Jump to content

Brooch or Broach??


Jim Baker
 Share

Recommended Posts

Although I'm not a medal collector, I have considered adding a grouping (or two) to my collection. I'm relatively new to colleting US. How daunting a task would it be to have one or more of our knowledgeable medal collectors pin a thread explaining brooch design and dates of use?

 

It's interesting we have a category to ID patches, but not medals. I realize there are books out there that have the ID information, but most of those are only a photo telling you what the medal is. I think it would be beneficial for collectors to also know what things to look for in order to narrow down the era of a medal.

 

What do you folks think? think.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

There are also some less common variations.

 

I think the best way to approach this is to have a separate post on each style with a picture and short description.

 

I will also discuss things such as time periods of use for each style. However, these are not absolutes. For example, the Army stop purchasing medals with the split broach around 1920 while the US Navy continued to use this style of mounting until around 1932. But even this can be misleading as various commands continued to use their existing supplies of medals until they were exhausted. Therefore while the Army stopped purchasing medals with split broaches in 1920, medals with this mounting style were awarded well into World War II. This is especially true of gallantry awards which where awarded infrequently between wars with the existing supplies lasting well into 1944.

 

Lastly, I will post a few examples of foreign mounts for single medals.

 

I hope you find this series enjoyable and informative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

Split Broach

 

The split broach was first used on US medals around 1898. This style of mounting was purchased by the Army until around 1920 and by the Navy/Marines until 1932.

 

This style consisted of a solid metal bar that wrapped partially around the medal ribbon, not meeting in the back, hence the "split".

 

The pin therefore had to provide structural support for the back of the mount. This caused the ends to sometimes become misaligned such that the pin and catch could not mate properly.

 

This style had the advantage of allowing the ribbon ends to be sewn together first then the broach applied after.

 

This first picture is of a split broach with an open catch on a Navy Mexican Service Medal. Note: The ribbon on this medal has obviously been replaced at some time as the broach is mounted upside down with the open part of the catch facing up.post-294-1170556819.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

I should note that I first posted this series on the Militaria Collectors Forum (MCF) where I am a Moderator for the U.S. Medals section.

 

The pictures were all taken by me and are of pieces in my collection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

Here is a split broach on a Navy Spanish Campaign Medal from the 1923 Bastian Brothers Contract.

 

This is a much thinner broach and was only used for this medal, which is easily identified by the triple ring suspension.

post-294-1170557100.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

Wrap Broach

 

The next broach style used was called a wrap broach.

 

This broach "wrapped" the metal bar fully around the medal ribbon, which provided much better structural support. However, this meant that the ribbon ends had to be sewn together after the broach was mounted which was much more difficult and time consuming.

 

This style started to appear around 1917 and was purchased by the Army until around 1943.

 

However, I have seen gallantry medals with this broach style that were awarded in korea as supplies were used up.

 

There is also a variation on the wrap broach where there is a slit in the center that allows the ribbon to be sewn and then mounted to the broach later, but once mounted the slit is hidden so there is no way to tell what type you have without disassembling the medal (NOT RECOMMENDED) or by using an imaging device such as an x-ray machine.

 

This picture is of a wrap broach with an open catch on an Army Philippine Campaign Medal.

post-294-1170557168.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

Slot Broach

 

The slot broach was introduced in 1944 by the Army and in 1945 by the Navy.

 

This style broach was a flat metal plate that had a "slot" in it to slip the ribbon through. The ribbon was passed through this slot then folded over the top then sewn in the corners. There are two small holes in the lower corners of the metal plate to sew the ribbon to the lower part of the plate.

 

This style is sometimes called a sewn broach because of these two loops of threat that sew the lower corners of the metal plate to the ribbon.

 

This style continued to be purchased until about 1960.

 

This is Woman's Army Corps Service Medal with a slot broach.

post-294-1170557334.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

Crimp Broach

 

The current style of medal mounting is called the crimp broach.

 

This style eliminates the need to sew the ribbon ends together, rather the ends are "crimped" between two metal plates that hold the ribbon in place.

 

This is an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with a crimped broach.

post-294-1170557388.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

A common variation of the slot and crimp broaches that is seen on medals from the 1960s is where the slotted metal plate from the slot broach is used as the top plate in the crimped broach mount.

 

This was done my manufactures to eliminate the costly time consuming task of sewing the ribbon ends together while using up the existing supply of slot broach plates.

 

One medal that is always seen with this variation in its original issue is the Medal for Humane Action awarded for the Berlin Airlift.

 

This is a Medal for Humane Action with a variation Slot/Crimp broach combination.

post-294-1170557444.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

In this mounting the medal has a top bar that shows from the front and also is used as a suspension for the ribbon. From the front the bar reads U.S. Marine Corps.

 

This style of mounting was used for the Marine Corp Good Conduct Medal through World War II.

 

A similar mounting is seen on the West Indies Naval Campaign Medal (Also called the Sampson Medal) where the bar carries the name of the ship the recipient was serving on when awarded.

 

This picture is a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

post-294-1170557496.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

This an unusual mounting for a British Gulf War Medal.

 

I am not sure how common this type of mounting is but I have only seen one other like it.

post-294-1170557654.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

collectsmedals

My reference source.

 

The photographs are mine, taken by me of medals in my collection.

 

Much of the information on the broach styles was take from "The Call of Duty - Military Awards and Decorations of the United States of America" by John E. Strandberg and Roger James Bender.

 

Printed by R. James Bender Publishing, P.O. Box 23456, San Jose, CA 95153

 

ISBN No. 0-912138-54-8

 

This is far and away the best reference book I have ever seen on American Medals, and I strongly recommend any serious collector obtain a copy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, an excellent presentation. I have always been confused by these ribbon attachments. A clear explanation of the differences with a time-line. Perhaps this should become a pinned thread. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great topic, guys!! Thanks to everyone for contributing all the pics and descriptions. I've decided to pin this topic so it's easily found by all who come surfing to this board. I'll also change the topic title.

 

Now to broach the subject of brooches vs. broaches. A quick check of a couple of on line dictionaries show that brooch is the proper spelling for "a clasp or ornament having a pin at the back for passing through the clothing and a catch for securing the point of the pin," but broach is also an accepted variant.

 

Sice the noun broach can have other meanings (an awl, spit, chisel or other types of punching or reaming tools), personally, I'll stick with brooch, since it only has one specific definition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...