Frequently Asked Questions
As a manufacturer we do not take orders directly. We rely on our national dealer network consisting of over 900 dealers nationwide. To find a dealer in your area go to our dealer locator by clicking here
Frequently Asked Questions
We include a disclaimer on our artists renditions because color is very hard to replicate on a computer screen, because everyone's printer and computer screen vary and show color differently. We have provided color wheels to our dealers that contain actual enamel. If you need the color precise we suggest you visit a local dealer and ask to see the wheel. You can click here to see each of our standard colors. If you are a dealer and do not have a wheel please contact customer service and we will send you one.
Blackinton® does not charge end-users for Artist Renditions of custom products, it is a free service we proudly offer to our customers.
Yes! We can help you with the design of your badge. Our design team has decades of experience, and will work with you and your dealer to ensure the design captures all the elements that are of interest to you. This is a free service we offer to our customers.
Have your dealer contact Blackinton®. Click here to find a dealer in your area.
We do not have vector artwork. During the custom design phase of your badge we provide artwork in pdf format. We do not have artwork of every badge we have made. We suggest you see a local artist and ask them to replicate the image. If your badge is a catalog badge (non custom) you could try to recreate your badge on our interactive web-based badge builder; Design-a-Badge.
We can change the finish on only our Nickel (silver), Rhodium (silver), and Gold finishes. Normal finishing charges will apply. Our other finishes can not be changed.
We have an array of durable badge finishes available CLICK HERE, to learn more.
Our standard finishes can be applied to most of our badge styles. Our non-standard finishes can not be applied to all our badge styles. If you are interested in a Non-Standard finish please contact your Blackinton Sales Representative.
Please note our insignia line offers a limited number of these available finishes. To see the standard finishes a product is available in, go to our products page, find the item, and look under finishes. All available "Standard" finishes are listed for that product.
Other: We can also custom quote sterling silver, gold filled, solid gold.
If your badge is a Blackinton® badge we can refinish your badge provided it is not considered beyond repair. We do not charge to refinish our Hi-Glo, Rho-Glo, VHB Kk or Two-Tone badges (you are only charged for shipping & handling). We can not refinish a badge manufactured by another manufacturer.
All our other finishes have a refinishing charge, see badge refinishing under customer care for the current rate.
The best, most durable finishes for mounting to a gravestone are Rhodium and VHB K.K. To learn more about our finishes click here.
Yes, we would need to provide you with a custom quote for these finishes, as they are not part of our typical offering.
A solid metal badge with a smooth back finish.
A shell back badge is generally more lightweight than a solid badge. Shell back is made with a back die that forces the metal outward. A shell back badge allows for more detail to be pressed through into the front of the badge.
Many of our badge styles can be engraved. Our solid badges work best for engraving.
Depending upon the badge style you are ordering there could be anywhere from 1-7 panels that can be personalized with text.
It takes very little time and effort to care for a Blackinton® badge. To preserve the beauty and luster of your badge just wash it occasionally with a mild soap and warm water. Then, dry with a clean, soft cloth. It is imperative, that under no circumstances, should you scrub a Blackinton® badge with a brush or use an abrasive polish or cleaner which will remove the protective coating of lacquer and result in a dull, tarnished badge.
All custom badges include die and tool charges on top of the individual badge cost. The cost for the die and tools is dependent upon the make up of the badge, and thus we can not estimate what the cost of your badge will be. Die and tool charges can range anywhere from $900 - $3,000. Our dealers and sales personnel will work with you on the badge design to help make your custom badge as cost effective as possible.
Click here for additional information.
Please keep in mind the size, and make up of a badge helps to dictate which type of attachments can fit on a badge.
To see all available "Standard" and "Non-Standard" badge attachments CLICK HERE.
All of our badges are manufactured in our Attleboro Falls, Massachusetts, Factory here in the United States. To understand the journey a badge takes through our factory take a look at our Badge Journey page.
It is a sample of the badge in lead (pewter) that gets sent to the client for approval. Lead samples have no enamel or finish color. After approval of a lead sample the next step may be to make a pre-production sample if specs call for it. If not, upon signed approval of the lead, the badge(s) are made.
It is the actual badge with enamel and finish and is generally sent to a customer for approval. Upon signed approval the badges are made. Preproduction samples are generally created when a custom badge is ordered.
A sans-serif typeface, like an Arial Round Font. This is our standard font for one piece badges.
A serif typeface, like Times New Roman. Roman lettering is standard on panel badges unless otherwise specified.
Incised lettering is when you cut into the metal (engrave) or die struck into the metal, and color is placed into the letters.
Reverse lettering is when the background of text is cut out, and the panel is filled with enamel. Reverse letters are raised letters and are the color of metal.
Our machines are setup to only cut incised lettering. Most reverse enamel panels require a new die to be made for each title, or lettering phrase. Individual names are not available because a separate die would have to be made for each and every name, and it would not be cost effective, or easily managed.
Casting is considered an inferior manufacturing process due to the overall quality and lack of detail captured in the final product. It begins with the base metal. In casting there are three metals generally used: Brass, Bronze, and Zinc - which are melted down and poured into a mold.
Conversly a die cast badge (which is how Blackinton manufactures its badges) is created from a solid durable base material like Hi-Glo, Rho-Glo, Nickel etc.. The metal is not melted down. The metal is softened and stamped by a hydraulic press dropping several tons of force onto a 5 ounce piece of raw metal. The metal is stamped by a solid steel die that has a reverse relief of the badge design cut into the die.
A casting is created from a mold. Because the composition of the base metal is broken down during the melting process the final product is weaker compared to that of a die created badge. Brass and Bronze casting have poor detail quality where as a die cut badge has crisp lines capturing every subtle detail of the deisgn.
A zinc casting, due to its low melting temperatures, are impossible to hard enamel, because hard enamel is fired in 1,400° ovens, and attachments must be soft soldered, or fusion welded (weaker bond drawing durability into question). In casting each run produces roughly 2-3% variations in the overall shape and shade (lighter or darker) of the badge.
Also, due to the casting process shrinkage occurs in the production of a badge. There are six variations of bronze casting grain alloy material used in the casting process which can effect the visual shade of the raw bronze. A die cut badge is cut from the same die each time, the metal is pressed not melted and then it is trimmed using the same trimming tools each time so the size of the badge never fluctuates. A die cut badge is created from one base metal with no other alloys mixed in that could effect the overall color of the badge. A finished die cut badge is electroplated with a deposit of gold or other prescious metal over the base metal, offering another layer of durability.
Hard fired enamel is a jewelers enamel that is overflowed into an area on a badge and is baked at a very high temperature to an almost ceramic hardness and stoned down. It is smooth to the touch and is very durable and is standard for our high-end badges (Hi-Glo, Rho-Glo, VHB K.K. and Two Tone), there is a $5.00 add on charge for Hard Fired Enamel on all other finishes. Five days should be added to the shipping time of a badge when Hard Fired Enamel is requested, because there are 17 extra manufacturing steps incurred to make a badge with hard enamel.
Regular enamel is when paint is flowed into the engraved letters of a badge and wiped out. Letters are not flush with metal. Regular enamel is standard with our lower end badges.
What you see on Design-a-Badge is an art rendering and may have slight imperfections. The computer rendition that you preview may have slight variations in size and color of lettering. We have tried our best to give you an accurate view of your badge on Design-a-Badge, but it should be noted that a slight spacing difference between numbers or letters may be noticeable on your computer monitor. Be assured that your finished new badge will be manufactured to meet your expectations as well as ours.
"A" Dies are a die owned by Blackinton it could be a seal, panel or badge with no engraving.
"AC" Dies are owned by Blackinton® and are seal dies, but the customer has exclusive rights for 14 months.
"AH" Dies are owned by Blackinon® "H" means Hanson style die. The die could be a panel or a badge with no engraving.
"AX" Dies are owned by Blackinton® X means Braxmar. The die could be a seal or a panel with no engraving,
"B" Dies are owned by Blackinton®. The die is primarily a badge with at least one line of engraving.
"BH" Dies are owned by Blackinon®, "H" means Hanson.
"BX" Dies are owned by Blackinton® , X means Braxmar Die is ususally a badge with at least one line of engraving.
"C" Dies are owned by the customer. The die could be a seal, panel, or a badge.
"CH" Dies are owned by Customer, H means Hanson. Die could be a panel or a badge with no engraving.
"CX" Dies are owned by Braxmar, X designates Braxmar. Die could be a seal, panel or law enforcement.
"MIB" Dies are owned by Blackinton and are badges that are part of our Mini-Badge Series.
No, unfortunately we can not flatten a dapped badge. The process would damage your badge.
No, unfortunately after a badge is pressed we can not change the make up of the badge by changing it to a solid back badge.
No, unfortunately after a badge is pressed we can not change the make up of the badge by changing it to a shell back badge.
Once lettering is on the badge it can not be changed. In the past we have tried to take off panels, (for badges that are not one piece) and actually offered this service for a fee, but the process has proven to be too destructive to the badge. 90% of the time the badge was destroyed trying to remove the panel.
Unfortunately the only thing we can do is add an extra panel if the badge allows it;i.e., a Retired panel at the top.
As of 2013 we no longer change out panels on a badge. Changing out a panel just proved to be too damaging to a badge and 90% of the time the badges were destroyed, while trying to remove a panel, so we can no longer offer this service.
We will however add a panel to a badge.
The process of making a badge is very involved. Your badge is individually crafted and personalized for you! We encourage you to watch our video tour which walks you through the manufacturing process, or visit our badge journey page, or even better if you would like to see firsthand how a badge is made give us a call and request a factory tour! We love showing off our factory!
The standard colors used with badge panels and lettering are: Black, Brown, Blue, Green, Red, and White. Visit our standard color page to see a computer generated version of these colors. Look for the colors with Badge Std. under them.
The 'pin' Safety Catch size is determined by the size of the badge. With a solid back badge we will place the largest safety catch on the badge that fits on the back. With our shell back badges the size pin varies depending on the badge make-up. Since, we solder our safety catches to the badge we need flat - level metal to solder the safety catch too, and since a shell back is not level we have to use a safety catch that lines up with the flattest metal.
Yes we can. To apply balls to a 5 point star badge the cost is MSRP $8.00.
To apply balls to a 6 point star badge the cost is MSRP $9.00.
Our partner for leather badge wallets and cases is Strong. Many of the wallets and cases can be custom cut (recessed) for your badge. They have many standard cutouts. To see a listing of our Blackinton badge style numbers and the corresponding Strong cutout please click here.
Although we have made badges for movies, TV, museums, and other such entities, the public safety sector is our focus. We respect the power and integrity of a duty badge. We have a trusted network of dealers whom sell our products and work to ensure our badges are going only to those duly authorized to wear a badge.
Blackinton reserves the right to decline a badge order when deemed inappropriate and/or inconsistent with our company mission.
Yes - FlexBadge can replicate any badge style and finish. FlexBadge is one of our newest most exciting product releases. If you are tired of the one dimensional, detail lacking patches and embroidery that make up your uniform... FlexBadge is for you. CLICK HERE to learn more!
Deep scratches, and bent or out of shaped badges can not be repaired. Only slight scratches can be buffed out of a badge.
Yes, we can change the attachment on a badge. The cost varies depending upon the finish of your badge. Please see our badge modification policy under customer care for pricing.
Badge refinishing can be done by Clicking Here and filling out our retrun form and returning your badge with this form.
If by the off chance your bade needs repairing please Click Here download our warranty return form along with your badge.
Finally if you are looking to modify your badge; i.e., change a seal etc.. Click Here download the badge modification form and return it with your badge.
You can get text, numbers, or abbreviations engraved on your bar. We also have over 25 standard symbols to choose from that you can get engraved on your bars. There is an engraving fee added to the price of each bar, contact a dealer for details. Click here to see your options.
We are asked this question often by departments. Outside of the military there really are no "standards" with regards to what commendation bars mean, and which should be used in an awards program. To help departments get started we developed three packaged commendation bar programs (Law Enforcement skill, Law Enforcement Service, and Firefighter Service). We created the programs based on what we have learned in the industry. To learn more about these programs and our commendation bar offerings please click here.
Die costs for commendation bars vary, but $150.00 is the approximate cost for a commendation bar die.
Clutch back attachment is two nails on the back of a commendation bar. Our slide bars do not have an attachment they slide into a commendation bar holder. Because a slide bar holder can hold upwards of 15 bars, they are much easier to put on your uniform, and align them. Click here to learn more about slide bars.
We have a vast national network of dealers and are not openly pursuing adding new distributors at this time. However, on occasion we do have needs to fill. If you are interested in becoming a Blackinton Dealer please click here. You will be asked to provide some very basic information. This information will be forwarded to our sales group and should a need to add a dealer arise you will be contacted.
We have hundreds of dealers throughout the country. To find a dealer in your area click here and go to our dealer locator where you will be asked to enter your zip code.
Yes we do. All of our product lines are available as a custom product, contact your local dealer for details. Click here to find a dealer in your area.
Jstock is not customizable and is not manufactured by Blackinton® - we purchase JStock from overseas. We stock the Jstock product line so it is available for shipment within 5 days of receiving the order at Blackinton.
Our catalog insignia is manufactured in the United States by Blackinton® in our Massachusetts based factory. We keep the raw pieces in stock. We do not keep finished pieces on the shelves; because of this custom insignia is available for shipment in 3 weeks.
The number of horns refers to the rank of a firefighter. The typical meanings are as follows:
- 5 horns = Chief
- 4 horns = Deputy Chief
- 3 horns = Assistant Chief
- 2 horns = Captain
- 2 crossed horns = Battalion Chief
- 1 horn = Lieutenant
For our J1, J2, J3, J4, and J5 name bars the following attachments are available.
Clutch Back - 2 nails with butterfly clutch backs (this is our standard attachment)
Safety Catch - a pin with a safety catch
Magnetic Back - a strong magnet back
All other name bars are also offered with a screw back attachment. (except A3325, A7138, J1, J2, J3, J4, & J5)
The only cleaning agent that should be used on cured Lucite is warm water, and a mild hand liquid soap. You should never clean lucite with products containing a solvent or ammonia base; i.e., Mr. Clean, Windex, etc.
Lucite is a great way to preserve, and keep your badge on display for a lifetime. We will only put a Blackinton manufactured badge in Lucite. Other manufacturers may use finishes or coatings that have an adverse reaction with Lucite. If you are unsure who made your badge turn it over and if you see our Blackinton script on the back of your badge - it is one of our badges.
Due to the intricate nature in which a Lucite embedment is created, the lucite may have slight imperfections. We take every precaution to ensure the item being embedded does not get damaged, but due to chemical reactions, and the heat and pressure used to create a Lucite there are occassions where damage occurs.
Our medals come with a ribbon that either goes around your Neck (neck ribbon) or a ribbon that pins to your uniform. We have two styles of ribbons that pin to your uniform Drape and Windsor - which refer to the way the ribbon is folded.
Neck: Is the standard type of ribbon that comes with our medal style series: A4117,A4118,A4119. This type of ribbon must be requested for other medal styles. It comes in a variety of colors and can be worn around your neck.
Drape: This is our standard ribbon style that accompanies most medals unless stated otherwise. The ribbon comes in a variety of colors and is draped to hold the medal and has a safety catch that adheres to the uniform. (Drape ribbon is not standard for Medal Style #'s: A4117,A4118 & A4119 standard would be neck ribbon)
Windsor: The ribbon comes in a variety of colors and is folded in a triangular shape with a safety catch that adheres to the uniform.
Yes - we do offer custom ribbon, but the minimum order is 50 yards of ribbon.
- 50 cloth bars can be made from one yard of ribbon
- Custom ribbon takes six weeks
Blackinton has some medals that can be engraved with any title of your choice; i.e., A8365, but the vast majority can be customized with the panel / title of your choice. We have the most commonly used titles available. Click here to see available titles and their corresponding Blackinton style number.
Like all our products are medals can be purchased via anyone of our distributors. To learn more about our offering Click Here where you will see what is included with your medal and there is an order form to download and fill out on this page.
We are a manufacturer with a very broad dealer network. We do not sell directly to end-users. All orders must come through our dealer base. Click here to find a dealer in your area.
Since we do not sell direct, our dealers are responsible for collecting credentials. Buying any full size badge that makes reference to a police office, sheriff, trooper, constable, court officer, government office, and others require proof of employment; usually a copy of your law enforcement credentials. There are some agencies that do not allow copying of credentials, in which case most dealers will accept a letter on agency letterhead.
We are a manufacturer with a very broad nationwide dealer network. We do not sell directly to end-users. All orders must come through our dealer base. Click here to find a dealer in your area.
We sell through a national network of dealers who set the price you ultimately pay for your Blackinton Products. We offer a suggested retail price and work closely with our dealers to provide you with the most competitive of prices.
We do not have a minimum quantity order for badges. We can process an order for 1 badge or an order for 1000's of badges.
With our stock items we request that our dealers purchase at least $40 MSRP of our jstock product line on any one order to keep stock in their stores.
Due to the complex nature and customization involved in creating our products we process orders within 24 hours upon receipt. Therefore, changes to orders and cancellations can only be accepted if they are received within 24 hours of Blackinton® receiving your original order.
Well we have listed our top 5 reasons in one of our blog posts, click here to read it.
If you order 25 or more badges with a new custom seal, Blackinton® will not charge for the seal die. Click here to learn more about ordering seals.
Yes, we can change your seal provided the badge was manufactured by Blackinton®. See badge modifications under customer care for pricing.
A seal is a graphic element made of metal generally placed in the center of a badge.
Click here to learn more about Blackinton's seal offerings.
The following are our shipping times. Click here to see a more in-depth listing of our shipping times across all of our product lines.
Under our QuickShip program badge orders are shipped within 5 working days of order receipt at Blackinton® or they are free.
Badge orders outside of our QuickShip program, typically ship within 3-5 weeks.
If custom badge styles, panels or other components are needed the lead time may be extended.
Blackinton JStock items typically ship within 5-7 days of order receipt at Blackinton(R), and items such as custom insignia will ship within 3 weeks of order placement.
Yes, we will drop ship a badge to a residence, but Blackinton® is not responsible for delivery.
Shipping cost is dependent upon the carrier, the location being shipped to, and the weight of your package. Blackinton® passes on the actual cost from the carrier to our dealers.
All rush orders must be approved by the production manager. Let your Blackinton® representative know when you need your shipment (i.e., when the ceremony is etc…) they will check with the factory and let you know if we can meet your deadline. You will be charged for all expedited shipping charges if your rush order is approved.
All of our badges come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects unless there is evidence of abuse to the badge. Our higher end badges (Hi-Glo, Rho-Glo, VHB KK (Karat clad), Two-Tone, and Tri-Tone) all come with a lifetime warranty and can be refinished for free during the lifetime of the badge. Normal shipping charges do apply. To see a complete listing of our finishes and the corresponding warranty information click here.