Paterson Parchment Company - Fifty Years 1935

The obverse shows sensuous nude under waterfall. Below, "A MIRACLE OF RARE DEVICE"; signed at lower right, (JMS monogram).

The reverse bears five stars at upper right. Across, Celebrating / Fifty Years / of Service / Paterson / Parchment Paper / Company / 1885 - 1935.

The edge contains maker's mark at 6:00: MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.

The Paterson Parchment Paper Company was founded in 1885 in the city of Passaic, New Jersey. It flourished for several decades but in 1931 it found itself on the recieving end of a monopolization and price discrimination law suit brought by the Story Parchment Company. Apparently, this did not hurt the company all too much because by 1961 it was the World's largest manufacturer of vegetable parchment and custom made paper.

"A miracle of rare device" is a reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan. The second stanza starts out with:

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw;
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.

This is an unusual commercial medal because the nude on the medal's obverse is definitely sensuous if not overtly sexual in her posture. Normally, nude females were reserved for allegorical or mythical pictures and while the pictured nude might be a reference to the poem's Abyssinian maid (missing her dulcimer), it seems more likely that it is a reference to the pleasure-dome. I would love to know how this medal was received in the 1930's, not by the art world, but by Paterson's friends and customers.

The medal measures 76mm in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company.