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Ehrenzeichen für Arbeiter und männliche Dienstboten, a.k.a. Medaille “Für treue Arbeit”

Honorary Medal for Workers and Male Employees, a.k.a. Medal “For Loyal Work”

Decoration was instituted on November 11, 1895 by the Grand Duke of Baden Friedrich I (Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig von Baden, 09.09.1826-28.09.1907) and was presented to male subjects with at least thirty years of seniority and working record with one employer. Military service under Baden colors counted towards seniority. The latter was counted starting from 25 years of age of the worker. Loyalty to the ruling monarch as well as to the Fatherland was an obligatory condition for decoration with the medal. Text of the Sovereign order (Landesherrliche Verordnung) was announced in the issue No.31 of the Collection of Laws and Orders of the Grand Duchy of Baden (Gesetzes- und Verordnungs-Blatt für das Großherzogthum Baden), that was published on November 19, 1895.

Workers, employees of private enterprises and state civil servants were eligible for decoration with the medal. It was particularly awarded to street and road watchmen; Rhein facilities guards; riverside construction workers; railroaders; factory, plant and workshop workers; depot, storehouse and warehouse workers; sailors; agricultural workers; woodcutters; ferry workers; customs employees.

State civil servants as well as employees of private railways were issued with decorations and award documents by the Ministry of Home Affairs, while other recipients were awarded by the corresponding ministries.

Ehrenzeichen für Arbeiter und männliche Dienstboten was awarded once a year only, on September 09, the Grand Duke’s birthday.

Dishonorable or punishable deeds by a holder of a medal deprived him of the right for a decoration.

After demise of the holder decoration was kept by the closest relatives of the deceased as a token of remembrance and was not to be returned to issuing authorities.

Centre of the obverse with raised border showed bust of Friedrich I wearing General’s uniform with cloak facing left (or right, in heraldic perspective). Portrait was circumscribed “Friedrich Grosherzog von Baden” in capital letters. The whole composition was encircled with a wide laurel wreath tied crosswise with ribbon bows at the top and at the bottom. One should take into account that early-pattern pieces manufactured before 1908, during the lifetime of Friedrich I, had his title minted as “Grosherzog”, i.e. with single “s” only. This peculiarity was an odd feature of the German orthography characteristic to the two Grand Duchies, Baden and Hesse that experienced strong French influence since Napoleonic Wars. Thus, Karl Friedrich who reigned as the first Grand Duke from 25.07.1806 to 10.07.1811 and his five successors, Karl, Ludwig I, Leopold, Ludwig II and Friedrich I used spelling “Grosherzog”. It was Friedrich II (enthroned on September 28, 1907; abdicated on November 22, 1918) who changed spelling to more familiar “Grossherzog”, i.e. with double “s”.   

Lower part of the bust was flanked with names of medalists and engravers who elaborated design of the decoration: “Götz” (H.Götz) – at the left and “Mayer” (Rudolf Mayer, 12.06.1846-24.06.1916) – at the right. Both names were executed in capital letters.

Centre of the reverse with raised border showed horizontal ornamental plate bearing inscription “For Loyal Work” (“Für treue Arbeit”) in capital letters. Space above was filled with florid ornament, while space below was decorated with “symbols of endeavor and labour” (as described in the institutional Order), i.e. hand tools. The whole composition was encircled with a wide oak wreath tied crosswise with ribbon bows at the top and at the bottom.

Three types of the portable Ehrenzeichen für Arbeiter und männliche Dienstboten are known to exist:

1. Dark bronze medal weighing 25 g approximately, with an inscription on obverse “Friedrich Grosherzog von Baden”. These medals were minted during the reign of the Grand Duke Friedrich I, in 1896-1907.

2. Dark bronze medal weighing 25 g approximately, with an inscription on obverse “Friedrich Grossherzog von Baden”. These medals were minted during the reign of the Grand Duke Friedrich II, in 1908-1916.

3. As the war progressed, increasing shortage of quality materials made Friedrich II issue an order on May 18, 1916 stipulating that medals henceforth were to be manufactured of much more cheaper metal: iron with copper finish. Dies used for production of these late-war pieces were surprisingly of the early pattern, i.e. bearing an inscription on obverse “Friedrich Grosherzog von Baden”.

Non-portable decorations made of silvered dark bronze and bearing inscription “Friedrich Grossherzog von Baden” are known to exist as well.

All four types of medal described above measured 34,8 mm in diameter.

Before the Great War broke out, 6,050 medals were minted.

Ehrenzeichen für Arbeiter und männliche Dienstboten was worn on the left side of the breast suspended from a silk yellow ribbon with three vertical red stripes. Statute of the decoration prohibited wearing of the ribbon only without the medal itself, in the Prussian manner.

Medaille “Für treue Arbeit” was presented in a square black case containing medal without ribbon and separate piece of ribbon fixed to the inner side of the lid together with the printed extract from the statute of the decoration.

Medal for Loyal Work 1