A Brief History of Trophies
Trophies – they’re a part of our culture. Everything from sports games to acting performances, writing prowess, and everything in between seems to have a trophy associated with it. Actors strive to get an Oscar or an Emmy on their shelves, singers seek a coveted Grammy, soccer players dream about the FIFA world cup, and football superstars (particularly the Packers!) long to bring the Lombardi trophy back home.
It’s true that trophies are everywhere, but where did they come from – and for that matter what does the word trophyeven mean? Well, the etymology of the English wordtrophywas brought into existence in the 16thcentury by means of the French word trophée, which referred to a “prize of war.” That makes good sense, right?! Soldiers would come home from war carrying prizes for their victories – this translated into a prize for a victory of any sort outside of war today!
Early records of trophies are scattered. The winners of the first Olympic games didn’t receive a trophy in the sense that we’re familiar with, but instead would receive laurel wreaths, oil, or emblazoned armor or bronze shields. These were both prestigious and practical! As time went on the tradition of giving a winner of an event a physical form of recognition continued. In the Americas in the late 17thcentury, winners of sporting events were granted chalices as a form of trophy. This is one of the early examples of where the “traditional” trophy shape comes from.
Once the traditional cup style trophy was established, we started producing some of the most iconic trophies of the age. The Stanley Cup and Davis Cup are the most well-known cup designs to fit the mold, but this style is also the norm in horse racing, car racing, and boat racing. As an industry, we started to “break the mold” of cups once availability of more mailable and affordable resins, plastics, and glasses came to the market. These materials made mass production and customization practical for the modern era.
Now that you’ve had a little history lesson, don’t you feel like you deserve an award?! Check out all of the great trophies we have in store ranging from the traditional chalice design to something a little funkier. Stop on by today and we’ll help you design YOUR perfect trophy, too.