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  #1  
Old 25-06-23, 04:32 PM
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Default Attempt to ID the Firmin Imperial Service Badge

The Army Clothing Department, Register of Changes 1904-1909, records the deposition of the standard pattern Imperial Service Badge [Pattern 7105/1909] with the ACD, as having been made on the 21st December 1909.

It appears from that register that the badge submitted as the standard pattern was supplied by Firmin & Son, though examples bearing the Firmin maker mark do not seem to have been produced. It might, therefore, be logical to conclude that if Firmin did manufacture ISBs in any great number, they would be unmarked and therefore next to impossible to attribute to that maker with any certainty.

That said, the ACD entry does have a rubbing of the badge presumably submitted as the standard pattern (see image below), and so I am wondering if it might be possible to ID Firmin ISBs from what little characteristics this impression provides. The font would seem to be the key, and while I recognise that all ISBs have an almost identical font, they do differ, and so it should be possible to differentiate between them.

I have looked at the ISBs in my collection, and have not managed to match any to the example in the ACD register, but am wondering if members might have examples in their own collections which do. It would be quite gratifying if, with members' help, it were possible to ID a previously unattributed ISB as having come from the Firmin factory.

With thanks,

JT

IMG_5498.jpg

EDIT: If anyone does have an imperial service badge with the Firmin mark, I’d be very grateful if they could let me know. Thank you.

Last edited by Jelly Terror; 26-06-23 at 08:23 AM.
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  #2  
Old 26-06-23, 01:10 AM
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Hi JT

I'll have a look at mine small "holding" of badges. I can't recall seeing a Firmin mark on any but you never know...

I did know an old Gallipoli man called Arthur Firmin and one of his prized possessions was a Firmin marked GS button. I didn't like to tell him that many dealers had/ have boxes of these.

It may be possible to ID a Firmin badge from that rubbing but you might be surprised how closely a skilled die maker can get in copying the placing and style of lettering.

Even so, sometimes a slight drop in the alignment can indicate that it was not the same strike.

Most of these are Lamborne & Co, correct?

Out of interest, I recently traded a blue enameled bronze(?) ISB. I doubt if it was a manufactured style and had probably just been "flossied up" to look good.

It now lives with my couple of altered ISBs (see my previous posts way back)- one has 3 or 4 GS buttons soldered on and the other has had the crown cut off and an ASC shoulder title placed above the tablet THEN the crown put on top!

Why I ask?
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  #3  
Old 26-06-23, 07:48 AM
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Hello DD,

Thanks for your reply and participation.

The image of the ACD rubbing is not exactly ideal, I must admit. But I think it’s worth pursuing nonetheless.

I take your point regarding how closely a skilled die maker can get in copying the placing and style of lettering, but as you will see from the attached image, lettering does vary considerably from badge to badge.

Didn’t quite follow your question (apologies): are you asking if most ISBs were produced by Lambourne, or just ISB’s with a slight drop in the lettering alignment?

Regards,

JT

IMG_5508.jpg
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  #4  
Old 26-06-23, 12:03 PM
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Default Imperial Service Medal

The two that I have are both Lambourne - photos for interest.
Tim
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File Type: jpg IMG_1372.jpg (54.7 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1373.jpg (70.0 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1374.jpg (56.9 KB, 19 views)
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  #5  
Old 26-06-23, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grey_green_acorn View Post
The two that I have are both Lambourne - photos for interest.
Tim
Thanks Tim.

Looks like even Lambourne ISBs differ slightly from one another. I’ll attempt to post mine for comparison later this evening.

It goes without saying that the data set can never be too large when studying variation.

Thanks again.

JT

Last edited by Jelly Terror; 26-06-23 at 04:46 PM.
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  #6  
Old 27-06-23, 12:18 AM
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Tim,

Though both your badges are marked as being Lambourne, the differences between the two fonts can be clearly seen in the image below - I have chosen just three points to highlight, though more are evident (hope you're okay with me reproducing your pics?):

ISB Tim.jpg

Here are two Lambourne-marked badges from my collection, both of which appear to be the same as the lower badge in your images above:

ISB JT.jpg

This shows that ISB lettering does vary between examples, and in this case, even between examples from the same manufacturer.

The maker marks also appear to vary. Images 2 and 4, appear to be the same (note the high, misaligned 'A' in 'BIRMINGHAM'):

ISB Lambourne MM.jpg

Thanks for your participation.

JT
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  #7  
Old 27-06-23, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jelly Terror View Post
Tim,

Here are two Lambourne-marked badges from my collection, both of which appear to be the same as the lower badge in your images above:

Attachment 285638

This shows that ISB lettering does vary between examples, and in this case, even between examples from the same manufacturer.

JT

I think that these two badges are very similar but not identical as there are some subtle differences in the lettering and the pattern of the seeding on each badge seems to have nothing in common with the other.
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  #8  
Old 27-06-23, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jelly Terror View Post
Hello DD,

Thanks for your reply and participation.

The image of the ACD rubbing is not exactly ideal, I must admit. But I think it’s worth pursuing nonetheless.

I take your point regarding how closely a skilled die maker can get in copying the placing and style of lettering, but as you will see from the attached image, lettering does vary considerably from badge to badge.

Didn’t quite follow your question (apologies): are you asking if most ISBs were produced by Lambourne, or just ISB’s with a slight drop in the lettering alignment?

Regards,

JT

Attachment 285574
Hi JT

I think I was really trying to say that it is possible to ID certain badges from the alignment of the letters or even the spacing of them.

Most impressed with your display of examples and you can see that some makers were clearly a bit more focused than others!

You may even find that Lambourne marked badges display some slight variations in lettering as I would think that they must have been making an awful lot of them!

Way back I was once shown a die book and it was standard practice to have a pencil rubbing of a strike from a die. This book had no military examples that I can recall but lots of bowling clubs, darts clubs and all those other groups that no one finds time for these days.

The detail included: material, thickness of metal, plated finish, die number, fittings, enamel code and sometimes pressure to be used when striking the badge.

Basically instructions allowing any twerp to make the badges.

I'll try to put up images of my "artistic" ISBs and also include an image of the enameled one too if you'd like me to.
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  #9  
Old 27-06-23, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wood View Post
I think that these two badges are very similar but not identical as there are some subtle differences in the lettering and the pattern of the seeding on each badge seems to have nothing in common with the other.
Thanks Simon.

Would you conclude from that, that Lambourne possibly had numerous ISB dies, (operating either simultaneously or consecutively), or that the two differ enough not to have any connection?

Unique and distinctive Lambourne crown notwithstanding, I think the lettering/font similarities are greater than the disparities, and alike enough to identify as having come from the same maker. As always though, I very much welcome differences of opinion.

Regards,

JT


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  #10  
Old 27-06-23, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jelly Terror View Post
Tim,

Though both your badges are marked as being Lambourne, the differences between the two fonts can be clearly seen in the image below - I have chosen just three points to highlight, though more are evident (hope you're okay with me reproducing your pics?):

Attachment 285637

Here are two Lambourne-marked badges from my collection, both of which appear to be the same as the lower badge in your images above:

Attachment 285638

This shows that ISB lettering does vary between examples, and in this case, even between examples from the same manufacturer.

The maker marks also appear to vary. Images 2 and 4, appear to be the same (note the high, misaligned 'A' in 'BIRMINGHAM'):

Attachment 285640

Thanks for your participation.

JT
Hi JT,

Just scrolled further down and I see that you did indeed pick up on the fact that Lambourne's back stamp could vary.

This was part of the "hammer head" that connected with the reverse of the badge, producing the raised letters. Made with small individual letters I was told by one of the old fellas, it was pretty easy to have an off day...
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  #11  
Old 27-06-23, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
Hi JT

I think I was really trying to say that it is possible to ID certain badges from the alignment of the letters or even the spacing of them.

Most impressed with your display of examples and you can see that some makers were clearly a bit more focused than others!

You may even find that Lambourne marked badges display some slight variations in lettering as I would think that they must have been making an awful lot of them!

Way back I was once shown a die book and it was standard practice to have a pencil rubbing of a strike from a die. This book had no military examples that I can recall but lots of bowling clubs, darts clubs and all those other groups that no one finds time for these days.

The detail included: material, thickness of metal, plated finish, die number, fittings, enamel code and sometimes pressure to be used when striking the badge.

Basically instructions allowing any twerp to make the badges.

I'll try to put up images of my "artistic" ISBs and also include an image of the enameled one too if you'd like me to.

Thanks for clarifying, DD. I didn’t quite grasp your point (my failing).

Would like to see any offerings you may be able to share. Thank you.

Regards,

JT
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Old 27-06-23, 07:58 PM
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JT,

I would imagine that a firm like Lambourne would have had more than one die when they had a large order for a particular badge and a short delivery time for the order.

If I remember rightly, the I.S.B. was issued several years before 1914 and a fair number would have been needed to meet demand. I do not know how many badges a die can produce before it is considered worn out, but it might have been a factor in the number of dies used.

With regard to the difference in the seeding, I would expect far more similarity than the two you have illustrated. I know that peacock feathers are different from seeding but have a look at the similarities between these two badges.

https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/fo...ctureid=182838

Simon.
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  #13  
Old 27-06-23, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by High Wood View Post
JT,

I would imagine that a firm like Lambourne would have had more than one die when they had a large order for a particular badge and a short delivery time for the order.

If I remember rightly, the I.S.B. was issued several years before 1914 and a fair number would have been needed to meet demand. I do not know how many badges a die can produce before it is considered worn out, but it might have been a factor in the number of dies used.

With regard to the difference in the seeding, I would expect far more similarity than the two you have illustrated. I know that peacock feathers are different from seeding but have a look at the similarities between these two badges.

https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/fo...ctureid=182838

Simon.
If we accept both Tim's Lambourne badges as being genuine, it would mean there were at least two very different die patterns in use by that particular company. Perhaps the Lambourne maker mark experts can throw some light on that point?

At this stage, I do not think the two Lambourne examples I posted, and the 'matching' Lambourne example Tim posted, differ quite enough to warrant them being classified as separate variants, especially when seen alongside Tim's other Lambourne ISB.

Adding to the data set will be crucial to gaining a better understanding of the number of variants. In addition, I think identifying copies, fakes etc., might be a challenge, as ISBs were intended from the outset to be low-cost badges, which (given the arguable quality of so many) suggests that production standards were possibly not as high as they might otherwise have been, potentially making the fakers' job that much easier.

Thanks for your input, Simon.

Regards,

JT

EDIT: Just recalled that forum member Jack8, posted the same two Lambourne variants as Tim's, back in 2016.

Last edited by Jelly Terror; 28-06-23 at 01:11 AM.
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  #14  
Old 28-06-23, 12:05 AM
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Hi JT and others with an interest in these badges,

Here are the examples of the ISBs that I could easily find without an extensive search!

Would like to hear your comments on the bronze(?) enameled example. It's still minus a pin a couple of years later.. I see that the hinge is a different style too.

JT, I do see that the one standard ISB that hasn't been modified bears an incuse Lambourne mark. This would not have been part of the hammer head but a separate punch applied to the badge after striking. As a result it is a fraction neater and not suffering from the wobbly letter phenomenon..

I do see that it is slightly tilted in the photo so let me know if you would like a better image of that one.
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File Type: jpg isb1.jpg (35.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg isb2.jpg (31.0 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg isb3.jpg (27.5 KB, 8 views)
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  #15  
Old 28-06-23, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
Hi JT and others with an interest in these badges,

Here are the examples of the ISBs that I could easily find without an extensive search!

Would like to hear your comments on the bronze(?) enameled example. It's still minus a pin a couple of years later.. I see that the hinge is a different style too.

JT, I do see that the one standard ISB that hasn't been modified bears an incuse Lambourne mark. This would not have been part of the hammer head but a separate punch applied to the badge after striking. As a result it is a fraction neater and not suffering from the wobbly letter phenomenon..

I do see that it is slightly tilted in the photo so let me know if you would like a better image of that one.
DD,

Great to see those badges again; many thanks for going to the trouble of posting them. An interesting group for sure.

Are you able to say with certainty that the enameled badge is definitely not tarnished/discoloured white-metal? As I am sure you'll recall, ISBs produced in metals other than German Silver/white-metal have been the subject of debate here on the forum previously.

I recall an enameled ISB being posted by forum member mike_vee, a couple of years ago, which he speculated could either have been a modified sweetheart, or a fake. I'm not sure if the badge he posted was white-metal or not, but I recall thinking at the time that it was a legit Lambourne example. I wonder if yours, and the example in Mike's post are one in the same badge?

Regards,

JT
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