In a June 7, 2015 article a website visitor provided great background information on the magnificent Heeren Brothers Columbia Shields including this first-hand account from family member Alfred Demmler. The earlier article included a photo of a shield provided by Joe Levine.
"A small number of these shields were imported from Germany by Heeren Brothers Company, (a jewelry store then located at the corner of Penn Avenue and 8th street in downtown Pittsburgh. The motive behind the manufacture of these shields was revealed by the outermost peripheral inscription "dedicated to the American people in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America,,1892..' Following the actual discovery date...1492...the inscription continues "United we stand.. Divided we fall."
"My maternal grandfather, Fred Mayer (born Sept 17, 1832 in Lauffen on the Neckar River, wurst berg, Germany) created most of the designs for the medallions, shields and plaques, as well as the large eagle at the top of the shield, above another inscription "westward Ho the star of empire makes its way". He transmitted these designs to a metal manufacturing company operated by two of his brothers in Stuttgart, Germany. They produced these shields made of pewter, bronze, copper (filigree), and sheet iron."
"There are 8 large medallions showing various buildings and events in the first 2 or 3 centuries of American history. There is another ring of 8 small medallions depicting four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, and also four other notable figures, Clay, Morse, Longfellow, and Franklin."
This week a website visitor writes to say that her family is in possession of one of the Columbia shields. They are descendants of Otto Heeren and the shield has been passed down from him. In addition, there is a letter from the White House dated April 29, 1893, on behalf of Mrs. Cleveland, thanking the Heeren Brothers for
one of the Columbus medals... and
she values this souvenir highly.