10 Random Facts about Hodges Badge Company

Our company is gearing up for an employee trivia contest next week… and in the preparation I have heard some random facts about Hodges Badge going around.  I’ve investigated to see which are true, and decided to post them here to share with you.

  1. Our company sells over 1,000,000 medals each year.
  2. Our Rhode Island staff all works on an island (OK, so it’s 12 miles long… see this post)
  3. The Ideal rosette has been popular ever since its introduction in 1961.
  4. Before World War II, our ribbons were printed with real gold leaf.  Yes, real gold.
  5. The company takes Halloween very seriously.  Employees who don’t come to work in costume on Halloween stand out more than those who do.
  6. Our wind turbine (in the works- stay tuned for construction updates) will make us the first manufacturer in Rhode Island to be entirely powered by renewable energy.
  7. We  travel across the country to exhibit in many different trade shows- I’ve been to 15 just this year so far!
  8. While horse shows remain our largest market, dog shows are the fastest growing.
  9. We print awards not only in English, but have made ribbons in Swedish, Portuguese, French and Spanish (that I know of)
  10. We have two sets of mother and daughter that currently work at our Rhode Island office and factory.

Do you have a random question we could answer on the blog?

Traveling Back in Time

Earlier this week, I was heading to dump my paper recycling into the larger office bin, when I noticed a box of catalogs that looked quite different than the ones we are used to browing through today.  I did a little digging, and found that the catalogs went back to the early 1960s.  I thought you, readers, would be interested in seeing what our “vintage” catalogs looked like, so enjoy the pictures for a brief trip down memory lane…

In the early 1960s, our catalog was really a 24 page pamphlet

Products sold in 1964 included individually lettered felt banners and 3-streamer ribbons

In the pre-computer era, we used illustrations to demonstrate how to use products like this flagpole ribbon

These fair rosettes were probably just as popular as horse show rosettes at the time. Also note the metal rosette centers.

We didn't even have an order form until the 1970s. This letter was used to demonstrate how a customer should request their ribbons.

Catalogs in the late 60s and early 70s used a variation on this cover with a diagonal row of stock designs.

By the mid 70s catalogs were in full color and some of the products (like the Beauty) more closely resemble what we produce today.

In the 80s and early 90s we manufactured European style rosettes.

Is there any particular product  or catalog you remember from years past?  I’ll do my best and attempt to dig it up for the blog!

Why a Badge Company?

I realize there’s a small chance some of you may have ventured over to the Hodges History section of our website, but for those that haven’t, I wanted to write a post to explain why our company has its name– or more specifically, why it’s called Hodges Badge Company and not Hodges Awards, Hodges Ribbons, or some other variation on that theme.

While people today tend to use the word “badge” for police officer medallions, or company IDs, in 1920, when Hodges Badge Company was founded, a “badge” also referred to the name tag and attached ribbon frequently worn by fraternal orders, or social clubs, such as The Elks or the Knights of Columbus.  That’s how the company got its start- making badges for lodge meetings, parades, funerals and other fraternal gatherings.

Horse shows didn’t really become popular until the late 1930s, and Hodges didn’t start selling ribbons and awards to additional markets (gymnastics, swim, athletic, school) until much later.  Therefore, by the time we were manufacturing far more ribbons and rosettes than badges, the company name had already existed for several decades.

The company actually has considered changing names several times, as recently as last summer, when Hodges Ribbons & Awards was the popular choice.  Yet ultimately, honoring the 90 year family history of the company and keeping the original name won out. 

So now, when I travel to trade shows or meet someone and explain who I work for, I do have to take a moment to describe the type of products Hodges offers.  But honestly, it would seem strange to be working for Hodges Awards, since when I turned over my first horse show ribbon at age 10, it definitely said Hodges Badge.