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Military Medal Inscription Naming Machine


Ivor Anderson
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Military Medal Inscription Naming Machine

This was recently sold on an online auction site. Thankfully it has been bought by an auction house for their own collection.

The sales description said: "This machine was made to emboss the name of the recipient on the edge of military medals. My late father bought it from one of the official medal making mints, not sure whether it was London or Birmingham. He was an avid collector of gallantry medals who owned several Victoria Crosses in his time. He also had an identical machine for naming campaign stars on the rear but that was donated to Spinks in London for their museum."

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Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Thanks for sharing, any idea how it works and how and where the medal was held?
Charlie

Edited by charlie2
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Hi Charlie, I'm not sure. The photos were the only description. Photo 2 seems to have an additional adjusting piece added (on left) than photo 1.

My best guess is that the MM disc was inserted on the top, in the centre of the lettered wheel, under the pull down pressure leaver pad (3rd photo)?

Perhaps the letters were then impressed into the MM rim using the selected letter from the circular wheel, like a type-writer?

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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37 minutes ago, Ivor Anderson said:

I haven't a clue.

 

At least I‘m not alone then :D You are probably right re the medal being placed under the central pressure pad. The „arm“ that connects to the toothed wheel at the front I suspect moves the stamp along rather like a typewriter.

 

35 minutes ago, depaor01 said:

I wonder how different the VM and BWM presses were.

I think the machine is for naming military medals not just the Military Medal. As the medal discs, if I recall correctly, have the same diameter I guess they were all the same.

Charlie

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20 minutes ago, charlie2 said:

I think the machine is for naming military medals not just the Military Medal.

The BWM lettering was different to the MM, and the stars were just impressed on the rear. The BWM machine may have been similar?

The machine for the stars was different - as the seller stated:

16 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

He also had an identical machine for naming campaign stars on the rear but that was donated to Spinks in London for their museum

The larger and finer looking lettering of the MM vs. the smaller BWM lettering:

Screen Shot 2021-09-18 at 11.26.04.png

Screen Shot 2021-09-18 at 11.27.30.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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IT looks as though if you lift the pressure handle, it lifts that U shaped bar, which seems to push a lever that rachets that big toothed wheel along one notch, thus advancing the stamping position along one space. Presumably the medal has to be rotated inside the top cover to select each letter, as they seem to be in a fixed position.

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53 minutes ago, Ivor Anderson said:

The BWM lettering was different to the MM

Yes, thank you I‘d forgotten about the different font. 

51 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Presumably the medal has to be rotated inside the top cover to select each letter, as they seem to be in a fixed position.

Which would negate the need for the toothed wheel to move the stamp one space, looking at photo 2 there is clearance under the letter wheel.

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Looks like we were on the wrong track - the medal went in underneath with the rim up - further comment from the seller:

"I’m glad it has created so much interest! In photo 2 the front wheel is pulled out to show where the medal was held. It has a die which I imagine fits one type of medal exactly to hold it in the right position . If You took the die out you could tell which medal it was designed for. You push that back into the machine with the medal in place and then select the letter with the wheel and push down the lever. This has a ratchet on the front wheel which moves the medal round ready for the next letter. Quite a slow job when you were naming hundreds of thousands of them ! There must have been lots of these machines at one time."

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There was some discussion on the British Medal Forum about this machine but no one seems to know in who's possession it ended up.

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Yes Igor, it could but the the man that acquired it (or facilitated its acquisition)seems very secretive about its final(?) destination, & I would think that is a cause for concern. 

As a collector who lived thru the fraudulant naming of Crimea period medal naming back in the 70's, knowing where these machine(s) end up is a concern, that could easily occur again 

"Quite a slow job when you were naming hundreds of thousands of them ! There must have been lots of these machines at one time."

Yes I agree, there was likely several of them in operation post 1WW.

Edited by RNCVR
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He is protecting the privacy of the purchaser, but he obviously knows where it is and is in no doubt that it is in safe hands:

"Having spent a considerable amount of time on this today, I believe the other machine to have been a "Boots" naming machine for WW2 stars. It was incomplete, missing many parts, so was completely unusable, and in any event was passed onto an institution. The Spink reference proved to be a red herring. A genuine mistake on the part of the seller, they were superb in understanding the concern about the possible damage that could have been done by this machine. I thank them for their reasonable approach. We all should be immensely grateful for them ending the listing."

"No. 2" is a WW1 period naming machine. My feeling is that it was one used by a govt. sub contractor post 1919. Thankfully, it's now been paid for, collected and I can happily confirm that it's now out of harm's reach. I will sleep very easy tonight after an exhausting day. Having collected medals for 41 years, to protect the integrity of our hobby, I knew that immediate action was necessary."

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Well that may well be Igor, time will tell for certain. 

If Howard Williamson knows where it is, & he is a very well respected & very very knowledgeable 1WW specialist collector/author,

then that is a good thing.

Best...Bryan

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There must have been a number of these machines around, given the large number of medals awarded and named.  Where are they all?

 

Edwin

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3 minutes ago, edwin astill said:

There must have been a number of these machines around, given the large number of medals awarded and named.  Where are they all?

 

Edwin

EXACTLY!!

Edited by RNCVR
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Seconded. And the moulds to name plaques?

Scrapped for metal for the Second World Disagreement possibly?

 

1 minute ago, depaor01 said:

Seconded. And the moulds and machinery to name plaques?

Scrapped for metal for the Second World Disagreement possibly?

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

An informed source (not me! :)) has confirmed that 'The BWM/VMs were named SIMULTANEOUSLY by operators sat next to each other. The machines had to be set up to accommodate the different clasps.The machine shown has the font for the BWM/VM'. 

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Do you mean there were two operators operating two different machines independently, but that they dealt with the same name at (approximately) the same time?

Or that there were two operators on two machines that were linked somehow to emboss one name truly simultaneously on two medals with just the one input?

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Two machines with different operators working side by side on the same soldier's BWM & VM at the same time.

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1 hour ago, Ivor Anderson said:

An informed source (not me! :)) has confirmed that 'The BWM/VMs were named SIMULTANEOUSLY by operators sat next to each other. The machines had to be set up to accommodate the different clasps. The machine shown has the font for the BWM/VM'. 

58 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Do you mean there were two operators operating two different machines independently, but that they dealt with the same name at (approximately) the same time?

Or that there were two operators on two machines that were linked somehow to emboss one name truly simultaneously on two medals with just the one input?

12 minutes ago, Ivor Anderson said:

Two machines with different operators working side by side on the same soldier's BWM & VM at the same time.

This may be partially true, but I have also seen original pairs with the same mistake/crooked letter/more deeply impressed letter/etc etc on both the BWM and VM, which would show that they were both named on the same machine, one after the other. My own great-grandfathers brothers pair are like this (his surname mispelled as DeRsley instead of DeNsley and identical lighter/heavier letter stampings on both).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am currently completing my extensive research into the production, naming and distribution of the 14 and 14/15 stars,BWM,VM and other WW1 Medals including the MM and DCM.This includes how the machines work and what they can do.  I can confirm the medals were named simultaneously from details supplied by the team's typist who typed the box labels from the medal rolls . The medals were named on separate machines to save time adjusting the clamp to accomodate the different suspensions. The machines I have studied are able to be adjusted to name different medals.One medal naming shop was operating 50 machines working night and day. Anyway it is all fascinating and I will reveal all next year.best w, Howard

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