Sunday, October 28, 2018

Peering inside "Chaffers' Handbook to Hall Marks"

What am I doing with a copy of Chaffers' Handbook to Hall Marks on Gold & Silver Plate? Well, it was on deep discount at a bookstore closing, and it has some cool stuff inside. No other reasons needed!

The full title is the even more unwieldy Chaffers' Handbook to Hall Marks on Gold & Silver Plate of Great Britain and Ireland. It was first published in 1897 and this is the revised ninth edition from 1966. As you can see from the cover, William Chaffers' late 19th century reference book has been "entirely re-written, corrected and revised" by Cyril G. Bunt.1 So it should probably be Chaffers' and Bunt's Entirely New Spiffy Handbook to Hall Marks on Gold & Silver Plate of Great Britain and Ireland. ("Spiffy" optional, I guess.)

The interesting things inside this book are (1) a bookplate for Norman P. Pinto on the inside front cover and (2) a letter from when this book was gifted to Pinto in 1966. Here they are:

The letter was from Professor A.J. Murphy at The College of Aeronautics in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England.2 The college, which was established in 1946, is now called Cranfield University, and it's testing drones for the European Union. Murphy's letter to Pinto is dated "8·x11·66" or "8·y11·66" depending how you read that letter in front of 11. I know that British dates are typically day/month/year, so this is from November 8, 1966. But I don't know what the letter means.

The letter states:
Dear Mr. Pinto,
I thought you might find this little book useful in your quest for old English silver.
With all good wishes.
Yours sincerely
A.J. Murphy

Mr. Norman P. Pinto
Beryllium Corporation
Reading Pa. U.S.A.
So, we know that Pinto was in Pennsylvania at this point and was part of Beryllium Corporation. Going back to much earlier in Pinto's life, I found this news item in the September 10, 1938, edition of The Boston Globe:
"Norman P. Pinto, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alvar M. Pinto, 76 Chandler st., and Robert C. Evans, son of Mrs. Dorothy C. Evans, 109 Claremont av., have been awarded freshman competitive scholarships by Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
A biographical note in the June 1966 edition of the journal Nuclear Applications has this to say about Pinto:
"Norman P. Pinto, Vice President of The Beryllium Corporation, graduated from MIT and has been active in the beryllium field since 1943. He conducted research on the fundamentals of beryllium powder metallurgy and later managed a major beryllium refinery and production plant. Currently, he is responsible for research and development of beryllium and beryllium alloys. He has contributed significantly to the literature on beryllium metallurgy."
Indeed, I found Pinto's name attached to such articles as "The warm pressing of beryllium powder," "The control of atmospheric beryllium in a metallurgical laboratory," and "High-purity beryllium powder components."

It appears that Pinto died in Massachusetts in 1993, at age 73.

1. Bunt was also the author of 1950's The Horn of Ulf, which is about ... the Horn of Ulf.
2. Just north of Cranfield is a hamlet named Bourne End, which I'm pretty sure is the name of a Matt Damon movie.

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