All About Engraving

Historical photo of Sheridan's Badges and Engraving workshop

30 second summary:

  • Engraving has been part of human life for up to half a million years, from ancient rock art to modern keepsakes.
  • Sheridan’s has been proudly making beautiful engravings for Perth homes and businesses for over a century.
  • Find out how we do what we do, and how it’s changed over the years!

Engraving has been an important part of life since ancient history! We use it to personalise keepsakes, commemorate events, share important information and more. Engraved items are found in homes and business across Perth, Australia and the world. At Sheridan’s Badges and Engraving, engraving has been in our family for generations, since Charles Sheridan set up shop in West Perth 107 years ago, and we’ve worked with countless people, businesses and organisations throughout Western Australia to create top-notch engravings since then. You can even find our engravings in the WA Museum collection! We’re proud to have been Perth’s engraving experts for a century and counting.

So as passionate craftspeople, naturally we find the history and technology behind engraving super exciting. In this blog, we’d like to share that passion with you!

What exactly is engraving?

Glad you asked! According to the Cambridge English Dictionary:



UK  /ɪnˈɡreɪv/

US  /ɪnˈɡreɪv/

to cut words, pictures, or patterns into the surface of metalstone, etc.:


It’s both an art and a science, with technological advances throughout the years and centuries meaning that what was once hand-engraved with crude tools by our prehistoric ancestors is now done with infinite care by lasers, diamond tips and rotary tools that are cutting-edge (literally!)

Engraving through the ages

The first-ever evidence of engraving is a chiselled shell, dating back between 540,000 and 430,000 years ago. Engraving was part of ancient art, particularly engravings on bone and ivory, and rock engravings are found around the world – here in Australia, you can find examples in places like Murujuga (an island in the Pilbara), and Wikipedia has an impressive list of these engravings, also known as petroglyphs.

Engravers in ancient times used engraving for the same reason we do today — to make or decorate things and to commemorate what mattered to them, record history and offer thanks.

Want to know more? There’s a very comprehensive and fascinating article at the Engraver’s Journal, which we found so inspiring – it’s great to think that here at Sheridan’s, we’re continuing a tradition that dates back as long as civilization!

Engraving right here in Perth

The Sheridan’s story began when Charles Sheridan set up a workshop behind his home in West Perth way back in 1913, becoming the largest badge maker and engraver in Western Australia by the 1920s. Both his son Charles II and his grandsons have continued the family tradition, making us one of the longest-standing family businesses in Australia.

Engraving at Sheridans - Back in the Day!

Engraving at Sheridan’s – Back in the Day!


Perhaps unsurprisingly, engraving requires some highly technical skills, which we have honed after over a century of experience making well-crafted engravings for the people of Perth and throughout Western Australia.

We have the equipment to make highly detailed embossing dies, for beautiful engravings.

Types of engraving

At Sheridan’s Badges and Engraving, we offer three main types of general engraving services:


Rotary engraving

This form of engraving uses a rotating cutting tool. The tool cuts deep enough into the material so it can be paint filled later with soft enamel paint if desired. This is used mainly on brass or stainless steel where the customer wants coloured text.

Laser etching

This form of engraving uses a high energy beam to mark the material. The detail is very sharp and usually very shallow or flush with the surface, depending on the material. This is used mainly for stainless steel, plastic and wood.

Diamond tip engraving

We all know diamonds are forever: they’re the world’s hardest material! This form of engraving uses a very sharp cone shaped diamond tip. This is sharp enough to leave a lasting mark on the material.


What we engrave

The main materials we supply and can engrave are:


  • Plastic Laminates
  • Anodised Aluminium – Available in several colours
  • Stainless Steel
  • Brass
  • Timber/Wood
  • Other Metals


We can provide engraving materials, or we can engrave material which our clients supply.

For plastic laminates, you can expect your engraving project to be ready in one week; for metal, production time is two weeks.

Our work in engraving

At Sheridan’s Badges and Engraving, our knowledge of both general and commercial engraving is very extensive, and with over a century of creating great engravings in Perth, you could say we’ve engraved our own mark on this city! From engraving commemorative plaques to beloved gifts, we’re delighted to have played a part in so many of your own personal and organisational histories.

Here’s some examples of the great work we’ve done in engraving, and a video of our engraving work in action!

Perth Engraving  





Want to know more? Here at our workshop in Perth, we’re doing plenty of amazing things – check out our recent showcase blog on personalised keyrings and industrial signage, and our various products such as lapel pins and badges, plaques and trophies available for sale. And keep an eye on our blog for more insight into what we do, how we do it and the place that these time-honoured techniques have played in our world.