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Old 09-16-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BMur View Post
What little knowledge I have on the subject is a focus on the specific style of engraving that is proven to be so called "Factory engraved"? It is most definitely unique, elaborate, and a "chosen design" by Smith & Wesson at that time to be representative and unique "only" to Smith & Wessons of a special order gun "from the Factory".
Murph, I've never heard of "factory engraving" being stylistically or thematically different than "non-factory engraving." Each of the engravers -- Gustav Young, Louis Nimschke, etc. -- had their own styles, but I'm not sure that they cared whether something was being commissioned by the factory or a wholesaler or an end buyer.

This assertion is impossible to prove, but I strongly suspect that "factory engraving" is something that only a gun collector -- many years removed from the gun's manufacture -- would ever care about. I don't know that anyone buying a gun in 1865 would have particularly cared about how the gun would be written up in a factory letter or the provenance of the gun's engraving.

One of the dangers of researching history is to make inferences where none exist. If my haunch is correct and the "factory engraving" distinction is only a contemporary concern of gun collectors, then I'm not sure I'd try to read anything into whether the engraving was commissioned by the factory or not.

(in truth, I care most about factory engraving because it makes it easier to document a gun. Absent detailed records from the wholesalers and distributors, it's the best we'll ever get to figuring out who actually engraved a gun, since most of them went unsigned)

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