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drawing that an artist must be capable of
who engraves public buildings by the score;
endowed grammar-schools, old castles,
noblemen's seats, market houses, and so forth!
Think of the skill in animal drawing required
for the whole series of sporting buttons
from the red deer to the snipe! Think of
the varieties of horses and dogs, besides the
game! For crest buttons, the lions and
other animals are odd and untrue enough;
but, out of the range of heraldry, all must be
perfect pictures. And then, the word
" pictures" reminds us of the exquisite copies of
paintings which the die-sinker makes. Here
is the " Christus Consolator" of Scheffer
reproduced, with admirable spirit and fidelity,
within a space so small, that no justice can
be done to the work unless it is viewed
through a magnifying glass.

So much for the execution. We have also
not a little curiosity about the designing.
The greater number of the designs are sent
hither to be executed;—coats of arms;
livery buttons; club buttons; service
buttons;—buttons for this or that hunt; foreign
buttonsthe Spanish one sort, the French
another. Sometimes a suggestion comes, or
a rough sketch, which the artist has to work
out. But much is originated on the
premises. There is a venerable man living at
Birmingham, who has seen four generations,
and watched their progress in art; and he it
is, we are told,—Mr. Lines, now above eighty,
who has " furnished" (that is, discovered and
trained) more designers than anybody else.
It must be pleasant to him to see what
Birmingham has arrived at since lamps were
made with a leopard's foot at the bottom,
expanding into a leaf at the top, and so on,
through a narrow circle of grotesque
absurdities. Now, one cannot enter a manufactory,
or pass along the streets of this wonderful
town, without being impressed and gratified
by the affluence of beauty, with good sense at
the bottom of it, which everywhere abounds:
and, to one who has helped on the change,
as Mr. Lines has done, the gratification ought
to be something enviable.

The variety of dies is amusing enough.
Here is a prize medal for the Queen's College
at Cork: on one side, the Queen's head, of
course; on the other, Sciencea kneeling
figure, feeding a lamp; very pretty. Next,
we see General Tom Thumb;—his mighty
self on one side, and his carriage on the other.
This medal he bought here at a penny
apiece; and he sold it again, with a kiss into
the bargain, to an admiring female world, at
the low price of a shilling. Then, we have
the Duke of Cambridge, and the Governesses'
Institution; and Prince Albert, and the
Crystal Palace; and, on the same shelf, the
late Archbishop of Paris, on the barricade;
and, again, the medal of the Eisteddfodthe
eagle among clouds, above which rises the
mountain peak: on the other side, Cardiff
Castle; and for the border, the leek. But
we must not linger among these dies, or we
shall fill pages with accounts of whom and
what we saw there;—the Peels and the Louis
Napoleons; the Schillers and the Tom
Thumbs; the private school and public market
medals; royal families, free trade, charities,
public solemnities, and private vanities, out
of number. We will mention only one more
fact in this connexion. We saw a broken
medal pressa press which was worth one
hundred pounds, and which broke under the
strain of striking off seventy thousand medals
for the school-children who welcomed the
Queen to Manchester last autumn. Yes, there
is another fact that we must give. Many
thousands of " national boxes " are required
for exportation, especially to Germany. These
boxes contain four counters, intended for the
whist table. These counters are little medals,
containing the portraits of the Queen, of
Prince Albert, of the Prince of Wales, and of
the other royal children. The Germans
decline all invitations to suggest other subjects.
They prefer these, which are interesting to
all, and which can cause no jealousy among
the various states of Germany. So these
medals are struck everlastingly.

The medal-press is partly sunk in the earth,
to avoid the shock and vibration which would
take place above-ground, and injure the
impression from the die. Its weight is three
tons; the screw and wheel alone weighing
fifteen hundred-weight. The screw is of an
extraordinary size, being six inches in
diameter. One die is fixed to the block, which
rises from the ground; and the other is
fastened to the end of the screw, which is to
meet it from above. Of course the medal
must lie between them. This medal, called a
"blank," is (if not of gold, silver, or copper) of
pure tin, cut out by one machine, cleaned and
polished by another, and now brought here to
be stamped by a third, and the greatest. This
"blank " is laid on the lower die, and kept in
its place, and preserved from expansion, when
struck, by the collar, a stout circle of metal
which embraces the die and blank. As the
heavy horizontal wheel at the top revolves,
the screw descends; so two or three men
whirl the wheel round, with all their force;
down goes the screw, with its die at its lower
end, and stamps smartly upon the blank. A
second stroke is given, and the impression is made.
The edges are rough; but they are trimmed
off in a lathe, and then the medal is finished.
Button blanks are stamped in a smaller
machine; some on these premises, but many
in the manufactories of the button-makers.
To those manufactories we must now pass on.

When little children are shown old
portraits, they are pretty sure to notice the large
buttons on the coats of our forefathers. Those
buttons were, no doubt, made at Birmingham;
for few were, in old days, made anywhere else
in the kingdom. Those buttons were covered
by women, and by the slow process of the
needle. Women and girls sat round tables, in

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