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Trade Tokens - Good For Tokens
Saloon Tokens and Bar Tokens
Bars and saloons used tokens to allow customers to accept free drinks without having to drink them at that time. Also the tokens would often be used when drinks were two for twenty-five cents; the patron would pay his quarter and receive a drink and a token. Another usage popular in bars was on domino and card tables. Players would "rent" the table for a time, receiving tokens in exchange for the amount paid. Losers would pay the winner with a token, which supposedly was good only for merchandise in a disguised attempt to circumvent gaming laws, but would often be redeemed for cash by the bartender. Saloon tokens such as this piece from San Antonio, Texas are very rare.
The method of use promoted by most bakeries followed the well-known "baker's dozen" scenario. A customer would pay for twelve loaves (at five or ten cents each), and receive thirteen tokens. Typical reverse die work: Good for one Loaf, Good for one Loaf Bread, Good for 1/2 Loaf, Good for one 5¢ Loaf Bread etc.
Bank tokens were used as promotions to get customers to open a savings accounts.
Barber Shop Tokens
Barber Shop Tokens were mainly good for a Shave, shoe shine or a bath. Many of these tokens were supplied by Koken Barber Supply Co. in St. Louis, MO. They manufactured barber chairs and many other barber supplies.
Cigar Store Tokens
In the early 1900's, cigar smoking was common while cigarettes were still comparatively rare. The cigar business was an important industry and cigar stores were very common. Most cigar store tokens were used in some form of gambling, such as slot machines, dice games, punchboards.
Slot machines and
trade stimulators paid out in tokens good for a cigar only at the place named on the token.
Coal Mine company stores issued tokens or script which were used by the coal miners. The miners cound get an advance on their pay which they could use at the company store.
Lumber Companies issued tokens, similar to Coal companies, in their Lumber Mill Commissaries. Often the sawmill community consisted of only the mill, company offices, workers' housing, and the commissary. This commissary frequently became the hub of social activity in the community, containing the post office and often being host to church services. Common commissary practices used by most lumber companies were designed to recover as much of the employee's wages as possible. Many mills paid laborers daily in tokens that could be used in the company owned commissary.
Usually these tokens were exchanged for cash either weekly or monthly. Some companies would only pay cash should an employee accept a discount of between five and twenty percent. Other mills paid their workers in cash, but if an employee needed an advance against his wages he was given tokens.