History of the Medal’s Design

Early medals awarded by the Commission were struck in bronze, silver, and gold, with distinction of medal grade contingent on the Commission’s assessment of the heroic act being recognized. Changes in awarding policies over the years precluded the issuance of gold medals to individuals, and by 1981 the issuance of silver medals was discontinued. Nineteen gold medals had been awarded to individuals, the last being Charles L. Coe, 30, of Burkburnett, Texas, who died in a fire rescue act in 1923. The last of the 617 silver medals went to Brian Mervyn Clegg and Robert Stephen Grant for their rescue of three individuals from exposure in a downed airplane in Lake of the Woods, Kenora, Ont., in 1979.

The design of the medal went untouched for the first 100 years of its existence. The Commission’s centennial in 2004 prompted a design review, resulting in subtle changes. Notably, medals awarded in the centennial year carried a banner across the base of the obverse: 1904-ONE HUNDRED YEARS-2004, and the bust of Andrew Carnegie was modified by sculptor Luigi Badia of Somers, N.Y. On the reverse, the seal of Newfoundland — the colony having become a province of Canada in 1949 — was dropped, and detail work in the flora was simplified to make the elements more recognizable.

The Carnegie Medal is produced by Simons Brothers Co. of Philadelphia, Pa. Metallic content of the bronze used is copper, 90%, and zinc, 10%.

The Carnegie Medal, 1904-2003
The Carnegie Medal, 1904 – 2003
The Centennial Carnegie Medal
The Centennial Carnegie Medal, 2004
The Carnegie Medal, 2005-2012
The Carnegie Medal: 2005 – 2012
Current Carnegie Medal, 2012-present