Bernard Maets employed and collaborated with many influential figures during his lifetime, most of them scientists, artists or authors. During a visit to South Africa, he came across a long time correspondent of his by the name of Rudyard Kipling. They are said to have conversed for many hours over many days about the subjects and topics of Kipling’s many books, particularly those concerning the Indian jungles. Eventually, the conversation turned to the military, and Kipling had much to say about it. He had always been a supporter of Britain’s armed forces, particularly the brave men who formed the jungle patrols in India. Maets was taken by the majestic way in which Kipling described the heroes, and in later journals credits this moment as the genesis of his stint of medal-making.
Men who performed well and showed pluck in the steam shop were from then on awarded appropriate commendations; medals and pins, adorned with the gears and gauges of their trade. They were not required to wear them to work, but the stunning condition in which they have been kept suggests that they were prized possessions of all those who earned them.
from the biography of Bernard Maets