Heath White submitted these additional notes on Insert Dies. Thank you!
Here are examples of two dies showing what Dick Johnson called an 'Insert Die.' Both of these are from the Fraternal Supplies Company Archives and were used to produce top bars for different medals. The die with serial number 4298 is from M C Lilley and this serial number would date the die to 1922. The die with the 'Wayland Lodge 176' insert still in the die dates to the late 1880's and is most likely from Lilley, but could be from Frank Henderson (Kalamazoo, MI) or E A Armstrong (Detroit).
You will notice in the die without the insert there were two holes drilled through the die. This was so you could push a rod through the bottom of the die and remove the insert.
I don't agree with many of Dick Johnson's descriptions and definitions because what I'm learning to be true is each factory had a different way of doing things. What Dick is describing is the way things were done at factories he was familiar with. In the case of his definition of 'Insert Die' his description may be accurate for how a specific insert die was used to make a specific medal. Much like Merriam Webster giving only one definition to a word with six different meanings. It is misleading and confusing to readers that are trying to learn. That said, I value and respect the contributions and efforts Dick made to educate others and share his knowledge.
Here are pictures of the bottom and side of the 'Wayland Lodge' die. The bottom view shows the two holes drilled through the die used to remove the insert. The side view shows 'S H BROWN - MAKER - BOSTON'. Samuel H Brown was a blacksmith and die maker in Boston. I could only find him listed in business from 1887 to 1891 so I would date this die to late 1880's to early 1890's. Attached is also a help wanted ad for Samuel H Brown from 1889.
As a die maker, Samuel Brown would have only forged the die blanks. Samuel Brown did not put the design in the top of the die and he did not produce stamped goods. He sold his dies to a company like The M C Lilley & Company where the die was engraved, then used to produce stamped goods. Sometimes this involved three companies. . . die maker, die sinker, & manufacturer of stamped goods. Larger companies like Lilley did both engraving and stamping.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
VOCABULARY TERM: INSERT DIE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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