Trophies, cups, and plaques. These are typical awards that might be presented at a ceremony today. How were these types of awards designed in the past? Are there similarities or differences? This catalog might provide a few clues.
The trade catalog is titled Trophy Book: Loving Cups and Trophies in Gold, Sterling Silver, Silver Plate, Pewter and “Goldyn-Bronz” (1924) by Reed & Barton. Even though the title refers to trophies and loving cups, the catalog also includes plaques. Some of these pieces are simple while others are more elaborate in design.
Shown below are “Goldyn-Bronz” silver inlaid loving cups. These loving cups have two handles, one on each side. The handles appear relatively simple. However, the rest of the cup includes a pattern of swirls and shapes, possibly vines or leaves.
These cups were available in a range of sizes and capacities. The largest cup shown below (bottom), was 18 inches high. It held a capacity of 24 half pints. In contrast, the smallest cup (below, top right) measured 5 ½ inches tall with a capacity of just five ounces.
Loving cup No. 2032, shown below, is silver plated and has an unusual design in both size and decoration. In particular, the height of the cup is noteworthy. It measured a little over three feet in height, 36 ½ inches. Regarding ornamentation, the catalog describes it as “elaborately hand chased.” The decorative elements include a figure at the top of each of the two handles.
Another set of silver plated loving cups is pictured below. In comparison, these have a simpler design with very little ornamentation. The shortest cup measured 7 ½ inches in height with a capacity of four half pints (below, bottom right) while the tallest cup was 21 inches with a capacity of 36 half pints (below, top right).
Perhaps a simple or plain design allowed an image to be etched or inlaid onto it. Customers could request to have images etched onto sterling, plated, or pewter items or inlaid in sterling onto “Goldyn-Bronz” items. Referred to as “stock scenes,” customers had a variety of images to choose from.
As might be expected, some of the “stock scenes” were sports related. But there were also other images available, as shown below, such as a rooster, dogs, and even a ship at sea. If desired, the company also accepted a clear photograph supplied by the customer to etch or silver inlay onto the piece. Each image was created in proportion to the available space on the item.
Special trophies are also illustrated in this catalog. The example shown below is called the Irwin Brothers Trophy. It was 20 ½ inches high and made of sterling silver and bronze with an ebonized pedestal. The pedestal depicts a boat at sea with two passengers. Resting on top of the pedestal is the wheel of a ship with a clock incorporated into the design.
In this catalog, plaques are referred to as shields. No. 150, shown below (bottom left), is a plain shield without lettering or ornamentation. It was made of oak or mahogany and measured 25 x 20 inches. An image, name, accomplishment, or other wording could be etched onto its pewter or silver-plated center.
Shield No. 135-A (below, bottom right) depicts a golf player. The dimensions of the shield were 24 ½ x 10 ¾ inches. It was constructed of mahogany, framed in bronze, and included a pewter center measuring 12 ¾ x 5 inches. Shield No. 180-A (below, top right) is another example. It commemorated a bowling tournament with a bowling figure etched in the center.
A reception likely followed an awards ceremony during which this four-gallon punch bowl might have been used. It was part of a set which also included 12 cups, a 17-inch ladle, and a 22-inch waiter, or tray. The Punch Set, shown below, was constructed of “Goldyn-Bronz” and trimmed with pewter.
Trophy Book: Loving Cups and Trophies in Gold, Sterling Silver, Silver Plate, Pewter and “Goldyn-Bronz” (1924) by Reed & Barton is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library.