Around two centimetres square with rounded corners is a tape measure advertising a company called Macfarlane Lang & Co which mum has found in her sewing box.
One side is red & features the words Rich Tea the other is blue with the words Granola digestive biscuits.
The 40 inch tape measure pulls out & if you push the little centre button it whizzes back in.
All the way along the tape measure is printed “GRANOLA” The finest of all digestive biscuits, the other is red and features the measuring scale in Imperial units.
The unusual find got us wondering how old it was and if the company still exists.
Macfarlane Lang & Co
Searching the web and other sources it turns out that Macfarlane Lang & Co was a very big business based in Scotland.
According to The Glasgow Story website James Lang opened a shop and bakery in Gallowgate in 1817.
His nephew, John Macfarlane, joined the business and took over when James died.
The firm decided to move into machine-made biscuit manufacturing and opened the Victoria Biscuit Works in 1886. Expansion to London followed, with the opening of the Imperial Biscuit Works in Fulham in 1903.
Macfarlane Lang joined with biscuit manufacturers McVitie & Price to form United Biscuits (UB) in 1948.
Curiously United Biscuits, which is now owned by Yildiz Holding, have a biscuit factory only a few miles away from our home in Carlisle.
Yildiz Holding is the world’s third largest biscuit manufacturer and the largest food and beverage company in Turkey with over 320 brands.
Although the web has been great to get the history of the company behind the tape measure it has so far failed to offer any insight into why a biscuit company had this item branded.
Can you add to the timeline of this curiosity and answer some of the outstanding questions?
- Was it a free gift offered in return for coupons?
- How old is the tape measure?
- How many were made and who made them?
- Was it an advertising tool or possible something used in the biscuit production process?
- Is the Rich Tea biscuit advertised the same one we can get in the stores today?
Can you help fill in the gaps in the fascinating history? Let us know via the comments section below.
Until next time
Licks and wags
Charlie and Rufus