The Links between The Adelaide Mint and Debating SA

Following a recent discussion with James Tran, Administrative Officer of Debating SA, after delivering our latest supply of Lapel Badges to him, James suggested I should document the long association that The Adelaide Mint has had with Debating SA.

It is indeed a long association, in fact it goes back to the original formalisation of the Schools Debating Union (SDU), when Sonia Lowen asked me to design a logo for SDU in 1991 and to assist her with preparing the organisation’s constitution.

Many discussions were held in her office within Wadlow Solicitors in Adelaide and our office in Norwood and it was decided that the logo should be designed in such a way that it could be used, not only on the Letterhead and With Compliments slips, but also on Lapel Badges and in trophies for SDU.

The logo design for SDU was approved in February 1992 and our management company, Newman Marketing Pty Ltd, produced the initial supply of Letterheads, Follow-ons and With Compliments slips in March 1992. For that year’s Prize-Giving in October 1992, we supplied 4 clear acrylic Perpetual Trophies, 100 parchment Certificates and, following the manufacture of the badge dies, The Adelaide Mint produced 32 SDU lapel badges in 3 colours (blue, gold and white vitreous enamel), 16 gold-enameled medallions and 16 silver-enameled medallions, which had logo badges attached and were personally engraved with the winners’ and runner-ups’ names etc.

Approaches were then made in 1997 to Sir Eric Neal, Governor of South Australia, for him to be Patron of SDU, which he graciously conceded, allowing SDU and its subsequent organisations to have the Governor of South Australia present the annual prizes to winners and runner-ups at Government House for many years.

The Adelaide Mint continued to produce all the prize medallions and badges for SDU until 2001 when the name of the organisation was changed to Students Debating Association of South Australia following a change in administration and restructuring. Various sponsors were approached to provide the trophies and prizes and the services of The Adelaide Mint were not required until a further restructuring and name change occurred in 2010, to attract a wider membership and higher competition parameters. We were once again approached to assist in the development of the new logo, this time for Debating SA, and with the support of an outside artist.

The number of prize awards has increased considerably since those early days of 1992 and The Adelaide Mint has been delighted to produce the quality vitreous enamel badges that are given to all debaters as well as the special name-bars for all adjudicators, which ensures a truly professional image being portrayed by Debating SA each year.

The Adelaide Mint is one of only a few Australian companies still producing vitreous enamel work and medallions for its clients using traditional methods of badge manufacturing. Much of our work is handcrafted and despite there being 15 separate and distinct steps in producing a vitreous enamel badge, we pride ourselves in producing a cost effective, quality and brilliant, lasting, vitreous enamel badge for our Australian clients.

To give some idea of our methods in production of Debating SA vitreous enamel badges I list below the steps taken from initial design to completion of the finished product:

  1. Design preparation and artwork – including from logo or art supplied. Enlarge 4 or 5 times and transfer to a mirror image
  2. Template production – hand engrave the enlarged mirror-image of the artwork onto a double layered, “engraving laminate” sheet, to form a template
  3. Die preparation – turn and form a soft steel block to suit the size of the required die
  4. Engrave image on soft steel block – with the template and a pantograph, using its special drill and reduction linkages, engrave image (actual size) on block to form steel die
  5. Produce proof of die image – using soft lead impression or perspex engraving, supply proof of die image for approval before hardening of die
  6. Harden die – special heat treatment, double temper
  7. Metal blank preparation – roll copper sheet to required thickness and cut into strips
  8. Stamp out blanks – produce required number of blanks from pre-cut strips
  9. Strike each metal badge – using obverse die (produced as above) together with the reverse die-stamp of The Adelaide Mint, the design is impressed into the metal
  10. Edge finishing – forming the edge of each badge by using a pre-produced edge-cutting die or by hand-fabricating the edge to suit final design shape
  11. Hand paint liquid vitreous enamel on to each metal badge – in colours as required for the design
  12. Firing – heating the vitreous enamel on each badge to fuse vitreous enamel colours
  13. Polishing after firing – removing excess vitreous enamel and clean overall image.
  14. Attach fitting – solder on pin, safety catch, bar or linkage to suit
  15. Electroplating – gold or silver plating to suit

Finally checking finished product and packaging for dispatch.

We look forward to a continued association with Debating SA for many years to come.

Barrie M Newman
Executive Director
The Adelaide Mint

28 July 2017

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