A Brief History of Enamel Name Badges

Perhaps one of the most popular types of name badges is the enamel badge. These badges offer a top-quality, polished and smooth finish that’s perfect on which to print photo-quality images and designs. Some articles and graphics can even be cast in eye-catching 3D styles. Enamel badges certainly aren’t new technology and these types have been in use for hundreds of years now.

The earliest badges were known to have started during the 12th century when the pope ordered several pieces to be crafted with the images of Saints Peter and Paul engraved on them. These were bought by Christian pilgrims and worn as a sign of faith and that they have gone on their routine pilgrimage. This practice soon became popular by the 14th century that badges became instant hot-selling souvenirs.

It was also believed then that badges were cast onto rivers as part of a practice for making a wish, much like today, with coins on water wells or fountains. By the end of the 18th century, badges were popularly used in England as a form of political expression, and to promote causes, like Anti-Slavery. Seeing the marketing potential of badges, William Wilberforce used it as a campaign tool to get his Anti-Slavery platform across the electorate, and then winning a parliament seat for Hull.

He was later successful in passing the Anti-Slavery Act of 1833 that outlawed slavery in the British Empire. English man Edward Thompson is credited for manufacturing these historic, campaign badges. It eventually paved the way for the rise of the enamel badge in the 1840s with the invention of drop stamp machine, making possible its mass production by the end of the 19th century. World War I further boosted demand for badges which was utilized for military insignias and flags in regiments.

Today, in the digital age, many advanced printing options for badges have been developed, such as CAD or computer-aided design that can provide very finely detailed effects. It’s fascinating to think that a very simple thing as the name badge that we know of today, can have a rich and glorious past. The next time you see a name badge, try to ponder on its small role in the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom!

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