What is it?

Oakridge Tenn Antique Emblem

It’s been a long time since I did a What is it? post. But I couldn’t resist asking you if you know what this is…because I’d sure like to know.

It all started the other day when Chatter decided she was going to clean out her room. She said she was going to force herself to get rid of things she no longer needed nor used.

Moving towards reaching her lofty goal-she even went through her jewelry. Chatter had several small piles of things laying in her bedroom floor. She had called her sister to go through the discarded jewelry items to see if she might want some of them for her jewelry making enterprise.

I was walking through the hallway, when I spotted them both in the floor. I stopped to ask them a question. While I was standing there talking I spotted the piece in the photo in one of the piles. I picked it up to see what it was and noticed the writing OAKRIDGE TENN.

Knowing a little bit about Oakridge my curiosity was peaked and I said “Where in the world did you get this?”

Chatter said “Oh that I’ve had it for ages. I found it on the playground when I was real little and I’ve kept it ever since.”

I immediately started guessing at what it was: maybe some kind of kid’s thing since it says good luck in the center; some sort of award-since it looks like a ribbon might have been wore through the hat shaped hole; or maybe it popped off something else like a container; or could it be an employee’s name tag?

The center has a 4 leaf clover and the words GOOD LUCK


Oakridge Tenn Antique Emblem back view with flag


The is what the back looks like. See the waving flag in the center? The flag makes me lean towards the award guess.

Got any ideas on what it is that Chatter has treasured all these years?


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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 11, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hey there Tipper,
    and Ed..
    I want to clarify something…I took Ed’s comment when reading his comment about ‘What is it?’, “tongue in cheek” and I hope he took my response comment to his comment the same, with “tongue in cheek”…
    Now then, I hope that is clear as ‘clarified butter’! LOL
    Knowing how I/we both like to kid around with our ‘tongue-in-cheek’!
    Love you all,

  • Reply
    Granny Norma
    August 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Tipper & Happy Birthday!
    I know exactly what it is, having made one myself about 60 years ago. It’s a lucky souvenir coin that you make yourself in a metal typing machine. You put a coin in, a quarter or half dollar and turn the dial to the letters that spell out whatever you want imprinted on the coin. My dad helped me while I stood on a step stool to reach the dial. When you’re finished, the coin is released and you have a reminder of a great day at someplace special. I still have that token after all these years. There have been times when I wondered how could my dad have given a silver coin for this crummy aluminum token. But I know now. He did it because he loved me and wanted to see me smile. And that’s what souvenirs are for — they’re memory joggers so we’ll never forget that day long ago when we had a great time on vacation or a day trip to a place we’ll never forget.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 6, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I’m late on getting to read this one and I’m so glad- what a great history/trivia lesson! PS- ★Hope your birthday was wonderful★

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 6, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Tipper – HAPPY BIRTHDAY a day late! I didn’t forget your birthday was August 5th. I did forget what month we are in. When I saw were Ken sang you the birthday song, I looked at the calendar and it said Sunday was the 5th. Then it dawned on me “you need to turn the calendar you old fool!”
    I have you something too. I guess there is no rush to get it there by Sunday now.

    • Reply
      Shawn shough
      March 21, 2021 at 6:08 am

      My name is Shawn shough from Ohio columbus.i have came across one of them coin’s the good luck it says 08888LDHAWORTH AGE 12 BUCKEYELANE is on the flag side there is nothing on the good luck horseshoe side it is blank.besides the horseshoe and good luck.and I loved that story.. from grandmall

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 6, 2015 at 6:58 am

    “Happity Happity Burfday to Youse…!!”
    oops, I ’bout foundered myself on a slurp of coffee…
    Belated I know and I’m sorry for it for a little ‘Ken bird’ chirped to me the date last week…and I wasn’t going to forget…
    but…this old mind, when posting late last night forgot to wish you a “Happy Birthday” at the end of my post…
    so…here’s a belated until this morning…Happy Birthday…we love you and the Blind Pig Gang…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Token…I remember machines at carnivals and fairs during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, that one could waste their funds on a good luck token. Worn around the neck on a stainless steel bb chain, and usually with the city stamped on it…Not like the claw machines today that eat money and never give a prize…
    LOL…better half worked there 35 years…O-naught-nada-none of his top security clearance photo ID badges were ever an aluminum-type token….LOL
    Now Ed…you ought to be ashamed of ‘yore self’…Our secret city has enough problems with ‘fereigner’s’ thinking we all ‘shorenuff’ glow in the dark!
    Why I had an aunt frum the flatlands that thunk if she give us a ‘bye kiss’ when she left the city, (that is after we got permission and her a pass so’s she could get in our secret gate to visit us), that she might get that “raddy-ia-shun” on her lips, and they’d glow under the moon…LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    Just got in from the worlds longest yard sale to rest before
    tagging more antiques, collectibles, and glassware, etc. at our tent tomorrow…
    PS…Tipper, I saved you an old Bill Monroe 78 record…I’ll get it to you one of these here days…
    PS…Do you or your Dad remember the Blue Sky Boys? I’m selling all my old 78’s…think I have a few of these as well…

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    That’s a vintage game token. You used them to play arcade games at carnivals, state fairs, boardwalks and such in the old days. You’d buy a handful of them, often ten for a dollar, and you’d use them to play their games like bowling and such. If you won, a bunch of tokens came out of the machine coin return so you could play more or trade them in. Today you get paper tickets for winning arcade games. There are collectors who will pay to buy them.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Doris Noland Parton
    August 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I posted it on Sevier County Tennessee Genealogy Active Sharing and received this reply: 6 hrs · Like
    Betty Rozell Wood It is an ID attachment for a key chain. There was a machine that you could emboss your name around the edge, cost maybe 1cent, this was in the 40’s maybe, I made many of them.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    August 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, is it your birthday today Tipper? Well if so, Happy Birthday young lady! I hope you have a great day and many more!
    By the way, I also think you mystery metal piece is a arcade trinket. I can remember making some when I was a kid.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    We lived in Seattle, WA, in the 1940’s. My Dad traveled to Portland to see an Aunt and on the way home made one of these little keepsakes for each of us kids. I think he said the machine to make them was found at the bus station in Portland. I can’t imagine Dad would have paid more than 25 cents each for the trinkets. I haven’t thought of this in years.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm


  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    It is an arcade souvenir, all right. I remember having a similar one from somewhere besides Oak Ridge. I was born in Oak Ridge, so I had no interest in an Oak Ridge souvenir!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I think it is a Perpetual Night Light made in Oak Ridge Tenn. The wonderful thing about this one is you didn’t have to plug it in. The bad thing is you couldn’t it off. But it came with a lead shield if you want it dark in the room.
    Does Chatter’s still glow in the dark? Probably not! The material they put in it has a half life of 7 years, so judging from the looks of it, its already depleted.
    The RE is the atomic symbol for Rhenium. The VVs, BBs and ZZs indicate the strength of the secret materials added to give it that special glow. Smith, H is the technician who inspected it. There used to be a place in Oak Ridge that could enrich them again and make their little light shine.
    They made them with different styles. This one it called Twinkle Twinkle although it emitted a constant glow. They could be worn as a pendant but they recommended you tape the lead shield on your chest where the pendant would hang.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    It looks like the Reverend B. V. Smith of Oak Ridge Tenn had not figured out the way to make a ‘space’ on the stamping machine at the arcade, hence the double letters. The “hat” by the way, was pre-cut into the medallion to make sure that it would fit on a bead chain, key ring or leather thong. I am an experienced medallion-maker, having created my last one at Roseland Park, Canandaigua (cannon-DAY-gwa) NY in about the middle of the last century. The machine is gone now, the park is condominiums.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 5, 2015 at 10:32 am

    The machines that made these used to be in bus stations and probably train stations. They were still around up to about 1970 or so. The metal was soft enough that if they were carried all the time the letters and design would wear off. It was a variation on the idea of stamping a penny with a souvenir design.
    I recall making one of these about 1971, probably at the very tag end of them. I wonder how Mike and Frank on American Pickers would react to finding one of the machines ?

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I’ve still have a couple of these. I remember the machines at the beach, and am pretty sure there was one at Oconee State Park in SC… At one time(circa 1950’s) some shoe stores gave away aluminum good luck tokens that were horseshoe shaped with a penny in the middle. Think they were provided by Red Goose shoes…In that time period, mustard seeds (biblical reference to faith as small as a mustard seed) encapsulated in a small clear glass/plastic globe were also sold as necklace charms.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 9:19 am

    This is a souvenir from a fun place. I think I remember getting one when I was little from a place on the boardwalk. Probably some parent/grandparent/child visited there and brought home a so-called good luck piece. I think it would be interesting if Chatter did a bit of research as to what is there to attract visitors. I’m curious, too!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I remember the token-making machine from an amusement park my family visited years ago, and I think one of my brothers made one but I never did. Funny thing, though – just recently I saw a similar machine at a Tourist Info Center on a highway in MA! Took me back a few years 🙂 But I still did not make one!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    August 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Looks to me like an identification badge. Federal employees would wear it to demonstrate authorized access to the secret nuclear fuel production facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during World War II.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 5, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Tipper–Lots of answers already. The weight or heft of the token will likely tell you whether or not it was made from a quarter. If it is lighter, aluminum might have been in play, and if it is WWII vintage, given the geographic location, that would make sense. I’m sure it will pique Br’er Don’s interest since he worked at Oak Ridge for a number of years.
    We had something similar used at the end of a light string in the bedroom when the two of us were boys. I don’t remember much about it except it was very light and had some kind of star shape in the middle.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. Two types of kale now in the ground.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Steve-thank you!!! You found it : ) And thank you for noticing the bad language. So that everyone else can see what the link you shared said here it is:
    F1. Arcade-stamped Good Luck Coin, aluminum, circa 1964
    Obverse: A pieced six-pointed star contains a bas-relief five-pointed star with rays pointing to the legendLegend: LUCKY (plus the custom-stamped words chosen by the customer)Reverse: No designLegend: PAT./NO. 1455289/HARVARD/AUT. MACH. CO./JAMESTOWN/N. Y.
    And there was a photo of a charm that looked just like the one Chatter found (but with different words). If you don’t mind the language you can go here to see the info-scroll down to the F section.…now I wonder who the charm belonged to-I suppose someone who lived in Oakridge TN!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    August 5, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Tipper” After sharing your post with Jim – and at first glance of the ‘treasure’ he said, “Ah! It is a security badge!” I did not question his declaration – as he wore a security badge for thirty years @ Oak Ridge National Lab! HAVE FUN ON YOUR ‘SECRET CITY’ EXPLORATIONS!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Patty Howe
    August 5, 2015 at 8:15 am

    This is a good luck piece that kids(or grown ups) could make. Stick a quarter in the machine, and then turn the letter keys until you spelled out whatever you wanted on the charm. It could be a necklace, key chain, or just in your pocket.

  • Reply
    Steve Wilson
    August 5, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I just left a post with a link telling all about the
    good luck coin. You might want to read the entire
    section F before posting it. Some offensive language.
    Sorry, I didn’t notice the first time.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    August 5, 2015 at 8:05 am

    I think it is a trinket you could get at a fair or arcade. You put a quarter in, spelled out your name or your sweetheart’s name,etc. and you got a personalized good luck charm. This one may have been made by a child. The Oak Ridge part was probably already on it and is an indication of where it was purchased. An amusement park perhaps.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 7:51 am

    It’s a souvenir token that once upon a time you could get at touristy locations, I believe by putting money in a machine and selecting the letters you wanted to impress on the disc. I have one my mom brought me from Myrtle Beach with my name on it when I was about 6 or so. Mine also has a worn place in the same location as the hat shaped hole from a key chain rubbing back and forth on the surface. I immediately remembered mine when I saw your post, but I haven’t seen one of these in many years.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 5, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Maybe a token of some kind, though the notch might indicate it would hang in some fashion. Well, obviously I don’t know but I bet some reader will know. It’s a fun game.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    August 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Tipper: Are you kidding me? Let us do an article in the Oak Ridger News and learn more about Chatter’s find! She will surely learn something about her treasure. I can well imagine this was a token for someone who ‘worked on the bomb’back in the ’40’s. Give me the word. I will do the exploration – starting here at the “Museum of Science and Energy” where folks just love to discover such treasures!
    Eva Nell
    (865) 482-2545

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