American Institute Medal
Silver; leather, wood, silk
case: 3 x 3 x 3/4 in. ( 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.9 cm ) diameter: 2 1/16 in. ( 5.2 cm )
Bronze struck medal with obverse showing figure of Liberty holding laurel wreath and pole surmounted by Phrygian cap; at left are tools of agriculture and sailing ship in the background; at right -- symbols of American state and cornucopia; legend above: "THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE."; inscription in exergue: "NEW YORK." Reverse has space for engraving at center, enclosed within open laurel wreath, with legend: "THE SPECIAL MEDAL" and inscription below: "AWARDED/TO/GEO. C. DRESSEL,/for Signal Lamps,/1886." Medal is inset into square black leather fitted case with purple silk velvet lining.
The American Institute was founded in NY in 1827 as a national organization dedicated to supporting the industrial and agrarian arts. Its annual fairs, held in Mechanics Hall, and later Masonic Hall and Niblo's Garden, were in the words of Luther Bradish, a former Governor of New York and 10th President of the N-YHS, "extensive and brilliant displays of the most valuable specimens of domestic skill and industry."
Harkness, Andrew. "The American Institute - Catalyst for the American Greatness." TAMS (Token and Medal Society) Journal 29, no. 4 (August 1989): 123-135.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.