Engraver's sample plate from 1902

Crazy Horse

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#6
And to think, no microscope, no air assist. I once met an engraver on Philly's "Jeweler's Row" who came from Russia and did all his lettering engraving on a leather pad...no engraving ball.
 

mdengraver

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#7
As through life the point of your graver travels, whatever be your artistic goals, keep your eyes upon your design, and not dependent upon all the latest technological advances to distract you from the whole! If you can't draw where you plan to go, you can't obtain a direct ticket to your destination! Be like Johnny Cash walk the line, even if you have to wriggle your way there!
 
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Roger Bleile

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#8
That is a magnificent example of the engraver's trade and a treasure for sure. I can't help but think "if we only knew who the engraver was and something about his/her life." My motivation for writing about engravers and keeping files of their work has always been to keep their memory alive. I have been modestly successful when it comes to gun engravers but of the thousands of jewelry, silverware, and watch engravers of the past , most will be lost in the mist of time.

Along with the outside of pocket watches, engravers cut some very impressive inscriptions on the couvet over the movement. In the example below, the engraver used several styles of lettering that was curved to add interest and artistry.
 

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allan621

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#9
Roger, I used to do a lot of pocket watch cases, inside and out. I had to stop however when the jeweler who used to remove the pin from the case hinge retired. If the case cannot be taken apart its too hard to engrave the inside properly. Some people insist however so I do it very rarely and not in the last few years. These is a sketch of the last pocket watch I did. If it doesn't look laid out well its for two reasons. First is that with the front of the case still connected it was hard to lay straight lines in there because it was a very deep case. The second reason is that because they wanted it in this direction I had to lay it out upside down. Not easy. It would have been easier and better if I was smart enough to use the inkjet transfer system.

It came out pretty well but it took two more sketches and with the scriber laying out made it more precise.

When I was just starting engraving in Philadelphia I became friends with a retired policeman and he told me that he remembered a lot of engravers. Unfortunately they were all drunks and hung around Franklin Square. That was where anyone who needed help with a production run ( no machine engraving back then ) knew where to find them. In fact he told me that twice a year Hamilton Watch sent up a bus or two to get them. Brought them back to Lancaster, sobered them up and set them to work engraving all those intricate patterns on the front of the pocket watch or the name Hamilton and manufacturer details on the inside. Lots of jewelry engravers back then, lots. IMG_2815.jpg
 

mitch

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"he remembered a lot of engravers. Unfortunately they were all drunks and hung around Franklin Square."

the more things change...
 

Roger Bleile

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#11
Roger, I used to do a lot of pocket watch cases, inside and out. I had to stop however when the jeweler who used to remove the pin from the case hinge retired. If the case cannot be taken apart its too hard to engrave the inside properly. Some people insist however so I do it very rarely and not in the last few years. These is a sketch of the last pocket watch I did. If it doesn't look laid out well its for two reasons. First is that with the front of the case still connected it was hard to lay straight lines in there because it was a very deep case. The second reason is that because they wanted it in this direction I had to lay it out upside down. Not easy. It would have been easier and better if I was smart enough to use the inkjet transfer system.

It came out pretty well but it took two more sketches and with the scriber laying out made it more precise.

When I was just starting engraving in Philadelphia I became friends with a retired policeman and he told me that he remembered a lot of engravers. Unfortunately they were all drunks and hung around Franklin Square. That was where anyone who needed help with a production run ( no machine engraving back then ) knew where to find them. In fact he told me that twice a year Hamilton Watch sent up a bus or two to get them. Brought them back to Lancaster, sobered them up and set them to work engraving all those intricate patterns on the front of the pocket watch or the name Hamilton and manufacturer details on the inside. Lots of jewelry engravers back then, lots. View attachment 45865
It must have been very difficult to cut that inscription with the case back still attached. You could never cut all the way around without making contact with the cover.
 

mdengraver

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#12
That is a magnificent example of the engraver's trade and a treasure for sure. I can't help but think "if we only knew who the engraver was and something about his/her life." My motivation for writing about engravers and keeping files of their work has always been to keep their memory alive. I have been modestly successful when it comes to gun engravers but of the thousands of jewelry, silverware, and watch engravers of the past , most will be lost in the mist of time.

Along with the outside of pocket watches, engravers cut some very impressive inscriptions on the couvet over the movement. In the example below, the engraver used several styles of lettering that was curved to add interest and artistry.
It must have been very difficult to cut that inscription with the case back still attached. You could never cut all the way around without making contact with the cover.
Roger excellent beautiful example! Thanks for sharing!
 

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