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  1. #1
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Damaskeening Terminology

    I would like to expand my vocabulary of terms with which to describe and differentiate between specific damascening, or damaskeening (po-tay-to, po-tah-to) patterns on watch plates? I am especially interested in historic terms which may have been used in the watch industry or in the watch trades themselves at the time when highly damascened movements were being produced. Of course there are "Geneva stripes," "rayed" damaskeening, "swirl" damascening, "Sunburst," and "fish scale" damascening. Past Jones and Horan auction catalogs are often quite replete with damascening terminology, e.g. "Bull's eye pattern," "Radiant Flame Pattern," "Rossette Pattern," "Wheel Satin," "Concentric Woven Pattern with Arcaded Surrounds," "radiant sectioned fausses-cotes [French for 'false rib'] pattern," "peaked arcaded surrounds," "twin arcaded surrounds," "radiant rope-twist pattern with florette center," to name some, but I don't know whether all of these terms have historical roots.

    Is anyone aware of watch factory or trade literature with interesting damascening terminology, or perhaps compilations of such terms by horologists?
    Last edited by Clint Geller; 04-13-2012 at 07:34 PM.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC

  2. #2

    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Clint Geller)

    while this question is perhaps much more basic and simple than the question being posed above by this thread.......I was hoping that while those that are knowledgeable, respond by answering this threads inital question ...........could some one also tell a poor simpleton such as I .....um........ exactly how you PROPERLY pronounce the word "damascening" or "damaskeening" (however it is spelled) ....thanks........

  3. #3
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: John Cash)

    dam ass keen ing or dam ass seen ing, depending on whether the K or SC form is used. The ancient metal working technique using folded polished metal was called damascening after Damascus steel and the watered silk pattern. As noted in a recent post with a snap shot from the trade press, the term damaskeening was used and I think that was the more common term.

    The term is primarily or exclusively used by American watch decorators. In Europe each of the decorative forms has its own name, I believe.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Tom McIntyre)

    thanks!!!..
    .... now hopefully someone will be about to provide clint with some information regarding his more complex questions regarding dam ass keen ing ....................

  5. #5
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: John Cash)

    The question of which form of the word to use has always been a dilemma for me. On the one hand, saying or writing "damaskeening" instead of "damascening," strikes me as a lot like saying "Eye-talian" instead of "Italian," or "nukular" instead of "nuclear." (I tell the engineers in the nuclear physics class I teach that saying "nukular" where I can hear it is the easiest way to flunk my course.) But on the other hand, correctly spelling the name of a historical steel working process which has absolutely nothing to do with the way watch plates are decorated is not necessarily an improvement. If the American watch trade was going to modify (corrupt?) a pre-existing word or phrase to describe their decoration technique, they might at least have chosen an appropriate word or phrase to modify. "Genevising" would have been more justifiable than "damaskeening," but perhaps that choice would have given a competitor nation too much credit for the American trade's liking. Then too, the trade probably wished to promote the fanciful association with Damascus steel.

    For better or for worse, "damaskeening" was the word coined by the American trade. So perhaps for traditional reasons it is the best word to use in reference to American watches.
    Last edited by Clint Geller; 04-14-2012 at 09:43 PM.
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC

  6. #6

    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Clint Geller)

    For Illinois, it would seem most of the pattern names were assigned by Bill Meggers.... and for the 16 and 18s movements given a 'number' which is apparently the order in which he had seen the various patterns...
    Bill named the 'ninth' "pinwheel" pattern before his death.... and of course after the publication of the Illinois 'book'
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MVC-021F.JPG   pin center .jpg  
    Chapter 17 North Carolina
    http://www.nawcc-carolina17.org/default.htm
    Chapter 149 Early American Watch Club .. Home of Russ Snyder Illinois CD database and Henry Burgell Serial number Look-up ... excellent research resources!
    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/ http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html
    Chapter 149 Mentor List http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/mentor.html

  7. #7

    Smile Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: terry hall)

    When writing for the Bulletin, Ed and I always used the spelling "damaskeening" or "damaskeened." Originally, the editor sent the proofs back with it changed to "damascening" or "damascened." We responded with some samples of watch company descriptions which used "damaskeened" and asked if it could be changed back to that spelling, since that was what the watch companies used. She agreed and we've used it that way ever since.

    Getting back to Clint's question, I don't recall any terms to describe the damaskeening other than beautiful or elegant.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Kent)

    In the December 1967 commemorative issue of "Timely Topics" (the Hamilton company magazine) there was a mention of the fact that damaskeening, "....largely a hand operation, was eventually replaced by a milliskeened decorative finish on bridges." Hamilton gave no details, nor did they give a date for the change.

    However, according to Art Zimmerla, in 1952 they ceased damaskeen finish in favor of milliskeen, which used a canted end mill to provide parallel finish pattern. I think Art was referring to the 992B and 950B, but the comment from Hamilton in "Timely Topics" seems to indicate that the change applied to all of their watch movements.

    So, now there is another word to put to test the spelling creativity of message board contributors. The ones that bug me are the spellings that begin with "demask...," e.g., demaskeen (I don't recall if I have ever seen "demascene"). Oh well, none of those are as bad, IMHO, as that obnoxious, nauseatingly cutesy made-up word "tu-tone" instead of the so much more difficult to type "2-tone" or "two-tone." <];>)

    End of rant!


    Larry Treiman
    Last edited by Larry Treiman; 04-15-2012 at 03:16 AM. Reason: I can't just leave "well enough" alone!

  9. #9
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Larry Treiman)

    The pattern on the attached was has been called the DeLong Diamond pattern by me. It is also a milled pattern rather than the application Click image for larger version. 

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    of a damaskeening machine as shown in the other attachment.The DeLong pattern of diamonds appears to have been made by a tool with 4 diamond (or carbide) points at a regular spacing, applied with skips and rotations on each pass.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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    you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Tom McIntyre)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom McIntyre View Post
    The pattern on the attached was has been called the DeLong Diamond pattern by me. It is also a milled pattern rather than the application Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DeLongFinish.jpg 
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    of a damaskeening machine as shown in the other attachment.The DeLong pattern of diamonds appears to have been made by a tool with 4 diamond (or carbide) points at a regular spacing, applied with skips and rotations on each pass.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	46starkdamaskeening.jpg 
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    Stunning!
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC

  11. #11

    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Clint Geller)

    "tu-tone"... guilty as charged

    I did find a named pattern in a quick review this morning....
    Page 293 of Megger's Illinois book..... advertisement for Benjamin Franklin (1910 Oskamp-Nolting Co. catalog page cut)

    figure 2, "no. 325" the description mentions "beautfully finished in bright rayed damaskeening"

    figure 3, 'no. 350' states "damaskeened in bright pattern"

    on page 196, there is shown a "1915 factory advertisement".... on this page there are notations that can indicate 'factory named' patterns....
    for figure 1, a 18s Bunn Special it states "damaskeened in bright spotted pattern"
    for figure 2, an 18s Bunn grade it states "handsomely damaskeened in bright sunburst pattern"
    Figure 3 is an A. Lincoln grade and has for description "damaskeened in an attractive Bright Striped Pattern"

    However, on the opposite page showing 16s movements, similar patterns are not 'named' (with the exception of the 16s A. Lincoln grade)... nor are patterns we know as 'fishscale', crosshatch, etc

    soooo.......... maybe Bill did not name em all !!
    Chapter 17 North Carolina
    http://www.nawcc-carolina17.org/default.htm
    Chapter 149 Early American Watch Club .. Home of Russ Snyder Illinois CD database and Henry Burgell Serial number Look-up ... excellent research resources!
    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/ http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html
    Chapter 149 Mentor List http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/mentor.html

  12. #12

    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: terry hall)

    Quote Originally Posted by terry hall View Post
    "tu-tone"... guilty as charged
    Sorry, Terry, that's withdrawal of posting privileges for ... ummm .... well it's either five years or five minutes, I don't exactly recall which for the moment.

    And no right of appeal.

  13. #13
    Registered User Clint Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: terry hall)

    Quote Originally Posted by terry hall View Post
    "tu-tone"... guilty as charged

    I did find a named pattern in a quick review this morning....
    Page 293 of Megger's Illinois book..... advertisement for Benjamin Franklin (1910 Oskamp-Nolting Co. catalog page cut)

    figure 2, "no. 325" the description mentions "beautfully finished in bright rayed damaskeening"

    figure 3, 'no. 350' states "damaskeened in bright pattern"

    on page 196, there is shown a "1915 factory advertisement".... on this page there are notations that can indicate 'factory named' patterns....
    for figure 1, a 18s Bunn Special it states "damaskeened in bright spotted pattern"
    for figure 2, an 18s Bunn grade it states "handsomely damaskeened in bright sunburst pattern"
    Figure 3 is an A. Lincoln grade and has for description "damaskeened in an attractive Bright Striped Pattern"

    However, on the opposite page showing 16s movements, similar patterns are not 'named' (with the exception of the 16s A. Lincoln grade)... nor are patterns we know as 'fishscale', crosshatch, etc

    soooo.......... maybe Bill did not name em all !!
    Great post, Terry. Thanks for the info. Illinois should have had the much more inventive Jones & Horan catolog writers working for them. The surviving Howard factory production records also list some keywind movements as "Rayed."

    Here's a related question to the one which started the thread: Which watch manufacturers employed specific damaskeening patterns effectively as grade designators? In other words, which makers used specific damaskeening patterns uniformly and exclusively for specific watch grades?
    Clint Geller, FNAWCC

  14. #14
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Clint Geller)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Geller View Post
    Here's a related question to the one which started the thread: Which watch manufacturers employed specific damaskeening patterns effectively as grade designators? In other words, which makers used specific damaskeening patterns uniformly and exclusively for specific watch grades?
    A little shot at the J&H description writers??

    The answer to your question ,and also the only company that I know of to do this and also have a system for grade numbers to alert you you to a hunting or open face movement.
    There were some exceptions to this general rule but as the majority of watch grades are concerned, it holds true.

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    Jim Haney

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    Default Re: Damaskeening Terminology (RE: Jim Haney)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Haney View Post
    also have a system for grade numbers to alert you you to a hunting or open face movement.
    South Bend did this too-the only problem was they got the numbering backwards! Odd South Bends are OF, and evens are HC.
    Chapter 149

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