Natural Dyes History
An antiques collector is seeking information about a wooden barrel used years ago by Hoechst. These photos show a wooden stave barrel with brass
hoops, studs, decorative lid and two ring handles held by a gargoyle like figure. It is 22 inches high and 60 inches around at the widest point.
The bottom of the barrel is embossed with the Hoechst logo, the number 660, characters that might be Chinese, and stenciled letters and numbers that
likely represent shipping information.
|Photos of Vintage Wooden Barrel with Hoechst Logo
One opinion is that the characters are Japanese, not Chinese, and read “Kenshin Yoko”, the name of a German trading company established in 1897 in
Kobe, Japan. After the end of WW II, it merged with another Japan-based German trading company, Impex Chemicals, that trades dyes and other
chemicals produced by Bayer, Hoechst, Huels, BASF etc. The company still exists as “Impex Chemicals Kenshin Yoko.”
Another opinion is that the letters "JL & C" stand for the company Justus Lembke & Co./ Hamburg which handled business in Eastern Asia for Farbwerke
since 1883. JL&C was represented at sites in Shanghai and Hong Kong. "Meister Lucius & Brüning" dates back to the time frame 1881 to 1925. At the end
of 19th century, MLB already had extensive export contacts and business in China.
Thus far we cannot explain the ornateness of the barrel or what it contained. It is certainly not a routine shipping container. It may have celebrated the
first delivery of a product to an important customer in Japan or China. Or the barrel may have been decorated after serving as a shipping container.
If you can help identify the age of the barrel, the product that it contained, and its shipping destination, please send an email to
ColorantsHistory.Org thanks Mr. Y. Kikuchi and Mr. S. Dinges for their assistance in the identification of the barrel.