The 21st Century
C. Roger Bleile
WAFFENGRAVUREN – German for weapon (pistol, rifle, and shotgun)
WATCH CASE ENGRAVING – The field of watch case engraving, at one
time in the late 19th century, employed hundreds of highly skilled
craftsmen at factories like Elgin, Illinois, the Wadsworth Watch Case
factory, and Waltham. Rather than engraving an entire watch the
engravers were broken down into specialties such as lettering and
inscriptions, scroll and floral work, and gold overlay. Along with the
engravers were other highly skilled machinists who operated brocading
machines, engine turning lathes and Rose engines which applied
guilloche and other patterns in conjunction with the hand engraving to
create masterpieces of the watchmaker’s art.
Today with pocket watches in the realm of collectables, there has been
a small renaissance of hand engraving on the cases of high-end
wristwatches. There are very few hand engravers worldwide who strictly
specialize in watch work but skilled gun, knife, and jewelry engravers
who fill gaps in their work schedule with watch work have filled this
Pictured are a wristwatch, pocket watch, and a watch movement engraved
by Steve Lindsay and a Waltham Riverside c. 1882.
WHEAT CHAFF – A design used for borders, it resembles wheat
chaff laid end-to-end. Also known as "running wheat."
WHETTING or WHETTING-UP – An engraver’s term for the sharpening
of a graver. A term rarely used in the present day that has been
replaced by “sharpening.”
WHITE - A type of thin paint used to cover the metal before
engraving so that the design to be engraved can be sketched or
transferred on. Engravers use various types of paint and thinner
mixtures. The formulas for “white” are as numerous as there are
engravers. This should not be confused with "in the white" which is a
gun engraver's term meaning a gun that has had no metal finish, such as
bluing or case hardening, yet applied. A gun "in the white" is ready to
Pictured is a sideplate with the outline engraving complete and the
"white" is still in place.
WIGGLE TOOL or WRIGGLE TOOL – 1. A burin shaped like a
flat chisel, used to engrave zigzag lines. 2. The engraving created by
a wiggle tool.
Pictured is a "wiggle tool" motif on a recoil shield and revolver
barrel that has been "wiggle tooled."