I found these in an old haberdashery warehouse - on a very high shelf...right at the back..they'd been there a very long time ...!
They are big paper wrapped packages of 45 skeins (each aprox 100m long) of 0.5mm thick soft cotton.
The outer package is printed brown paper tied with string - the 1st photo.
Once opened the skeins are tied up with string and have a big cardboard label on top - 2nd photo.
Then each skein has a gorgeous paper label printed with bright sunbeams and a centaur in a crest- 3rd photo.
COTONE MARCA SOLE (SUN BRAND COTTON).
The big paper labels state that this cotton was manufactured in COTONIFICIO CANTONI CASTELLANZA
- this is a cotton mill, opened in 1845 in Castellanza in Lombardy, Northern Italy (part of it is now home to a university)
I don't know the age of this package, but from the style of the labels, and reading a bit about the history of the company that produced it, I'd say it was early 20th century.
This big bundle weighs nearly 1kg, I think there are 45 skeins, each aprox 100m long (had to do a lot of tricky measuring and counting so might be a bit wrong !)
The skeins are folded over on themselves and twisted.
On the paper wrapper is a sticker saying 46M and another saying 12/3. I don't know if this is relevant !
The big paper package measure 28cm x 17 cm by 7cm.
Some of the packages are unopened and clean, some are a bit grubby, some are torn a bit, some are torn a lot.
And if the packages have been torn, sometimes the outer edges of some of the skeins are a bit faded.
I have the colours shown in the photos.