Trophies have been used throughout history to reward achievements. They are craved in various industries, including the sports industry, the film industry and many others, to the point where an individual is often judged on their awarded or accumulation of trophies.
Trophies are recognition of an individual’s achievements and are hugely common in the sporting events, covering various sports and age groups from highly competitive, professional sport to school sports days.
Depending on whether a sport is based around team or individual competition, trophies will be rewarded to either the specific individual or a sports-based club or organisation. In team sports, trophies are often accompanied by medals awarded to specific individuals for their part in the success.
Trophies have developed over the years to the point where the original symbolic meaning is all that remains. The word trophy originates from the Greek word ‘tropaion’, which represented arms, property, standards and even human captives or body parts, otherwise known as “headhunting”, which was common practice in medieval England.
The English word for trophy was first introduced in the mid 16th century and derived from the French “trophee”. The ancient Greeks primarily created trophies from victorious battles, captured arms and standards, all of which were presented as large symbolic displays for the gods.
Some naval victories resulted in ships being taken as entire trophies and to destroy any form of trophy would be seen as an act against the gods.
Trophies took different forms throughout history, including wreaths in ancient Greece awarded at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games and money in ancient Rome.
Chalices, known predominantly as “cups” by many modern sporting followers, were first awarded at sporting events in the late 16th century and have since been used as trophies to commemorate success in all kinds of sports.
Horse races, golfing tournaments and numerous world cups across various sports reward competitors with chalice trophies. This increase in popularity along with the mass-production of plastic trophies has seen their value plummet in recent times.
Trophies come in a various types and forms in order to commemorate specific achievements. For instance, in most cases a basketball trophy will be moulded in the shape of a basketball, while a trophy to commemorate the most goals scored in a season by a footballer will likely be moulded into a player kicking in a football.
Trophies can be designed in this way (figurines, columns or metallic figures) as well as take the shape of two-handled cups, mugs or bowls. Another example of a figurine trophy is the famous Academy Awards Oscar, which is stylised to look like a standing human.
The term given to the famous Wimbledon trophy, the Premier League Trophy and the FA Cup is a loving-cup. It is a common variety of trophy that is usually on a pedestal and features two or more handles. Here are three of the other common types of trophies you are likely to come across:
Resin trophies take various shapes and are regularly handed out to commemorate sporting or generic achievements. They can e custom made to include an event logo or be engraved. Resin trophies can be molded to suit various achievements including business success and youth organisations.
Perpetual trophies are trophies kept by the winner until they are next competed for. The winner of a perpetual trophy will have to compete for it again in order to retain its ownership. There are some sporting organisations that provide replicas of the trophy or even the trophy itself to those who are notably successful in its competition. The FA Cup is an example of a perpetual trophy.
Hunting trophies are not as common as they used to be, with the vast majority of hunting trophies collected until the introduction of animal rights campaigns. For this reason, the majority of hunting trophies were collected from medieval times onwards. They are reminders of the success in hunting animals and include the mounted head of an animal on a wall.
The Manufacturing Process
In the modern era, the vast majority of trophies are made exclusively from plastic, with various types of plastic contributing to the making of one trophy.
Metallic figurines are given their colour thanks to hot-stamp metallic foils which are pressed into the columnar shafts. Metal studs are used to provide the trophy with more strength.
As many trophies are constructed of different parts, the design and manufacturing process is different for each specific component. They may be molded using steel dies or extruded through heat pressure. Most of the parts are injection molded, such as the figurine and the base. In the mass-production of trophies, most are bagged and boxed by a machine ready for shipment.
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