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Janvier Pantograph

Janvier Pantograph.  A die-cutting machine, one of the most exacting and precise for reducing three-dimensional bas-relief designs while simultaneously cutting a die. The mechanical engraver is named after its developer, Victor Janvier (1852-1911), who did much to improve existing die-engraving machines, most notably the Contamin. He operated two separate businesses. One, Duval & Janvier, with sculptor Paul Marie Duval, did custom reductions, die-cutting and medal making (Janvier was an accomplished medalist himself since 1892). The other was Ateliers Victor Janvier, which constructed and sold reducing machines. After his death in 1911, the later firm became Janvier, Berchot & Cie.

Janvier's basic reducing machine was patented in 1899. In addition to two models of bas-relief reducing machines, the firm also crafted one for the reductions of small statues and sculpture in-the-round. Hundreds of Janvier's machines were sold throughout the world, primarily to coinage mints, medal makers, and tableware manufacturers. The name Janvier virtually became generic for these die-cutting machines.

Janvier's machines were so exacting and precise that an entire designlettering, design and border elements– could be accomplished all at once (eliminating the need for reduction punches and lettering punched in the die separately). This accomplished a desired capability of the die-engraving pantograph that Matthew Boulton had conceived a century earlier (1797).

Both the Paris Mint and the London Mint obtained Janvier machines (1905). The Paris Mint had started a project to improve their die-engraving pantographs (1900), but after acquiring the Janvier they adopted for their own pantographs many of the innovations that Janvier had introduced. Even so they did not complete this project until 1927.

The usefulness of the Janvier was so extensive, however, it was widely employed even in the manufacture of small decorative objects other than coins and medals. In addition to table utensils this included: buttons, badges, emblems, jewelry and small machine parts.

The first Janvier was imported (1902) in the United States for what was to become the Medallic Art Company. The Philadelphia Mint purchased their first Janvier (1906), and Gorham & Company had four Janvier pantographs in their tableware design department in Providence by 1915. By the First World War over 20 Janvier pantographs had been sold in the United States alone, and, by 1921, 140 sold worldwide.  See pantograph.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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