|Two early cut rectangles.|
Is there an earlier one?
The elongated shape also provided more space for data. I am sure that die/mold cutters liked the broad expanse offered by the rectangular shape: no more crunched letters or fussy monograms!
But cutting the corners was the true innovation. Right angles are sharp. This is particularly true when the token is cut or punched from hammered stock.
Yes, it is more decorative, but this feature was probably secondary to providing "soft" corners for the fingers.
One of the first cut corner rectangles I can think of is the 1745
piece from Kinnell. It was profiled in a Market Watch a while back, and another one sold last week. It shows thin letters that appear to be scratched into the die by inexpert hands. But of interest here, are the corners -- they are cut ever so slightly to provide a comfortable piece.
Is this the first cut corner rectangle?
Curiously, both Brook and Burzinski missed this feature! It is quite surprising for Burzinski to ignore the corners, as he was certainly exacting regarding the square vs. rectangle discrimination.
Another early rectangle that is clearly cut to provide comfort is the 1778 piece from Balquidder. This one, too, is made from hammered stock, so it needs to have the corners modified to reduce sharp points. The cutting is obvious on this one.
Like the cut rectangle, the oval has a broad face whereon much data can be placed. It is no surprise that the oval rivaled the cut rectangle at the start of the nineteenth century.
[Some errors here have been corrected by sunnyleith -- I removed them to avoid confusion, but see his helpful comments, and my next post]. *If you see an error or have a question: Please Comment!
So, I wonder: When was the first oval made? I am sure that there is an old molded one out there somewhere in the early era. It was an outlier piece -- an out-of-round round one perhaps.
As we saw from the graph yesterday, cut rectangles and ovals arrived on the scene late but came to dominate the Scottish CT series. The oval was the most popular piece at the start of the nineteenth century, but the cut rectangle finished stronger. Stay tuned for a bar graph that puts this progression in sharper focus.