Alexander Schwarcman - Creator of Synthenol1939
Bronze with tan patina

The medal's obverse bears bust of Alexander Schwarcman. Around top, ALEXANDER SCHWARCMAN; to left of bust, CREATOR / OF / SYNTHENOL; signed to right, J.J. / 1939

The medal's reverse bears branches of Tung trees with blossoms and nuts. Across image, CASTOR OIL / REPLACES TUNG OIL; in exergue, PRESENTED BY / Spencer Kellogg and Sons, Inc. / TO / DR. ALEXANDER SCHWARCMAN / FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT / IN CHEMICAL INVENTION / · 1939 ·

The edge is marked with MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y. BRONZE

In the 1930s American industry was relying heavily on a chemical product called Tung Oil which was produced by pressing the nuts of Tung trees native to China. The war in Asia disrupted supplies and prices skyrocketed. Alexander Schwarcman developed an efficient and inexpensive way of replacing Tung Oil with Castor oil, which could be produced from seeds imported from Brazil, India, and Manchuria, i.e. countries from which bulk shipping was still possible. Not only did this have a profound economic impact but it also proved to be relevant for the war effort that was still in the future in 1939.

This is a beautiful medal and the botanical imagery on the reverse is of very high quality. It is also nice that an inventor whose name has otherwise been almost forgotten (and whose name is usually identified as a probable misspelling of "Schwartzman") is thus immortalized.

This medal measures 76mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company of New York.