Abbiatico, Mario: 1934-? Mr. Abbiatico can be credited with the exposition, recognition, and expansion of Italian fine art gun engraving through his series of beautifully illustrated books on the subject. He was also a partner in the gun making firm of Abbiatico & Salvinelli (FAMARS).
Alderson, Dave: Western Silver Engraver
Austyn, Christopher: British author and head of the sporting guns department at Christie's auction house. Austyn is the author of "Gun Engraving" which is primarily focused on British shotguns and double rifles. A significant part of the book deals with correspondence between engraver Jack Sumner and various gunmakers which is very telling about the trade in Sumner's time.
Baptiste, Roland.: Engraving, for Roland Baptiste, is a passion passed on to him by his father. As a young child Roland was intrigued by the sound of hammer and chisel from his father's engraving workshop. It was thus quite natural that he would be directed towards studying engraving at the School of Arms manufacture at Liege. He graduated in 1993 after having refined his talent during years at an occupation which enabled him to unceasingly improve the control of his tools of engraving. He decided finally to devote his time entirely to the art of engraving. He was determined to preserve his freedom of expression and creativity which led him to refuse to yield to the constraint of manufacturing in series, even for famous makers. He preferred to turn to certain arms manufacturers and private individuals with whom he was privileged to be creative when working on projects. He has worked mainly with contacts from France, Germany and Belgium creating fine weapons to achieve the highest quality which a Master can reach. The signature of his work is found in the details of his work. He has been present at various shows such as Rambouillet, Country Show, Knives in festival with Nontron, Eghezée and Amay. He has always been pleased to explain the techniques and subtleties of his work. When you meet, it take a student only a few moments to share his vision of the most beautiful weapons of hunting.
Barber, C.E. (Charlie): Chief engraver of the U.S. Mint 1879-1916. Designed most of the famous US coins sought after by collectors today.
Barraclough, John K.: engraver, teacher, designer, avocado grower and jockey. Born in England 1931. Lived there during WW2. Emigrated to Canada in 1949 and the US in 1951. Taught engraving for 22 years for two or three months each year at Lassen college, California and Trinidad college, Colorado. The classes followed the general plan of the original engraving classes taught by Neil Hartliep and designed and initiated by Wayne H. Sheets, Director of Education for NRA. This instruction was based upon the hammer and chisel and push methods of engraving. It was designed to offer very affordable, simple tools to the beginning student.
Blair, Jim: Born Lander Wyo. 1950. Attended schools in Pinedale, Cokeville, and Cheyenne Wyo. Attended one year at University of Wyo., Two years at Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, Wyo. Served in the Wyo. Air National Guard as an illustrator. Previous work experience includes ranch hand, U.S. Forest Service, autobody painter and repairman, teacher, welder in a coal mine. 1978, started to learn engraving. I have learned by the reinvent the wheel theory. I also have had the good fortune to be able to attend short courses with some very talented engravers and be involved with the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. 1993. I started engraving full time. I still like to use the hammer and chisel. I also use the graver max. Mostly depends upon what I am working on. For all my fine work I use the burin. I am a certified professional member of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America and currently hold the office of vice president. I have taught several advanced and beginning engraving courses at Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado. I also engrave steel plates and print them. I have my own press.
Bleile, Carl B.: An engraver for over 35 years who's work has been features in numerous books and magazine articles since the 1970s.
Bleile, C. Roger:
Author, engraver, soldier, and lawman are some of the titles worn by author C. Roger Bleile in his long career. An
Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, who later retired from the Army National Guard, Bleile came to the field of
hand engraving after several years as a deputy sheriff in California.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1945, Roger Bleile’s career as an engraver began in 1976 when he received instruction from his brother Carl B. Bleile. Aware of a significant lack of recognition for other contemporary American engravers, Roger undertook the task of writing a book about them. The result was the 1980 edition of American Engravers that became a landmark publication in the field.
With a vision for an organization of engravers, Bleile assembled a group of gun engravers in 1980, which resulted in the formation of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA). At the behest of the guild, he later wrote Arms Engraving Facts in 1982.
As much a scholar of the engraver’s art as a practitioner, Bleile has extensively studied the field and assembled a substantial library and archive of pictures and information. With these materials he used the Internet to create Roger Bleile's International, Illustrated Glossary of Hand-Engraving Terminology. With over 300 definitions and 400 illustrations, this extensive resource has been recognized as the most complete and authoritative reference of it’s kind in existence.
At the 2010 meeting of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America, Bleile was officially recognized for his contributions to American engraving and the inception of the guild with the FEGA Founder’s Award.
At the urging of his fellow engravers and publisher S. P. Fjestad, Bleile’s latest contribution to the art of engraving is his 360-page magnum opus, American Engravers – The 21st Century. Published in late 2010, this full color book features the work and biographies of 35 of America’s top gun engravers along with features on nine people who have made exceptional contributions to the field.
C. Roger Bleile currently lives and works in Northern Kentucky.
Brooks, Jack: Taught many black powder makers to engrave their guns as well.
Careaga family: Spanish (Basque) engravers of the famous gun making town of Eibar. Cayetano, 1877-1966, Mateo, 1901-1981, and Jose, 1930-.
Carroll, Joyce: I began teaching myself ventriloquism at the age of ten, which quickly led me to a variety of festivals and musical functions. It was then I discovered a new passion for old time and traditional acoustic music. It was the music which led me directly to a chance meeting with banjo player and instrument maker/repairman, James Grainger. After seeing some art work of mine, Mr. Grainger responded positively when I expressed an interest in pearl and abalone inlay work. I have worked with him at Custom Fretted Instruments for the past eighteen years. It was only natural that the inlay work would lead me to pearl engraving. Mr. Grainger tried to pique my interrest in metal engraving by introducing me to Scott Pilkington, who had done some engraving on banjo parts for the shop. Due to Scott's generous help and encouragment I have been engraving banjo parts now for custom orders as well as some outside work for other builders, including Huber banjos.
Cellini, Benvenuto: 1500-1571, One of the enigmatic, larger-than-life figures of the Italian Renaissance: a celebrated sculptor, goldsmith, engraver, author and soldier.
Corombelle, Hyppolite: 1871-1943, Top Belgian engraver of his time who innovated the style of engraving incorporating fine English scroll, flowers, ribbons and festoons. Later moved to Bologna, Italy where he founded an engraving school. Father of engraver Lyson Corombelle (1894-1971).
Drain, Mark: Western Silvr Engraver
Ehlers, James: Not only is he a skilled and talented print engraver, he also stands in the unique position of professor of engraving arts at ESU. He will undoubtedly have a significant impact on many students of the art.
Euaenetos: One of the earliest engravers known by name. Engraved and signed dies for ancient Greek coins in the BC era.
FN Engraving Section: Closed for years, but they had 160 engravers in 1978 that created all of Browning & FN's wounderful engravings.
Flannery, Jeff: An extremely prolific engraver especially of handguns. Flannery has engraved hundreds of revolvers over his nearly 30-year career. I refer to him as the Cole Agee of contemporary engravers, not in style but in volume of work.
Galeazzi, Angelo: One of the earliest practitioners of the Italian high art gun engraving movement.
Giovanelli, Cesare: Master of the famous Bottega Giovanelli engraving school and studio in Gardone V.T., Italy.
Goldschmidt, Friedrich: 1943- Austrian gun engraver and author of Kunstlerische Waffen Graveren Ferlacher Meister (Artistic Gun Engraving of Ferlach Masters). Goldschmidt's book is the best reference on Ferlach engravers however it does not feature engravers from other parts of Austria (unfortunately no Martin Strolz coverage).
Gournet, Geoffroy: Master Engraver Geoffroy Gournet was born in Rethel in the French Ardennes in 1959 and became a US Citizen in 1985. He graduated from the Belgian School of Gunsmithing in Liege, where he was awarded The First Prize of Basculage (Gunsmithing) for his work. During that time he spent a lot of time learning the techniques of gunsmithing under the direction of Ernest Dumoulin. Later, he earned an additional first prize at Liege's School of Engraving. Leaving Belgium for Italy, he was able to spend time in different workshops in Gardone Val Tronpia with such masters as Ceasare Giovanelli and Geanfranco Pedersoli. While in Italy he met the Masters Julio Timpini, from Beretta, Giacomo Fausti and Giovanni Steduto both now of Creative Art. Giovanni Steduto took Geoffroy under his wing during those 4 months. Geoffroy was so eager to learn all the techniques of bulino that he worked 80 hours, 7 days a week. In 1985, he came to the United States as an artist-in-residence in Virginia. In the summer of 1987, Geoffroy met Tom Skeuse Senior the father of “Parker Reproduction.” Geoffroy became the sole and full-time engraver at Parker Reproduction, where he worked exclusively on the custom A1 shotguns creating one of a kind works. He embellished the A1 Custom shotguns with everything from English scrolls to gold inlay to theater masks to farms scenes to wonderfully detailed hunting scenes. He worked for the New Jersey based company from 1987 until 2002. Afterwards, he became a freelance engraver. Geoffroy only uses the traditional methods of engraving; he does not use machines or chemicals in any of his works. The techniques used in his engraving involve the hammer and chisel and the Italian traditional bulino. For the deeper cuts a hammer and chisel are used. The bulino is a hand pushed point that creates very light lines, this is typically used for the intricate details including but not limited to the scenes and shading. The hardness of the metal determines the extent of detail in his works, as hard metals allow small lines to be resistant to wear, while soft metals do not hold fine lines. Sometimes, Geoffroy inlays 24-karat gold in his works.
Hambrook, Rich: Arnold MO - current Browning engraver.
Hands, Barry Lee: Qualifications: First employed as an Engraver in 1977 at the age of seventeen years, I am qualified with all Engraving techniques including Push Gravers, Hammer and Chisel, Bulino, Gold Inlay, Etching and Pneumatic Handpiece. I can engrave any design, in any style, in an expedient manner. I have been contracted on numerous occasions to teach the Art of Engraving, and have a broad range of contacts in Custom, Production, Commercial and Industrial Firearm and Engraving Industries in the USA, Italy, England, Japan, Thailand, Republic of the Philippines, and Mexico. History: 1991 to present, Owner, Barry Lee Hands Fine Firearms and Engraving Full service custom engraving and training services for Trevallion Gunstocks, Dakota Arms, John Wilkes and Company, The Colt Custom shop, The Winchester Custom shop, C. Sharps Arms Co, Montana Silversmiths, Ithaca Gun Company, Dupont Kguns, and John Rigby and Co. Master Engraver status in the Firearms Engravers Guild of America and Regular member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild. I was chosen to engrave the American Custom Gunmakers Guild project firearm number thirteen. In 2009 I was honored with the awards "Engravers Choice Award of Merit" and " Best Engraved Rifle Award" at the ACGG/FEGA show in Reno. Past Moderator of the online forum, engravingforum.com I have written several articles on engraving for magazines including The Double Gun Journal, Shooting Sportsman, Gunmaker, and Engraver. I am the Official Cinematographer for Double Gun Journal, recently completing the feature length video “British Sporting Arms at Auction”. 2003 to2005, Factory Trade Show Rep and Instructor, GRS Corporation. GRS was the world’s premier manufacturer of hand engraving equipment. I demonstrated product at worldwide trade shows, in addition to teaching classes at their state of the art facility in Emporia Kansas. 1987 to 1988, Engraver, Treasure State Foundry. Hired by Steve Huff, A Belgian trained Engraver, to work with Dan Goodwin, A former Colt Custom Shop Master Engraver, to use my skills manufacturing Custom Belt Buckles. I was trained with Hammer and Chisel at this time. 1977 to 1981, Western Engraver, Gist Engravers, Silver State Silver. Trained by Ethan Jacczak in Bright cut western engraving, I worked with Ken Moore, Ken Smith, Darren Reeves and Gary Gist. Some of my work from this period was in the Rodeo Cowboy Hall Of Fame. Hugh Weaver studied with me at Silver State during this time.
Harry, Fran: Western Silver Engraver
Heune, Benno L.: Heune was a member of the Firearms Engravers of America, and lived in Bridgeport, CA. His first foray into engraving came in 1944, while he was convalescing at a military hospital at Pearl Harbor. He engraved knives and guns for fellow servicemen, charging .25/word (!). After WW II, Heune returned to Modesto, CA, where he worked as a firefighter. In 1955, he left the fire service to buy a sporting goods store and marina in Bridgeport. (Ed knew 'Ben' then, also through his work as a guide) Ben studied under Jack Morris in their saddle and silver shop, and he did some contract engraving work for silver shops in Reno, NV. 20 years after buying the sporting goods store, Heune sold it and took up the practice of engraving with (and teaching classes on) the 'Gravermeister, hand-engraving machine. The 'Gravermesiter' is best likened to a miniature air-hammer, in that it is a compressed-air-powered graver, and allows the complex engraving of very hard materials (like guns). Heune eventually sold Gravermeisters, conducted class on both manual ('graving') and Gravermeister engraving. Benno Heune wrote an introductory book on engraving calledr..."Basic Engraving". Ben Heune also taught NRA engraving classes at Lassen College in California, and for Rio Grande in Tucson, Arizona and for GRS Tools in Emporia, Kansas, 'Heune' means 'elk' in German, and Heune signed his work (on the underside of the frame, in front of the trigger-guard) with an elk head and rack, with the name, 'Heune' below. Benno Heune passed away in 1999.
Hoggson, Samuel J.: Mainly known for his engraving on early Henry rifles. Though his work is not on the level of Nimschke's it is prized by collectors for his unique position in the history of Winchester arms.
Johns, Bill: Learned engraving over 50 years ago and a full time engraver since 1976. Johns is another prolific gun engraver who specializes in six-shooters for the cowboy action shooters.
Joseph Joseph: (born 1938, New Hampshire) - Joseph began his engraving career at the mature age of forty one. Prior to that time he was involved in the gun industry as a gunsmith. During that time he learned all aspects of that trade. His last employment as a gunsmith was at the Paul Jaeger Gun Company where he worked on fine quality rifles and shotguns. It was there that he discovered the beauty of gun engraving. It ignited a passion in him that led him to Temple University in Philadelphia where he took art classes at which he excelled. This was not enough to satisfy the fires that burned within. He enrolled at the Abington School of fine arts where he studied drawing of the human figure. It was while working at Jaegers that he discovered the book L' ARTE DELL' INCISIONE authored by Mario Abbiatico. This book charged him with more desire not only to learn the art but motivated him to leave the gunsmiths trade and pursue his engraving passion. After finishing the art school he left Jaegers to take an unpaid engraving apprenticeship in Lynchburg Virginia, under engraver Ken Hurst. The day he left the Hurst Engraving Co started an odyssey that took him half way around the world to Italy. When he arrived in Gardone Val Trompia the first week of January of 1982 he immediately found the author of that beautiful book. Senior Abbiatico was not at all impressed with the practice examples of work the Joseph had brought with him. However, the determination that he showed convinced the talented author to take Joseph to the engraving School of Cesare Giovanelli and introduce him to the director. Joseph spoke not a word of Italian. The director arranged for an interpreter and he was interviewed. After discovering that he had hitchhiked from France to the school, it became clear that Joseph was determined to learn the art of engraving, at any cost. Giovanelli accepted Joseph into the School even though he was forty two years old at the time and had no funds to pay for his training. He was the first American to study there. At this school Joseph's passion to learn and his art school training help him to progress quickly. At the end of nine months of intense and at times painful training he had completed the entire three year course. While Joseph was in Italy not only he excelled at the craft. He also won the heart of a beautiful and intelligent woman who would become his wife. She provided Joseph with the guidance to make the rest of his life successful. On finishing his schooling he returned to America and applied for employment with the Winchester Gun Company in New Haven. Conn. Once again Joseph's skills impressed the management of that Company. He was hired as Master Engraver for the Winchester 21 custom shop. This in itself was quite remarkable as he had never engraved a gun during his entire training. The position paid an excellent salary, but a short year after, the artist within prevailed. Joseph realized that he would never reach his desire to be free to create the beautiful works that he could envision. He resigned from his position and returned again to Italy. There he worked under the Master Renato Sanzogni where he continued his studies of gold inlay and the sculpting in steel. When the training was completed he returned once again to America. Eventually settling in Cody Wyoming, where he maintained his studio for the following twenty years. He retired from engraving in 2001 and moved to the Mexican Riviera along the Pacific coast of the state of Guerrero. His work has been displayed in Guns magazine, The Double Gun Journal, National newspapers, Christie's auction house, Butterfield and Butterfields, Cherry fine gun catalogues, The Winchester Repeater magazine and others. He also received three awards from the Firearms Engravers Guild of America for his works. He has written many articles about engraving. Joseph's tools and examples of his work are now part of a permanent display in the Highly Finished Arms Room housed in the Cody Firearm Museum located in Cody, Wyoming. He has recently published a book of his memoirs titled A Gifted Man. At present, Joseph spends his time painting, sculpting, engraving coins and writing short articles for engraving forums on the internet. His hobbies are big game fishing, poker, and playing Scrabble and chess with his wife Franca Facchetti. He has no last name and considers himself to be a citizen of the world.
Koulauch, Walter: The only true Mercenairy Engraver I ever meet. Keighoff Crown grade for 1000 bucks or one for 10,000 Same pattern different quality, an unusual attitude. A wonderful, warm hearted guy and a real "show me the money" engraver. Would give you the shirt off his back. Could produce great artwork when the price was right and also fine production work if that was what was called for. H&C and fast as lightning, nearly as fast as Angelo Bee but not quite.
Krause, Albert: Chief engraver for L.C. Smith during the life of the company. Did all of the high grade work and trained and supervised a staff of pattern engravers.
Lindsay, Steve: Steve Lindsay was born in 1958 in Holdrege Nebraska. His father, Frank, is an accomplished jeweler, gemologist and watchmaker who worked with pride on precision watches and created custom jewelry, with Steve often at his side, learning skills of gold and metalworking. Steve's grandfather was a landscape painter, and his great-grandfather was also an engraver and jeweler. Steve, began learning the art of engraving at the age of twelve under his father's instruction. In 1975, he meet two friends of his father, Lynton McKenzie and James Meek (author of "The Art of Engraving"). On the recommendation of James Meek he attended a tech college majoring in tool and die, mold making and mechanical engineering. After college Steve worked a short time in a tool room of a Nebraska manufacturing company. During off hours he made various engraving tools and vises and in 1981 began engraving full time. He has engraved for collectors and makers of knives, guns, watches and jewelry but for companies such as Oakley Sunglasses as well as production hand engraving and lettering for gold, silver and platinum instrument companies in New England. He also engraved in collaboration engraver Lynton McKenzie on a Safari international rifle that auctioned by S.C.I. in 1986 selling for $201,000. Steve's engravings are cut by hand under a Zeiss microscope. The layout and designs of the engravings are first drawn with pencil and the design is then cut under the microscope with an AirGraver. 24k gold is used for inlays.
Lister, Weldon E., Sr.: Engraver, famous musician - was introduced to and studied engraving with his uncle, Austin Lee Lister in the 1940's. From there he developed his trade until he met Frank Hendricks in San Antonio in the mid 1960's where he worked until the mid 70's. During this time he did much of the work for Frank which allow Hendricks to concentrate on the very finest of details. Dad left Hendrick's & worked freelance until his retirement due to health concerns several years ago. He was a full-time firearms engraver for these decades with no additional source of income. His work was at what we would consider the "Master" level meaning he was accomplished and proficient in all styles of engraving including gold inlay sculpted steel and gold, etc.etc... Unfortunately he had a somewhat low profile nationally however, his clientele included Hank Williams Jr. (don't know how many times I came home from school as a kid to find dad & Bocephus visiting in the shop or the living room), Charles Schreiner III, Lew Zale (Zales Jewelers, Cullom & Boren Sporting Goods, etc) S.P. Stevens, Joe Beeler (sculptor, artist) Elmer Keith, Wallace Benfield, Robert "Bob" Berrymann (Colt Collector), the Phillips family (Phillips 66 petroleum), Leo Bradshaw (Colt Collector), Rust Cox (artist, sculptor, etc..) Dave Kirby (songwriter, Anybody goin to San Antone, etc.etc...), and Porter Wagner. Among the (numerous) Texas Rangers he did engraving for are Capt A.Y. Alee, Clint Peoples, Capt. Frank Probst, Ron Stewart, Robert "Bob" Favor, Henry Ligon & Joe Davis (Joe is now head of the Former Texas Rangers Assoc). This is a short list, there are a multitude of others! Among those he has helped to learn engraving over the years are Albert Bean (Corpus Christi Tx.), Buford Harris (San Antonio), Edward Machu (San Antonio) Oscar Flores (San Antonio), the late Don Henderson (Cherokee, Tx), Terry Theis (Harper Tx), Jim Riggs (Boerne Tx,) and myself. He also has the distinction of being the only engraver to have been a recording artist for Capitol Records, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as a regular guest artist and toured with Hank Williams Sr. as his opening act and also traveled with Little Jimmy Dickens, String Bean and many other Grand Ole Opry artists. In addition to being an excellent engraver he is an accomplished songwriter, oil painter, scrimshander, knifemaker and wood carver. Stock making and carving were also a forte.
Loy, Joseph: Chief engraver for Remington arms in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of his work is on high grade side by sides. Argueably the best American factory engraver of his time.
Marsh, Ernie: Western Silver Engraver
Medici, Francesco: 1924-?, Italian engraver who may be considered the father of modern Italian high art gun engraving. Mentor to such notables as Angelo Galeazzi and Firmo Fracassi.
Murray, Dan: Western Silver Engraver
Murray, Dave: Western Silver Engraver
Nobili, Marco: Italian author of a series of books on fine guns and gun engraving which further served to increase demand for finely engraved arms.
Nott, Ron: Gun Engraver
Obiltschnig, Albin: 1894-1975 was one of the most respected Ferlach, Austrian gun engravers of his time and father of engraver Hans Obiltschnig. Innovator of relief scene work incorporating Diana, goddess of the hunt which is sometimes referred to in Ferlach as an "Obiltschnig motif."
Ormsby, W.L.: Bank note engraver who engraved the dies for the roll engraving on all Colt percussion cylinders.
Parrott, Wayne M.A., FIPG: Trained in England at Sir John cass College achieving a diploma (distinction) and M.A (distinction). Also trained in Germany at Staatlich Werksundschule, Schwäbisch Gmund, city & guilsds. Now engraves from his London based studio specialising in carving & seal engraving. Wayne has taught hand engraving at the Sir John Cass department of the London guildhall university (now the London metropolitan university) for over 30yrs, and also teaches short courses at West Dean college in the UK. A member of the Institute of professional Goldsmiths, Hand Engravers Association Of Great Britain, and the Heraldry Society. Some of his works are available for viewing at Westminster Abbey, St Paul`s Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral, The Goldsmiths collection.
Peceti, Al: Western Silver Engraver
Pedersen, Rex: Born in 1955, engraver, teacher, gunsmith. A third generation gunsmith. Began engraving 1978. In 1938, C.R. Pedersen started a business in Chicago with his son manufacturing twirling and directing batons and musical instruments. Upon his discharge from the armed services, his son Rich started a gun shop in Ludington, Michigan. He offered many custom services to many customers as well as other dealers. Many gunsmiths and manufacturers used the famous REX brand engine tuning fixtures, drill jigs and front sights. Growing up in the gun business Rich's son, Rex performed many gunsmithing operations. In 1978, he decided to try his hand at firearms engraving. Since then he has received" Professional" status from the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. In 1996 he received the Smith & Wesson "Masterpiece Award" for the finest engraved Smith & Wesson handgun. In 1999, he received the Beretta "Award of Distinction". This award, recognizes a FEGA engraver who has exhibited both excellence and uniqueness of design. Has served as President of the FEGA and teaches engraving courses for GRS Corporation. His work has appeared in Guns magazine, Shooters Bible, Modern Custom Guns, Custom Firearms Engraving as well as other publications. He recently engraved the #16 ACGG Guild rifle, "The Whitetail, a tribute".
Pilkington, Scott: Engraver, teacher, author, b.1964, began engraving 1981, started with Meek’s book, began full time engraving in 1984, his work has been featured in many US and foreign publications, 1985 to present. Used hammer and chisel from 1982 until 1991, then switched to power. taught week-long courses and seminars at the Appalachian Center for Crafts, Blade Show, FEGA show, Trindad State Junior College and has been an instructor for the GRS Training Center since 1996. Has authored several articles about engraving. Has visited with engravers and engraving schools on six continents. Hosts an annual Engrave-In at his home in Tennessee. In 1997 he started an import and retail business for competition airguns used in the Olympics. Also see Artist in Steel.
Pranger, Ed: of Anacortes WA, Ed has engraved everything from from bracelets to boat anchors.
Prud'homme, Georges Henri: 1873-1847 (inrelated to E.C. Jack Prudhomme) A French engraver and medallist of great note in Eurpoe.
Rausch, Gerd: One of the top contemporary German engravers. A protégé of the late Erich Boessler. Rausch's work is often seen on ornately engraved Kreighoff's and other high end European arms.
Rembrandt: engraver, etcher, painter, 1606-1669, The world famous painter was originally a famous engraver and etcher and was considered better at these endeavors than painting by his contemporary peers. His ability to use fine lines, dots, and crosshatching created an incredible array of tones in the printed form unseen before in the world. He left engraving completely in 1661 to focus more fully on the broader spectrum that color paintings offered his creative genius.
Rohner, Hans: gun engraver, jewelry maker
Rohner, John R.:
John R. Rohner: The Godfather of the American Engraving Renaissance
By Scott Pilkington and Lisa Rohner Schafer
For my friend John Rohner- whose ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’, the Gravermeister, is the major advance made since the early years of gun engraving in the 16th Century. – With best regards from Larry Wilson. — inscribed in John’s copy of R.L. Wilson’s book, “ L.D. Nimschke, Firearms Engraver”
Many are aware of John Rohner’s role in co-founding GRS and co-developing the Gravermeister with his brother-in-law, Don Glaser. If that is all he had done to impact the field of engraving, his reputation as one who had helped bring about the Renaissance of American engraving would be secure.
But his impact has been much broader. Consider that his writings on engraving appeared in numerous publications providing knowledge to buyers and practitioners alike. His passion for the art led him to create techniques and methods that are standards in the American engraver’s toolkit today. His interests in wildlife art, guns and engraving forged a lifetime of friendships with others who shared those interests including Bob Brownell, Len Brownell, John Amber, Elmer Keith, Maynard Reece, John Warren, Rene Delcour, Cole Agee, Larry Wilson, Jack Prudhomme, Lynton McKenzie, Franz Marktl, John Amber, Francis Lee Jacques, Bruce Meek, John Dutcher , Frank Brownell and others. Among such as these he was a source of cross-pollination, advancing the art of engraving with wildlife artists, gun-makers, gun writers and publishers.
Now in his 88th year, John Rohner is truly a living legend among engravers; his influences are felt in so many areas, sometimes unknown to those using methods he developed.
The Early Years
John grew up along the Iowa River just south of Iowa City where he spent his days hunting, fishing, and camping. Guns were a passion of his from a very early age. At the outbreak of World War II, he left behind two years at St. Ambrose College to work on the construction of the Alcan Highway. The year 1943 found him working in Seattle at Boeing with the plan to return to Alaska as a Junior Airport Manager.
“After a month of getting up at 4 a.m. to catch a bus for class I decided I wanted to do something easier,” Rohner says. “Maybe it wasn’t my most brilliant moment, but I joined the Marines.”
Esthetics was the deciding factor in his choice of that branch of service. “My Mom sometimes forced me to wear sailor suits as a kid, and I hated that. So the Navy was out. I couldn’t stomach the mis-fitted Army uniforms, with their hats pulled down over their ears. That left the Marines,” Rohner recalls.
At the age of 19, then Corporal Rohner shipped off to Saipan as a Combat Intelligence Specialist with the First Rocket Detachment, Fourth Marine Division. John recalls sitting in the dark listening to soldiers hurl insults back and forth and he says the rockets being launched is something he will never forget. The barrage made a great big “WOOSHING” sound, the sky was filled with rockets and the whole war stopped when they took off. Johns, war did stop shortly thereafter when a piece shrapnel put him on hospital ship stateside
He enrolled at the University of Iowa to earn his bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a master’s in Museology (Museum Studies). He was a member of the 1947 University of Iowa rifle team that placed second in the nation in the NCAA Championships. During his collegiate summers from 1946-50 he worked for the Forest Service based out of Challis, Idaho, patrolling the primitive area along the middle fork of the Salmon River with his horse, mule and dog as company. It was during this time he developed a friendship with Idaho resident and gun-writer, Elmer Keith — the first of many friendships with noted individuals in the gun world.
Throughout his summers and while completing his degrees and later while teaching, John collected wildlife specimens for the University of Iowa Natural History Museum including a vast collection of birds and some mammals. Many of these mounted specimens are on display there to this day.
Bit by the Engraving Bug
In the early 1950s, while he was teaching at the University of Iowa, John supplemented his income by trading in guns — a talent that came in handy years later when he had seven children to feed. The engraved guns he encountered piqued his interest in the art, and he decided to try and decorate a gun for himself. After a poor attempt at etching, John realized that only a hammer and graver would give him the look he was after. And so he was on the road to becoming a hand engraver.
His new interest led him to contact Cole Agee, hoping to swap some of Agee’s engraving for some of John’s trade guns. Agee agreed, and John picked up a few engraving pointers from the well-known engraver in the course of the transaction.
Seldom satisfied with his work, he nonetheless kept at it bit by bit. His effort was rewarded with his work appearing on the cover of the March 1955 issue of American Rifleman. A teacher by nature, he was soon writing articles to share his newfound knowledge, the first appearing the June ’56 edition of GUNS magazine entitled “How to be a Gun Engraver.”
Other publications followed, and soon John was in the company of gunsmith tool-provider, Bob Brownell. That friendship led to an introduction to fellow Iowan and established engraver, James “Bruce” Meek. Meek inspired and helped John with his engraving; and likewise, John was a contributor who helped with Meek’s 1973 book, The Art of Engraving. Brownell’s published the book, which is considered the engraving “bible” to many of today’s engravers. John also authored a detailed treatise for the beginning engraver that appeared in another Brownell’s published book, Gunsmith Kinks.
In 1962 John moved his family to Boulder, Colorado, where he began teaching museology and wildlife habitat groups at the University of Colorado. He had been discussing the mechanical aspects of engraving with his sister’s husband, Don Glaser. Glaser, an engineer with many patents in the printing field that used vacuum devices, saw a vacuum process as a way to create the tool that John was envisioning. Together they developed the Gravermeister — the first product of GRS Corporation and the forerunner of many of today’s air-powered systems.
John ran GRS alone out of his home for the first eleven years, while teaching at the University. “My days didn’t end until I’d put in several hours writing letters, making calls, getting invoices together. Most nights I didn’t stop until the ten-o’clock news came on.” John grew and nurtured the company through his engraving knowledge, enthusiasm and salesmanship. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, brother-in-law Don focused his efforts on the machining, production and invention aspects of the business.
John’s reputation as an established engraver, with published work and skills at “real hand engraving” opened many doors to this newfangled machine, albeit often with much hostility from old timers who feared an easier method would lead to a cheapening of their hard-earned skills. Today those concerns seem antiquated, as air-powered engravers produced by GRS and Lindsay Tools dominate much of the engraving world.
Meanwhile . . . Back at the Museum
In the mid-sixties John instituted a program at the University of Colorado to train Native Americans in the museum methods required to preserve and display the artifacts and history of their cultures. The program expanded to include students from Africa, who were sponsored by their governments to come and learn what had previously been done by outsiders — that is collecting, restoring, maintaining and displaying the art and objects of their cultures.
Already a collector of Native American art, contact with his African students led him to a new interest — African Art. He makes no claim on being an authority on African art despite the fact that he has amassed a collection of over 700 pieces from more than 100 tribes. His newfound knowledge of this esoteric art study led him to author the book, Art Treasures from African Runners that was published in 2000 by University Press of Colorado. From an engraving viewpoint, it is fascinating to see how Rohner’s interest in African art influenced his engraving. The leaf formations inside of his later scrollwork resembles the eye features found in many African masks.
As the curator of a museum, John had an interest in replicating both animal specimens and artifacts to use in exhibits. This led to experimenting with silicone molds and acrylic for casting these items. Over time, Dow Corning sent him various samples to try and compare. Rohner’s results eventually brought high praise from museum officials around the world.His efforts were of great benefit to archeologists; they frequently were restricted from removing specimens from a host nation. John’s casting technique allowed them to take a detailed replica from the site for further study back in their home country. These casting techniques also were applicable to precious metals. John reproduced ancient coins, flawless enough that they fooled even the most astute historical numismatists worldwide.
But most importantly to engravers, the technique allowed him to collect engraving samples from other noted engravers. By reproducing a plastic cast rather than the real firearm, he could keep and study other artisan’s work, even down to the remotest chisel mark. Engravers today commonly collect and trade castings of each other’s work for study and enjoyment little realizing that this is yet another of John Rohner’s contributions to the art.
Engraving No More
In 1993 John retired from the University of Colorado. He continued to engrave guns, motivated simply by his love for the craft and his passion for guns. One unique feature that John’s engraved guns possess is their finish . . .or more correctly said, their lack thereof. After the engraving cuts are blackened, it is left the natural steel color, protected by Renaissance Wax.
John’s answer when asked about the lack of finish? “No matter what finish you put on it, someone is going to ask, ‘How come you didn’t nickel plate it?’ ‘How come you didn’t blue it?’ ‘How come you didn’t case harden it?’ Well I ask, ‘’ How come chickens don’t pee? They drink water don’t they?’ I leave it natural and Renaissance Wax does fine. If whoever gets it wants to do something with it, that’s their decision.”
In 2009 at the age of 86, John engraved his last masterpiece, a first generation Colt SAA in his ornamental Africanized scroll. His eyesight had been problematic for the previous few years. It finally got to the point when he had to put the graver down and his son Hans finished the screw heads of his final project.
John believes his greatest contribution is this; “ I loved to teach people who got a hell of a lot better than I was.” And there are many noted names among today’s engravers who learned directly from John such as Eric Gold, Steve Lindsay, Mitch Moschetti, and the late Don Glaser and Guieseppe Forte to name a few. John’s passion influenced his wife, Dorothy and several of their children to pursue the art. At age 14, son Hans had his engraving featured in the famous annual Gun Digest. Now, four decades later, Hans uses his engraving skills to decorate and detail the custom jewelry he creates.
Even accomplished engravers benefited from John’s teaching; Lynton McKenzie, already one of the most accomplished engravers of his day, learned the technique of selective French graying on blued steel developed by John. The technique was so visually stunning when applied to McKenzie’s engraving that it set the engraving world on its ear. Selective French graying is used by nearly all engravers in the United States today.
There were a number of factors that led to the American Engraving Renaissance over the last 30 years. James B. Meek’s 1973 book The Art of Engraving; and C. Roger Bleile’s 1980 book American Engravers are often rightly attributed as part of this. The subsequent establishment of FEGA in 1982 gave engravers a sense of common goals and a forum to share ideas, techniques and promote more interest in the art. But is entirely possible that none of these events would have taken place without the interest, experimentation and passion that John Rohner gave to the art in the ‘50s and 60s. His “how to” articles, published photographs of his own engraved guns, and promotion of the GRS tools at regional gun shows and annual NRA conventions brought engraving to the forefront in unheard of ways and led to an increased awareness of the art. As talented engravers sprung up in America it paved the road for publishers like Brownell’s and Beinfeld’s to invest in printing hardback books on the subject. Certainly his gregarious personality and sometimes wacky humor made John a friend to many influential people in the gun world and brought interest to engraving at all levels, from the poor wannabe practitioners to the magazines moguls and coined connoisseurs who could afford the subject of his passion.
As FEGA celebrates its 30th anniversary, it must be considered that it was 30 years prior, that a young John Rohner was making his first cuts with a hammer and chisel, and wondering how he could get more people interested in this unique art form on arms. In the coming years his articles and promotion of this art form along with new tools to aid aspiring engravers helped rekindle the art. His teaching has been multiplied a thousand times over by his articles and seminars, and it is for this reason, I consider John R. Rohner to be the godfather of the American Engraving Renaissance
Though he has engraved his last gun, the list of John R. Rohner masterpieces grows each year, created through the hands, eyes, and hearts of all the engravers that he influenced over the last half century.
One of John’s most impressive contributions to the engraving world has to be his collections of engraved hammers. A collector by nature, John wasn’t dissuaded by the unlikelihood of amassing a sampling of the great engravers of the world. With his resources limited by the seven mouths he had to feed, John got creative. He chose the head of a chasing hammer to be the repository of the décor.
For 20 years he has been sending this, the most common and inexpensive tool of the trade, to engravers throughout the world, requesting that they grace it with their scroll. The result is a collection of over forty engraved hammers — undoubtedly the greatest assemblage of multiple engravers’ work, yet all contained in the area the size of a briefcase.
Other interesting side-notes about John:
Rundell, Joe: Current FEGA Vice President and a highly skilled gun engraver of over 30 years experience.
Runge, Robert: One of the primary engravers for Parker and Remington. After retirement, continued engraving Parker restorations and upgrades.
Sampson, Roger K.: Born 1947. Engraver some teaching and wrote a few articles for the EFGA Journal. Initial training was from Emma Achleithner Pine Technical Institute Evening classes. Advanced training from NRA summer schools in Trinadad Co. Susanville CA and GRS grand Masters Program Emporia KS. Work from home studio in Mora, MN Currently engrave Firearms, Miniature Forearms, knives, and custom jewlery. Have taught Beginner and Intermediate hammer and chisle engraving at the now Pine City Teacnical College for NRA summer programs and the customized training one week programs. Work published in Modern Custom Gun ans Custom Firearms Engraving by Tom Turpin, The Arts of Miniature Firearms by the Miniature Arms Society and the 2002 Edition Engravers Profiles by FEGA. License for commercial work in 1984 to do Gun engraving. Joined FEGA in 1984 and became a professonal member of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America in January 1989.
Sanzogni, Renato: Giovanelli's head engraver and the roll die cutter for several Winchester, and Browning collector editions: The John Wayne series.
Smillie, G.F.: Was one of the founders of the American Bank Note Company.
Strolz, Martin: Engraver, 29.3.1958 Born in Innsbruck, Tyrol. My father Prof. Norbert Strolz was an artist, a painter and a well respected head of the local rural museum club. 1964 –1972 School years in Landeck 1972 –1976 Education as engraver at the Fachschule für Gestaltendes Metallhandwerk in Steyr At the age of fourteen I left home for starting my education as an engraver. Initially I went to Steyr, where a traditional school for engravers is located. After four years of basic training at that school, I passed my graduation with distinction. 1976 –1978 Guest student to specialize in gun engraving at the Fachschule für Gestaltendes Metallhandwerk in Ferlach I studied under the supervision of the head engraving teacher Mr. Hans Singer. Hans Singer was without doubt the finest engraver at that time in Austria. I soon could make use of the basics learned in Steyr and my engraving skills developed rapidly. 1979 –1984 Working as a guest in the studio of Johann Singer for the companies Lechner & Jungl, Graz and Franz Sodia, Ferlach Hans Singer owned a very tiny workshop outside the city of Ferlach. During the years, several former pupils had been invited to work there. I also was given that great chance. The work came from the Ferlach gun maker Franz Sodia, as well as from Lechner & Jungl, Graz. 1980 Masters degree as an engraver I passed the state regulated test with distinction- even before I had my driving licence! 1982 – 1983 Engraving instructor at the Fachschule in Ferlach. Subjects: engraving workshop, clay modeling Then, for one year I had the opportunity to teach engraving in the Ferlach school and found that also to be very stimulating, the interaction between teacher and student. Also, it was a unique chance to pass on my knowledge of technique and design style. 1984 - 1986 Working in my own workshop in Ferlach. After four years in Mr. Singer shop I had gathered all the experience I needed to start my own business and founded a workshop. In my Ferlach studio, I carried out work of all styles and kinds, and I was always open for something new. Since 1986 Teacher in the “Fachschule für Kunsthandwerk” department Metalldesign. Subjects: engraving workshop, technology for engravers. In 1986 the school in Steyr was looking for a hand engraver. I decided to move back and bring Ferlach gun engraving techniques to Steyr. 1998 -1990 Teacher training at the “Berufspädagogische Akademie des Bundes”. Passed with distinction, “Dipl. Päd." Achievements as a teacher: I could combine the traditions of both Austrian engraving schools, renew the curriculum in Steyr and now offer a broader variety of engraving techniques to the pupils. An excellent education needs modern technology. I replaced most of the old pantograph engraving machines with state-of-the-art CNC- technology. Since 2002 I have invited several host students from abroad, mainly from the USA, Canada or Italy. They have studied hand engraving under my guidance for a few months up to even one year. Working as freelance engraver: In addition to teaching, I am continuously pursuing, and working on interesting engraving commissions. Having attained a wide experience I am enabled to execute all forms of engraving on hunting guns. Publications: My work was published in the following books and magazines: “ L`incisione delle armi sportive” “ Kunst in Stahl geschnitten” “ Jagdschmuck“ “ Der Anblick“ “ Guns Magazine” “ The Double Gun Journal” “ The Engravers Journal” “ The Countryman`s Weekly” “ Kulturbericht des Landes Oberösterreich” “ Tiroler Tageszeitung” Hobbies: As nature is very important to me, I like outdoor sports. My camera always is part of the equipment during these activities, because I love photography. Membership: “Berufsvereinigung Bildender Künstler Oberösterreichs” 2007 “Engraving Arts Award of Educational Distinction” from Glendo Corporation and Emporia State University
Swartley, Robert D.: A top engraver of over 50 years experience. A protégé of the late Josef Fugger while working at Griffin & Howe (1962-1964). Also engraves fine art prints.
Tate, Douglas: British author and graphic artist who has written innumerable articles for fine gun publications featuring engraved guns and most especially the book "British Gun Engraving."
Tiegen, Al: Western Silver Engraver
Timpini, Giulio: Master Engraver of Beretta; teacher at Cesare Giovanelli's Bottega Incisioni, mentor to most every engraver in Gardone Italy.
Tomlinson, Harry: Head engraver for W.W. Greener in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Famous for engraving the original St. George and St. Louis guns.
Torcoli, Manrico: Italian Gardone engraver who originated the much imitated "fantasy" style of gun engraving whereby a collage of animal and female human figures are artistically superimposed and intertwined with scrollwork.
Tue, Enoch: Chief engraver for Savage Arms in the early 20th century.
Ulrich, John & Leslie: Factory engravers for Winchester in the late 19th century. The Ulrichs are responsible for most of the famous engraved Winchesters of the era. The special Winchester catalog entitled "Highly Finished Arms" featured the work of the Ulrichs.
Watt, Jeremiah: Western Silver Engraver