101275 | UNITED STATES. San Francisco. Mechanics' Inst. silver award Medal.
101275 | UNITED STATES. San Francisco, California. Mechanics' Institute silver Award Medal. Engraved and awarded to Weed & Kingwell in 1885. (49mm, 43.50 g, 12h). By A. Kuner.
MECHANIC'S' INSTITUTE, Columbia standing facing upon base featuring "MI" (Mechanics' Institute) monogram; she presents laurel crown to personifications of industry—with hammer, anvil, gear, and compass—and of agriculture—with plow, sickle, bushel, grapes, palette, and harp; in background, locomotive crossing stone bridge and steamship sailing in the bay; SAN FRANCISCO in exergue / INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION / AWARDED TO, Weed & Kingwell / "Best Plumbers Goods" elaborately engraved in two lines; decorative scroll work above and below; all within laurel wreath; 1885 in cartouche in exergue. Edge: Plain.
Gem Mint State. Extremely brilliant and prooflike, with very colorful toning throughout. A popular series and very rare when encountered this attractive and problem free.
The Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco was originally established as a vocational school for unemployed miners in 1854, just a few years after the gold rush and California statehood. Without the presence of facilities such as universities and public libraries, it served as one of the only sources by which one could attain a more advanced education in a trade. In this role, the institute was instrumental in the formation of the University of California in 1868, along with its eventual public university system. The institute is still extant, though now mostly acts in a different role, housing a vast library as well as serving as a cultural center and as a home to the oldest continually operating chess club in the United States.
No stranger to technical prizes at industrial shows, the California Brass Works—with Joseph H. Weed and Vincent Kingwell as proprietors—was established in 1851 by Gallagher & Weed and recognized as one of the leading firms in this branch of trade. Located at 125 1st Street in San Francisco, their operation is summarized by this print advertisement from the 1883 Strangers’ Guide to San Francisco and Vicinity:
- "Manufacturers of all kinds of Brass, Composition, Zinc and Babbit Metal Castings. Church and Steamboat Bells. Also, a full assortment of Steam and Water Cocks and Valves, Hydraulic Pipes, Nozzles and Hose Couplings, etc. Brass Ship Work, Spikes, Sheathing Nails, Rudder Braces, etc. Agents for Siebert’s Eureka Lubricator."