Badge collecting is a close parallel to collecting medals and decorations. Badge collectors often collect by location and category like law enforcement badges from a specific city, county or state for example. Most badges are worn as a symbol of authority and as such are not earned awards. There are some interesting exceptions known as presentation badges. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin for example, presentation badges are almost always private purchase badges paid for by the friends or families of the person being honored. Presentation badges were usually silver or gold miniature versions of the regular full size badges. Some are inset with diamonds. The backs all have the appropriate inscription explaining the reason for the award. Reasons for the presentation are usually retirement or the honoree attaining their twenty-second employment anniversary. The twenty-second anniversary was cause for celebration since that was the date all city employees became fully vested in their pension plan. After 22 years no matter what the political conditions were, pensions were safe!
A third type of presentation was for patriotic events like this badge to Fire Department Lt. George McDonald in 1943. The badge is engraved on back:
“GEORGE L. McDONALD FROM ENG. 21
IN COMMEMORATION OF YOUR ENTEPING (sic) IN THE
ARMED FORCES DEC. 13-’43.”
(Lt. McDonald served the Fire Department from 3-1-33 until his retirement on
The full size badge is 47 x 65 mm and the presentation badge is 25.5 x 34.3 mm. Nether of these badges are maker marked but I would guess that the large one is made by Schwaab Stamp & Seal and the small siver badge to be a product of the E. H. Warnke Company both of Milwaukee.