News

Dating Sylko Cotton Reels

We hope that this reference will help if you have vintage Sylko cotton reels that you are keen to date. Confirming an exact date for any specific cotton reel is difficult if not impossible, however the labels did change over time and by comparing these to contemporary adverts etc. it has been possible to identify time periods where different reels were on sale. We don’t claim that this is 100% accurate and it is very much a work in progress, if you can help us with different label designs or further information then please get in touch.

If you are interested in the different colour threads and their numbers then please check our list of thread colours and of course we have some for sale, check here.

Note most threads appear to have came in both No 40 and No 50 weights. Number 40 was described as for “general requirements” and is the most common. Number 50 was described as a “…finer thread suitable for stitching the most dainty and delicate fabrics…” The red and the blue print were reversed on the No 50 on most labels.

In the following we will refer to the label with the three shells design as the front/top and the label with the colour name and number as the rear.

Sylkos for sale

Pre Sylko

The above were all produced by John Dewhurst & Sons Ltd. We believe that they all predate the introduction of the Sylko brand name and therefore some, if not all, date from the mid to late 19th Century.

On each example the top and bottom labels are shown above and below each other. Note all of the top labels identify the spools are prepared for the Singer sewing machine. Singer machines were introduced in 1851 and were the most successful make of the newly introduced sewing machines. Note all of the spools illustrated are of varying sizes, we’ve identified their specific sizes in the image captions.

The first Sylko branded labels

This front label dates back to at least 1909 though may have been used earlier and was used well in to the 1930’s.

Note the town of Skipton (the base for Dewhust & Sons Ltd) is printed on the D.257 illustration. On later versions this was replaced with the text: “Made in Gt. Britain” and “Fast Dye” as shown on the D.23 illustration.

The thread weight appears on the rear label and not on the front as it did on subsequent designs.  On this label type the No 40 weight was printed in gold and the No 50 in blue.

The second Sylko branded label

This front design was in use by 1938 (the previous style was still being used in adverts in 1937) and was used until the mid to late 1950’s. This still includes the words “Silk Substitute” and a thread weight is now given at the bottom of the front label.

We have placed the rear labels in the order they were probably used (though there was in all likelihood some crossover). The first two type (D.137 and D.274) don’t give a colour name whereas D.136 etc. do. D.117 introduces the Sylko brand logo on the reverse label. D.235 is an early example of the LD acronym being dropped and D.125 was probably the last style that was used with this front label design as it went on to be used with the next type as well (see below).

D.274 is a larger reel with the front label showing 24/36 on the front image (we don’t know why two thread weights are apparently being given). Note rear label is in black with gold print, it gives the spool weight as opposed to a length – 1 ounce (28.3 grammes).

We have found both the D.136 and the D.117 style labels on small size (2.4cm high) reels, these were, we believe, produced in the war years as a result of drives to reduce the use of raw materials (wood in this case).

The third style

This front design was introduced between 1954 and 1958 and was probably used until the early 70’s. This featured on both wooden and plastic bobbins (the latter certainly by 1971 and possibly a little earlier). Note the words “Silk Substitute” have been dropped. This style of label was also issued on larger reels with a 36 weight.

For the rear label there were a couple of different labels used on standard size wooden reels, note the second one illustrated (D.305) includes British Standard B.S. 3418-61 which was for Domestic sewing threads (cotton and linen) and was introduced on the 25/9/61. The D.123 illustration seems to be the earliest rear label used on plastic reels though D.460 shows that it was occasionally used for wooden ones too.

And finally on plastic reels only…

This front label was used on plastic bobbins only. It was in use by 1973. Note the use of grey ink instead of blue on the top images (the No50 weight came in the blue as well as grey).

There were two distinct types of bottom label used, the one with the broader band came first and was similar, but not the same, as the style shown on the previous type. This was later changed to the thin band example (D314/D274), both types dropped the point after the D in the thread number. Note that on illustrations for D314 and D274 the order of the metric and imperial measurements has changed, this probably occurred in the second half of the 1970’s.

Sylkos for sale

Dewhurst’s Sylko Thread Colours

Dewhurst's Sylko label.

Dewhurst & Son’s produced the Sylko range of machine twist cotton, the most popular range of cottons used in the UK. The iconic Sylko label is instantly recognisable as a symbol of quality and the wonderful colours and evocative names given to the threads mean that there are many vintage and haberdashery enthusiasts who now collect the original cotton reels.

There were around 500 colours produced, originally on wooden bobbins (through to the 1960’s) and then on plastic ones (in the 70’s and 80’s). We only own a fraction of these but thought it would be worthwhile to illustrate these in a gallery for other collectors. This gallery concentrates on the bobbins produced up to the early 80’s as we don’t collect the very last types.

You can also scroll down for a fully sortable list of Sylko colors and a downloadable PDF list.

Sylko label designs changed over time, please see our other page for information on dating different Sylko label types.

Sylkos for sale

Thread Numbers & Colours

(click on the image)

Sylkos for sale

Presenting the “full” Sylko list

Here is the full list of Sylko colors (full but not complete – this is a work in progress). We have physically seen all of the listed colours unless there is a (?) against the name in which case these are unconfirmed. Similarly the Y indicates a confirmed wood or plastic wheel. 
Updated 20/2/19

NoColour nameWoodPlastic
WhiteYY
BlackYY
D1Very Light BlueYY
D2Sky BlueyY
D3Light BlueYY
D4Mid BlueYY
D5Forget-Me-NotYY
D6Bright BlueYY
D7NapoleonYY
D8Royal BlueYY
D9SapphireYY
D10Light NavyYY
D11Mid NavyYY
D12NavyYY
D13Dark NavyYY
D14BlackY
D15WhiteY
D16Light CreamYY
D17StrawYY
D18Dark Green Slate(?)
D19Mid YellowYY
D20YellowYY
D21GoldYY
D22LilacYY
D23Light MauveYY
D24MauveYY
D25VioletYY
D26LinenYY
D27Linen DrabYY
D28Bedford DrabYY
D29PeacockYY
D30EmeraldY
D31Dark EmeraldY
D32VerdigrisYY
D33MyrtleYY
D34Dark MyrtleYY
D35Grass GreenYY
D36Light PinkYY
D37PinkYY
D38Dark Pink (?)
D39RoseY
D40GeraniumYY
D41CeriseYY
D42HeliotropeYY
D43Light ScarletYY
D44ScarletYY
D45Turkey Red Shade/Turkey RedY/--/Y
D46RubyYY
D47Light CardinalYY
D48CrimsonY
D49MaroneY
D50Eau-De-NilYY
D51Light OliveYY
D52Mid OliveYY
D53Dark OliveYY
D54Moss GreenYY
D55
D56GreenYY
D57Cambridge BlueYY
D58Turquoise/Majolica BlueY/Y-/Y
D59GobelinYY
D60Salmon PinkYY
D61CoralYY
D62Light FuchsiaY
D63Silver GreyYY
D64Light CornflowerYY
D65CornflowerYY
D66ElectricY
D67
D68Light Blue GreenYY
D69ResedaYY
D70Light Gold BrownYY
D71Light GreyY
D72GreyYY
D73Light SlateYY
D74SlateYY
D75Dark SlateY
D76Light Blue SlateYY
D77Mid Blue SlateYY
D78Blue SlateY
D79Dark Blue SlateYY
D80
D81Stone DrabYY
D82Light Fawn DrabY
D83Fawn Drab (?)
D84Olive DrabY
D85Light Seal BrownYY
D86Seal BrownYY
D87Mid Seal BrownYY
D88Dark Seal BrownYY
D89
D90Light FawnY
D91FawnYY
D92Mid BrownYY
D93Rich BrownYY
D94ChocolateYY
D95Light DoveYY
D96DoveYY
D97Mid Bedford DrabYY
D98Hair BrownY
D99
D100
D101SageYY
D102Dark VioletY
D103Light Old GoldYY
D104Light Terra CottaY
D105
D106
D107Light EmeraldYY
D108
D109Very Dark SlateY
D110Sevres BlueY
D111Bright NavyYY
D112Very Dark BrownYY
D113TangerineYY
D114
D115Dark Golden BrownYY
D116ChampagneYY
D117Light ResedaYY
D118Silver SlateYY
D119AmethystY
D120Red BlueYY
D121Pale PinkYY
D122Ivy GreenYY
D123Mid Green/SpruceY/-Y/Y
D124Dark GreenYY
D125Dark RubyYY
D126ViolaY
D127Blue VioletYY
D128Mulberry (?)/Mid Green(?)Y
D129WineYY
D130BurgundyY
D131Light CrimsonY
D132Mid CrimsonY
D133Rich CrimsonYY
D134Dark HelioY
D135PetuniaY
D136ClaretY
D137Dark ResedaY
D138Red Violet(?)
D139Light ClematisYY
D140Lotus BlueYY
D141Saxe BlueYY
D142Dark SapphireYY
D143WedgwoodY
D144Marine BlueYY
D145EX Dark NavyYY
D146CreamYY
D147Light Cardinal(?)
D148Light Kingfisher (?)
D149
D150
D151
D152
D153
D154
D155
D156Very Dark BeaverY
D157
D158
D159
D160Red FawnYY
D161Ex Dark BrownYY
D162CinnamonYY
D163Very Dark TurquoiseYY
D164Ex Dark MyrtleY
D165IvoryYY
D166Dark MoleYY
D167Very Dark Blue SlateY
D168Dark ElephantYY
D169KingfisherYY
D170Copper BeechY
D171Romany BrownYY
D172
D173
D174Rich Purple(?)Y
D175Pale RoseYY
D176CloverYY
D177Light Cactus BlueY
D178Cactus BlueYY
D179Light BurgundyY
D180Mid BurgundyY
D181Very Dark NavyYY
D182Dark Royal BlueYY
D183Dark Olive DrabYY
D184Very Dark PeacockY
D185Light MaroneY
D186Green SlateY
D187Dark Green Slatey
D188ElephantYY
D189Light AntelopeYY
D190AntelopeYY
D191Peach BloomY
D192Dark Saxe BlueYY
D193Mid SageYY
D194Dark Moss GreenYY
D195Mid FawnY
D196Light CinnamonYY
D197Red CinnamonYY
D198Red BrownYY
D199Pale SalmonYY
D200
D201
D202KhakiYY
D203Light Gobelin/Pacific BlueY/Y
D204Mid GobelinYY
D205Light PomegranateYY
D206PomegranateYY
D207Dark Terra CottaY
D208Dark LilacYY
D209Mid PetuniaY
D210Light Beaver
D211Y
D212Dark BeaverY
D213Light MoleY
D214Mid MoleY
D215MoleYY
D216Emerald GreenYY
D217Ni**er/Deep BrownY/Y-/Y
D218Dark Bottle GreenY
D219Dark Steel BlueY
D220Army KhakiY
D221Light ParmaY
D222ParmaY
D223Light Rose Du BarriY
D224Rose Du BarriY
D225Light Green BlueYY
D226Green Blue(?)
D227Light MignonetteY
D228
D229Dark ClaretYY
D230
D231NankeenYY
D232Jade GreenYY
D233Bright VioletYY
D234Red SalmonY
D235FlamingoYY
D236Rust RedYY
D237Light PetuniaYY
D238Dark JadeYY
D239Chinese GreenYY
D240Peacock GreenYY
D241Silver Drab (?)
D242Grey SlateY
D243Bright SaxeYY
D244Dark GobelinYY
D245Dark PetuniaYY
D246Dark SalmonYY
D247LemonYY
D248
D249Bright PeacockY
D250Dark Hair Brown/Burnt Oak(?)Y/--/Y
D251Darkest SlateyY
D252Light Beech Brown/BeechY/-Y/Y
D253Beech BrownYY
D254Terra CottaY
D255Blue GreenYY
D256FuchsiaYY
D257Almond GreenYY
D258Golden CinnamonYY
D259Salmon RedYY
D260FlameYY
D261CamelliaYY
D262
D263Light CopperY
D264Dutch BlueYY
D265CornYY
D266CaramelYY
D267NutmegYY
D268Light Copper BeechYY
D269ChartreuseYY
D270Crocus BlueYY
D271RosewoodY
D272FilbertYY
D273ShrimpY
D274SandalwoodYY
D275Pimpernel(?)
D276BronzeY
D277Rose BeigeY
D278SandYY
D279Sugar CaneYY
D280HarvestY
D281Atmosphere(?)
D282Tinsel SilverYY
D283FleshYY
D284BiscuitYY
D285Tea RoseY
D286PeachYY
D287Dark ShrimpYY
D288Dark DoveYY
D289Lido BlueY
D290Dark Lido BlueY
D291MayonnaiseYY
D292OrchidY
D293Wisteria(?)
D294Cocoa BrownYY
D295CocoaY
D296Old GoldYY
D297Lime GreenYY
D298Light CocoaYY
D299Light LilacYY
D300JaponicaYY
D301CyclamenYY
D302BiskraY
D303PlumY
D304SteelYY
D305Erin GreenYY
D306Gladiole RedYY
D307Wild Rose(?)
D308Light Apple GreenYY
D309Light Lime GreenYY
D310Dark Eau-De-NilYY
D311SunriseYY
D312Light PimpernelYY
D313Y
D314Spring GreenYY
D315MelbaYY
D316CorkYY
D317BrunetteY
D318Dark Peal Grey/OysterY/--/Y
D319Pearl GreyY
D320Light OrchidY
D321Mid Orchid/OrchidY/-Y/Y
D322Coral PinkYY
D323Dark LovebirdYy
D324Hunters GreenyY
D325CarmineYY
D326LupinY
D327Parma VioletYY
D328MustardYY
D329Mid EmeraldY
D330Satin SkinY
D331Ice BlueY
D332SaffronYY
D333Shadow BeigeYY
D334Burnt AshY
D335Sable SquirrelYY
D336
D337Morocco RedYY
D338Pastel GreenY
D339Mustard GoldYY
D340Frog GreenYY
D341MuscatelY
D342KangarooyY
D343Sea MistY
D344Duck Egg BlueYY
D345Leaf MouldYY
D346Peach RoseYY
D347Marina GreenYY
D348MahoganyY
D349JubileeYY
D350
D351Stone WhiteYY
D352Rifle GreenY
D353CapriYY
D354
D355VintageY
D356Honey GoldYY
D357Sea BlueYY
D358AzureYY
D359Mist BlueYY
D360Steel BlueY
D361IndigoY
D362Gun MetalYY
D363Powder Pink(?)/Light Copper Wood
D364Shell PinkY
D365Military Scarlet (?)
D366Oriental PoppyYY
D367Silver SandYY
D368
D369Dark BeigeYY
D370BuffYY
D371
D372Beige PinkYY
D373Tan BarkY
D374AcaciaY
D375Dark Lime GreenYY
D376Dark Leaf GreenYY
D377HennaYY
D378
D379
D380WhortleberryY
D381
D382
D383
D384
D385St. James RoseY
D386Buckingham LilacY
D387Dark JuniperYY
D388Petrol Blue(?)
D389Dark Petrol BlueYY
D390DahliaY
D391BananaYY
D392Firenze BlueY
D393HyacinthY
D394Parrot GreyYY
D395BrackenYY
D396Chrysant RedY
D397
D398CygnetY
D399Silver PineYY
D400
D401Air Force BlueY
D402Admiralty BlueY
D403W.V.S. GreenY
D404W.V.S. RubyY
D405W.L.A. GreenY
D406SP. WistariaY
D407Service KhakiYY
D408SolentY
D409Frost GreenYy
D410Smoke GreyYY
D411Dark Smoke GreyYY
D412GraphiteYY
D413Lagoon BlueYY
D414Jasmine YellowYY
D415Fiesta PinkYY
D416Frivolous PinkYY
D417Gay KingfisherYY
D418Light KingfisherYY
D419
D420Wild OrchisY
D421Radiant BlueYY
D422Turquoise (see also D58)YY
D423MinkYY
D424Scarlet GlowYY
D425Freesia PinkYY
D426Monaco BlueYY
D427Blue HazeYY
D428CitronYY
D429Jadestone/Winter SeaY/--/Y
D430
D431
D432
D433Lemon FrostY
D434Orange LilyYY
D435Iced OrangeYY
D436Lime TintYY
D437AquatoneYY
D438Blue JadeYy
D439Bitter LimeYY
D440Pink LilacYY
D441Grey DuskY
D442Venetian RedYY
D443Honey BeigeY
D444Harebell TintYY
D445Royal GleamY
D446Cool TurquoiseYY
D447Parrot BlueYY
D448Mallard GreenY
D449Festive OrangeYY
D450Gay GreenYY
D451Jewel GreenYY
D452MagentaYY
D453Deep AmethystYY
D454Oriental JadeY
D455Autumn RustYY
D456Green PlumeYY
D457Pink JeunesseYY
D458Astral GoldY
D459Blue CrestY
D460Orange AzaleaYY
D461CoffeeY
D462Blue PearlY
D463Jade GlowY
D464Coral FlairY
D465SandstoneY
D466Gay YellowY
D467Gaiety BlueY
D468Silver Frost(?)y
D469WineberryY
D470CamelY
D471Indian CurryY
D472Spectrum BlueY
D473Soft Jade(?)
D474Crisp Jade(?)
D475Silver Ghost or Cloud(?)Y
D476MandarinaY
D477Wild RoseY
D478Deep Sea Green(?)
D479Surf BlueY
D480Cedar Green (?)
D481Classic GoldY
D482Coral MistY
D483Wedgwood BlueY
D484Persian RoseY
D485Crystal Rose (?)
D486Wild LilacY
D487Ember Rust(?)Y
D488Royal PurpleY
D489Blue GloryY
D490Pink HeatherY
D491Lilac SprayY
D492Bronze Moss(?)
D493Crystal Violet(?)
D494
D495Bunting Blue (?)
D496
D497Denim BlueY

J&G Meakin Impact Coffee Pot

J&G Meakin Studio Patterns

This list is intended to help collectors and buyers identify the different patterns in the J&G Meakin Studio range, we’ve illustrated the coffee pots as these are the most collectible and popular. As in excess of 100 different patterns exist the ones photographed here are just a start and we’ve a long way to go before we feature them all! If you can help us by supplying photographs of any of the patterns not featured then please get in touch.

We have lot’s of Studio coffee pots and other ceramics in these wonderful patterns for sale at RetroSpectro, see them all here.

If you love these patterns and are on facebook then why not join the excellent J&G Meakin Collectors And Sellers Group.

This page would not have been possible without the bible of all things J&G Meakin: J&G Meakin Pottery: History In The Making by Chris Marks. Whilst not currently in print this book is a great resource for everyone with an interest in the designs and patterns produced by this famous pottery.

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Black Echoes

Black Echoes started out in early 1976 as a weekly paper dedicated to all forms of black music. In a world before the internet printed magazines and papers were the main source of news for music lovers and mainstream music papers such as NME and Melody Maker enjoyed significant sales. Black Echoes wasn’t the first UK publication to feature black music as two magazines got there first: The monthly Black Music from 1973 and the fortnightly Blues & Soul (originally Home Of The Blues) from 1967. The difference with Black Echoes was that being a weekly paper and having a larger newspaper format meant that there was far more up to date content and there was just a lot more of it.

Right from the start there was significant space given to soul, reggae, funk, northern soul, jazz, blues, disco and so on. There were front page portraits of artists, pages of charts, interviews and biographies, live reviews, single and LP reviews. Even the adverts both big and small are fascinating, be it a full page advert for a Trojan or Motown LP or little corner page advert for a northern soul all-niter or a reggae sound system clash.

So if you are a serious student of music, a fan who just wants to read about how it happened as it happened, or you just want a great advert or cover to frame on your wall, original copies of Black Music are superb.

We have lot’s of early copies of Black Echoes for sale at Retrospectro, see them all here.

If you buy 10 or more copies we’ll give you a 10% discount before postage (pay the full amount and we’ll refund the difference or contact us with a list of the issues you want and we’ll send you a paypal invoice for the correct amount).