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History of Trophies and Awards

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Awards are a common part of your culture in the 21st century. There is an award for everything: films, TV shows, music, radio shows, school awards, bowling leagues, and work performances. You name an industry, and it has awards available.

But what have awards been like throughout history? Are they more of a modern thing than a long-standing tradition of recognizing accomplishments?

As it happens, awards have a long history that dates back thousands of years to the ancient world.

Ancient Awards

Back in ancient times, awards rose to prominence as these civilizations expanded. In Ancient Rome, in particular, stone trophies were commonly used. The Greeks also liked to use awards to honor soldiers. After success in battle, the Ancient Greek troops were given awards made from the armor and weapons of their defeated foes.

The Olympic Games of Ancient Greece also gave awards to its athletic contestants, somewhat like they still do today. However, those awards were on the smaller side. Victorious athletes at the original Olympic Games were given twisted olive branch crowns instead of medals. The olive branch carried symbolic meaning as it was thought to drive away evil spirits. It was also a status symbol since the runners-up received no awards.

Awards in the Middle Ages

Trophies and awards persisted into the Middle Ages. However, these awards were not all glitz and glamor as you think of them today. In fact, it was during this time that chalice was invented and popularized.

Winners of sporting events in the 17th century were given chalices. These awards are shaped like cups and tend to be ornate. Horse racing, car racing, and sailing still use cups like this today. Just take the Davis Cup and Stanley Cup as examples of such.

The Rise of the Modern Olympics

While the Olympics fell out of popularity for several hundred years, it again rose to prominence in the 19th century. By 1896, the Olympics were in full swing, with an international series of games held in Athens that year. Summer and Winter Olympics quickly gained popularity, plus the Paralympics were developed in 1948 to allow wounded World War II soldiers the opportunity to participate.

Medals were awarded based on performance outcomes. First-place contenders gained a gold medal, while first, runners-up achieved silver. Bronze was reserved for the second runners-up. That way, more than just the winners were recognized for their efforts and achievements.

Awards in the 21st Century

Today, awards have various uses, from inside an elementary school classroom to the Emmys and Grammys. People of all ages and all backgrounds can be awarded for their actions and accomplishments in specific capacities. Awards are professionally designed and made and can be customized to honor each recipient individually.

Changes in Materials and Cost

One of the biggest factors in the widespread use of awards today is the material used. Materials used have changed over time. Athletes no longer get olive branch crowns, that is for sure! Instead, awards can be made from glass, plastic, and resin. All of these materials are widely available and, therefore, cheap enough to use in designing an award. Even compared to a decade ago, costs for these awards today are getting lower and lower.

Custom Design Options

Another thing about contemporary awards is that they can easily be custom designed. Historically, custom designing a trophy was a fairly simple process. That is because there simply were fewer design options and technological gadgets for doing the work. Today, even the most abstract design can be accomplished for a trophy or award.

When you need a trophy or award to be custom-designed, contact experts for high-quality results. Whether the trophy is for employee recognition, sports, school awards, a trophy cup, or something else, you can develop a design that meets your needs. Their high-quality trophies all come with a personalized touch, no matter the occasion. Contact experts today with your custom order or to ask questions about the design process or the cost.

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