Bill Mains: The Master Engraver...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:43 am
DIRECTLY FROM http://www.ithacagun.com

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It is with a heavy heart that we post this but thought you all should know that master engraver Bill Mains passed away last Thursday doing what he loved most; "Engraving". He had just finished doing a 2nd gen Colt pistol that he loved to do.

As you know he was doing the engraving for us on the 28 Gauge and the new "Larrabee" single barrel. He only finished 1 each of the Sousa, 7e & 5e grades for us. These will be put on display for all to see his outstanding work.

You will be missed Bill.

Here is an excerpt about Bill from his web site:

One of the Last of the Old School Hammer and Chisel Engravers in America
Bill served apprenticeships as a goldsmith and watchmaker while still in High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in the early 1950’s. Upon graduation in 1954, Bill went to Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to take their course in hand jewelry engraving. In early 1955, Bill received his draft notice and joined the United States Air Force. It was while serving in The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the height of the Cold War that Bill started engraving guns. In 1959, after his discharge, Bill invented the Rotary Footwheel Engraving Bench. This device, resembling a potter’s wheel with a lathe chuck on top has allowed Bill, still a hammer and chisel engraver, to easily compete with all the engravers using the newer power handpieces.


Bill has been the engraver for several factories on a contract basis. He was the primary Colt factory engraver from 1967 to 1972, and is attributed in the books with having engraved more second generation Single Actions, by far, than anyone else. Although Colt frowned on signing the engraving, most of Bill’s factory engraved colts are stamped with a small buffalo under the cylinder pin, as Bill was working out of Buffalo, New York at the time. They never said anything about the Buffalo. Among others, Bill was the factory engraver for the Ithaca Gun Company, engraving all of the Single Barreled Trap Guns, and many others, for the last eleven years of their production.


During Bill’s twenty seven years in Las Vegas, he engraved for many celebrities, including:
Wayne Newton, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Shirley McClain, Marilyn Chambers, Buddy Hackett, BB King, RIdick Bowe, The Spinks Brothers, Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, Roger Smith – when Chairman of General Motors, General Suharto – President of Indonesia, Houari Boumediene – ruler of Algeria, and thousands of private individuals.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:15 pm
An skilled craftsman and a gentlemen of caliber !!

Rest In Peace Bill Mains...
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:25 am
His work was the perfect blend of the classic German and English styles of engraving. Quintessentially American.
--Jim

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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:19 pm
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:10 pm
His work was beautiful---you can throw your cnc machine garbage in the dump. I will forever cherish a hand wrought piece, one that the creator put his reputation on and his love into.
A loss for us all.

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