins contends that business historians
researching modern branding have paid more attention to “fashiona-
ble” industries like beverages and processed foods, whose trademarks
17. Schechter, The historical foundations of the law relating to trade-marks, 147.
18. Schechter, The rational basis of trademark protection, 819.
19. Beebe, The Semiotic Analysis of Trademark Law.
20. see especially Ibid; 47.
21. Mercer, Mark of distinction, 35.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
developed into successful brands, while neglecting the “unfashion-
able” industries like textiles and cutlery.22 This difference, however,
can be explained substantially and is not just a matter of fashion:
Consumers tend to comparison shop for search goods (clothing, fur-
niture), while with non-durable or durable experience goods (food,
drink, toiletries, pharmaceuticals/books, watches, paints) measuring
costs are high, and it is often easiest just to buy and try out the prod-
uct. This difference explains different marketing strategies adopted.23
Nevertheless, in the global intermediary trade in cottons, the use
of trademarks was already widespread in the early age of branding,
as this article will show. In the period before the vertically integrated
firm, attention should be given to supply chains trying to reach distant
markets. Paul Duguid, in his study of the alcohol trade in nineteenth
century England argues that brands were rarely used as an asset of a
producer to fight competitors. He instead sees them as a way of disci-
plining the links in a supply chain of small firms.24
This article is a contribution to the pre-history of modern brand-
ing, focusing specifically on the trade in European ginghams and
calico prints in Southeast Asia. I will show the development of
a specific kind of branding and what effects it had on the supply
chain. In opposition to the traditional account of branding, which
has mainly been told from the producer’s perspective, this account
brings into the picture the various actors that were involved in
the establishing of the brands: European merchants in Singapore,
Batavia, Manchester and Rotterdam; Chinese and other Asian trad-
ers in Singapore, the Dutch East Indies; producers in Britain, the
Netherlands and Switzerland; lithographic printers in Manchester,
as well as courts in Singapore and London. The research is based
on the business archives of Dutch, German and Swiss textile pro-
ducers and traders, on personal letters of European merchants in
Asia as well as judicial records of trademark cases in the UK and
Singapore. Unfortunately, the impact of Asian consumers is impos-
sible to assess, as sources yield little information about the influence
of textile brands at consumer level. However, the sources do give a
multifaceted picture of the wholesale trade of European textiles con-
ducted between European merchants and Asian retailers who sold
the goods in the Malay Archipelago.25
22. Higgins, Forgotten heroes, 282.
23. Church, New Perspectives, 414f.
24. Duguid, Developing the brand.
25. The business archives visited comprise: Diethelm & Co (DA); Rautenberg,
Schmidt & Co (Singapore and Penang) (RS). Textile producers: Koninklijke
Stoomweverij Nijverdal (KSW); Gelderman & Zonen (GZ) (Mathias Naef,
Niederuzwil (MN), Birnstiel, Lanz & Co (BL), P.Blumer & Jenny (BJ).
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 765
In the nineteenth century trade between Europe and Southeast Asia
was concentrated in the bazaars of a few cities like Batavia, Singapore,
Penang, Makassar, Bangkok, Saigon, and Manila. Europeans were
able to profit from a well functioning retail trade network in the archi-
pelago that grew in tandem with colonial expansion, and limit their
trade activity to wholesale.26 Agricultural products of the archipelago
were brought to the trading ports and sold as staple goods. During the
early colonial period these products, especially spices, dominated
the transcontinental trade between Europe and Southeast Asia. But
in the course of the nineteenth century, with the growing importance
of industrial production, trade in the other direction—manufactured
goods exported from Europe—became equally significant.27 This bidi-
rectional trade allowed for optimal use of cargo capacities in inter-
continental shipping and reduced the need for complicated money
transactions as proceeds from selling goods could be directly used to
buy other goods. The competition on the market for European textiles
in Southeast Asia grew as the rivalry between industrialized coun-
tries in the era of imperialism increased.
Textiles became the most important imported good. While the mar-
ket in bulk produced uncolored cottons, so called “greys,” was firmly
in British hands28, the market in colored cotton piece goods was more
contested. This was true especially in the sale of high-end manufac-
tures like calico prints and ginghams (colored woven cottons), where
the quality of colors and patterns played a crucial role. Here, produc-
ers from Scotland, Saxony, Eastern Switzerland, Vosges, Alsace, and
the Netherlands competed intensely. This market was determined
less by price than by product differentiation.29
The merchants of these colored cottons faced thus two fundamen-
tal problems. The product had to be constantly changed, in order to
respond to demands of fashion and be distinct from the competition.
But at the same time it had to communicate consistency of quality in
order to get returning customers. This requirement of both unique-
ness and consistency has been typical of the apparel industry for a
long time. Creating steady international demand for specific types
26. Ray, Rise of the bazaar.
27. For the foreign trade of Singapore up to WWI see Chiang Hai Ding, History
of straits’ settlements foreign trade; Wong Lin Ken, The trade of Singapore,
28. For trade figures in the Dutch Indies see Lindblad, De Handel tussen
Nederland en Nederlands-Indie, 1874–1939.
29. For monopolistic competition in the market for finished cloth see Brown,
Imperfect Competition and Anglo-German Trade Rivalry: Markets for Cotton
Textiles before 1914.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
of cloth required strenuous efforts to ensure uniformity. It has also
“meant conveying knowledge of their identities and qualities to geo-
graphically separated populations, and, in the past, this has often
been without the benefits of mass literacy, advertising, or global mass
In the long-distance textile trade, well before the advent of trade-
mark registration, markings played a crucial role. There is a tradition
of textile marks going back to the medieval era. In cities exporting
textiles, producers were obliged to put their mark on their goods.
For that they often used so-called selvedge patterns or line-headings,
i.e., marks woven into the top or bottom of a fabric designating qual-
ity and origin.31 This was a measure designed by the authorities to
prevent fraud, and it can be found in Europe as well as in China.32
The selvedge patterns allowed the tracing back of a woven good to
the producer, holding him liable, either by legal or economic meas-
ures. But they were also a guarantee that the cloth was not cut by
the intermediaries. By the early seventeenth century, Chinese cotton
producers used these patterns to send advertising messages to the
consumers.33 Today these selvedge patterns are still used in the trade
of Dutch wax prints in Africa.34
Industrial producers also used stamps on bolts to mark the end
of the fabric, hence the name bolt stamp. One of the early European
examples of a stamp for textiles exported overseas is that of VOC, the
Dutch East Indian Company. With the onset of industrial production
and the multiplication of producers and traders, identification of an
item’s origin became a problem. Most products were marked with a
combination of stamps indicating producer, trader and quality. In a
booklet from around 1920 a Dutch producer lists 1,176 combinations
of stamps, for the targeting of different markets.35 This number may
have been even higher for Manchester producers.
While the stamps were mostly used on whites and greys, because of
visibility, printed labels were provided for the more elaborate colored
weavings and prints. The so-called “shipper’s tickets” or “bolt labels”
were printed labels that were placed on bolts, boxes, or envelopes
30. Clark, “Lincoln Green and real Dutch java prints,” in Cultures of commod-
ity branding, ed. Bevan, 197.
31. Meyer, Entwicklung der Handelsmarke in der Schweiz; Higgins etal., The
trade mark question and the Lancashire cotton textile industry. The Linen Act of
1726 officialized these headings in England and gave producers some protection
against counterfeiting. Bently, Making of Modern Trade Marks Law,5.
32. Eckhardt etal., ABrief History of Branding in China.
33. Hamilton etal., Consumerism Without Capitalism, 260f.
34. Clark, “Lincoln Green and real Dutch java prints,” in Cultures of commod-
ity branding, ed. Bevan and Wengrow.
35. KSW, Historisch Centrum Overijssel, 167.4 Archief KSW, Doos 52.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 767
as an eye catcher. The earliest examples date from as early as 1680:
textiles exported to West Africa by the Royal Africa Company were
wrapped in a stiff paper with a picture of a “gaudy elephant.”36
Between 1830 and 1870 these tickets became a permanent feature
of the European textile trade overseas. They can be found on all con-
tinents in trade with people who were not expected to read European
writing. Once trademark registration was introduced in Britain in
1876, producers and quickly began to submit them for registration.37
By the end of the 1870s more than 44,000 marks for textiles were
caught up in a backlog of registrations! Cotton piece goods were the
class with the greatest number of requests for protection, although
many marks did not meet the criteria of being the sole property of the
applicant, because they had become “common to the trade.”38
One specific trait of these shipper’s tickets is their visual language,
which mostly consists of symbols. This symbolic language is typical
of the transcontinental textile trade, although it can also be found on
other products, as well as textiles for the European or American mar-
kets. But for the most part, branding practices in European domestic
markets at the time were more focused on the name of the producer
and thus script based.39
What’s in aname?
In the nineteenth century brand names for products were not very
common. Branded products could be found in the health and hygiene
sector in the early Romantic era, but they had a touch of quackery.40
Barbara McClintock describes “Sunlight,” introduced 1884 by the
British company Lever Brothers, as the first modern brand insofar as
the product was marketed as an entity in itself and less in relation to
the producer.41
A common way to promote a product was, however, to use the
name of the business owner as a trademark. This choice was rooted
in a business practice that firmly linked name and reputation as
well as “moral” and monetary credit.42 In an economy transgressing
a regional scope, it was crucial for businessmen to get information
on the financial situation as well as on “character” or “moral credit”
36. Wadsworth etal., The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, 1600–1780,
37. Den Otter etal., “Twentse tjaps.”
38. Higgins etal., The trade mark question and the Lancashire cotton textile
industry. See also Higgins, Forgotten heroes.
39. Mercer, Mark of distinction.
40. Strachan, Advertising and satirical culture in the Romantic period, 29–34.
41. McClintock, Imperial Leather.
42. For the name as social capital see Sunderland, Social capital, trust and the
industrial revolution, 1780–1880; Olegario, Culture of credit.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
of their partners.43 The name of a business stood for the goodwill it
had and was considered an asset. At the time, for smaller merchant
houses or businesses, reputation was connected more closely to ethi-
cal issues and individual conduct than it is for a modern corporation.
“We have a good, beautiful name everywhere and Idoubt not one
moment that it will stay so,”44 said the senior partner of the trading
house Hooglandt & Co in Singapore to his new junior partner, and
his statement can be read as an urge to behave accordingly. For small
businesses named after one or more of the partners, the distinction
between the public and private aspects of a name, reputation and
personal character becomes blurred. On the local level it was nearly
impossible to make a distinction between the private and the pub-
lic behavior of a businessman. In global trade, however, this kind of
social control was difficult to maintain.45
One solution to this problem manifested itself in an early use of trade-
marks. In the nineteenth century trademarks were very much indebted
to the idea of the reputation of an entrepreneur communicated through
his name. “A man’s name is still stronger trade mark than any that can
be devised,” a British trademark lawyer observed in his treatise on the
subject of 1876.46 Likewise the economic theory of trademarks is also
indebted to this tradition of linking brands and reputation.47
Visual communication
How could professional integrity and standards of quality be com-
municated, if consumers used a different writing system and Western
names sounded unfamiliar? Many early producers seem to have
been in the dark about this issue. Acommon practice was to use the
business name in combination with an illustration of their factory
as trademarks (see figures 14). An early example comes from the
Koninklijke Weefgoederen Fabriek C.T. Stork in Hengelo. This sam-
ple was found in the business archive of Mathias Naef, Niederuzwil,
one of the main producers of colored weavings in Switzerland, who
was obviously using the Dutch trademark as a template for the design
of his own mark in the 1860s. Both the Dutch and Swiss producers
43. The major Swiss producer of calico prints P. Blumer, Jenny & Co kept
records of their business partners worldwide in their “information book.” For
the professionalization of business information in the US see Olegario, Culture
of credit.
44. Letter of J.R. Riedtmann in Switzerland to W.H. Diethelm in Singapore.
16.5.1876. DA, A2.7.
45. Rabo, A shop of one’s own; Dahl, Trade, trust, and networks; Aslanian,
Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants.
46. Salaman, Manual of trade mark registration, 11.
47. For a critical evaluation see Casson et al., Export Performance and
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 769
copied predecessors from England. The marks speak to the success
and achievements of the entrepreneurs—in line with the idea of the
name of the entrepreneur representing the business.
However, it was a badly chosen symbol for use in their chief mar-
kets in the Malay Archipelago, as the factory was not a common cul-
tural symbol in SoutheastAsia.
These tickets contrast with the standard ticket that became estab-
lished in the textile trade in South and Southeast Asia in the years
between 1850 and1890.
There were two forms of the standard ticket: a smaller one in green
and gold reserved for yarns, and a bigger one, about the size of a wine
label or a postcard used for cotton piece goods.48 As can be seen in fig-
ure5, it is the glaring colors that first strike the eye.49 Looking at col-
lections of these tickets it is above all the consistent use of symbolic
signs for identification that stands out. These symbolic trademarks
48. Susan, Textile ticket printing and pattern card making.
49. Figures 24 originally are also colored.
Figure 1 Mark of the weaving mill C. T. Stork in the Netherlands, ca. 1850s
(courtesy of Staatsarchiv St. Gallen).
Figure 2 Mark of the weaving mill Mathias Naef in Switzerland, ca. 1860
(courtesy of Staatsarchiv St. Gallen).
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
are typical of the textile trade with Asia. In order to understand the
development of these tickets we have to look both at lithographic
printing and its use in trade, as well as at the trade between Europeans
and Asians in the Asian emporia.
Shipper’s tickets in the world of ephemera
In the first half of the nineteenth century the printing business wit-
nessed a series of innovations such as lithography and chromo-
lithography. These innovations made the use of color for advertising
purposes affordable for a broad range of businesses.50 Subsequently
printers and businesses began to experiment with more sophisticated
material for communicating to with customers. The tickets are just
one item in the variety of ephemera like trade cards, postcards, greet-
ing cards, brochures, posters, wrappers etc.51 The Liebig cards—first
issued in 1875—are a prominent example.
50. Last, The color explosion nineteenth-century American lithography.
51. For package printing see Davis, Package and print. For ephemera in general
see Rickards etal., The encyclopedia of ephemera.
Figure 3 Mark of the weaving mill Birnstiel, Lanz & Co in Switzerland, ca. 1890
(courtesy of Toggenburgermuseum).
Figure 4 Mark of the weaving mill H.P. Gelderman & Zonen in the Netherlands,
ca. 1920s (courtesy of Historisch Centrum Overijssel).
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 771
The shipper’s tickets as well as the Liebig card originate from so-
called advertising trade cards that producers and retailers in Europe
and America used to promote their businesses and products.52 These
trade card’s history goes back to the seventeenth century. They were
initially little more than a sophisticated business card. Eventually,
however, the entire spectrum of commercial printed graphics, from
stationary over labels to price lists, evolved from these early mod-
ern trade cards.53 In the last quarter of the nineteenth century with
the advances in printing techniques and the possibility of using
colored pictures, they became a widespread tool of marketing. They
were also popular with the public and even became a collectable
item, as the use of color was a novelty for contemporary printing.
The similarities of commercial collecting cards with the shipper’s
tickets are striking: they were both based on the same printing tech-
nique and developed in the same period; they are about of the same
size; they both play with color and both are dominated by an image.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a trade card that
is used as an advertisement to evoke certain emotions and the trade-
mark used to identify a producer or a product. The collections of
the printers include tickets used to denote length and quality of the
cloth—mainly destined for Southern European and South American
markets. They were often adorned with an illustration of a glamor-
ous woman or a child, either of which would have been difficult
to register as a trademark. Printers also produced so-called stock
cards—cards with a special motif printed in color—that could be
used either as trade card or trademark.
52. Kaduck, Advertising Trade Cards; Greene, Advertising trade cards.
53. Rickards etal., The encyclopedia of ephemera, 334.
Figure 5 One of the trademarks of the trading house Diethelm & Co in Singapore
(courtesy of Diethelm Keller Holding).
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
But despite the many similarities between the two, the image has a
different function: the image on the trade cards is mostly illustrative.
There are, roughly speaking, three kinds of images in the vast array of
designs: those showing the product of the company; those presenting
an allegory of the qualities of the product, and those with no obvi-
ous connection between product, such as the image on the Liebig
cards, where the motifs were chosen for their decorative, exotic or
educational value and less as a direct way of promoting the product.
The image on the shipper’s tickets for Asian markets, however, is not
illustrative of the product, but rather identifies the product by using
a symbol.
As the media developed, the difference between the imagery of
advertising and the logo as an identifier became sharper. But even
today the borders between the two are contested, and courts regularly
have to decide whether the wording or imagery of an advertisement
can cause confusion with a registered trademark.54 In the last quarter
of the nineteenth century this border was more diffuse.
Arbitrary symbols, Asian ornot
In Europe there is long tradition of using pictures in trademarks. The
signs of the inns in the early modern era created for a predominantly
illiterate clientele are an example.55 The tobacco trade used images
of slaves or Native Americans on the packages as early as 1700.
Trademark design for alcoholic beverages or medicines also used such
symbolic signs.56 In fact, for British trademark law a trademark, if not
the name of a business owner, was usually a symbol or emblem.57
Often these pictures had an illustrative character. Atypical more
modern example is Singer, whose logo—a sewing machine—being
generic could not have been registered without the additional com-
pany name. Think of the Peircean distinction between icon (likeness
between sign and object), index (factual connection between sign and
object) and symbol (arbitrary relation between sign and object).58 All
three types of signs can be found in trademarks, although the icon
can only take an illustrative role, as explained in the example of
Singer. The factory marks are an example of an indexical sign, but
they can’t stand on their own either and need the company name
54. E.g., Citrus Group Inc. v.Cadbury Beverages, Inc., 781 F.Supp.386 (1991).
55. Maczak etal., Travel in early modern Europe. Chap.1.
56. see Davis, Package and print the development of container and label
design, 92–97; Lewis, Printed ephemera the changing uses of type and letterforms
in English and American printing.
57. Bently, Making of Modern Trade Marks Law.
58. Peirce, New Elements. For the difference in branding between symbolical
and iconic/indexical signs see also Lury, Brands, 78–85.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 773
for specificity. This does not imply that indexical marks cannot be
distinctive. Nevertheless, once established with consumers, symbolic
signs can make for stronger brands, because the sign speaks to the
consumer. The arbitrary connection between sign and product, pro-
viding the sign is not already in use in the industry, makes symbolic
signs distinctive.59
But neither the precursors nor the intrinsic reasons favoring arbi-
trary signs can sufficiently explain the success of arbitrary symbols as
trademarks in the Asian textile trade. The shipper’s tickets for Asian
markets stand out in collections of commercial graphics. It is not only
the exotic imagery, but the invariable use of arbitrary symbols that
attract attention. Only matchbox design is similar in its consistent
use of symbols. It also evolved from using names and factory pic-
tures to creating brands using symbols in the period between 1850
and 1880.60 Matchboxes were an interesting field for testing effects
of branding, because there was hardly any difference in quality with
which to differentiate the product. Interestingly the same merchants
who were selling textiles in Southeast Asia were also involved in the
selling of matches.
It remains a legitimate question to ask, why the textile merchants
so consistently chose for arbitrary symbols to sell their goods and how
they came up with their libraries of symbols. Merchants generally
lacked experience in design, just as the printers lacked experience
in marketing. The case of a Swiss-Dutch trading house in Singapore
shows them experimenting with various motifs (see below) and even
flirting with the idea of counterfeiting.
Only towards the end of the nineteenth century were there spe-
cialized printers for shipper’s tickets such as Norbury, Snow & Co or
Benjamin Taylor & Co in Manchester. The latter advertised themselves
as “Textile Trade Mark Printers for India, China, Burma, S.America,
Egypt and the Near East. Java, Sumatra and the Straits. Africa, Japan
and the Colonies.”61 According to the books of the company the vast
majority of the tickets were destined for Asian markets. For their
design the firm had up to twenty lithographic artists on their payroll,
as the tickets needed to be complex enough in order to prevent coun-
terfeiting. Some of the designs were developed in-house and directly
registered as trademarks, which a firm could thenbuy.
But shipper’s tickets must be seen as something more than just a
special development in design. They were embedded in a daily prac-
tice of the bazaars in the major Asian emporia. We therefore have to
59. On distinctiveness see Beebe, The semiotic account of trademark doctrine
and trademark culture.
60. Jones, Matchbox Cover Design.
61. Susan, Textile ticket printing and pattern card making.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
turn to their social function, which was affected by local culture in
the trading ports.
Eastern tradition of seals andstamps
Seals and stamps authorizing or legitimizing documents or products
are firmly rooted in the culture of East Asia and Southeast Asia. In
the Malay world the seals are engravings in Arabic script that symbol-
ize royal authority and were being used throughout the archipelago
when the first Europeans arrived in the region.62 The Malay word for
the seals is “cap” or “tjap” in the Dutch transcription. In English it is
usually referred to by “chop.” The expression “chop” carries the his-
tory of cultural encounter and hybrid developments in the colonial
Indies. Its origins are disputed: it may have come from the Hindi word
“chhap” meaning stamp, seal or something coined.63 Another theory
claims that it came from the Chinese expression “tsah,” which is pro-
nounced as “tsap” in Cantonese, which means a contract or a written
order from a superior.64 The expression was then picked up in Malay,
the lingua franca used in trade throughout Southeast Asia. Here it
was used to mean “stamp,” but more generally for something author-
ized or legitimized by a stamp like passports or trade licenses. This
meaning of the word also found its way into Portuguese, English, and
Dutch. Ultimately the expression “chop” denoted Western trademarks
in the material form of bolt stamps and shipper’s tickets. Trademarks
are thus placed in a tradition of signs of legitimacy.
In the Cantonese trade the expression was omnipresent. The
“Chinese Commercial Guide” of 1856, a book by Samuel Wells
Williams, an American linguist and diplomat, mentions “chop” in
several contexts. The “grand chop” was the customs clearance; the
“chopped dollar” was a punched coin with a personal seal of a mer-
chant. He would only accept payments with his own chop on it. In
the tea trade the “chop” designated a certain brand: “The word chop,
(hau or tsz’ hau a term of common use in the tea trade,) means merely
a brand or mark, and is given by the brokers who make up the lots of
tea in the country. It is frequently the name of a firm, or merely a fancy
appellation applied to each distinct lot of the same quality and origin,
to distinguish it from other lots, even of the same sort of tea. […] The
‘chop name’ consists of two characters, as yuh-lán (Magnolia), hing
62. Gallop, Malay seal inscriptions: a study in Islamic epigraphy from
Southeast Asia.
63. Hobson-Jobson (1903): Aglossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words, article
64. Rouffaer etal., De batikkunst in Nederlandsch-Indië en haar geschiedenis,
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 775
lung (Rising Affluence), fang chi (Fragrant Sesamum), &c., and has
slight reference to the origin or quality of the tea.”65 Similarly the use
of chops to denote origin and quality was standard in the trade with
raw silk in China and was introduced in Japan by Western merchants
after the opening of trade in the 1860s.66
The study of Hamilton and Lai cited above specifically mentions
brands in textiles. These textiles, mostly originating from the same
region in the Yangtze Delta, were also exported to the Nanyang (mar-
itime Southeast Asia), Europe and America.67 The Straits Times in
Singapore list nankeens, a coarse, yellowish Chinese fabric for export
to the West, as a trade item in the 1830s. Whether these nankeens
had their own brands is not reported. If we follow Hamilton and Lai
we can assume that by the mid-nineteenth century Chinese traders
in Southeast Asian trading ports were more or less familiar with
branded textiles from China. Other authors are more cautious and
suggest that the Qing marketing economy was a relatively closed sys-
tem where personal networks of brokers and merchants accessed the
marketplace.68 This is more a critique of the power of the brands than
their relevance. In the long-distance trade we can assume that the cot-
tons exported were branded.
Lessons from markets overseas
Trading in markets overseas was highly risky, especially for the Swiss
who did not have a long seafaring tradition and could not refer to a
navy for protection. For this reason the Swiss were highly responsive
to market demands and began to do market research prior to pro-
duction. “I feel the market’s pulse,” writes Conrad Blumer, one of
the major producers of textile prints in Europe, when he travelled to
India, Singapore and Batavia in 1846 to collect patterns and market
information.69 The Dutch and Belgians studied the Swiss model after
learning of its success in foreign markets.70
Lessons learned included the importance of extrinsic factors like
packaging71 and branding for sales. In Eastern markets, especially,
65. Wells Williams, AChinese commercial guide, 196.
66. Bavier, Japan’s Seidenzucht, Seidenhandel und Seidenindustrie, 71f.
67. Hamilton etal., Consumerism Without Capitalism.
68. Zurndorfer, Cotton Textile Manufacture and Marketing in Late Imperial
China and the “Great Divergence,” 724. Referring to Rowe, Domestic Interregional
Trade in Eighteenth-century China.
69. Stüssi, Conrad Blumers grosse Reise, 18.
70. Kindt, Notes sur l’industrie et le commerce de la Suisse; Waal,
Aanteekeningen Over Koloniale Onderwerpen. just to name two of many exam-
ples. Also see Brommer, Bontjes voor de tropen, 29. See also Simons et al.,
Berichten over en weer.
71. Kindt, Notes sur l’industrie et le commerce de la Suisse,.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
brands were regarded an imperative for trade. Interestingly many
merchants talk of branding rather as a requirement of their trading
partners than something springing from their own initiative. Many
representatives of the industry and commerce comment on the fact
that Chinese and other Asians “buy by mark.” George Wostenholm,
producer of quality blades in Sheffield, formulated this requirement in
a typically Victorian manner: “Many people who cannot read English
buy our goods, Chinese for instance (…) and Ihave heard say those on
the Pacific Coast will not buy a knife unless these strange marks I*XL
are on the side of the blade. You will see therefore, when dealing with
foreign markets, how important it is to have a very distinctive mark—
we must presuppose in the purchaser not only ignorance of quality,
dense ignorance even, but also ignorance of the English language.”72
An American consul in Japan writes: “Designs and ‘chops’ (trade-
marks) in the East have a value annually of many thousands of dollars
from the repute in which they stand. Old established concerns can
almost bank upon a sale of a certain quantity each year of the goods
which they handle.”73 Finally a German merchant who had done
extensive trade in Hong Kong writes: “Business was facilitated by the
fact, that the Chinese would buy merchandise under a certain chop,
which is viewed as a guaranty for consistent quality. This trademark,
the so-called chop, is in general a colored image in Chinese taste. [...]
Introducing such a trademark was the actual difficulty. Once intro-
duced it was easy to make sales, and usually chopped goods got better
prices than unmarked ones; it could happen that the same good was
highly in demand with a chop, but could not be sold without it.”74
In Singapore and Java chops were omnipresent in the textile trade.
The varied designs of British, Swiss and Dutch traders reveal a trial-
and-error process in the selection of symbols. We see plants, animals,
people, symbolic objects and mythical figures. The trading houses were
able to observe the effects of different symbols: some labels sold well,
while others—often with the products of the same producers—did not
sell.75 The merchants mined familiar symbolic libraries. Besides the
72. George Wostenholm in 1888. Cit. after Higgins etal., Asset or liability?, 6f.
73. Department of Commerce and Labor. Monthly Consular and Trade Reports.
Nr. 300. September, 1905.
74. „Im übrigen wurde das Geschäft […] dadurch erleichtert, dass die Chinesen
daran gewöhnt sind, eine Ware unter einer bestimmten Marke zu kaufen, welche
als Garantie für gleichbleibende Qualität angesehen wird. […] Die Schwierigkeit
war jeweils, eine solche Marke einzuführen. War sie es einmal, so bestand im
allgemeinen keine Schwierigkeit, darin Geschäfte zu machen, und gewöhnlich
waren für solche Chopwaren bessere Preise zu erzielen, als für unmarkierte; es
konnte vorkommen, dass ein und dieselbe Ware mit dem Chop sehr begehrt, ohne
ihn aber unverkäuflich war.” Wagner, Der Einfuhrhandel nach China, 268.
75. RS, City Archives, Schaffhausen. D IV. Ticketbook 1901–07.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 777
coat of arms of the merchant, the samples of Swiss trading houses show
cows, Swiss flags, a mountain railway, a chamois, while the Dutch had
ships, anchors, tulips, and the British displayed royals, coronations,
Britannia, and patriotic scenes of ships and sea.76 But they soon found
out that the symbol carried information and that they had to adjust
their libraries to suit the taste of their consumers. In a letter dating
1884 one partner of the Swiss trading house Diethelm & Co wrote to a
colleague that they had had to learn the hard way. They had used the
chamois as trademark for their matches in Singapore. Had they instead
employed the “half-moon and star”-mark—a central symbol among
their Malay clientele—they would have done much better.77
Whether end-consumers had an impact on the branding practice
cannot be verified because of lack of sources. Court cases indicate
that the European merchants were not well informed about the brand
knowledge of the consumers.78 For them it was a tool in the whole-
sale trade. We can only assume that brands helped to bridge the vari-
ous ethnic gaps in the trade. The merchandise went from European
merchants, then through Chinese, Indian, Buginese or Yemeni whole-
salers and Chinese and Malay retailers, and then finally to the con-
sumers.79 European merchants attempted to strengthen business
relations by visiting their clientele in the bazaar and exchanging
gifts on Christmas and Chinese New Year,80 or—in the case of the
Chinese—by sitting down with the Malay retailers, chewing sireh and
chatting for hours, before coming to a deal.81 However, social rela-
tions alone were inadequate. Mistrust would have prevailed in the
trade were there no brands to guaranty consistent quality. In revealing
business relations the brands made the bazaar more transparent.
76. DA A 6.1/2 Ticketbooks. GZ, Historisch Centrum Overijssel, 168.2, Box
3.Tickets. Susan, Textile ticket printing and pattern card making.
77. DA: A2.7. Riedtmann to Diethelm, 25 July 1884. Procter & Gamble pre-
viously introduced a moon and star mark for candles. See Pennington et al.,
Customer branding of commodity products, 462f.
78. Johnston v Orr-Ewing (1882) 7 House of Lords 219. Guyer v.Imhof, Blumer
& Co (1891) Schweizerisches Bundesgericht 42.
79. Djie, Distribueerende tusschenhandel, 5–15. For the Bugis see Trocki,
Prince of pirates; for the traders of the Hadramaut in Singapore see Clarence-Smith
etal., Hadhrami traders, scholars and statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s–1960s;
for the different Indian groups see Sandhu, Indian communities in Southeast Asia;
for trading minorities in general see Dobbin, Asian entrepreneurial minorities;
McCabe, Diaspora entrepreneurial networks.
80. On mutual gifts in business relations see Berghoff, Wirtschaftsgeschichte
als Kulturgeschichte, 154; Tong Chee Kiong etal., Guanxi Bases, Xinyong and
Chinese Business Networks, 81. For a detailed account of business relations in the
bazaar in Singapore see Zangger, Koloniale Schweiz, Chap. A.4.
81. Bradell, Notes on the Chinese in the Straits. On the cultural capital of
Chinese traders in the exchange with Malay traders see Andaya, Cloth Trade in
Jambi and Palembang.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Although determining the extent of Asian end-consumers’ influ-
ence on the branding of European cloth is a somewhat speculative
venture, it is safe to say that shipper’s ticket are an example of con-
sumer branding82: documentation shows that trademark owners
reacted to the demands of Asian buyers, be they retail traders or end-
consumers. Their influence can be seen by the very fact that products
were branded and by the choice of symbols used. The shipper’s tick-
ets are thus an example for the fact that globalization works simulta-
neously top-down and bottom-up.83
The local name of achop
European brands always had a local name in Malay, Hindi or Chinese.
For example the trademark with the anchor would be known as
“chop sauh” in the bazaar of Singapore and as “tjap saoeh” in the
Dutch East Indies.84 By the 1860s marks such as “tjap boerong” (bird
mark) or “tjap koeda” (horse mark) were so well established that
the term became generic for a specific type of yarn or cloth in Java.
Market reports regularly listed the prices of these items next to other
yarns and types of cloth.85 Customers in the Southeast Asian markets
were quite conservative and usually stuck to an established brand,
if the quality remained consistent.86 Awell-established name in the
bazaar equaled a monopoly. As chopped goods tended to guarantee
higher turnover and better prices, trademark infringement and coun-
terfeiting was rampant.87 Most new trademarks tried to imitate those
already established, and certain motives such as the eagle, the tiger,
the elephant, the cock, or the anchor existed in many variations with
minimal differences. This was a decade or two before the introduc-
tion of a thorough trademarklaw.
And even after the establishment of registers, protecting the image
deposited in the trademark registers in Britain or elsewhere in Europe
was less important than defending the name established in the bazaar.
One of the most prominent cases was that of Johnston v.Orr Ewing,
which was heard before the House of Lords in 1882. Both firms used a
mark with two elephants for yarn on the market in Bombay. Although
82. For consumer branding see Pennington etal., Customer branding of com-
modity products; Duguid, Developing the brand, 433ff.
83. This argument is also brought forward by Cochran, Chinese Medicine Men.
84. “Tjap” is the colonial Dutch transcription of the Malay “cap.”
85. See e.g., Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 28.4.1865.
86. Kelling, Het jaarbeurswezen in Nederlandsch-Indië, 232.
87. I follow the distinction by da Silva Lopes/Casson, where trademark
infringement is the copying of the mark only, counterfeiting the copying of both
the mark and the product. da Silva Lopes etal., Brand Protection and Globalisation
of British Business.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 779
European merchants and Indian middlemen could easily distinguish
the two marks, the Lords ruled that even though they had a different
design and carried different names, nevertheless the native buyers
might be deceived, as they are used to buying the yarn under the
name “Bhe Hathi” (two elephants). Someone who uses a similar
design for a trademark ought to “appropriate it with such precautions,
that reasonable probability of error should be avoided.”88 In a similar
case of 1906 in Singapore between two trading houses both using
anchors as trademarks, the plaintiff asked “(…) only that the defend-
ants be restrained from using such a representation of an anchor as
would result in their goods being called by the name of ‘chop sauh’,
which was the exclusive property of the plaintiff.”89 These two exam-
ples clearly demonstrate the shift in emphasis put forward by Frank
Schechter. In semiological terms the trademark as signifier points less
to the manufacturing source, but instead to the product.90
On the other hand merchants also learned of the dangers in a loss
of distinctiveness. In the case Katz Brothers Ltd. v.Kim Hin & Co
involving an eagle mark on brandy from 1899 the Supreme Court of
the Straits Settlements decided that Katz Bros could not claim the
mark as its property, because “chop burong” brandy, as it was called
on the market, was sold by eight different merchant houses and that
it had become synonymous with cheap brandy.91
Textile trademarks for the Asian markets were instrumental in
establishing a jurisdiction on trademarks in general—especially
in regard to the notion of distinctiveness. Supreme courts both in
Britain and in Switzerland heard cases on trademarks in the textile
trade with Asia.92 The case before the House of Lords was one of five
cases on trademarks in the period 1862–1882 that were constitutive
for the legal practice afterwards. Bently regards this period as forma-
tive for many aspects of British trademark law; the textile trade had a
prominent role in its elaboration.93
The merchants in the textile trade in Asia were thus well acquainted
with word marks and even product lines, since tickets of different
colors were used to indicate differences in qualities. This happened
before the introduction of Sunlight soap by Lever Brothers, which
usually is considered a milestone for innovation in branding.94
88. Cox, Amanual of trade-mark cases, 371–74.
89. “Anchor Trade Mark,” Straits Times, 4.12.1906.
90. Beebe, The Semiotic Analysis of Trademark Law, 677–81.
91. Ng-Loy Wee Loon, Trade Marks, Language and Culture: The Concept of
Distinctiveness and Publici Juris, 5f.
92. Johnston v Orr-Ewing (1882) 7 House of Lords 219. Guyer v.Imhof, Blumer
& Co (1891) Bundesgericht 42.
93. Bently, Making of Modern Trade Marks Law.
94. Mercer, Mark of distinction, 29f.; McClintock, Imperial Leather.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Supply chains and the ownership ofmarks
Without a doubt brands were used to fight competitors; more impor-
tantly, however, they can be seen as a strategic tool in a supply chain.
This aspect has been emphasized by Paul Duguid95 and can be clearly
observed in the textile trade. Brands helped the trading houses gain
control over the supplychain.
Looking at the marks of Swiss and Dutch producers and trading
companies in the cotton piece good business one can see some dis-
playing the name of the producer, some the names of both producer
and trading house in Asia, but the majority carried only the name
of the trading house.96 In the early phase of globalization distribu-
tion was generally externalized. Often there were close network
ties between producers or merchant houses in the textile centers on
the one hand and agency houses overseas on the other—at least in
the main export markets. These ties involved capital investments
or familial relationships between the two.97 In the cotton weaving
industry of Eastern Switzerland familial and regional networks
connecting producers and agencies were particularly dense. The
Swiss merchants in Singapore most often had completed a commer-
cial apprenticeship with a producer and were then sent overseas.
How products were brought to market was left to the merchants.
Merchants provided producers with market information—crucial
knowledge in the fast changing business of fashion. They told them
what patterns to produce in what quantities and how to wrap the
This division of labor between producers and distributors is to be
expected considering the great distance between the locations of pro-
duction and the markets. Local knowledge was essential for intro-
ducing new brands, and established brands had to be nurtured on
site. Moreover, merchant houses could not file complaints against
an infringement of a trademark of a producer they represented, but
only for their own trademarks.99 The example of the Koninklijke
Stoomweverij Nijverdal (KSW) shows how difficult it was, even
for large producers, to keep control over their trademark overseas.
G.en H.Salomonson established in 1816, founded the KSW in 1851
and shortly thereafter brought their products to overseas markets
95. Duguid, Developing the brand.
96. This comprises the archives of MN, BL, BJ (see bibliography). See also
Higgins etal., The trade mark question and the Lancashire cotton textile industry,
97. On merchant networks in Britain see Chapman, Merchant enterprise in
Britain. On agency houses in Asia see Jones etal., Merchants as Business Groups.
98. Fischer, Toggenburger Buntweberei auf dem Weltmarkt.
99. Sen, The law of monopolies in British India, 303.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 781
under their own trademark. As they had received the honorary title
“Koninklijk” (royal), bestowed by the royal family, they also used
the royal Dutch emblem, a mark with a prestigious symbolic value.
Because of this the products of the KSW had a quasi-official status,
and their mark was soon well known in Java (one of the main markets
of the KSW) as “tjap ringgit” (imperial eagle mark).100 But its early
success in the intercontinental textile trade proved to be detrimental
once the new system of trademark registration came into being. The
royal symbol could not be registered due to its public character, and
the KSW regularly had to fight imitators of their mark. Several trading
houses in Manchester used the mark, slightly changing the symbol
and adding fictitious Dutch firms as producers, to sell their products
in Java.101 The KSW only heard about these imitations after damage
was done—their trading partners in Java seemingly undisturbed by
the practice.
Obviously a trading company overseas was in a much better posi-
tion to protect its interests. Only they were able to introduce new
brands. They also had first sight of what was happening in the mar-
ket and could react quickly in case of infringements or if a brand
performed badly. Their access to local knowledge privileged them in
comparison to the producers. In the case of Swiss trading networks,
the producers, who in the 1860s had control over a number of trading
houses in the East, had by the 1880s lost their control over distribu-
tion to the merchants. By the beginning of the twentieth century pro-
ducers in Switzerland found it increasingly difficult to get access to
markets in the East themselves.102 Instead the trading houses acted as
gatekeepers and issued quotas to different producers, allowing them
to produce goods under the label of their trademark. For the merchant
houses, selling the merchandise under their own brand was also a
way of hiding the sources of supply. The brand had thus lost the con-
nection to the producer.
For example, the factory mark of a Swiss producer in figure 3
above was still in use at the turn of the twentieth century, but only
for the most expensive items “as an additional decorative element,”
as the packaging instructions of the trading house in Singapore
reveal.103 Some producers, however, were able to sidestep traders.
For example, a producer who had an exclusivity arrangement with
a merchant in Bangkok sold his merchandise via another merchant
100. Sen and Ringgit also refer to the Mexican silver dollars that were used as
currency in the region. Den Otter etal., “Twentse tjaps.”
101. Burgers, 100 Jaar G.en H.Salomonson, 196–200.
102. Sulzer, Vom Zeugdruck zur Rotfärberei, 239; Tschudi, Hundert Jahre
Türkischrotfärberei, 39.
103. Packing and forwarding book of Birnstiel, Lanz & Co, 1890s.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
there and instructed the packaging people to use only the merchant’s
In Manchester there was also a division of labor between the pro-
ducers in Lancashire and Cheshire and the merchant houses in the city.
The former concentrated on technique, while the latter were responsi-
ble for marketing and usually had control over trademarks.105 Though
they also had to negotiate trademark questions with partners overseas,
they were in a better position to do so in comparison to the factories
(recall the example of the Swiss producers). After all, Manchester was
the centre for the registration of textile marks for the whole Empire.
Dutch producers, on the contrary, were more successful in establish-
ing their own marks, at least by the 1920s. The case of Vlisco, produc-
ers of Dutch wax cloth for Java, and, especially, later for West Africa,
shows them to be coping with the fact that distant markets had become
an abstract variable. At first, marketing activities were limited to get-
ting orders from trading partners. In the 1930s, however, Vlisco started
investing in direct access to the markets. The fact that their product
had a unique visual appearance and their patterns were so popular on
the market, helped them to regain control over the supply chain. Their
branding is still very traditional using selvedge patterns.106
None of the brands displayed on the shipper’s tickets went on to
become a global success. They were as ephemeral as their medium.
This might be the reason why they do not appear in traditional
accounts of branding history. Nevertheless, these tickets had effects
on branding in Europe.
The two decades between 1860 and 1880 saw fundamental changes
of the legal concept of the trademark including registration and an
accompanying framework to assess what could count as a trademark,
what the prerequisites for a mark to be registered were, and what
would be regarded as infringement. Around the same time, busi-
nesses began to experiment with new ways of advertising and brand-
ing. Advertisements and brands used color, branding put more focus
on the product than the producer. We can regard this period as a trial-
and-error process in branding on a global scale. The textile tickets in
the Asian trade sent out a strong signal to interested business people
104. Ibd.
105. On trademark questions see Redford, Manchester merchants and foreign
trade, 140–43.
106. For the case of Vlisco see Ingenbleek, Marketing als bedrijfshistorische
invalshoek; Hoogenboom et al., From local to grobal, and back. Clark, Lincoln
Green and real Dutch java prints.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 783
and trademark professionals: They showed the potential of color for
branding; they showed that pictorial brands proved to be effective as
a language working independently of script; they also showed that
remote consumers would translate the sign into their own language;
furthermore they showed that the sign would work as a marketing
tool, even if it had no connection to a producer.
Again it has to be emphasized that the tickets were not the only
brands to use symbols. But the existence of a large number of ship-
per’s tickets used in the textile trade that made uniform use of arbi-
trary symbols likely affected branding as a whole. First there was an
impact on the visual appearance of brands. It opened up the visual
repertoire, which potentially had effects on the nascent advertising
industry. But while we can observe the rising popularity of Eastern
motifs in trade cards, this popularity has to seen against the back-
ground of a more general interest for Eastern art in the Aesthetic
movement. The fashion for anything Eastern in the printing business
in the last quarter of the nineteenth century might have influenced
the development of branding in other sectors. The development of
matchbox branding especially has to be studied in this regard.
Second, these visual brands had effects on the trademark law,
since courts had to establish law practice, how to assess distinctive-
ness of pictorial marks. Shipper’s tickets have a prominent place in
cases regarding distinctiveness.
Third, it is in the Southeast Asian textile trade that we can see a
shift in the conception of the trademark: its connection to a source
became less relevant. Instead the mark stood for the product itself.
Overseas trade is the obvious site for this process to unfold, since
physical and cultural distance impeded the establishment of direct
connections between producers and customers. For many textile pro-
ducers, trading companies were inevitable go-betweens, bringing their
products to markets overseas and so they left marketing and branding
strategies to the trading company’s discretion. Textiles were by far the
most important export item to markets overseas and merchants were
accustomed to marks well before the advent of registration.
Bibliography of WorksCited
Aslanian, Sebouh D. From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The
Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants From New Julfa. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2011.
Baghdiantz McCabe, Ina, ed. Diaspora Entrepreneurial Networks: Four
Centuries of History. Oxford: Berg, 2005.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Berghoff, Hartmut, ed. Marketinggeschichte: Die Genese einer modernen
Sozialtechnik. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus 2007.
———. Wirtschaftsgeschichte als Kulturgeschichte: Dimensionen eines
Perspektivenwechsels. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus, 2004.
Bevan, Andrew, and David Wengrow, eds. Cultures of Commodity Branding.
Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010.
Burgers, Roelf Adrianus. 100 Jaar G. en H. Salomonson, Dissertation ed.
Rotterdam: Nederlandsche Economische Hoogeschool, 1954.
Chandler, Alfred D., and Takashi Hikino. Scale and Scope the Dynamics of
Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.
Chapman, Stanley D. Merchant Enterprise in Britain From the Industrial
Revolution to World War I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Chiang Hai Ding. A History of Straits’ Settlements Foreign Trade 1870–1915.
Singapore: National Museum, 1978.
Clarence-Smith, William G., and Ulrike Freitag eds. Hadhrami Traders,
Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s–1960s. Leiden: Brill,
Cochran, Sherman. Chinese Medicine Men: Consumer Culture in China and
Southeast Asia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
Dahl, Gunnar. Trade, Trust, and Networks: Commercial Culture in Late
Medieval Italy. Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 1998.
Davis, Alec. Package and Print the Development of Container and Label
Design. London: Faber & Faber, 1967.
de Waal, Engelbertus. Aanteekeningen over Koloniale Onderwerpen, vol. 1.
‘s-Gravenhage, The Netherlands: M. Nijhoff, 1865.
Djie, Liem T. De Distribueerende Tusschenhandel der Chineezen op Java.
‘s-Gravenhage, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1947.
Dobbin, Christine. Asian Entrepreneurial Minorities: Conjoint Communities
in the Making of the World-Economy 1570–1940. Richmond: Curzon, 1996.
Farnie, Douglas A. The English Cotton Industry and the World Market, 1815–
1896. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979.
Gallop, Annabel T. Malay Seal Inscriptions: A Study in Islamic Epigraphy
From Southeast Asia. London: SOAS, 2002.
Hudson, Graham. The Design & Printing of Ephemera in Britain & America,
1720–1920. London: British Library, 2008.
Kaduck, John M. Advertising Trade Cards, 1st ed. Des Moines, IA: Wallace-
Homestead Book Co, 1976.
Last, Jay T. The Color Explosion Nineteenth-Century American Lithography.
Santa Ana, CA: Hillcrest Press, 2005.
Lewis, John. Printed Ephemera the Changing Uses of Type and Letterforms in
English and American Printing. Woodbridge: Antique Collector’s Club, 1990.
Lury, Celia. Brands: The Logos of the Global Economy. International Library
of Sociology. London: Routledge, 2004.
Maczak, Antoni, and UrsulaPhilips. Travel in Early Modern Europe. Oxford:
John Wiley & Sons, 1995.
McClintock, Anne. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the
Imperial Contest. London: Routledge, 1995.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 785
Meyer, Carl. Die historische Entwicklung der Handelsmarke in der Schweiz.
Bern, Switzerland: Stämpfli, 1905.
North, Douglas C. Structure and Change in Economic History. New York:
W.W. Norton, 1981.
Olegario, Rowena. A Culture of Credit: Embedding Trust and Transparency
in American Business. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
Rabo, Annika. A Shop of One’s Own: Independence and Reputation Among
Traders in Aleppo. London: Tauris, 2005.
Redford, Arthur. Manchester Merchants and Foreign Trade, 1850–1939, vol.
II. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1956.
Rickards, Maurice, and Michael Twyman. The Encyclopedia of Ephemera:
AGuide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector,
Curator, and Historian. New York: Routledge, 2001.
Rouffaer, Gerrit P., and Hendrik H.Juynboll. De Batikkunst in Nederlandsch-
Indië en haar Geschiedenis. Utrecht, The Netherlands: A. Oosthoek, 1914.
Salaman, Joseph S. A Manual of the Practice of Trade Mark Registration.
London: Shaw & Sons, 1876.
Sandhu, Kernial S. Indian Communities in Southeast Asia, 2nd repr. ed.
Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008.
Schechter, Frank I. The Historical Foundations of the Law Relating to Trade-
Marks. New York: Columbia University Press, 1925.
Sen, Prosanto K. The Law of Monopolies in British India. Calcutta: MC Sircar
& Sons, 1922.
Sherman, Brad, and Lionel Bently. The Making of Modern Intellectual
Property Law: The British Experience, 1760–1911. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1999.
Slater, Don. Consumer Culture and Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997.
Strachan, John. Advertising and Satirical Culture in the Romantic Period.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Sulzer, Klaus. Vom Zeugdruck zur Rotfärberei: Heinrich Sulzer (1800–1876)
und die Türkischrot-Färberei Aadorf. Zürich: Chronos, 1991.
Sunderland, David. Social Capital, Trust and the Industrial Revolution, 1780–
1880. London: Routledge, 2007.
Tedlow, Richard S., and GeoffreyJones. The Rise and Fall of Mass Marketing.
London: Routledge, 1993.
Trocki, Carl A. Prince of Pirates: The Temenggongs and the Development of
Johor and Singapore 1784–1885. Singapore: Univ. Press, 1979.
Tschudi, Peter. Hundert Jahre Türkischrotfärberei, 1829 - 1928: Geschichte
der Rotfarb und Druckerei Joh. Caspar Tschudi in Schwanden. Glarus:
Buchdruckerei Neue Glarner Zeitung, 1931.
Vleming, J. L. Het Chineesche Zakenleven in Nederlandsch-Indië.
Weltevreden: Landsdrukkerij, 1926.
von Bavier, Ernst. Japan’s Seidenzucht, Seidenhandel und Seidenindustrie.
Zürich: Orell, Füssli, 1874.
Wadsworth, Alfred P., and Julia De Lacy Mann. The Cotton Trade and
Industrial Lancashire, 1600–1780. Manchester, UK: Manchester University
Press, 1931.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Williamson, Oliver E. The Economics of Transaction Costs. Cheltenham: E.
Elgar, 1999.
Wong Lin Ken. The Trade of Singapore, 1819–1869. Mbras, Reprint No. 23.
Singapore: 2003.
Zangger, Andreas. Koloniale Schweiz: Ein Stück Globalgeschichte zwischen
Europa und Südostasien (1860–1930). Kulturgeschichten der Moderne.
Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2011.
Journal Articles andEssays
Andaya, Barbara W. “The Cloth Trade in Jambi and Palembang Society During
the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” Indonesia 48 (1989): 27–46.
Beebe, Barton. “The Semiotic Analysis of Trademark Law.” UCLA Law Review
51 (2004): 621–704.
———. “The Semiotic Account of Trademark Doctrine and Trademark
Culture.” In Trademark Law and Theory a Handbook of Contemporary
Research, edited by Graeme B. Dinwoodie, 42–64. Cheltenham: Elgar, 2008.
Bently, Lionel. “The Making of Modern Trade Marks Law: The Construction
of the Legal Concept of Trade Mark (1860–80).” In Trade Marks and Brands:
An Interdisciplinary Critique, edited by Lionel Bently, Jennifer Davis, and
Jane C. Ginsburg, 3–41. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Bogaars, George E. “The Effect of the Opening of the Suez Canal on the Trade
and Development of Singapore.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the
Royal Asiatic Society 28, no. 1 (1955): 99–143.
Braddell, T. “Notes on the Chinese in the Straits.” Journal of the Indian
Archipelago and Eastern Asia 9 (1855): 109–124.
Brommer, Bea. “Bontjes Voor De Tropen.” In Bontjes Voor De Tropen: De
Export van Imitatieweefsels naar de Tropen, edited by Bea Brommer and
Gemeentemuseum Helmond, 27–40. Zwolle, The Netherlands: Waanders
Uitgevers, 1991.
Brown, John C. “Imperfect Competition and Anglo-German Trade Rivalry:
Markets for Cotton Textiles Before 1914.” The Journal of Economic History
55, no. 3 (1995): 494–527.
Casson, Mark, and NigelWadeson. “Export Performance and Reputation.” In
Trademarks, Brands, and Competitiveness, edited by Teresa da Silva Lopes
and Paul Duguid, 31–54. New York: Routledge, 2010.
Church, Roy. “New Perspectives on the History of Products, Firms, Marketing,
and Consumers in Britain and the United States Since the Mid-Nineteenth
Century.” The Economic History Review 52, no. 3 (1999): 405–35.
Clark, Garcia. “Lincoln Green and Real Dutch Java Prints.” In Cultures of
Commodity Branding, edited by Andrew Bevan and David Wengrow, 197–
212. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010.
da Silva Lopes, Teresa, and MarkCasson. “Brand Protection and Globalisation
of British Business.” Business History Review 86 (Summer 2012): 287–310.
de Munck, Bert. “The Agency of Branding and the Location of Value. Hallmarks
and Monograms in Early Modern Tableware Industries.” Business History
54, no. 7 (2012): 1055–76.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 787
Den Otter, Piet, and Mienke Simon Thomas. “‘Twentse Tjaps’.”
Textielhistorische Bijdragen 33 (1993): 104–19.
Duguid, Paul, Teresada Silva Lopes, and JohnMercer. “Reading Registrations:
An Overview Over 100 Years of Trademark Registration in France, the
United Kingdom, and the United States.” In Trademarks, Brands, and
Competitiveness, edited by Teresa da Silva Lopes and Paul Duguid, 9–30.
New York: Routledge, 2010.
Duguid, Paul. “Developing the Brand: The Case of Alcohol, 1800–1880.”
Enterprise and Society 4, no. 3 (2003): 405–41.
Eckhardt, Giana M., and AndersBengtsson. “A Brief History of Branding in
China.” Journal of Macromarketing 30, no. 3 (2010): 210–21.
Fanselow, Frank. “The Bazaar Economy Or How Bizarre is the Bazaar Really?”
Man, New Series 25, no. 2 (1990): 250–65.
Fischer, Thomas. “Toggenburger Buntweberei auf dem Weltmarkt. Ein
Beispiel schweizerischer Unternehmerstrategien im 19. Jahrhundert.” In
Die Schweiz in der Weltwirtschaft (15.-20.jh.), edited by Paul Bairoch and
Martin Körner, 183–205. Zürich, Switzerland: Chronos, 1990.
Fullerton, Ronald A. “How Modern is Modern Marketing? Marketing’s
Evolution and the Myth of the “Production Era”.” The Journal of Marketing
52, no. 1 (1988): 108–25.
Greaves, Julian I. “Competition, Collusion, and Confusion: The State and the
Reorganization of the British Cotton Industry, 1931–1939.” Enterprise and
Society 3 (March 2002): 48–79.
Greene, Stephen L. W. “Advertising Trade Cards: Nineteenth Century
Showcases.” In Advertising and Popular Culture: Studies in Variety
and Versatility, edited by Sammy R. Danna, 64–72. Bowling Green, OH:
Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1992.
Hamilton, Gary G., and Lai Chi-kong. “Consumerism Without Capitalism:
Consumption and Brandnames in Late Imperial China.” In The Social
Economy of Consumption, edited by Henry J. Rutz and Benjamin S. Orlove,
253–79. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988.
Higgins, David. “‘Forgotten Heroes and Forgotten Issues’: Business and
Trademark History During the Nineteenth Century.” Business History
Review 86 (2012): 261–85.
Higgins, David, and GeoffreyTweedale. “Asset Or Liability? Trade Marks in
the Sheffield Cutlery and Tool Trades.” Business History 37, no. 3 (1995):
———. “The Trade Mark Question and the Lancashire Cotton Textile Industry,
1870–1940.” Textile History 27, no. 2 (1996): 207–28.
Holt, Douglas B. “Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of
Consumer Culture and Branding.” Journal of Consumer Research 29
(2002): 70–90.
Hoogenboom, Marcel, DucoBannink, and WillemTrommel. “From Local to
Grobal, and Back.” Business History 52, no. 6 (2010): 932–54.
Ingenbleek, Paul. “Marketing Als Bedrijfshistorische Invalshoek: De Case van
Vlisco in West-Afrika, 1900–1996.” NEHA Jaarboek 60 (1997): 258–84.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Jones, Ben. Matchbox Cover Design: The Evolution of and the Influences on the
Graphical Design of Matchboxes. BA dissertation, University of Reading,
2004. (Accessed June 20,
Jones, Geoffrey, and Judith Wale. “Merchants as Business Groups: British
Trading Companies in Asia Before 1945.” The Business History Review 72,
no. 3 (1998): 367–408.
Kelling, M. A. J. “Het Jaarbeurswezen in Nederlandsch-Indië.” Koloniale
Studiën 9, no. 2 (1925): 210–42.
Koehn, Nancy F. “Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth
Century: Making Markets for Processed Food.” The Business History
Review 73, no. 3 (1999): 349–93.
Lindblad, J. Thomas. “De Handel Tussen Nederland En Nederlands-Indie,
1874–1939.” NEHA Jaarboek 51 (1988): 240–98.
Low, George S., and Ronald A. Fullerton. Brands, Brand Management, and
the Brand Manager System: A Critical-Historical Evaluation. Vol. 31 (2),
Journal of Marketing Research. 1994.
Mercer, John. “A Mark of Distinction: Branding and Trade Mark Law in the
UK From the 1860s.” Business History 52, no. 1 (2010): 17–42.
Moore, Karl, and Susan Reid. The Birth of Brand: 4000 Years of Branding
History, vol. 10169. Mpra Paper. 2008.
Ng-Loy Wee Loon. “Trade Marks, Language and Culture: The Concept of
Distinctiveness and Publici Juris.” Singapore Journal of Legal Studies
(2009): 508–44.
Peirce, Charles S. “New Elements (Kaina Stoicheia).” In The Essential Peirce,
vol. 2 (1893–1913), edited by Peirce Edition Project, 300–24. Bloomington,
IN: Indiana University Press, 1998.
Pennington, Julia R., and A. DwayneBall. “Customer Branding of Commodity
Products: The Customer-Developed Brand.” Journal of Brand Management
16 (2009): 455–67.
Pratt, Mary L. “Arts of the Contact Zone.” Profession 91 (1991): 33–40.
Ray, Rajat K. “Asian Capital in the Age of European Expansion: The Rise
of the Bazaar, 1800–1914.” Modern Asian Studies 29, no. 3 (1995):
Rowe, William. “Domestic Interregional Trade in Eighteenth-Century China.”
In On the Eighteenth Century as a Category of Asian History: Van Leur
in Retrospect, edited by Leonard Blussé and Femme S. Gaastra, 173–92.
Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1998.
Schechter, Frank I. “The Rational Basis of Trademark Protection.” Harvard
Law Review 40, no. 6 (1927): 813–33.
Schwarzkopf, Stefan. “Turning Trademarks Into Brands: How Advertising
Agencies Practiced and Conceptualized Branding, 1890–1930.” In
Trademarks, Brands, and Competitiveness, edited by Teresa da Silva Lopes
and Paul Duguid, 165–93. New York: Routledge, 2010.
Simons, Henk, and Nancy Tophoven. “Berichten Over En Weer:
Informatiestromen Tussen Een Twents Textielfabrikant En Zijn Aziatische
Afzetmarkten, 1875–1881.” In Katoen voor Indië: Sociale Ondernemers op
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Chops and Trademarks in Asian Trading Ports 789
het Spoor naar Vooruitgang, 1815–1940, edited by Eric J. Fischer, 45–55.
Amsterdam: NEHA, 1994.
Stüssi, Heinrich. “Lockender Orient: Conrad Blumers grosse Reise.”
Neujahrsbote für das Glarner Hinterland 23, (1989): 17–40.
Tong Chee Kiong, and Yong Pit Kee. “Guanxi Bases, Xinyong and Chinese
Business Networks.” The British Journal of Sociology 49, no. 1 (1998):
Wagner, M. A. “Der Einfuhrhandel nach China.” In China: Wirtschaft und
Wirtschaftsgrundlagen, edited by Josef Hellauer, 258–81. Berlin: Gruyter,
Wengrow, David. “Prehistories of Commodity Branding.” Current
Anthropology 49, no. 1 (2008): 7–34.
Wilkins, Mira. “The Neglected Intangible Asset: The Influence of the Trade
Mark on the Rise of the Modern Corporation.” Business History 34, no. 1
(1992): 66–95.
Zurndorfer, Harriet T. “Cotton Textile Manufacture and Marketing in Late
Imperial China and the ‘Great Divergence’.” Journal of the Economic and
Social History of the Orient 54, no. 5 (2011): 701–38.
Algemeen Handelsblad, Amsterdam, 1850–1890.
De locomotief: Samarangsch handels- en advertentie-blad, Semarang,
Digital editions of newspapers from The Netherlands East Indies, the
Netherlands, and Singapore have been searched for the expressions “chop,”
“tjap,” and “trademark.”
Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie,
Rotterdamsche Courant, Rotterdam, 1850–1890.
Straits Times, Singapore, 1870–1910.
Law and Trade Reports
Cox, Rowland. A Manual of Trade-Mark Cases: Comprising Sebastian’s Digest
of Trade-Mark Cases, Covering All the Cases Reported Prior to the Year
1879. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co, 1892.
Kindt, Jules. “Notes sur l’Industrie et le Commerce de la Suisse.” In Annales du
Commerce Extérieur; Suisse; Législation Commerciale, edited by Ministère
du commerce: Direction du commerce extérieur, 14–26. Paris: 1847.
Wells Williams, Samuel. A Chinese Commercial Guide: Consisting of a
Collection of Details and Regulations Respecting Foreign Trade With
China, Sailing Directions, Tables, Etc., 4th ed. Canton: Printed at the office
of the Chinese Repository, 1856.
Archives and unpublished manuscripts
Archives of Diethelm & Co (DA) (Singapore, Bangkok, Saigon), Diethelm
Keller Holding, Zurich.
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
Archives of P.Blumer & Jenny (BJ), Glarner Wirtschaftsarchiv, Schwanden.
Ellis, Susan. “Textile Ticket Printing and Pattern Card Making.” 1978.
Packing and Forwarding Book of Birnstiel, Lanz & Co (BL), Toggenburgermuseum
Ticket Book of Rautenberg, Schmidt & Co (RS) (Singapore/Penang), City
Archives of Schaffhausen, D IV.01.34.02.
Ticketbook of Gelderman & Zonen (GZ), Historisch Centrum Overijssel, 168.2.
Trademark Files of Koninklijke Stoomweverij Nijverdal (KSW), Historisch
Centrum Overijssel, 167.4.
Trademark Files of Mathias Naef, Niederuzwil (MN), Staatsarchiv St. Gallen:
W 31.
Various Ticketbooks and Stamp Books on the Website of Adrian Wilson:
at Universitaet Zuerich on November 24, 2014 from
... Cette association a été remise en cause par une série de publications soulignant l'ancienneté de la marque, présente en Méditerranée entre 1500 et 500 avant JC (Twede, 2002), en Mésopotamie entre le septième et le troisième siècle avant JC (Wengrow, 2008) ou sous la dynastie Shang dans la Chine du deuxième millénaire avant JC (Moore et Reid, 2008). Ces recherches ont provoqué « un débat sur les origines du branding » (Petty, 2010) et amené à distinguer les « marques » au sens actuel du terme et les « proto-marques » pré-modernes qui véhiculent uniquement des informations relatives à la logistique, à l'origine et à la qualité du produit (Moore et Reid, 2008), et dont la dimension symbolique semble moins importante (Eckhardt et Bengtsson, 2009 ;Holt, 2004 ;Zangger, 2014). Le débat sur les origines du branding à travers une variété des contextes historiques permet donc une réflexion sur la nature de la marque et sur ses fonctions. ...
Full-text available
Aim on how Trademark Law impacted Taiwan market in Japanese ruled period, the research is focused on business activities in Taiwan comparing to the trends of trademark registration after the Trademark Law was implemented after July 1st, 1899. The first step is to clarify how a trademark functioned in a trade and how people recognized a trademark and how government managed trademarks in Qing Dynasty ruled period and then based on the understanding to see how Taiwanese merchants took actions on Trademark Law brought by Japanese government after 1895 and how Patent Office of Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce of the Empire of Japan and Government of Taiwan were forced by pouchong tea trademark registration controversy to investigate in conventional recognition on trademarks among Taiwanese merchants. According to trademark registration records in early decades of Japanese ruled period, Taiwanese local merchants and Japanese merchants and Japanese companies had variable responses to Trademark Law. Taiwanese tea and tobacco merchants from Taipei and Tainan cities took the lead and followed by incense and farm implement merchants from mid-Taiwan cities and then medicinal material merchants kept up for trademark registration that pushed the Trademark Law amendments on November 1st, 1909; those merchants not only brought the goods with trademarks from Qing Dynasty to Japanese ruled period in daily life but also had done the documentation in both government systems. Japanese merchants from Empire of Japan registered a trademark in Taiwan for Taiwan local commodities or for establishing factories or as a selling agent. Initially Japanese companies were invited by Government of Taiwan to establish sugar companies in Taiwan, as its profits grew substantially after Russo-Japanese War, sugar trademarks became important objects in trademark registration in Taiwan. In a variety of ways, the total number and category of trademark registration in Taiwan had a great improvement since Taisho Democracy started in 1912. First, the population growth in Taiwan and more Taiwanese chose to live a Japanese lifestyle. Secondly, more and more goods were made in Taiwan to meet the demand growth from Japan. At the same time more educated merchants who owned small businesses or based on remote villages got the knowledge of how to apply for a trademark, which help expand categories of goods and impacted regions. Until WWI, Empire of Japan took the markets originally covered by European merchants; Taiwan as a part of the empire got the chance to manufacture and export globally more kinds of goods with registered trademarks, even including sake which was made in Japan but replaced by those made in Taiwan. Trademark registration in Taiwan was mainly focused on exported goods after WWI and then was overpassed by domestic demands on foods and daily necessities before Trademark Law amendment on April 29, 1921. During the period, most of tea and other export-oriented goods merchants had done trademark registration; on the other hand, plenty of Taiwanese companies were founded and registered trademarks for producing foods and daily necessities for domestic demand or even for overseas orders. Trademark Law had protected Taiwanese and Japanese merchants and companies to ensure their rights on their registered trademarks in domestic and international trading and had limited the unfair competition to reduce the cost, so merchants became richer than ever. Along with Trademark Law implement and amendments in Taiwan, the trademark registration not only recorded details and trends of local and international business activities which were impacted by every important decision from respecting nations and brought chances and changes for Taiwanese society, but also presented the interactions of people and national act implement during 1899 and 1921.
Full-text available
Neste artigo, analisaremos as trajetórias do artefato chocolateira, a partir dos contextos de popularização do chocolate quente e de transferência da Corte Bragantina para o Brasil. Buscaremos compreender como se deu a passagem do cacau ao produto chocolate. Longe de apresentar a Corte Portuguesa como propagadora de luxo, cosmopolitismo ou novos hábitos de consumo, este texto sinaliza a centralidade dos espaços coloniais para a sofisticação de mercadorias ordinárias que deram suporte à construção de uma propalada “cultura de consumo europeia”, ao longo do século XIX. Argumentaremos que esses artefatos criaram uma infusão entre as travessias do cacau e uma concepção de chocolate. Esses procedimentos envolveram as determinações dos Estados, as operações cognitivas dos sujeitos e a materialidade dos objetos.
This article on cotton sales in India considers the market information that was gathered mid-nineteenth century by commission agents in Bombay and by personal observations of Glasgow Turkey red entrepreneur John Matheson. The article includes an account of the rise and demise of Turkey red cotton printing in Scotland; and explores the variety of piece sizes, patterns, colors, and packaging that was necessary for sales in India. It also reveals seasonal changes in demand and an appetite for novelty patterns. What did Matheson, his contemporaries, and his agents understand about their Indian markets and consider their limited ability to shape consumer taste? The article concludes that despite the existence of much relevant information conveyed from India, there was a blindness to the realities of India’s complex textile industry and dress cultures, which had implications for product development in Britain.
Full-text available
The authors examine the history of brand management by tracing its development in the context of the marketing environment from 1870 to the present. They develop six theses regarding the evolution of brand management and its implications and substantiate them utilizing a historical approach. They demonstrate that the brand manager system originated well after the leadership of branded products was established, it was adopted following a conventional adoption curve pattern, and it has proven quite adaptable to differing firm and marketing environments over the past several decades. They then evaluate its likely fate in today's rapidly changing environment.
Advertising, which developed in the late eighteenth century as an increasingly sophisticated and widespread form of brand marketing, would seem a separate world from that of the 'literature' of its time. Yet satirists and parodists were influenced by and responded to advertising, while copywriters borrowed from the wider literary culture, especially through poetical advertisements and comic imitation. This 2007 study to pays sustained attention to the cultural resonance and literary influences of advertising in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. John Strachan addresses the many ways in which literary figures including George Crabbe, Lord Byron and Charles Dickens responded to the commercial culture around them. With its many fascinating examples of contemporary advertisements read against literary texts, this study combines an intriguing approach to the literary culture of the day with an examination of the cultural impact of its commercial language.
The widely accepted belief in a Production Era implies that serious and sophisticated marketing is a recent phenomenon. Analyzing conditions in Britain, Germany, and the United States, the author shows that the Production Era concept obscures the extent and level of development of earlier marketing practice, as do the Sales Era and Marketing Era concepts. A new model of marketing's evolution is used to propose a more accurate periodization of modern marketing's development.
British industrial policy in the 1930s has generated considerable historical controversy. This article furthers the debate by using the cotton industry as a case study. The biggest constraint on active government policies toward cotton was not institutional inertia or “industrial diplomacy,” as some historians claim, but the sheer practical difficulty of intervening in such a complex industry. Cotton also poses problems for historians who see British industrial policy in the 1930s as largely about restraining competition. The government feared that restriction would make matters worse in the cotton industry and was therefore hesitant about backing schemes designed to limit competition. Its dilemma was how best to maintain private-sector confidence.
The aim of this thesis is to study the growth and changes in the regional distribution and commodity composition of Straits Settlements trade in the period 1870-1915. It endeavours also to analyse the character of this trade and to examine the influences that affected it. The thesis can be divided into five sections: Section 1 (Chapter I) The causes for the founding of Penang and Singapore were to serve as bases in the China trade and as emporia in Southeast Asia. The factors responsible for their success were the freedom of the ports, the freedom of trade and their geographical' location. By 1869 the European powers had gained firm footholds in Southeast while the Chinese came in large numbers. Section 2 (Chapters II, III, and IV) The trade of the Straits Settlements is usually described as entrepot while its commercial policy is free trade. But the entrepot trade is only one, although the most important, component of the total trade of the colony. According to contemporary mercantile opinion the large and persistent import surplus as shown in the published trade returns was proof of their inaccuracy, for it was argued that the colony could not possibly continue to import more than it exported. But by drawing attention to the other components and by distinguishing between the balance of trade accounts, to which merchants were in fact referring, and the balance of payments accounts, which were the pertinent values to be considered, an attempt is made to account for the import surplus. There were five major reasons for trade to be attracted to the Straits Settlements. Firstly, they were free ports, and taxes that were imposed fell on consumption in the colony and not on the entrepot trade. Secondly, there were no restrictions on trade. Thirdly, the geographical advantage, in particular of Singapore, was not impaired by the development of steamship navigation because it was a logical and an excellent coaling station in addition to being the natural site for a Southeast Asian emporium. Fourthly, the colony, in particular Singapore, provided special and valuable services to trade, of which the establishment of smelting works and a rubber market are excellent examples. Lastly, the colony was a centre of credit for Asian traders. In addition, the Singapore Chamber of Commerce was an active promoter of trading interests and objectives while the colonial government was aware of the special position of these ports and gave a very sympathetic hearing to mercantile representations. There were three major reasons for Singapore to lose trade. They were: the increasing number of direct steamship services between Europe and the ports of Southeast Asia which reduced their dependence on Singapore; the competition of these ports as they developed and participated in the trade; and tariff restriction as imposed by the French in Indochina. The trade of the Straits Settlements was handled almost entirely by European and Chinese merchants. This trade can be divided into East-West and intra-Asian sectors; the first was shared between the two - the Europeans importing Western manufactures and exporting Asian produce and the Chinese doing the reverse. The intra-Asian trade was the monopoly of the Chinese. The Chinese and European merchants therefore were complementary and not competitive, and they were linked by credit granted by the Europeans to the Chinese. Although occasional frauds sometimes imposed stresses on this relationship it was usually harmonious. Section 3 (Chapters V, VI and VII) The growth of Straits Settlements trade in the period 1870-1915 reflected the economic phenomena of the time. These included the rapid industrialization of Europe and the United States, the brief period of free trade which was followed by a return to protectionism, and great advances in transport and communication. The influence of Western price movements on the values of Straits Settlements trade is discernible but it was more than balanced by the effects of currency depreciation in the colony which insulated it from the Great Depression of 1873-1896. The expansion of the European powers in Southeast Asia introduced law and order. Under the new conditions, and stimulated by Western demands for foodstuffs and raw materials, the regions of Southeast Asia made rapid gains in output, which was reflected in the expansion of the colony's trade. The introduction and the development of the para rubber industry at the end of the nineteenth century helped to swell even further the values of imports and exports in the twentieth. The analysis of distribution of Straits Settlements trade shows that the flow of trade from East-to-West was more valuable than the reverse flow of West-to-East while the intra-Asian flow also exceeded that of the West-to East. Malaya became the most important region trading with the Straits Settlements by the end of this period while Indonesia retained its strong commercial ties. The colony's trade with Indochina was severely affected by the imposition of restrictive tariffs but the trade with Siam, Burma, British Borneo and the rest of Southeast Asia did not show any significant changes. Its trade with South and East Asia was, however, on the decline. Exports to Britain, Europe and the United States increased much more rapidly than imports from these regions, but its trade with the last two regions grew faster than its trade with Britain. The analysis of commodities in the colony's trade bears out these observations in the regional distribution: the value of commodities in the East-to-West flow increased more rapidly than that of commodities in the reverse flow. The importance of tin in the nineteenth century and that of rubber by the twentieth can be clearly seen, while cotton piece goods declined proportionately in terms of total trade. In the intra-Asian flow the outstanding change was the decline of the trade in opium. The origin and destination of commodities did not change appreciably except in such commodities as coal and petroleum, in which the Western sources were replaced by Asian ones. The growing importance of Malaya to the Straits Settlements, both as a source of supplies and as a market, is, also evident. Section 4 (Chapters VIII and IX) The merchants of the day argued vehemently about the effects on trade of the Straits Homeward Conference and the depreciation of the colony's currency. The alleged detrimental effects of these factors are not supported by the statistical evidence. It is in fact very possible that these factors made positive contributions to trade: the conference made possible an excellent shipping service which complemented the harbour facilities of Singapore while the depreciating currency prevented the transmission to the colony of the price fall in the West. Section 5 (Chapter X) This study brings out the dominating importance of external factors in the trade of the Straits Settlements, which in many ways can be regarded as a barometer recording changes in its environs and in places as far removed as Europe and the United States. This was due primarily to the entrepot character of the greatest part of its trade. Secondly, the development of close economic ties with its hinterland greatly strengthened the position of the colony. Thirdly, it was the political stability of the colony which enabled it to profit from the economic developments that took place in this period.