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Dunlop News - Sahaganj, May 1984 Issue - Trilingual Edition


    Dunlop Ltd. expanded from a small firm launched in Dublin in 1889 to the largest tyre and rubber goods manufacturer in Britain in its heyday.1 The Dunlop Tyres division forayed into foreign territories and established itself as a major (if not the largest) player in the markets. The division used to manufacture cycle, automobile and aeroplane tyres. Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop had developed the first modern pneumatic tyre in 1888.. William Harvey du Cros founded the company in 1889 and propelled Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre into production. J.B. Dunlop eventually withdrew from the company in 1896.2

    Dunlop Tyres’ first factory in India was set up at Sahaganj, a riverside town in Hooghly, West Bengal, which is synonymous with the company and its factory. The factory went through several shutdowns and revivals and eventually closed its doors. A stone plaque at the site records the visit of Prince Charles to the factory in 1980.3

Contributor: Chandrima Mukhopadhyay (Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chandrimoon)

    The trilingual newspaper was titled “Dunlop News, Sahaganj” and was published by the Sahaganj factory of Dunlop. It  recorded and reported many events of the erstwhile tyre industry and had a special section to showcase achievements of the employees and their families. The following images are from the May 1984 issue of the newspaper (Volume IX, Issue 5) contributed by Chandrima Mukhopadhyay from her collection. The newspapers used to be published as English, Bengali and Hindi editions.


Title Page, Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

About the May 1984 issue of the newspaper, Chandrima writes:

    “This set of papers has always been treasured by my mother (Papiya Mukhopadhyay née Bandyopadhyay), especially this issue, because she herself is featured in this paper when she earned accolades at the annual science exhibition during her college days. I’ve always been pleasantly astounded by the quality of papers used to print the Dunlop periodicals, because there has hardly been any degradation of the pages at all despite the gap of three decades between then and now. My grandfather was an employee at Dunlop, thus the reason why my mother’s achievement was featured in one of their issues– they used to have a specific column to showcase the personal achievements of the employees’ families. The content as well as the technical aspects of the paper were quite distinctive. There was another issue that has recently been misplaced, featuring Charles, the Prince of Wales’ visit to the Dunlop factory in Sahaganj, Bandel.”

    The achievements section (“Family News”)  of the May 1984 issue mentioned by Chandrima contains the photograph of her mother and reads:

    “Miss Papiya Bandyapadhya daughter of Mr. Rabindra Nath Bandyapadhya of A.O.S. Department has established herself as an up-coming scientist. Her model “Synaptic Transmission” was adjudged 2nd in the "Science Model Exhibition” organised recently at the Hooghly Mohsin College where a large number of schools and scientific organisations participated. Her model "Demonstration and Behaviour” was also adjudged first in the Inter- College Biological Section. Well done, Papiya.”

                               "Family News", Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

    Another page from the issue, with the headline “Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices to Record High Levels” and begins as:

“At Dunlop India’s 58th Annual General Meeting on May 16, 1984 Mr. L. J. Tompsett, Chairman, highlighted some of the major problems facing our Company, particularly the steep rise in cost of domestic natural rubber to record high levels, sluggish truck tyre demand, the adverse effect of power shortage on production costs, the consequent requirement of higher captive power generation at both the factories and the escalation of electricity costs due to tariff increases.” 
The rest of the page contains the Chairman’s speech at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company. 


      "Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices...", Dunlop News, 1984. Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

    [Images Descriptions: The images contain the photographs of the “Dunlop News, Sahaganj” newspaper with each showing different pages and the English, Bengali and Hindi editions of it.
In the first image, the newspaper title and edition details are visible, all printed in black ink on traditional newspaper material. 

    The second image has the English, Hindi and Bengali editions all places side-by-side where the English headline runs: “Rise in Domestic Natural Rubber Prices to Record High Levels”. The same is visible in the respective languages in the other editions. The page contains the photograph of the then-Chairman of Dunlop India,  L. J. Tompsett, delivering the AGM address. The rest of the page contains the text of the address while the bottom right contains a photograph of the shareholders in attendance, all seated on chairs. Above the photo is a small box with the logo of Dunlop and the text “Dunlop News”, “Sahaganj” with the edition details.

    The third image has the section headline “Family News” and features the achievements of the family members of the employees. On the right is the image of Mrs. Papiya Bandopadhya (mother of the contributor, Chandrima Mukhopadhyay) and on the right is the image of one Amit Sinha. Their achievements have been highlighted in the columns beside the photographs. The next section headline on the same page reads “Shram Vir Award for Mr. Ganguly” and contains photographs of him and his family members. To the right is a small cartoon with the tagline: “Replace Worn Tools” and has a caricature figure with a hammer whose iron head is flying away due to being loose. The right side also has a long box listing the products manufactured by Dunlop India. The third section of the page has another comic strip with one panel having a lit bulb in daytime and a person walking by while the other panel has the image of a person fanning an infant due to the electricity being out. The first panel reads “ don’t waste energy…” and the second one finishes with “You may need it later!”

    The text of the English pages are available as an OCR-ed screen-reader accessible PDF file embedded on this page.]

Additional Resources:

    1 Jones, Geoffrey. “The Growth and Performance of British Multinational Firms before 1939: The Case of Dunlop”, 1984. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2596830

    2 “John Dunlop”, Automotive Hall of Fame, 2005.  URL: https://www.automotivehalloffame.org/honoree/john-dunlop/

    3 Basak, Probal. “40 Years Ago...and now: The wheel turns full circle for Dunlop”, Business Standard, 2014. https://www.business-standard.com/article/management/40-years-ago-and-now-the-wheel-turns-full-circle-for-dunlop-114102200925_1.html

Wooden Toy - Hooghly, West Bengal - 1960s


    Locally manufactured wooden toys were quite popular as playthings for children in the last century; modern iterations of such toys have become largely confined to branded products manufactured by leading toy brands. In Bengal, the manufacturing hubs of such toys were often the suburban areas and the mofussils (rural and semi-rural zones).

    Contributor: Chandrima Mukhopadhyay (Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chandrimoon)

    Chandrima’s contribution is a wooden toy from the 1960s which was purchased near Bandel in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. The toy comprises small blocks of wood (in triangular slab-like, cuboidal and disc-like shapes which were meant to be stacked and assembled together to form a toy house. The colourful blocks of wood and the resulting toy house form only part of the joy the toy gives; the very journey of the blocks from unassembled pieces to completion is part of the delightful experience as well.

Wooden Toy (assembled). Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

    Sanjay Sen Gupta, in his article on the wooden toy tradition of Bengal, informs us that the legacy of manufacturing such toys still live on in parts of Bardhaman, Hooghly, Howrah, East-and-West  Medinipur and  Bankura in  West  Bengal;  and  Dhaka,  Faridpur, Maimansingha, Chattagram and Comilla in Bangladesh. (Gupta, p.215) While Sen Gupta’s focus remains largely on figures manufactured by the local Sūtradhara-artisans, the tradition of such toys and other forms applies to much of the above-mentioned places in Bengal as well. In the south of India, Channapatna (in Karnataka) is a major toy manufacturing hub which is famous for its wooden toy tradition tracing back to the times of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans. (Govind)   

     Remembering about her toy, Chandrima writes:

“One of the earliest memories I nurture with a sense of quiet joy is of the sight of this box of colourful wooden blocks which my mother had handed over to me when I was quite young. Their shapely curves and edges has since been a source of sheer satisfaction, especially because of how uniform the blocks are and how they fit into the box, also made of wood, quite snugly. More than playing with the wooden blocks and building gates and walls, I preferred partaking in the act of taking them all out, only to put them back in the box, as they fit in fractal spaces, time and again, since it was rather therapeutic.
This box of wooden building blocks was a gift that my mother had received on her 8th birthday, which was back in the 1960s. The toy was probably manufactured in Bandel (near the Dunlop Factory) in the Hooghly district of West Bengal and was purchased from a nearby location. Unfortunately, by the time my interest in the object as an artefact developed, it was too late to ask around about it, as my grandparents as well as the family member who gifted this to my mother had passed away by then. I’m now left with this beautiful box of wooden art, that was once created with utmost precision, in the hopes of providing elation to a child.”



Wooden Toy (closed box). Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.
Wooden Toy (open box with wooden pieces). Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.
Wooden Toy (wooden blocks). Chandrima Mukhopadhyay.

[Descriptions of the Images: The wooden toy set comprises small blocks of wood in various shapes, all housed in a wooden box.
    In the first image, the assembled house can be seen with plain wooden blocks making the main structure, the cylindrical green ones making the columns and the pink and green triangular slabs making the capstones of the house. The house has a simple doric column-like façade with the top pieces being in colour.
    The second image is of the wooden box of the toy; it has a rectangular lid and the dimensions of the box is about 8 inches by 5 inches. The side of the box has the usual wavy marks of old wood. The lid is placed on the top and the space is depressed as compared to the side of the box.
    The third image is of the same box but in an opened position. The box has been opened vertically with the lid on the right and the interior on the left. The box contains the colourful wooden blocks in various shapes which are evenly placed inside it. The blocks are in slab-like triangular, cuboidal and disc-like shapes; the long cuboidal ones are without colour while the cylindrical one and the two triangular slabs are in pink; two cubes are in blue and the remaining triangular ones are in green.
    The fourth image has the box with the lid detached and placed beside it. The box is now empty while the blocks are strewn beside it.]


Additional Resources:

Sen Gupta, Sanjay. “Tracing the History of Wooden-Dolls in Bengal: a Study of Two Specimens from Chandraketugarh.” Journal of Bengal Art , vol. 22, 2017, pp. 215–222., www.researchgate.net/publication/319289316_Tracing_the_History_of_Wooden-dolls_in_Bengal_a_study_of_two_specimens_from_Chandraketugarh

Govind, Ranjani. “Bid to Restore Channapatna Craft to Its Original Glory.” The Hindu, 3 May 2016, www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bid-to-restore-channapatna-craft-to-its-original-glory/article7941995.ece.


(This post marks the beginning of the Beyond Ephemera series of The Ephemeriad Project in which objects which are not conventionally ephemera but belong to the broad category of antiques will be covered as well.)

Indian Railways Paper Ticket - 1913

    The history of the Indian Railways spans more than a hundred years. Established during colonial rule, the railways were later divided into their zones such as the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Railways along with further subdivisions. Divisions such as the Northeast Frontier Railway, East Coast Railway and so on, also form part of the huge railway empire.

    The first operated railway track in India was the stretch between Bombay and Thane in 1853. By 1900, the Indian railways were the largest rail network in Asia, and the fourth largest in the world. The Partition of India in 1947 saw a loss of mileage as the tracks were divided between India and newly formed East and West Pakistan. (Kerr, 1-3) The Indian tracks have been increased considerably after the Partition and the statutory body of Indian Railways is one of the largest employers in the world.

    The train ticket in this post is apparently from 18 March 1913 as the date stamp shows and was for travel between the stations Sealdah, Bally Ghat and Dakshineswar which are part of Eastern Railway. The ticket dates back to the time when steam engine-operated local trains were in service.

Contributor: Subhradeep Chatterjee

Indian Railways Train Ticket, 1913. Subhradeep Chatterjee.


[Image Description: The train ticket is brownish in colour and is rectangular in shape; about 7cm in height and 3cm in width. The texture is slightly coarse like that of cardboard. It contains a red date stamp at the top which reads “18 MAR 13”. The rest of the text is also from stamps (blue) as the slight blurring indicates. It includes text like “E.R.” (for Eastern Railway), the originating station “SEALDAH” and then the stops “BALLY GHAT” and “DAKSHINESWAR” and their respective distances from Sealdah. The same is also printed in Bengali text below the English portion. It also contains the text “Rs. 0.55 P” which was the fare in both English and Bengali, the latter placed below the former. There is a faint stamp of the ticket number at the very bottom but it cannot be read. The right side of the ticket has a striped texture running sideways and of about 0.5cm in width.]

Additional Resources:

“Zones and Divisions”. Indian Railways. https://indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/view_section.jsp?lang=0&id=0,1,304,366,533,1007,1012

Kerr, Ian J. Railways in Modern India. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Royal Calcutta Turf Club Badges - 1920s and 1930s

    Turf Clubs and horse racing were an inherent part of the culture during colonial rule in India. Introduced into the Indian space, turf clubs dominated the interest of the Anglo-Indian residents and the Indian elite. Established in 1847, the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (which was given the royal status in 1912 after King George V’s visit) attracted the elite of Kolkata and many royal visitors from abroad; it also acted as a governing body of horse-racing rules for most clubs in South Asia. The RCTC maintains the Kolkata Race Course near Maidan.

    The membership badges in this post are from the 1920s and the 1930s and belonged to the contributor's great-grandfather Pratap Chandra Chatterjee. The badges were meant to be used for a period of one year as proof of membership and differed from conventional print ephemera by being metallic collectibles.

Contributor: Subhradeep Chatterjee

Royal Calcutta Turf Club Badges (Front). Subhradeep Chatterjee.

Royal Calcutta Turf Club Badges (Back). Subhradeep Chatterjee

     The badges were manufactured by Thomas Fattorini Ltd. of Birmingham (a well-known jewellery and trophy designer) in England and feature filigree outlines and intricate designs. The badges are numbered ‘603’ and ‘106’ where the latter has the embossed tag “LADY”. The former badge was for the period 1929-1930 and the latter for 1937-1938.

[Image Description: The first badge is circular in shape and has a golden filigreed outline within which lies green ring border containing the text “Royal Calcutta Turf Club” in golden lettering; inside is a circular white area containing the acronym RCTC overlaid on each other to create an insignia in golden. Below the acronym, the period “1929-1930” is printed in golden embossing. At the centre-line top of the white zone is an embossed crown of golden and red colours. The badge contains a ring-like connector at the top. The backside of the badge is brass-enameled and contains the embossings of the number “603” and the manufacturer details (Thomas Fattorini, Birmingham). The embossing has worn away a little.

    The second badge has a shield-like shape and has the same colour scheme as the first badge. The outline is in white with the golden text “Royal Calcutta Turf Club” along the bottom V-shaped edges. Aligned to the centre at the top contains a filigreed golden crown with a red interior. The shield-like shape is again present inside the white outline where green velvet-like woven cloth has been used. On it, a white star contains the years “1937” and “1938” in golden embossing, the latter placed below the former. The brass-enameled back of the badge contains the embossing of the number “106” and the text “LADY” along with the same manufacturer details.]

Note: The badges were first showcased in an article titled “Turf Clubs, and balloonists of the last century” by the contributor in March, 2021, and was published in The Ephemerist published by The Ephemera Society of England.

Additional Resources:

Chatterjee, Subhradeep. “Turf Clubs, and Balloonists.” The Ephemerist , Spring Issue, 2021, pp. 24-25. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350823487_Turf_Clubs_and_balloonists_of_the_last_century_-_The_Ephemerist

Nayar, Pramod K., Days of the Raj: Life and Leisure in British India, (2009).

Boarding Pass - Indian Airlines - 1980s

Indian Airlines was the domestic arm of Air India, the national carrier of India. Air India was formerly known as Tata Airlines, which was founded by Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, and later nationalized by the Government of India in 1953.
The following image is of a boarding pass of Indian Airlines for a flight from Guwahati to Kolkata on the 3rd of March (possibly in the 1980s).
Contributor: Subhradeep Chatterjee

Indian Airlines Boarding Pass. Subhradeep Chatterjee.

The airline was born out of a merger of the domestic airlines of the time; the international routes were catered to by Air India while its domestic division merged with seven other airlines (Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Air Lines, Indian National Airways and Air Services of India) to form “Indian Airlines”. Its IATA airline code was "IC".

The backside of the boarding pass contains a stamp of “Borjhar” which indicates that the boarding point was in Guwahati; the airport of the city is known as Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport which is located in the Borjhar area. It was formerly known as Borjhar Airport.

[Image Description: The boarding pass is green in colour and rectangular in shape; it is a bit larger than a standard credit card. It contains English text accompanied by their Hindi counterparts.

The right top contains the text “Boarding Pass” in capitals along with the airplane model: Boeing 737. The left top has the same information in Hindi, with Boarding Pass being translated as “Prabesh Patra”. The left bottom contains the logo of Indian Airlines (a stylized “IA”) along with the same name in English and Hindi.

While the boarding pass contains printed text like “Flight/Date”, “Front/Back”and “Entrance” on middle left and a box with the text “Seat” on the middle right, a blue stamped text runs across the middle and reads “21 3MAR 18” which might indicate 21 as the Entrance, 3MAR as the Date and 18 as possibly the seat number. On the right of “Flight/Date” is printed “IC” which was its IATA airline code.]

Additional Resources: 

“Birth of Indian Airlines and Air India: Remembering the day when all airlines in India were nationalized.” India Today. URL: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/indian-airlines-nationalisation-day-air-india-august-1953-air-corporation-act-1302436-2018-08-01

“History - The Father of Indian Aviation”. Airlines - IATA. URL: https://airlines.iata.org/blog/2011/08/history-the-father-of-indian-aviation

Legal Ephemera - Stamp Paper - 1940s

    Legal ephemera from the past constitute an important part of cultural heritage due to their details concerning governance, valuations and iconography of the purpose(s) they were made for. India gained independence from British Rule in 1947 and the Partition gave birth to the new country of Pakistan. The stamp paper in this post dates back to the time just after the Partition.

    The following image of a legal stamped paper with a revenue stamp of One Rupee (16 Annas). The stamp paper dates back to the 1940s, possibly 1948. Stamp papers were used for land sale and purchase deeds and business deals among other purposes.

    Contributor: Subhradeep Chatterjee

Stamp Paper, 1940s. © Subhradeep Chatterjee

    The unique aspect of this stamp paper is that it consists of two printed revenue stamps of Eight Annas each, which together makes 16 Annas, or One Rupee. The text in “X” pattern on the stamps consist of two portions: one, English: “One Rupee”; and the other, Urdu: “Yek Rupee”/ “Yek Rupay” meaning One Rupee.

[Image Description: The stamp paper is a set of two revenue stamps pre-printed on foolscap paper. The rectangular printed portion is situated at the top and is coloured brown while the rest of the paper is in white. The rectangular portion occupies about 20% of the document height at the top.

    The printed portion contains two identical brown stamps placed side-by-side, separated by an “X” pattern which contains the text “One Rupee” in English and “Yek Rupee”/”Yek Rupay” in Urdu (in white). The stamps themselves are octagonal in shape with the image of the king at the centre and the text “Eight Annas - India” encircling it. The entire set of stamps are inlaid with intricate printed floral designs. Below the above portion, there is the Hindi text: “Ek Rupya” meaning one rupee. Above the top right of the stamps is the text “IR.”

    In the blank white portion of the stamp paper, the faint watermark of a crown can be discerned.]

Agfacolor Photography Negatives - Savoy Camera Stores - 1970s and 1980s

The following images contributed by Laboni Mukherjee are photography negatives of the

Agfacolor series. The photographs were developed by the Savoy Camera Stores in Kolkata.

Image Contributor: Laboni Mukherjee

To know more about Laboni, follow her Instagram profile @chako_boni

Agfa, or Aktien-GelleschaftfürAnalinFabrikation, was a manufacturer of dyestuffs from Berlin.

It had later entered the photography industry in 1898 and become a major player as a motion

picture film stock maker. (Enticknap 18) Agfacolor, or Agfa Colour, was one of their colour film

products which became popular for still photography after World War II.

The Savoy Camera Stores was established in 1918 by Amar Nath Biswas and is currently

owned by his son Arjun Biswas. Situated at 4, Chowringhee Road, Kolkata 700013, it is

one of the oldest photography shops in the city.

Negative Sleeves of Agfacolor and Savoy Camera Stores. Laboni Mukherjee.

Agfacolor Negative sleeves in unfolded position. Laboni Mukherjee.

Inside face of Agfacolor Negative Sleeves. Laboni Mukherjee.

The first three images are of negative sleeves from 1983 and 1986-87, both developed by the

Savoy Camera Stores in Kolkata, India. The one with blue text on white background is of the

Savoy Camera Stores while the other one with black and blue text on an orange background

 is a set of Agfacolor negatives sold by the same shop. The later two images portray the unfolded

negative sleeves with their front and back sides.

Negative book of Savoy Camera Stores. Laboni Mukherjee.

The fourth image is of a negative book from the Savoy Camera Stores. In her description

of the negative book, Laboni Mukherjee writes:

“[It] is from the 1970s. It is a negative book, each page storing a single negative (not having the perforations seen in rolled film negatives, and not having the characteristic brown tinge of later colour negatives)... Even though the negative book advertised the use of Agfa Brovira paper for development of photographs, it cannot be ascertained if the film stock is also from Agfa…”

Additional Resources:

Enticknap, Leo, Moving Image Technology: From Zoetrope to Digital, London, 2005, p. 18.

Neary, David. “On the Agfacolor Process.” New York University,


Acknowledgement: Sincere thanks to Mr. Arjun Biswas for providing the information

about the establishment of the Savoy Camera Stores.

[Detailed Descriptions of Images: The first image is of two sets of photography negatives from

the Savoy Camera Stores, one of them being from the Agfacolor series. The two of them have

been placed on a red cloth background. One of the sets is white in colour with deep blue text

on it. The text reads “Savoy Camera Stores” in capitalized letters along with “Calcutta” below

it, capitalized in a smaller font size. The set also contains scribbles by the photographer

(Laboni’s father) on the top in orange which read “Delhi, Lucknow, Agra” and “1983. Oct-Nov”.

Placed diagonally on the edge of the above set is the Agfacolor one which has an orange and

peach boxed background (four boxes, each colour diagonally placed to its pair). It contains the

Agfacolor logo (name in deep blue colour with an oval enclosure open below the curves of ‘g’

and ‘f’) such that the text “Your Agfacolor negatives” runs across the top orange and peach

boxes in deep blue cursive. The orange segment below it contains the text “Savoy Camera

Stores” in deep blue capitalized letters along with the text “Next to Metro” capitalized and

inside brackets.

Other text includes “Latest Air-Conditioned Dark Room” and their address “4, Chowringhee

Road, Calcutta-13”. The left bottom striped peach box contains the Agfa logo with white text

inside a deep blue rhombus-shaped background along with a white outline having small text.

The second image contains the Agfacolor set described above with the negatives inside the

sleeves unfolded below it. The dark perforated negatives can be discerned inside the

translucent negative sleeve paper.

The third image contains the same Agfacolor set with the inside face visible. Above the

unfolded negative sleeves, the backside of the sleeve cover can be observed as having a

numbered list of instructions/suggestions in small deep blue text with the heading “A Few

Hints for Good Agfacolor Pictures” in capitalized deep blue text with the text “Agfacolor”

being the brand logo.

The fourth image is mainly of a negative book from the Savoy Camera Stores. The image

contains three items; the first is the folded front page of the negative book containing the text

“Savoy Camera Stores” along with their store addresses (“4, Chowringhee Road, Calcutta -13.

Phone: 23-4836” and “25, Bhupendra Bose Avenue, Calcutta-4. Phone: 55-6087”) in deep blue

text (and “FULL” in orange scribbling at the top). The second item is a negative image of

(possibly) a Durga Puja scene having the idols of the goddess and her accompanying four

children, all placed behind a railing/barricade. The third item is the actual negative book in

an open position containing the negatives in sleeve-like translucent pages. As mentioned by

the contributor, the negatives are not perforated at the edges.]

Pond’s LiPS - Lipstick Container - 1953


The wide scope of the definition of ephemera allows the inclusion of objects that often do not come across as traditional ones. Boxes, cases and containers of cosmetic products like lipsticks can transform into ephemera after use if they are unique by virtue of their age, design, brand or content.

Image Contributor: Laboni Mukherjee 

To know more about Laboni, follow her Instagram profile @chako_boni 

The following image contribution by Laboni Mukherjee is of a “Pond’s LiPS” lipstick from the 1950s. The product was launched by Pond’s in 1940 and the instance in this post was manufactured in England. 


Pond’s had forayed into the Asian markets, including those of China and India, and often sought to increase sales by targeting non-elite urban women as the potential consumers. (Jones, 130) Shades of the lipstick range included Honey, Rascal Red, Dark Secret, Heart Beat, and Natural, and later went on to include  Beau Bait, Black Blaze, Dither, Heart Throb, and Blue Fire. (Bennett)

Pond’s LiPS  Lipstick Container, 1953. Laboni Mukherjee.

In her description of the lipstick (and the container), Laboni Mukherjee writes:

“My father approximately dates this Pond's lipstick (or rather, whatever is left of it) to around 1953. This belonged to my paternal Grandmother (Lt. Mrs. Abala Mukherjee). It didn't open with the screwing up mechanism we are used to, but rather had a tube-like brass cover fitting over the brass body of the lipstick. There was a small push-up mechanism on the side of the main lipstick body.

On the bottom of the lipstick is engraved "Pond's" and "Made in England".”

[Detailed Image Description: The lipstick is placed on a brown (probably wooden) surface in two pieces. The cylindrical metal cap/cover has the words “POND’s” embossed on its top. 

The brass cover has a whitish layer with the colour of brass peeking out from the scraped portions. The second piece contains the actual red lipstick within a cylindrical brass container having a U-shaped cavity on its curved side. 

Towards the bottom of the cylindrical container are three ridges around it. The bottom of the lipstick contains the texts "Pond's" and "Made in England" embossed on it. In the image, the cap is laid on the surface on its side while the actual lipstick is in an upright position.]

Additional Resources:

Bennett, James. “Cosmetics and Skin: Pond’s Extract Company”. URL: http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com/companies/ponds.php

Jones, Geoffrey. Beauty imagined: A history of the global beauty industry. Oxford University Press. 2010.

Theatre Pamphlet of the Purbasha Theatre Club - Rang Mahal, Kolkata - 1952

 Theatre pamphlets, much like other forms of theatre ephemera, offer glimpses of the cultural and entertainment scenes of old times. Transitory as they are, they capture the essence and joy of looking forward to performances. The theatre pamphlet in this post provides a peek into the theatre scene of Kolkata in the 1950s.

Image Contributor: Shrubaboti Bose 
(You can read more of Shrubaboti’s writings and musings on her blog at: https://shrubaboti.wordpress.com/)

The following contribution by Shrubaboti Bose is an image of a theatre pamphlet from the 10th of March, 1952, staged by the Purbasha theatre club at the Rang Mahal theatre hall. The theatre hall was built in 1931 in North Kolkata. 

In the lines below, she remembers her encounter with the ephemera:

“There's a total of 7 objects in the picture. There's a tiny black pocket pouch, an old stamp, an old metal pen, a caricature drawn by my grandfather, an antique clock, a black diary for writing memos, a theatre pamphlet featuring my grandfather as the protagonist of the play "Aaj Obhinoy Bondho" and dated 10th March, 1952. It was organised by the theatre club called Purbasha.

My grandfather was a theatre actor in his days. But he also liked to doodle sometimes. Mostly caricatures and cartoons.

As I cleaned his old bookshelf a few weeks back, I found little newspaper cut-outs of actors and actresses kept gently between the pages of a notebook. Ones he looked up to or perhaps secretly admired. Among the mess of cluttered junk, I found tattered books, old and dusty, riddled by termites and their pages powdery, brittle with mould and mildew.

I found little pocket diaries with notes dating back to the 1950s, scribbled in hasty but beautiful old-school cursive handwriting, memos about meeting someone in the neighbourhood or calling up a colleague. I found objects, quaint glasses, small wooden cases, things quite outdated and almost negligible inside the cupboard. I cleaned them one by one, returning each to its dear spot on the shelf, keeping his memories alive in them.”

The theatre pamphlet below (along with the other bits and pieces) belong to the very shelf that Shrubaboti Bose rediscovered.

[Detailed Image Description: The seven objects in the image are: a small and round antique clock manufactured by “CYMA” with a yellowed dial and the time reading 10:10 AM/PM; a black diary with the word “Diary” printed on it in golden text; a caricature of a balding pot-bellied man gesticulating and sitting on the floor sketched in black; a small black pouch with a golden insignia; an old brown postage stamp of value “1 Pies”; an old golden pen; a theatre leaflet having the black-and-white photographs of theatre actor Sri Ramendranath Basu (“SriRamen Basu” in the image) and actress Srimati Shankari Mukhopadhyay; and lastly, and most importantly, the theatre pamphlet having Bengali text which read “Purbasha” on the left and the name of the play on the right: “Aj Obhinoy Bondho” (meaning “No Acting Today” or “No Theatre Today”). The accompanying texts include the date and time of the show: “10th March, 1952, Monday 7PM Evening” and the venue “Rang Mahal”; produced by “Sri Arun Ray” and written by “Sri Birendranath PalChoudhury”. The entire text is in black. The pamphlet cover has a small brownish stain in the upper right.

Some of the objects are placed on others but are arranged clockwise in the following manner: pouch, caricature, clock, diary, theatre pamphlet with details of the play and the leaflet of the actors’ photographs.]

Additional resources:

Majumdar, Saikat. “Kolkata’s commercial theatre was built on literature, but was looked down on by the intelligentsia.” Scroll.in. URL:

“CYMA - The Brand”. URL: https://www.cyma.ch/brand/history/1930-1959

Chinese Umbrella Label of the Hangzhou Paradise Umbrella Factory - 1990


 Hangzhou Paradise Umbrella Group is one of the largest professional umbrella makers in China and has been popular for decades.  The images below contain the tag/label of a grey foldable umbrella manufactured by the company.

The umbrella was purchased in China by my uncle around 1990.

Ephemera Contributor: Subhradeep Chatterjee

Translator: Vila He

 Original label of Paradise Umbrella in Chinese, 1990

 Translated Label (with overlay) of the Umbrella label, 1990


Side view of the label along with the umbrella spindles.

Special thanks to Vila He for the brilliant overlay of the translation on the original label. 

(Find more of her amazing designs on Behance here.)

[Descriptions of the Images: The first image contain the circular label with a circular portion cut out at the centre. The label contains Chinese text in red, all inside multiple circular sectors (one above the other) bordered with red. The label was removed from the umbrella and pressed on a sheet of paper thereby making the label appear as a centre-cut circular piece.

The second image contains the same label with the translated text put as an overlay on the original label. The text is in red. Texts include: "Paradise Umbrella" (bigger font size), "two-year guarantee", "Hangzhou Paradise Umbrella Factory", "Worker No.", "made in 1990", and "West Jianguo Road 111 TEL 73222".

The third image is of the side view of the label while attached to the umbrella. The spindles of the umbrella are visible in this image, with some portions of the label text behind it.]