This is a Williams Jennings Bryan campaign pin from the 1896 race between Bryan and William McKinley. McKinley won the election and the two faced each other again in 1900. McKinley again came out on top. I posted a McKinley pin from that 1900 race a few week ago.
The front of the pin is in really good shape considering its age. the back shows the ravages of nearly 120 years of sitting in someone's drawer. It's impossible to read without a magnifying glass but the back shows the pin was manufactured by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. of Newark N.J. Patented and it lists three dates, July 17, 1894, April 14, 1896 and July 21, 1896. Don't know what the dates signify. The July '86 date shows up in a Wikipedia entry as a date that a patent was awarded to the firm of pinback buttons:
Benjamin S. Whitehead patented the first innovation to the design in 1893 by inserting a sheet of transparent film made of celluloid over a photograph mounted on a badge to protect the image from scratches and abrasion. Whitehead had patents for various designs of ornamental badges and medallions previously, patented as early as 1892. Another patent was issued to Whitehead & Hoag on 21 July 1896 for a "Badge Pin or Button" which used a metal pin anchored to the back of the button to fasten the badge.
Apparently Whitehead and Hoag was a well known firm back in the day.
I'm excited to add this one to my collection.
We'll get back to sports stuff with the next post.