Today’s artifact is a large name badge, identifying Will Stackhouse, Jr. (Real Estate) as a member of Lions Club International.

The plastic and metal badge measures 3.5″ in diameter, and is made with a clear plastic space in front to allow inserted cards or name tags to show through.  This design was patented in 1929 by William H. Kupfer of Chicago, and as always the patent language is a delight: 

“One of the main objects of this invention is to provide a novel and improved badge with means which forms a window recess or niche for mounting a card therein, also having a transparent window means in front thereof and a door at the rear thereof which is removable to provide for convenient removing and interchanging of said card.” 

Rather than a pin on the back, the badge has a non-pointy metal prong; at first I thought it might be for standing it up on a table (since the badge is certainly large enough to view from a distance) but then I wondered if it wasn’t meant to slip into a man’s shirt or jacket pocket, to avoid putting holes in said garment.  (The patent language is catching!)  Indeed, Mr. Kupfer’s description confirms this theory: “A member or pin 27 [see illustration] is also provided, and may be mounted on the door [of the badge back], as shown, for holding the badge on a coat or the like.”

As for Mr. Stackhouse – or “Stack,” as he apparently preferred, while amidst his fellow clubmembers – he was born in 1901 in South Carolina, and moved to Montgomery County in 1929.  In 1945 he started his own realty firm.  He was active in the Rockville Lions Club (founded in 1938) for over 25 years, serving one term as its president, and was Deputy District Governor of Lions International from 1959-1960.  His wife Louise was a member of the Rockville Dandylion Club (then the women’s auxiliary).  Mr. Stackhouse’s 1972 obituary requests memorial contributions to the Rockville Lions.  Clearly, he was a dedicated member of the service club.   

This item was donated as “local interest,” rather than part of a family story.  Still, through other sources, we can learn a little about the owner’s life.  I think the hand-lettered “STACK” added to the typed card is also telling; it seems cheerful.  Maybe I’m only thinking of my own cheerful realtor a few years ago, or of the peppy folks on home-buying reality shows, but this giant, welcoming name badge has always struck me as a happy artifact.  Hey there!  Call me Stack!  What can I do for you?

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