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Awards Glossary A-Z

Copyright © 2006 by Davis Multimedia, Int'l. All Rights Reserved.
As Printed in June–September 2006, Volume 31-32, No. 12-3 of The Engravers Journal.

Once upon a time there were trophies and plaques, cups and bowls. Then along came knock-downs, clocks, corporate awards and components of every description and sometimes ambiguous and even downright confusing terminology.

What do you call all of these award things, not to mention the engraving terminology that’s evolved along with it? When you need good, accurate and understandable information, you can count on EJ.

The following Awards Glossary contains a comprehensive collection of the terminology associated with awards. This glossary contains clear descriptions that even a beginner can understand. We are confident that this will prove to be a valuable business reference tool for both you and your employees,

Acid Etching: Using an acid or other chemical agent to etch a design in a material, often metal.
Acrylic: A rigid, thermoplastic material, available in transparent, translucent and opaque forms. Its characteristics include optical clarity and exceptional UV resistance. It’s often used to create awards. It’s also known under various brand names such as Plexiglas and Lucite.
ADA: An acronym for American with Disabilities Act, which mandates signage for the blind containing raised letters and Braille.
Advertising Specialty: A product imprinted with an advertising message that is given away free to promote a business name, product, etc.
Agate: A naturally formed mineral (an impure form of quartz), similar to marble, but with different colors and textures. Generally considered a premium grade material used in the manufacture of high-end trophies, desk sets, etc.
Aluminum: A relatively soft, silver colored metallic element popularly used as an engraving stock and in the manufacture of trophy components.
Anodizing: An electrical finishing process used to coat aluminum with a hard and durable surface finish.
Appliqué: A piece of fabric imprinted with a decoration, logo, design, etc. (often through embroidery) that can be applied to another piece of fabric or garment (through sewing, heat transfer, etc.). Commonly referred to as a patch.
Arc Engraving: Engraving characters in an arc fashion or with the characters positioned on the circumference portion of an imaginary circle.
Auto Layout: A text layout software feature often used to automatically calculate baselines, margins and letter heights in a computerized engraving system.
Award: 1. (Verb) To recognize a person or persons for accomplishment/achievement. 2. (Noun) An item given to a person or persons for accomplishment/achievement.
Award Program: An idea or concept that involves a defined goal, a plan to achieve the goal and a system of rewards and awards for the people achieving the goal. A program is a motivational tool that encourages participants to achieve goals directly impacting the success of the company/organization sponsoring it.
Award, Perpetual: An award intended to be used for a long or indefinite time period and designed to be updated periodically through the addition of new information, e.g. an annual award where a new recipient is added every year.
Badge: A small item designed to be worn by attachment to an individual’s clothing, pocket, lapel, etc., that identifies the individual, e.g. a name badge.
Badge Finding: A fastener such as a safety pin or clip applied to a badge that allows it to be mounted to a garment.
Ball Holder: A trophy component designed with prong like fingers to hold a football, baseball, softball, etc., on a trophy.
Banner: Similar to a sign, but usually made of cloth, satin like material or other flexible material and imprinted with a message.
Bar Pin: A decorative medal accessory consisting of a small bar (usually engravable) with a fastener on the back, to which a medal can be attached, allowing an individual to wear the medal.
Base, Trophy: The foundation upon which a trophy is built; the bottom piece of a trophy. Available in different sizes, shapes, materials and designs.
Bend: A trophy component fashioned from bent sheet metal, producing a box-like shape. A bend may be used as a riser or a column in the construction of a trophy.
Bending Machine: A piece of equipment used to form sheets of metal into trophy components, such as columns.
Beveling Machine: A machine utilizing a rotating cutter which creates a decorative beveled edge on nameplates, plaques, etc.
Bitmap: A digital file or image composed of pixels or dots.
Blanking: The process of using a punch and die on a blanking press to produce shapes from different materials, such as metal, which match the shape of the die.
Blanking: See Die Stamping.
Bobble Head: A two-part doll (usually depicting a person or animal) with the head attached using a spring allowing it to bob up and down. Often used with sports themes.
Bow Pin: A decorative medal accessory (usually metal) in the shape of a bow which contains a fastener that allows an individual to wear the medal.
Brad: A nail with a small rounded head, used for mounting plates on plaque boards, trophy bases, etc.
Braille (Grades 1 & 2): The alphabet of the blind, Braille characters consist of raised dots which are read using a finger tip. Grade 1 Braille consists of a direct translation, whereas Grade 2 (literary Braille) utilizes phonetic “contractions” which help the pronunciation.
Brake: A metal bending device used to create rectangular and box-like trophy columns from sheet metal.
Branding Machine: A device that utilizes a heated die or metal type and pressure to “burn” a permanent mark into a variety of combustible materials.
Brass: A metal alloy composed of copper and zinc, popularly used in the manufacture of engravable items and trophy and plaque plates. Most brasses have a yellow gold color, but are available in other colors.
Brass, Engravers: A metal alloy composed of copper, zinc and a small percentage of lead which is expressly formulated for rotary engraving due to its “free machining” characteristics.
Britannia: Once known as “poor man’s silver” and largely replacing leaded pewter, a soft, white metal alloy of tin, copper and antimony. Popular since the early 19th century for making tankards, teapots, coffee pots, etc. (Also see Pewter.)
Bronze: A metal alloy primarily consisting of copper and tin. Characterized by its yellow orange color.
Bronzing: The process of electroplating nonconductive materials and items with bronze. Used for items such as baby shoes, baseball gloves, etc., that can be mounted on a base and serve as a keepsake or award.
Burnish Engraving: A rotary engraving technique for metal using faceted burnishing cutters that float across the material’s surface, providing a shallow rotary engraved cut on the metal without using a depth regulator nose.
Button: Sometimes called a button badge, a type of wearable badge consisting of a pin back, button shell, printed insert and a clear (usually Mylar) cover sheet. The printed inserts often feature slogans, advertisements, photographs, etc. Also the center feature of ribbon rosettes. Also see Rosette (Ribbon).
Calligraphy: The art of beautiful handwriting, often used to letter award certificates.
Calligraphy Engraving: A type of non-rotating mechanical engraving done using a chisel-point graver, providing the visual effects of “thicks and thins” in the letter strokes.
Cap Press: A machine designed to hold baseball style caps, visors, etc., that utilizes heat and pressure to sublimate or heat transfer a design.
Cap, Trophy: A trophy component used to provide a transitional horizontal ledge between two vertical components, e.g. between risers and a column, between a column and a figure, etc. Often confused with a lid. A cap fits on another component while a lid fits in or over another part. Also see Lid.
Carbide: An extremely hard, wear resistant, man made material made from tungsten and carbon, used in the manufacture of cutting tools such as engraving cutters.
Carbide, Micrograin: A hard, man made material made from tungsten and carbon, used in the manufacture of engraving cutters. Similar to conventional tungsten carbide, except it has a very fine grain structure which enhances its strength and toughness.
Casting: 1. (Verb) The process of forming a shape, figure, etc., by pouring liquid material (often molten metal) into a mold and allowing the material to harden. 2. (Noun) The form or shape created by this process, e.g. a trophy casting.
Centrifugal Casting: The process of hand or machine pouring molten metal into a spinning mold, utilizing centrifugal force to cause the metal to reach all the mold crevices. Used to manufacture products such as medals and metal trophy figures.
Ceramic: A hard, brittle, heat and corrosion resistant material, such as clay and porcelain. Used in the manufacture of products such as mugs which are shaped and then fired at a high temperature.
Certificate Cover: A book like display item, made from cardboard, vinyl, etc., designed to hold and protect an award certificate.
Certificate Holder: Any of a variety of display items, such as folders, covers, frames, etc., designed to hold and display an award certificate.
Certificate, Award: A type of award, usually made of paper or foil and imprinted with an award message and design.
Chain, Neck: A medal accessory made of a chain of metal links to which a medal can be attached, allowing an individual to wear the medal around his or her neck.
Check Ring: A trophy component used beneath a trophy figure to separate the figure from the base or other component it rests on.
Chenille: A soft, tufted, woven fabric similar to embroidery and used for creating designs for wearables, such as school athletic letters for jackets.
Cloisonné: The process of applying different colors of glass beads in indentations in a surface, such as metal or pottery, to create a design and then firing the glass beads at very high temperatures causing them to fuse to the item. Commonly used for medallic items and emblematic jewelry.
Cloisonné, Simulated: The process of applying different colors of enamel (as opposed to glass beads used in true cloisonné) in indentations in a surface and then firing at high temperatures creating a colorful, hard and permanent design. Commonly used for medallic items and emblematic jewelry.
CNC: An acronym for computerized numerical control, the principal used in computer controlled engraving.
CO2 Laser: A laser which generates its energy by exciting molecules of CO2 gas within the laser tube.
Collet: A locking device which grips a cutter or other item providing exceptional concentricity and rigidity during rotation and cutting.
Color Filling: Also known as paint filling, the process of filling laser and rotary engraved or etched grooves or characters with paint to add color.
Column, Trophy: A generic term describing the central vertical component of a trophy. Available in an extremely wide variety of shapes, colors, materials and designs. Bends, extrusions and wood turnings are also considered columns if used as the central component in a trophy.
Columnar Copy: The arrangement of award copy, such as a list of names, into a column and row fashion.
Comparator, Pocket: A small, hand held magnifying device used for viewing and measuring cutters, engraved lines, etc., under magnification.
Condensing: Compressing a line of text as in computerized engraving, so as to reduce its width without affecting its height.
Continuous Casting: A manufacturing operation where casting is done in one continuous operation. Sheet acrylic, for example, is continuous cast by casting a liquid monomer between moving stainless steel belts.
CorelDRAW: A comprehensive graphics design software program used extensively to create anything from message layouts to logo design to templates for rotary and laser engraving, sublimation and other applications.
Corian: Brand name for a line of solid surface materials used for countertops, but also as award components and as blanks for signage, donor walls, etc.
Cork Pad: A thin sheet of the light, porous outer bark of cork oak trees used as protective pads on the bottoms of awards, such as trophies, to prevent the item from slipping or scratching the surface it rests on.
Corner Notcher: A punch like device used to remove an arc shaped indentation from a plate corner to provide a decorative look. Often used on plaque plates, nameplates, etc.
Corner Rounder: A piece of equipment used to create a rounded (radiused) corner on a plate, e.g. sign, nameplate, etc., for decorative purposes.
Cutter Knob: The locking screw cap commonly found on the top of rotating engraving cutters.
Cutter Offset: The technique of relocating a rotating cutter’s centerline path of travel when cutting holes or shapes to achieve an accurate finished size due to the cutter’s width.
Cutting Fluids: A variety of coolants/lubricants used to dissipate heat and reduce cutter wear in various “machining” operations such as rotary engraving, drilling, etc.
Countersink: A multi diameter drill bit used to create a stepped, multi di ameter hole, allowing a screw or bolt head to be recessed below the surface of an item. Also the operation of drilling a “countersunk” hole. Used in drilling mounting holes in trophy bases, caps, etc.
Coupling: A hollow, cylindrical shaped piece of trophy hardware which contains internal screw threads and is used to attach together two rods or other threaded hardware.
Crest: A decorative symbol depicting an organization, family, etc., e.g. a coat of arms.
Crown (Tiara): An ornamental head covering usually containing jewels and worn as a symbol of achievement. Commonly used to recognize homecoming queens (in schools), beauty pageant winners, etc. Also see Crown (Tiara).
Crown, Trophy: A miniature version of an ornamental head covering usually placed at the top of a trophy to represent achievement. Also see Crown (Tiara).
Crystal: A high quality, glass used in the manufacture of gifts and awards.
Cup, Loving: A large, ornamental vessel usually made of metal and containing two handles. Popular as awards for sports competitions.
Cup (Trophy Mount): A trophy component, used like a figure, in the shape of a cup or bowl. Cups are often used in lieu of trophy figures and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and different mounting configurations, but most commonly with a threaded mounting stud protruding from the bottom.
Cutters, Engraving: General term which describes a variety of rotating and nonrotating cutting tools.
Cutter Grinder: A piece of equipment used to sharpen and tip rotary engraving cutters.
Decal: A piece of material, such as Mylar, imprinted with a design, message, etc., that can be adhered to another surface, usually through self adhesion.
Depth Regulator Nose: A device that fits on the bottom of a rotary engraving spindle, allowing the rotating cutter to protrude, that regulates the depth of cut by riding over the surface of the material being engraved.
Decenders: Portions of certain text letters such as lower case g, j, p, q, etc., which drop below the baseline of other letters.
Desk Set: A term used to generically describe a coordinated group of accessories used on a desktop, such as a matching pen and pencil holder, notepad holder, business card holder, etc.
Diamond Drag Engraving: A type of mechanical engraving which utilizes a bullet-point diamond graver to “scratch” lines/characters into a substrate using no motor power.
Diamond Graver: A nonrotating, diamond tipped cutting tool used in diamond engraving. Used without motor power to engrave metal by “scratching” the material.
Die Casting: The process of pouring or forcing molten metal into a permanent mold to create a casting. Commonly used for manufacturing trophy figures and award medals.
Die Stamping: The process of using a punch and die on a blanking press to produce shapes from different materials, such as metal, which match the shape of the die.
Die Striking: A manufacturing process utilizing a press and a die whereby the die is brought down under great pressure onto a material blank causing the die’s raised or recessed image to be pressed into the material. Used for manufacturing medals, medallions and coins.
Die, Hot Stamping: A component consisting of raised, reverse reading characters or designs that will serve as the pattern to be imprinted through hot stamping.
Diffraction Material: A special film, containing miniscule ridges on the reverse side, which is vacuum metallized with a reflective coating. When viewed from different angles and lighting conditions, it produces a rainbow like spectrum of multicolored light reflections. Popularly used in the manufacture of trophy column inserts and for vinyl letter cutting operations.
Display Fixture: Any of a variety of cases, covers, etc., that a product can set in or on in order to be viewed.
Dithering: A computer technique for laser engraving photos where tonal areas of different shades of gray are filled with a “dither pattern” of random pixels to simulate the look of different tones.
Dividers: A measuring tool with two adjustable points which is useful for centering copy on items to be engraved and for making engraving measurements.
Double Faced Tape: A type of tape that contains adhesive on both sides, often used for attaching plates or trim to awards.
Dress Up: A term used to describe ornamentals containing designs, such as leaves, torches, etc., or other award themes that are used to decorate an award such as a plaque or trophy.
Drill Bit: A tool bit used to drill holes in various materials.
Drill Press: A powered machine that utilizes a drill bit to drill holes into various materials.
Dye Dipping: The process of changing the surface color of a lacquered trophy figure or other part by submersing the figure in a specially formulated dye.
Electroplating: The process of covering an item with a thin coating of metal by placing it in a plating solution and passing an electrical current through the solution.
Embedment, Acrylic: An object created by encapsulating various objects, e.g. medallions, coins, business cards, etc., within a block of solid acrylic through a casting process.
Embodiment, Acrylic: An acrylic case containing a slot or other indentation where an item, such as a medallion, can be inserted to look like it is embedded in acrylic.
Embossing: To decorate with a raised design, e.g. an embossing seal with a die is used to emboss paper documents by stretching the fibers of the paper.
Embroidery: The process of creating stitched designs on fabric using needles and thread.
Enameling: A coloring process whereby the recesses of a design, created through etching, die striking, etc., are paint filled. The paint is then either allowed to dry or “fired” (baked), resulting in a permanent design with a hard finish. Commonly used on emblematic jewelry, award medals, etc.
Engravable: (Noun) A term used to describe a variety of small items that can be engraved, such as jewelry and gift items. Also, any substance which can be engraved.
Engraving: The art or technique of carving, cutting or etching into a material.
Epoxy: A resin characterized by toughness, strong adhesion, and high corrosion and chemical resistance, used as a material surface coating and an adhesive.
Etch and Fill: A two step process where metal is chemically etched and paint is applied to the etched indentations.
Etching: A process where metal is chemically removed, leaving a design.
Extrusion, Trophy: A trophy component that is manufactured through extruding; a manufacturing operation where a soft material is forced through a die of a particular shape, assuming that shape as it solidifies. Extrusions are generally made from aluminum or plastic in a continuous operation and then sawed into desired lengths. An extrusion may be a riser or a column, depending on how it is used in the construction of a trophy.
Felt Dot: A circular piece of felt adhered to the bottoms of awards, such as trophies, to prevent the item from sliding or scratching the surface on which it rests.
Ferrule: Trophy hardware, also called a hexagon head coupling, used on top of trophy caps and lids where the threaded portion of a rod or a figure will be attached. Ferrules allow unscrewing and changing trophy figures without disassembling the entire trophy.
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP): A polymer material which is reinforced with fiberglass, giving it both heat resistance and a sublimation receptive surface.
Figure, Trophy: A trophy component (figurines) depicting the theme of the trophy, such as a baseball player. Trophy figures are usually made from metal or plastic and are available in hundreds of themes.
Filename Extension: The two or three letter extension (after the period) in a computer file name, e.g. DOC, EXE, DXF, EPS, etc.
Filigree: A type of decorative edge found on jewelry and other engravables that appears as a series of closely spaced circles or perforations.
Findings: Attachments or fasteners, such as safety pins, clips, clutches, etc., used to attach a badge or lapel pin to a garment.
Florentine Finish: A finishing technique commonly used on metal jewelry items, characterized by a series of criss crossing lines, resulting in a frosted, satin finish look.
Foil, Hot Stamping: Foils are a thin film coated with a layer of color that is transferred using heated dies that seal the thin metallic layer onto a substrate surface. Foils come in a vast assortment of designs including metallized, matte or gloss pig ment.
Font: A complete set of “type” in a particular style used for printing, engraving, etc.
Foundry Type: Also called hand set type or printer’s type, individual pieces of raised, reverse reading metal (usually lead) characters, used for hot stamping names and messages.
Fountainhead: A "brand name" type of synthetic marble- or stone-like material used as a countertop material and also as an engraving substrate for awards, signs, donor walls, etc.
Fountainhead: See Solid Surface Material.
Fringe: A decorative edging made of hanging threads or cords attached to a fabric base, often used on award ribbons to add decorative appeal.
Gavel: A mallet like item, containing a cylindrical head and a stem, used in conducting many formal meetings and proceedings. Commonly used as awards for recognizing authority and leadership as well as for plaque mounts.
Gavel Band: A flat strip of engravable metal that wraps around the head of a gavel.
Gavel Clip: A device that can be mounted on a plaque to hold a gavel by its stem.
Gavel Stand: A display piece, usually made of wood, that has indentations at each end for a gavel to rest in.
Gold Leaf: A foil made of very thin, translucent sheets of solid gold that are adhered to various surfaces (gilding) to create a solid gold surface coating.
Graver: A variety of non rotating cutting tools used in hand and machine engraving. Also see Diamond Graver.
Halftone: A reproduction of a photograph or film negative in which the image is made up of a series of fine black dots of varying sizes. Viewed from a distance, the image appears to be of varying shades of gray.
Halo (Trophy): A decorative trophy component made of metal and placed at the top of a trophy to form a vertical halo or ring around the figure.
Hand Casting: The process of forming a shape by hand pouring liquid material into a mold and allowing it to solidify.
Hand Engraving: The process of engraving using handheld tools.
Hanger: A piece of hardware that can be mounted on the back of an item such as a plaque to facilitate attachment to a wall.
Header: The main portion of an award message, often the name of or reason for the award.
Heat Press: A piece of equipment that utilizes heat and pressure to sublimate or apply various heat transfers onto flat items such as T-shirts and plates.
Heat Tape: A type of adhesive tape that withstands high temperatures, used to secure items that will under go a heat based imprinting process, such as sublimation.
Hollowware: Tableware (usually metal) that is hollow or bowl shaped, such as bowls, tankards, trays, etc. Often used as awards when imprinted with a message.
Hologram: A diffraction like material that contains a particular design with a three dimensional image. When viewed from different angles, the image appears to move.
Honeycomb Material: A metal mesh material used for laser cutting, which improves the cut by allowing the laser beam to continue past the materials back surface and also allow air circulation near the cut.
Hot Stamping: A marking method whereby a heated die is brought into contact with a foil, which is coated on the underside with a colored pigment or metallic coating. The pigment is transferred to the item through heat and pressure. Popularly used for imprinting award ribbons, name badges, etc.
Incentive: An item that is given away or presented as a prize, used to motivate and encourage individuals to achieve a desired goal.
Injection Molding: The process of using force to inject a molten mate rial, such as plastic, into a contoured mold to create a shape. Commonly used in the manufacture of plastic trophy components.
Inkjet Sublimation: A color personalization method where “sublimating dyes” are printed onto a paper transfer which is then heat transferred onto a substrate using a heat press.
Insert (Column): A decorative trophy component that slides into the channel on an open faced column to add color and texture to an award. Column inserts, also called trophy fronts, are generally cut from sheets of flat metal, cardboard, plastic and various other materials.
Italicization: A computer technique used to tilt a line of characters so the vertical lines all tilt to the right, giving the effect of an “italic” font.
Jade Glass: Inexpensive glass often used in the manufacture of drinkware and inexpensive glass awards. Jade glass is so named due to its greenish color when a thick piece is viewed.
Jewelry, Emblematic: Jewelry items such as rings and pins that are imprinted with an emblem such as a school or organization crest, or a company logo. Often used as awards and gifts.
Jigs, Holding: A set of holding devices that clamp an item in an engraving machine.
Jump Ring: A small loop found on items such as charms and medals that allows the item to be attached to another item, such as a bracelet, neck chain or neck ribbon.
Justification: The term for aligning type between fixed left and right margins. Right justified text is flush with the right margin and left justified defines text that is flush with the left margin. Center justified text places the type centered between the left and right margins.
Kerning: Adding to or decreasing the normal intercharacter spacing between certain “weak” letter combinations to visually enhance intercharacter spacing.
Knock Down: A trophy or award sold as a complete unit but packaged in an unassembled “kit” form.
Lacquer Stick: A color filling device that is similar to a crayon in appearance and consistency, used to color fill engraved characters by rubbing the stick over the engraved recesses.
Lanyard: A cord or ribbon worn around the neck for attaching something, such as a badge or whistle.
Laserable: A material which can be engraved using a laser.
Laser Engraving (Lasering): The process of engraving with a high energy laser beam which vaporizes the material being engraved.
Laser Friendly: A material that can be easily laser engraved and which creates no problems for the machine or operator.
Laser Sublimation: A full color personalization method where a computer laser printer and special sublimating dye toners are used to transfer an image onto a paper transfer which is then heat transferred to a sublimation receptive surface.
Lathe (Engraving): An engraving machine which engraves a sheet of material wrapped around a spinning drum.
Lead Crystal: Crystal that contains at least 24% lead oxide.
Lid: A trophy component that is similar to a cap (also see Cap) in that it is used to provide a horizontal transition between two vertical components. A lid fits in or over a part while a cap sets on a part.
Logo (Logotype): A graphic symbol that represents or identifies a business or organization. In common usage, also often referred to as any special graphic design that can be engraved, such as control panel layouts and floor plans.
Magnetic Badge Finding: A badge attach ment which utilizes a magnet and a metal backing to adhere the item to a garment.
Marble: A naturally formed rock-like mineral characterized by a streaked appearance, e.g. white marble with gray streaks. Popular for its ornamental qualities and used for products such as trophy bases.
Margins: The blank areas separating text and graphics from the edge of an engraving plate.
Medal: A coin-like award usually made of metal and imprinted with a design and/or message denoting achievement. Medals usually contain a loop (jump ring) at the top allowing them to be attached to an accessory and worn by the recipient.
Medallion: A coin-like award, similar to a medal, imprinted with a design and/or message commemorating achievement. Intended to be attached to a base (such as a plaque, medallion holder or the base of a pen and pencil set) instead of being worn by the recipient.
Medallion Holder: A decorative award component designed to hold a medallion or insert.
Medallion Insert: A small medallic item, commonly made of metal, plastic or Mylar, imprinted with an award message or design, and designed to fit into a medallion holder.
Melamine: A rigid, brittle, thermosetting, laminated engraving stock (often incorrectly referred to as phenolic).
Microsurface Engraving Material: An engraving stock (usually plastic) having a very thin surface coating, which provides exceptional detail.
Monogram: A stylized arrangement of initials (usually three), often using two different sized characters without periods. In monograms, the first name initial is placed first, followed by the last name initial (usually larger) and the middle initial (same size as first initial).
Mylar: DuPont’s trade name for polyester film material used for making medallic inserts, bumper stickers, decals and for various vinyl letter cutting operations.
Nameplate: An identification plate (commonly metal or plastic) containing a name, message or other nomenclature.
Neck (Trophy): A trophy component designed to separate and provide a smooth transition between trophy components, such as a cap and a figure, and add height to the trophy. Necks are often used to add visual balance to trophies. Also called a stem.
Nose Cone: See Depth Regulator Nose.
Notched Corner: A decorative, arc shaped indentation removed from a plate corner using a blanking press or punch. Often used on plaque plates, nameplates, etc.
Nut (Hex Nut): A fastener with a threaded hole in the center and a hexagonal outer shape designed to attach to a bolt or screw. Used in assembling trophies to join together bases, rods and other trophy components.
Nut Driver: A screwdriver like tool used to loosen and tighten threaded bolts or nuts.
Nut, Acorn: A decorative, threaded nut shaped like an acorn and used in award assembly. Generally used where the fastener is visible on the final award.
Nut, Cap: A decorative, threaded nut used to secure trophy rods protruding through caps where the appearance of a regular nut or ferrule would be objectionable.
Nut (Pal Nut): A low cost threaded nut formed from sheet metal and used in trophy assembly.
Ornamental: A decorative design or artwork element used when engraving or lettering awards, gifts, etc., to add interest, to emphasize and to balance a layout.
Oxidizing Solution: A chemical solution that causes engraved characters, or unlacquered portions of aluminum or brass, to turn black so that they are more easily seen. Used only with lacquered metals.
Pad Printing: A mechanical marking process similar to offset printing whereby a silicone (rubbery) pad picks up ink from the recesses of an etched gravure plate containing an image and then transfers the ink to a material surface.
Paint Filling: The process of filling laser and rotary engraved or etched grooves or characters with paint to add color, also known as color filling.
Pantograph: The mechanical linkage system used on mechanical (pantograph) engraving machines which reproduces motion at the same size or a different size.
Parchment: A material made of goat skin used long ago in lieu of paper for certificates, scrolls, etc. More recently, a paper stock that has been specially treated to have the mottled yellow and brown appearance of genuine parchment, popular for use as award certificates.
Parallel Cutter: A rotating cutter where the cutting edge is parallel to the cutter’s axis.
Pedestal (Plaque): A small stand containing a flat top and a hole into which a trophy figure can be inserted and then mounted on a flat plaque board.
Pender Hanger: A hook consisting of a base with a screw hole for mounting on the back of an item, such as a plaque, and a circular ring for attachment to a wall.
Perpetual Award: An award which is presented repeatedly and, typically, a new name is added with each subsequent presentation.
Pewter: A very soft, gray white metal alloy made of tin, antimony and copper used in the manufacture of engravable items such as tankards, cups and bowls. Pewter (pre 1800) originally contained lead and was unsafe for use in food serving vessels. Modern pewter is known as Britannia.
Phenolic: See Melamine
Photoengraving: A chemical etching process used primarily on magnesium and zinc that involves coating the metal with a photoresist, exposing the surface to UV light using a film positive mask and then acid etching the surface to form a raised letter or design configuration. Often used for making hot stamping dies.
Photoetching: A chemical etching process that involves transferring a photographic image to metal and then chemically dissolving portions from the surface of the metal to form the graphic image.
Photometal: A process utilizing aluminum sheets coated with a silver halide (photographic) emulsion that accepts photographic images, creating a highly durable photographic image embedded under the metal surface.
Piano Finish: A wood finishing technique involving many successive coats of lacquer and exhibiting a very high gloss level.
Pin (Safety Pin): A finding in the form of a straight pin and clasp used to attach items such as badges and medal accessories to clothing.
Plaque, Award: An award containing a message and often graphics designed to be attached to a wall and given for recognition and achievement.
Plaque Board: A decorative plaque mount, commonly made of wood, to which an engravable plate and/or plaque relief can be attached.
Plaque, Book: An award consisting of a plaque board and a flat or curved plaque plate designed to resemble an open book.
Plaque, Cast: A plaque made through a casting process where molten metal or liquid resin is poured into a die that contains the design and message of the plaque and allowed to solidify.
Plaque Frame: A decorative structure designed to encase, hold or border a plaque plate.
Plaque, Photo: A plaque that incorporates a photograph or a reproduction of a photograph.
Plaque Plate: A piece of engraving stock that can be imprinted with names, messages and graphics, and mounted on a plaque board or in a plaque frame.
Plaque Relief: A form or figure that projects from the flat surface of a plaque board. Plaque reliefs have two or three dimensional fronts and flat or hollow backs and are fashioned to look like various objects, people, animals, etc. Used to dress up and tailor a plaque to the award theme.
Plaque, Scroll: A plaque characterized by scrolled or curled edges resembling a “scrolled” manuscript.
Plaque Stand: A fixture designed to display a plaque on a desktop, counter, etc.
Polyester: A plastic material made of synthetic resins used in adhesives, molded parts, wearables, etc.
Premium: An item or reward given to an individual in exchange for doing something, e.g. a “free” gift given in return for a purchase.
Profiling: The process of cutting a shape out of a piece of material with a rotating cutter, commonly used for making badges and cutting holes in control panels.
Punch: A machine or tool that utilizes a male punch and a female die to cut shapes, holes, etc., out of various materials.
Raster Engraving: Laser engraving characterized by the back and forth movement of the beam, with an incremental step movement with each pass.
Resins: Award products made using a cast and a pourable plastic or elastomer compound.
Revere Bowl: A famous bowl style with a curved lip whose name originated from Paul Revere’s Liberty Bowl (1768). Popular as awards and gifts.
Ribbon Bow: A ribbon like medal accessory, made of a satin like material in the shape of a bow to which a medal can be attached. Ribbon bows contain fasteners to facilitate attachment to clothing.
Ribbon Clasp: A medal accessory, usually made of a soft, bendable metal, designed to be bent around a ribbon. Ribbon clasps are available with many different subject inscriptions to designate different events and classes in various competitions.
Ribbon Loop: A medal accessory, often made of a small piece of satin-like material to which a medal can be attached. Ribbon loops contain fasteners to facilitate attachment to clothing.
Ribbon Stringer: A machine used to insert strings through the eyelets of award ribbons.
Ribbon, Award: An award made of a satin like fabric that is often imprinted (usually through hot stamping) with an award message.
Ribbon, Neck: A medal accessory, often made of brightly colored cloth, containing a loop that can be attached to a medal’s jump ring allowing the medal to be worn around an individual’s neck.
Riser: A vertical pillar used to provide multiple levels and height to a trophy. Usually hollow to allow a rod to pass through. A wide variety of risers are available, including extrusions, bends and wood turnings (see these terms in the glossary for more information) as well as a wide variety of themes.
Rod, Trophy: A steel or plastic threaded rod that serves as the backbone for most trophies by holding trophy components together. Standard rods are 1/4" diameter and are available in various lengths, usually with screw threads at each end.
Roller: A metal forming device with a series of rollers used to form round columns and scrolled edge plates from sheet metal.
Roller Coating: The process of coating a material surface with a substance using a roller. Used extensively in the manufacture of trophy and engraving metals for coating sheets with lacquer, enamel, etc.
Rosette (Metal): A small decorative metal washer resembling a rose petal, used around the screws or nails that adhere a plate to a board to enhance the plaque appearance.
Rosette (Ribbon): Part of an award ribbon made from the same type of material, but stitched in a flat, circular configuration resembling a rose.
Rosewood: A type of hard wood used in the manufacture of gavels and other award items, and characterized by a dark reddish color with a strongly delineated grain.
Rout: Removing material in a substrate by gouging or digging with a tool, often leaving only raised character and logo images.
Sand Casting: A manufacturing process utilizing a temporary sand mold into which molten metal is poured. Used for creating trophy figures, medals, etc.
Sandblasting: A marking method in which a stencil is placed on the item to be marked and a constant stream of sand particles is directed at the item to etch the design. Commonly used for marking glass, ceramic and stone.
Sash: A band or ribbon imprinted with a message and worn over the shoulder, used as an award to identify contestants for competitions such as beauty contests.
Sawtooth Hanger: A no-wire picture or plaque hanger with serrated “teeth” that face downward and hang on an ordinary nail.
Scanner: A computer peripheral used to digitally capture hard copy artwork and create a digital file.
Scepter: An ornamental rod or staff held by an individual during ceremonies to symbolize authority.
Scoring: A process used for fabricating plates from sheets of various materials, especially plastics, that involves cutting or scribing a line so that it can then be broken along the scribed line.
Screen Printing: A marking method in which a fabric screen/stencil is placed over the item to be marked and ink is pushed through the stencil pores onto the item to create the image. Popular for marking all kinds of materials from glass to textiles. Commonly referred to as silk screening because stencils were originally made of silk.
Scrimshaw: The art of hand scribing on materials such as ivory, whale teeth and bone. Generally a series of scribed lines which are filled with inks or dyes.
Script: A type face or letter style consisting of curving lines and designed so as to simulate human handwriting.
Sculpture: A design or figure created by a hand process, such as chiseling or modeling. Some manufacturers use this process for creating custom trophies.
Shadow Box: A display unit consisting of a flat back and an extruding perimeter. A plate or other award item can be placed on the back, giving it a recessed or boxed look.
Shear: A machine which cuts various materials through the closure of two blades.
Silver Plate: Items, such as flatware and hollowware, usually made of an inexpensive base metal, such as copper, which have been electroplated with a thin coating of solid silver.
Solid Surface Material: A type of synthetic marble- or stone-like material sold under various brand names such as Corian and Fountainhead used as a counter top material and also as an engraving substrate for awards, signs, donor walls, etc.
Sound Block: A decorative piece of wood upon which a gavel is tapped.
Spindle: The part of a rotary engraving machine which holds the engraving cutter or end mill.
Stem: See Neck.
Step & Repeat: A graphic process where an image is repeated into a series of columns and/or rows.
Stencil, Sandblasting: A perforated stencil or pattern of a design used to achieve the design on an item through sandblasting.
Sterling Silver: A metal alloy containing at least 92% silver. Used in the manufacture of hollowware award items.
Sublimation (Sublimating Dye Transfer): An imaging method utilizing pressure and heat to transfer an image from a paper heat transfer coated with special dyes to an item. Sublimating dyes undergo a change of phase from a solid to a gas on heating, transfer to the adjoining surface and then resolidify on cooling. Popular for imprinting textiles, metal plates, and specially treated plastics and ceramics. Also see Inkjet Sublimation and Laser Sublimation.
Sublimation Receptive Surface: A material surface having a polymer content which is receptive to sublimation dyes. This includes textiles, award blanks, coffee mugs, etc.
Subsurface Engraving: 3D engraving done on the inside of an acrylic, crystal or glass cube or block.
Table: The holding surface of an engraving machine.
Tankard: A large drinking vessel containing a handle and, sometimes, a hinged cover. Often made of pewter or silver and given as an award.
Template (Engraving): A pattern for a graphic design, logo, ornamental, etc., used for pantograph engraving.
Thermobending: The process of heating a piece of plastic (usually with a strip heater) and bending it, e.g. into a freestanding counter sign.
Thesaurus: A reference book of synonyms or different words that have similar meanings. Helpful to engravers when composing award messages.
Tiara: Similar to a crown, an ornamental headpiece often covered with jewels and worn by women during award ceremonies such as beauty contests.
Top, Trophy: See Lid and Cap.
Transfer, Sublimation: A paper sheet containing a reverse reading image made of special sublimation dyes. When held against an item in the presence of heat and pressure, the dyes undergo a change of phase, transfer to the item and resolidify, resulting in a permanently dyed image.
Tray: A large, flat serving piece with a raised edge, often made of silver, that usually contains decorative designs such as scrolls and can be engraved. Popular for award and gift applications.
Trim: A decorative piece other than the main components of a trophy used to dress up a trophy, e.g. trim figures and other ornamentals. Also see Dress Up.
Trim Figure: Decorative or theme trophy figures that are usually smaller and of secondary importance to the main figure(s) and parts. Trim figures are commonly small scale versions of the main figure or may be other decorative figures denoting the year, place, etc.
Trophy: In a traditional sense, anything tangible that is won or given as a prize or award. In today's industry, an award made from various standard components, such as a column, a base and a trophy figure, and given for achievement/ victory.
Trophy Plate: A recognition/identification plate, often made of metal engraving stock, that contains names and award messages, and is mounted on a trophy.
Two-Ply & Three-Ply: Engraving stock consisting of either two or three layers of contrasting color materials.
Type Face: A particular style of lettering, e.g. Times Roman.
Type Slug: A line of raised, reverse reading characters (as opposed to individual characters) all cast on a single lead slug, used for making rubber stamps and for hot stamping lettering.
Typesetting: Traditionally, the assemblage of characters into words and compositions for use in various printing operations. Today, the production of black and white letters, numerals, symbols, etc., onto paper, plastic, film or other flexible artwork or film medium.
Typewriter, Metal Marking: A metal marking machine, similar to a standard typewriter, that stamps characters using a character wheel that contains a series of steel stamp-like characters. Used for marking trophy plates and metal data plates.
Urethane (Polyurethane): A plastic material, also known as polyurethane, commonly used in the manufacture of award components.
Vacuum Metallizing: The process of depositing a thin continuous layer of metal onto a prepared surface by vaporizing the metal and condensing it on the surface under vacuum pressure in a chamber designed for this purpose. Used extensively for applying metallic coatings onto plastic trophy figures and other components.
Vacuum Pump: A “pump” which creates suction instead of pressure, useful for vacuum tables and hold-down fixtures.
Vacuum Table: An engraving table which utilizes vacuum/suction to hold down the material while it’s being engraved.
Vanadate Laser (Nd:YVO4): A variation of a YAG laser known for its ability to mark metals and for its extremely small spot size.
Vector Cutting: A cutting operation in both laser and rotary engraving where the laser beam or rotary cutter follows a “path” made up of straight lines, curves, etc.
Vectorization: Converting a raster or bitmap image comprised of dots or pixels into a “vector” image comprised of lines or cutter moves. Vectorization is often done using a “trace” program which outlines a group of pixels with line segments.
Velcro: A fastening material consisting of two parts, where one contains small “hooks” that grab the other part, used in award displays. Velcro is a brand name for materials generically known as “hook and loop” fasteners.
Velvet: A fabric made of silk, rayon or nylon, having a smooth pile and elegant look. Often used as the backing in plaque frames and shadow boxes.
Vinyl: A type of plastic that is tough and flexible, used for coverings or coatings on various award products. Also available are sign cutting vinyls, which are films from which graphics and letters can be cut using vinyl letter cutting equipment, typically consisting of vinyl adhered to a paper carrier or strip.
Walnut: A hard, dark brown wood popular in the manufacture of wooden award components such as plaque boards, desk sets and trophy bases.
Washer: A small doughnut shaped piece of metal sometimes used in addition to nuts and ferrules in assembling trophies, particularly in countersunk holes in the bottoms of bases and caps.
Wood Burl: Wood with a distinctive grain, appearing as knots or swirls of different colors.
Wood Turning: A trophy component made of wood that is “turned” on a lathe to make it round and/or to give it a “spindle shape” similar to the wood legs found on tables, chairs, etc. Wood turnings are commonly used as risers and columns on trophys.
Wood Veneer: An inexpensive wood, such as pine, particle board, etc., that has been surface laminated with a thin coating of a premium hardwood such as oak or walnut.
Wood, Simulated: A man made material that has the appearance of real wood.
YAG Laser (Nd:YAG): A laser which generates its power by “pumping” a solid rod with energy. YAGs are often used for industrial marking thanks to their ability to mark metal and other materials and their extremely fine spot size.
Z Bender: A metal forming device used to create trophy columns and column inserts in the shape of a “z.”

This awards glossary has included an extensive list of terminology used in the Recognition and Identification industry. The purpose of this glossary is to give you a handy reference aid and clear up any confusion related to this terminology. Use this glossary for training new employees, they will gain a wealth of information by simply taking a few minutes to read through it. You can also use the glossary to help avoid embarrassing situations. If a customer calls and asks for certificates on parchment or inquires if you carry trophy halos, a quick look in this glossary can help you out. Remember this reference tool the next time you’re in one of these situations.