How the Historic Wood is Acquired
How I acquire the historic woods is as varied as the histories themselves. In several cases I acquired the wood just before it was destroyed, the "Age of Sail" is an example. Two old schooners had been sitting in the mud in Wiscasset, Maine along historic Route 1 since 1932. In 1998 the town decided to dredge the old hulks from the harbor and place the debris in a secured site. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get permission to take, steal or buy some of the wood I was ready to give up. I decided to make one more call to the town office. This time the response was "sure, great, see you tomorrow"! I gathered up my chainsaws and headed to Wiscasset just as it started to snow. I was able to get pick-up loads of the wood, enough wood for an endless supply of pens, until I started to high-grade the debris. Mud, rocks, clam shells, rot, hidden brass and iron were just some of the surprises that awaited my band saw. I ended up with arm loads of usable wood and many ruined band saw blades. Shortly after the entire debris pile in Wiscasset was chipped.
In other cases I acquire the wood directly from a museum or historic site. With some histories I pay a royalty and other times I may make a direct contribution to help support the organization. In too many cases I have contacted an organization and heard "I wish you had called last month" history is too often lost.
I've pass up wood because the provenance is not clear or the history can not be verified. I keep a photo diary for each of the woods that I acquire to help verify the authenticity. The search for historic wood has provided me access to some wonderful places. We were able to stand on the stage of Boston Symphony Hall and sing a few bars of the National Anthem and to get deep inside WW II ships.
Statement of Purpose
Every town has a story, every part of our nation has a history. Sometimes the story has only local importance; other stories are important to all of us, but all the stories are part of our history and need to be told and remembered. Almost every town in America has a historical society usually organized and run by older citizens who volunteer their time to help us appreciate and remember our past. These citizens better understand that history is much more then our past it is also a direction to our future.
There is something special about holding history in your hands. Wood removed from the USS Constitution was stowed away in a damp, dark basement of an old building at the Charlestown Navy Yard hidden away from us all. Now some of that wood has been used to make pens. The profit from their sales helps to support the museum and the once hidden wood is available to all of us.
Any information provided to American Heritage Pens or Maine Heritage Inc. will be treated as private and will not be shared.
American Heritage Pens Maine Heritage Inc. 207-659-5104 firstname.lastname@example.org