The fine art of firearms engraving

When Sam Colt began mass producing firearms in America in the 1850s, he had his engravers produce highly embellished Colt firearms as gifts to politicians, world leaders and royalty. He used this as a method of promoting his business and to garner contracts for military weapons.

The second half of the 1800s — considered the ‘Golden Age’ of gun engraving — is when nearly all gun manufacturers created elegantly engraved firearms for their wealthier customers. During this time, engravings evolved and flourished into extremely intricate and elaborate detail. The Czar of Russia Colt, for instance, (pictured above) remains one of the finest examples of American engraving ever produced.

During World War I and II, firearm manufacturers focused on military production. After the wars, engraving saw a brief renewal, but over time, it became an increasingly specialized and unique art form.

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