These 24 trade medals, displayed across two velvet-lined, wooden cases, were presented to Saxby and Farmer and its successor companies during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Saxby and Framer were early developers of railway signalling. They moved their manufacturing works from Kilburn, London to Chippenham in 1903. This move led to the town playing an important role in the technological innovation of railway signalling and brakes from its early development to the present day.
The medals span around 50 years of the organisation’s development and expansion during which it became the most prominent company in the industry under the name of Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company, one of Chippenham’s largest employers.
Saxby and Farmer attended numerous trade fairs, which had risen in popularity after the success of the Great Exhibition in 1851. International trade fairs attracted exhibitors from around the world. To recognise the quality of their products and to commemorate their attendance at the fair, exhibitors were often presented with a medal especially designed and produced for the occasion.
The earliest medals in the collection come from the 1876 Philadelphia International Exhibition and the Belgium Exhibition and Congress of Health and Rescue held in Brussels in the same year. They illustrate the global reach of the company and the importance of signalling in the development of a safe world-wide railway network.
Other medals in the collection include a silver medal from the London, Crystal Palace International Exhibition in 1882, a silver medal from the All-Russia Industrial and Art Exhibition in Nijni (Nizhny) Novgorod and a gold medal from the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition in 1888.
The most recent medal in the collection comes from the British Empire Exhibition London in 1924 and was awarded to Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company.