The Rock Hall trophy

As the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony approaches, it's time to take a look at the hardware the inductees will be taking away with them.

Eddie Vedder inducting the Ramones in 2002

The "form [of the trophy] comprises a stylized human figure, its arms reaching over its head to hold a circular disk representing a record." Much more information on the materials and the process that goes into awards trophies here:
To create the trophy, a model was sculpted in clay to match a sketch provided by the Hall of Fame. The form comprises a stylized human figure, its arms reaching over its head to hold a circular disk representing a record. Next, a plaster model was made from the clay design and sent back to the foundation for approval. Once R.S. Owens received the go-ahead nod, the plaster pattern was sent to a Chicago foundry, where hand-finished steel molds were made. "Then you're ready to go into production," Prohaska says of the initial set-up process. The steel dies will last for years - or until a client changes the design.

The award's metal pieces are crafted one at a time by skilled tradespeople, Prohaska says. A 980-degree Fahrenheit zinc alloy is poured into the mold, hardening within seconds. When the form is removed from the mold, its rough edges are sanded down. In preparation for the plating process the award is polished by hand with a buffing wheel to a mirror-like finish so there are no visible seams. As the award heads into preplating, it is degreased in a tank to remove any unwanted coating. Then it's ready to be dipped into four different metal baths: copper, nickel, silver and, finally, black nickel. After a rinse, it's coated with an epoxy lacquer.

The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Award is electroplated in black nickel with a satin finish, complete with a 3x3-1/4-inch gold-plated record. The record disks (which are not cast) are added to the award between the figure's hands and mounted with an adhesive. The figure is then placed on a 3-1/2-inch-square black and white marble base, personalized with a plate that's engraved with the recipient's name. When complete, the trophy stands more than 15 inches high.

Each year, the number of individual trophies R.S. Owens manufactures for the Hall of Famers fluctuates, usually from around 30 to 40, plus some spares, just in case. "The quantity varies depending on the number of people who are inducted each year," Siegel points out. The company also does trophy repair or replacements, if necessary. Siegel recalls one incident early in the award's history when the records held by the trophy figure were made of solid gold. Three heavily celebrating winners managed to misplace the records from their awards during the plane ride home. R.S. Owens replaced the lost discs; now the records are gold-plated.

About six to seven hours of skilled labor go into making each trophy, Prohaska estimates, and along the way the award passes through about eight different departments, ending with shipping. "The greatest thing to me is getting them out the door in time," Prohaska laughs. The finished awards are shipped by truck in a form-fitted shrink-wrapped Styrofoam box. Fully insured, the trophies arrive well before the festivities and are locked in a secured room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, where the Hall of Fame ceremony is held. The company takes pride in the entire process and never loses sight of what the award itself represents. "There's a lot of prestige," Prohaska says. "The recipients are Hall of Famers. For us to participate in that is a great honor."

blog comments powered by Disqus