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From the Bill Mains website: Bill Mains: 1936-2012 R.I.P.

"One of the Last of the Old School Hammer and Chisel Engravers in America.

Bill is on the road much of the year working trap, skeet and sporting clays shoots. Please contact him, preferably by e-mail, before sending anything for him to engrave.
Please note: Bill does only artistic hand engraving. If you need an inscription, or name on a gun or gun part, call Bill’s partner Brandon at 765-445-9243. Brandon will do it by CNC Router.

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."
 
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