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A Quick Look into the History of Trophies

Trophies and plaques are deemed as a symbol of achievement. They act as a tangible and durable reminder of a specific accomplishment for the recipient for years to come. Although trophy plaques were traditionally offered to the individual winner or team to celebrate their victory in a sports event they have gained a special place in today’s modern society. Awards and celebratory ceremonies are very common nowadays in educational institutions and business establishments. Custom trophies and plaques are used to commemorate all sorts of achievements these days in such organizations.

Trophies and awards can be given to anyone to honor their success and achievement regardless of their age or gender. Many custom trophy makers out there who can design and award according to your specific needs. There are a lot of engraving and personalization options available for trophy plaques as well, making it even more special for the recipient. In fact, trophies and plaques have become a key element in celebrating an important event so much so that its nearly impossible to think of a time without them.

The History of Trophies

During ancient times trophies were designed as statues, arches, and columns. Stone columns especially gained prominence among the Romans as they were very durable and could be customized easily. History says that after the triumph in Greece, Roman soldiers created trophies with their opponent’s arms and armors. The design of these trophies was similar to those of the warrior’s armor and the trophies were dedicated to the gods.

Later when the first Olympic Games were conducted in Greece, the visitors were given special crowns that were made with twisted olive branches. These crowns were considered a very special symbol and were reserved for only the most qualified athletes. In fact, receiving a laurel wreath was considered more valuable than receiving gold or silver in those days. This trend later inspired the smaller size of trophies and Olympic medals that would be given to the winner to celebrate their success.

In the years to come the significance of laurel wreaths became the standard. This made event organizers come up with the idea of presenting vases filled with olive oil to the winners of the sports events. As the years passed, more and more versions of this design were seen in the Olympic Games such as vases on tripods and bronze shields. Eventually, when the value of olive oil started to decline, silver cups were designed to celebrate individual achievements in order to keep up the value and prestige of the trophy.

Romans also awarded gold and silver to the winners for their accomplishments, especially in the gladiatorial competitions, but weren’t viewed as tangible recognition of achievement. This preserved the tradition of handing out trophies. Not only that, but trophies were also easier to pass on from one winner to the other in the next contest.

During the Middle Ages, trophy designs featured more glitter and glam in order to highlight their importance. In the 17th Century, the most recognizable trophy designs, that we still see in use today,  came to the forefront and stole the spotlight in every event. It was during this time that the first two-handled trophy cup was given to the winner of a short horse race in New England. This inspired the well-renowned cup shape of trophies for many years to come. The Stanley Cup and the Davis Cup followed suit and designed their own trophy cups in the subsequent years.

The symbolic gesture that trophies portray is not only confined to Western culture but can also be seen in many other civilizations around the world as well. For instance, ancient Chinese Emperors used to award specially designed medals to soldiers with superior achievements while great accomplishments in the Mayan culture were publicly commemorated with specifically designed awards as well.

Trophy Designs Today

The designs of trophy plaques for most sports events today bear many similarities to the original concept of awards. The medals that were given to winners in the Olympic Games symbolize the use of small yet valuable awards in the past, while trophy cups for hockey, soccer, baseball, and other sports events are reminiscent of the earliest designs of awards. The only major difference is that you can get customized trophies in many types of materials these days and personalize them as per your needs.

Giving corporate awards is a relatively recent trend, but it also stands for the importance of recognition in one’s life. While trophies and awards represent the triumph of the winner they also motivate other participants to do their best and get the recognition the next time. This theory flows right into presenting awards and trophies for individual or team achievements in a corporate environment as well, which in turn boosts the overall productivity of the establishment.