[Ads-l] antedating medallion

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 23 05:05:56 UTC 2021

Great work James and Peter. Below is an entertaining 1913 citation.
The word medallion is not employed in this article, but I think the
following excerpt helps to illuminate the motivation for creating
medallions of the type mentioned in "The Guardian" article.

A taxi driver stated that the ugly badge endangered his love life and
matrimonial prospects. He proposed replacing the badge with a stylish
medal that could be affixed to a cap.

Date: 30 October 1913
Newspaper: Yorkshire Evening Post
Newspaper Location:
Article: What the Public Think - Taxi-Drivers and Badges
Quote Page 3, Column 4
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt]
Sir,—I  was a taxi-driver for twelve months, and I was compelled to
give up my situation because of the unsightly badge on my breast. My
lady friend, who is now my wife, refused to speak to me in the street
when she saw me with my badge on, and I had to choose between the
badge and my sweetheart. I decided to give up the badge and therefore
the situation with it. I had frequently noticed my friends pass me by,
and I wondered what was the cause.
The Watch Committee should supply the drivers with nice medals which
could be worn in the caps.—Yours, etc., MYSTIC FINGER.
[End excerpt]


On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 12:10 AM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I know from looking at "taxi" in the past, that "badge" was used earlier.
> Here's an example from England in 1921 referring to a Taxi badge as a medallion.  But it is a badge worn by individual drivers, not associated with the car, which may be a distinction?
> "TAXI-DRIVERS' BADGES. The dispute between the Manchester Watch Committee and the taxi owners and drivers with respect to the wearing by the driver- of badges was settled- yesterday. At a meeting in the Packers' Hall, last night, the drivers agreed to adopt a recommendation of the Hackney Coach Committee for a small medallion to be worn. The medallion has a design containing the arms of the city, the word " driver," and a distinct number for each driver."
> The Manchester Guardian, 15 Jul 1921, Page 11.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/74155969/the-guardian/
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of James Eric Lawson <jel at NVENTURE.COM>
> Sent: Monday, March 22, 2021 8:57:15 PM
> Subject: Re: antedating medallion
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       James Eric Lawson <jel at NVENTURE.COM>
> Subject:      Re: antedating medallion
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> OED now has 1932 for the taxicab license sense of medallion, attested as
> shown in the 2015 ADS-L post from Bill Mullins (copied below my
> signature line).
> Here is a clear 1931 use from Boston, and a not-so-clear 1928 use from
> New York:
> 10 Mar 1931 _The Boston Globe_ (Boston, Massachusetts) p 3 col 1
> As a measure to make certain cabs operate only from the stands for which
> they are licensed, Commissioner Hultman gave orders yesterday to have
> medallions affixed to the right hand side of the cowls of taxicabs.
> These medallions are being placed on taxis.
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/436708190/?terms=taxi%20medallion&match=11
> 01 Mar 1928 _The Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ (Brooklyn, New York) p 30 col 7
> TAXI, Dodge, new 1927, medallion, 5 new tires, clock, etc., $375.
> https://www.newspapers.com/image/685933759/?terms=taxi%20medallion&match=3
> --
> James Eric Lawson
> --------------------------------
> [Ads-l] antedating medallion (UNCLASSIFIED)
> Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
> Mon May 18 16:58:54 UTC 2015
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> Caveats: NONE
> OED has 1960 for the taxicab sense of "medallion": "U.S. A licence to
> operate a taxi in a city or particular locality, usually issued in the
> form of a small metal plaque fastened to the hood or bonnet. In extended
> use (in New York City): a driver holding such a licence."
> 23 Aug 1932 _Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ p 14 col 4
> "No applicant for a license for a taxicab has been able to obtain a
> medallion since last December."
> 31 Mar 1937 _Brooklyn Daily Eagle_ p 9 col 4
> "In addition, Charles E. Gunn, president of the L. C. M. Transportation
> Co., petitioned the court for a writ of mandamus, directing the police
> department to re-issue 49 taxicab medallions which he surrendered last
> December, when he temporarily suspended that many cabs from operation."
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