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Dayton Ohio Centennial


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The fun of collecting early aluminum tokens and medals comes in the variety of things that one encounters and acquires. I purchased the following aluminum medallion recently. It was struck for the Dayton, Ohion centennial in 1896.

 

935724.jpg

 

The obverse features the Steele High School, the first high school built in Dayton in 1894. It is named for Robert W. Steele, a long standing member and often president of the Dayton school board. He did alot to promote the notion of public schools in Dayton and died in 1891. School children marched in the centennial parade and I image many wore these medallions. An early image of the school:

 

steele.jpg

 

The reverse features Newcom's Tavern, the first structure built in Dayton in 1796. It served many civic and entertainment functions over the years and was eventually moved to a city park (it still survives). The centennial celebration began at the tavern in 1896 with an address from Ohio's governor.

 

An early image of the tavern:

 

dayton09-01.jpg

 

Another example of the medallion (with tie attached) was buried in a time capsule in 1897. Items (including the medallion) can be seen in this photograph from the Dayton History's Archive Center:

 

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The fun of collecting early aluminum tokens and medals comes in the variety of things that one encounters and acquires. I purchased the following aluminum medallion recently. It was struck for the Dayton, Ohion centennial in 1896.

 

935724.jpg

 

Bill, I always like your posts because you share the surrounding history to the piece such as this. This is exactly why I collect medals as opposed to coins...the history...and the doors that are opened when little snippets of history are exposed.

 

For instance, this post sparked my interest into the use of aluminum for medals and the metal's value/rarity after it was first discovered in the late 1700's. Coin collectors would stick their nose in the air because this isn't made from silver, gold, platinum, or some other 'precious' metal but in reality aluminum was such a metal, even after a way was found to mass produce it.

 

A quip from About.com: "According to Jefferson Lab, "Scientists suspected than an unknown metal existed in alum as early as 1787, but they did not have a way to extract it until 1825. Hans Christian Oersted, a Danish chemist, was the first to produce tiny amounts of aluminum. Two years later, Friedrich Wöhler, a German chemist, developed a different way to obtain the metal. By 1845, he was able to produce samples large enough to determine some of aluminum's basic properties. Wöhler's method was improved in 1854 by Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville, a French chemist. Deville's process allowed for the commercial production of aluminum. As a result, the price of the metal dropped from around $1200 per kilogram in 1852 [sic]twice what gold was valued, $18.93 an ounce, at the same time [sic] to around $40 per kilogram in 1859. Unfortunately, the metal remained too expensive to be widely used."

 

This will, I hope, spark interests to inject more history sound-bites into this thread.

 

Keep the history alive!!!

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