Photo of the Week
January 4, 2009 

This week's images are what I think a major historical find in the history of the Panama Canal.  Most of us know about the Roosevelt Medal or as was called at one time the Canal Service Medal, but I now have found a very interesting side bar to this medal.  I recently bid on an auction for an old printer's block that is photo etched with the image of the Roosevelt Medal. This printer's block is much larger than the actual medal.  The printer's block is medal is  2.5 inches in diameter compared to the medal which measures 30.5 mm or 1.2 inches.  I took this printer's block to a printer museum that has the equipment that was originally used to print this block.  The image above is what was produced from my printer's block.  What a magnificent image!!!!  It is very detailed to the point where you can read V.D. Brenner's signature just behind Roosevelt's left shoulder.  The printer's block image shows the area just below Roosevelt as blank.  This is where the name of the medal recipient would be found on the medal.

Below is an image of the actual printer's block that I scanned.  Forgive the orange color as it is actually a copper color.  The copper plate is mounted on the wooden block with small copper nails.

You cannot believe how excited I am about this find!!!!  What was this printer's block made for?  Were there certificates that were printed and issued along with the medal?  The only information I could get from the seller is that this block came from a large lot of printer's blocks that came from a collector.  If anyone can help me out with how, why and where the printer block was made, please let me know.  I really think I have something historical here and am so happy that I was able to obtain it in the efforts to preserve our United States Panama Canal heritage.

I have left these images rather large so you can study them.

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