For over a century (1888 - 1997) Amor-Sanders were Sydney's major medallists and die-sinkers. This acquisition documents the important role this company performed in Sydney and NSW, and preserves some of the machinery that was used to produce medals, badges and insignia that were used in the day-to-day life of the people in this state.
This material is also a valuable record of a dangerous mechanised industry heavily reliant upon the men and women who risked personal injury on a daily basis. Such stories are revealed in a recorded interview with WJ 'Bill' Dunn who worked at Amor's from 1937 till 1996. Bill's bench, used from 1944 until his retirement, is part of the acquisition.
Beginning in 1888 as WJ Amor, in 1935 the company was sold to the Byatt family, trading from 1943 to 1978 as Amor P/L. In 1978 it merged with WJ Sanders to become Amor-Sanders P/L. As the premier medal, badge and institutional button manufacturer in New South Wales, the company has supplied most of the government contracts for civil and military badges and buttons as well as fulfilling ecclesiastic, social and commemorative contracts. Over the past century, many NSW institutions covering areas as diverse as the Police, Freemasons and bowling clubs have had their badges, regalia, insignia and prizes made by Amor-Sanders.
Though still solvent in 1997, the company was sold for family reasons. Amor-Sanders split into two smaller concerns which moved to other locations leaving the Surry Hills property to be developed into apartments. The manufacturing machinery from Amor-Sanders is a valuable record of an important part of NSW industrial heritage and reflects an increasingly sophisticated society which demanded locally produced and high quality commemoratives and insignia. During World War II the company made components for the war effort including metal links used in the landing bridges for the D-Day invasion.
Occasions commemorated by Amor's products include the 1924 visit of the Prince of Wales (later briefly Edward VIII) and the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. Companies such as Dodge Brothers and Studebaker had badges made for their products and institutions such as the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, the Official Committee of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tattersall's Club and the University of Sydney also used Amor's expertise for their commemoratives and badges.
Amor-Sanders shared markets and a common labour pool with the Sydney Mint (Royal Mint, Sydney Branch). The founder WJ Amor initially worked at the Sydney Mint before being encouraged to set up his own business in George St in 1888. Material evidence of this association is seen in the machinery acquired from the Sydney Mint upon its closure in 1927: machinery which has continued to be used in the new companies born from Amor-Sanders' 1997 demise.