History Salvaged acquired the only documented ORIGINAL 1723 construction Witness Wood® ever removed from Independence Hall. This Witness Wood® includes pieces of the beams that supported the floor when both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed. These Independence Hall Witness Wood® beams and railings had once felt the footsteps and touch of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, among others.
Provenance - Independence Hall
Completed in 1735 as the Pennsylvania State House, it took two years to build Independence Hall home of the 1st Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence and where the Constitution was debated and put to paper.
During the renovation of Independence Hall in 1897-98, 16 of the original beams holding up the floor on which the giants of the era debated the future of the 13 Colonies were replaced under the supervision of the project manager and superintendent of the Independence Hall, Samuel Reeves. Rather than discarding the beams, Reeves retained possession of the old timbers.
In 1912 Reeves sold the beams to John S. McQuade a builder and member of the Philadelphia City Council for the purposes of cutting them up and making “relics”, but McQuade stored the beams for 12 years and in 1924 sold them to two brothers, Walter and Clarence Deisroth owners of a paper box company in Philadelphia.
The Deisroth’s reduced some beams to 100,000+ slivers and sold them as souvenirs during the Sesquicentennial Exposition of 1926.
In 1956 the Deisroth’s company went into bankruptcy and at auction Mr. Henry Gouse a retired sales engineer and the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Champion of the 1940s bought the wood at auction. Along with what was left of the timbers thousands of chips and 20 gallons of sawdust, the byproduct of producing the 100,000+ slivers was included in the lot.
Grouse stored the beams in a barn on his property on the outskirts of Philadelphia where he made gavels out of some of the beams and presented them over the years to President Eisenhower, President Nixon, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and other political leaders. Grouse also donated 4 of the remaining beams to Independence Hall and the National Park Service (now the operator of Independence Hall) as confirmed in the National Park Service letter acknowledging “the gift”.
In 1975 Gouse was in his 80’s and his ex-wife “reluctantly” sold the remaining woodpile to an artist and attorney from whose estate the History Salvaged was able to acquire this Witness Wood®.
Mrs. Grouse only sold the Witness Wood® because of the high cost of living and her struggling economic situation, she simply could no longer afford to keep the timbers and sold the Witness Wood® with the understanding that it would not be desecrated.
The new owners subsequently cut up much of the wood again into slivers, producing thousands of history cards and memorabilia that were sold during the Bicentennial in 1976 all over the country and in many major department stores.
The remnant wood has remained to dry out and deteriorating in storage since the 1970s until the History Salvaged recent acquisition.
The Historian Witness Wood® Fountain Pens are available in the below Witness Woods®, please inquire if you have a specific request:
- Thomas Jeffersons Monticello
- Teddy Roosevelt Sagamore Hill
- Ronald Reagan - Reagan Ranch
- George Washington - Washington planted the tree in Fredericksburg, VA
- Abe Lincoln Birthplace
- Sam Houston Pecan
- Independence Hall
- Ford's Theatre
- Ulysses S. Grant - Grant Cottage
- Napoleon - La Natalie
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Basilica of St. Francis
The newly designed and handcrafted History Savaged fountain pen, The Historian was created to enhance our Mission: the reclamation, salvaging and repurposing of wood and other natural materials from historic sites throughout the United States and beyond that would otherwise be discarded and lost to history.
We challenged ourselves to design The Historian to best present our myriad of historic Witness Woods® in a way that would not only enhance the rarity and beauty of our Witness Woods® but stand the test of time. We wanted to create a Classic Witness Wood® Fountain Pen that would last several lifetimes.
The Historian accomplishes that goal in design and craftsmanship to create this classic brass-capped and Witness Wood® bodied fountain pen that is truly a piece of history and functional art, worthy of being passed down to future generations, along with the story of each piece of Witness Wood® contains.
Structurally, each The Historian is completely handcrafted (except the nib) and begins with a brass bar drilled and milled to accommodate an aluminum core. The aluminum core contains the threading to contain the clip and the threading to attach to the main pen body, as well as the benefit of reducing the weight of the cap.
A hollowed aluminum shaft is inserted into the Witness Wood® body and supports the main pen body. This insert adds to the overall strength and at the same time protects the valuable Witness Wood® from damage from an internal ink leak. A threaded brass fitting is pressure fit into the aluminum liner that connects the body to the cap.
The aluminum and brass inserts further benefit the pen by providing an airtight seal, thus preventing the nib from drying out between uses.
The brass cap is then dimpled and polished to a mirror finish.
A cyanoacrylate covering consisting of 20 coats is applied to the Witness Wood® surfaces, protecting and enhancing the historic Witness Wood® body. The Cyanoacrylate becomes an acrylic coating that polishes to a mirror finish and adds to the depth in appearance in the Witness Wood®.
The Historian when finished is a Classic Witness Wood® Fountain Pen with a dimpled mirror-like brass cap and a beautifully balanced torpedo-shaped Witness Wood® body that is comfortable in the hand.
All pens are handcrafted by or under the supervision of our Master Pen Craftsman and are made in America.
Each is individually hand made and each varies in look and feel.
All History Salvaged product is guaranteed authentic and made utilizing the wood describe and in conjunction with our partner clients.
All History Salvaged products arrive in Eco-Friendly packaging.
Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery as each Historian is custom-made to order.