The following is a transcription of a story that still lives on and gets told at our company to this day.
In 1935, Fred Knapp engraved 286 characters that make up the Lord’s Prayer on an area equal to the point of a pin. This dramatic illustration demonstrated the extreme accuracy of a George Gorton Engraving machine.
The head of an average pin is approximately 100 thousandths of an inch, 0.100″, in diameter. The point of an average pin is 5 thousandths of an inch, 0.005″, in diameter or 20 times smaller. The entire Lord’s Prayer would have to fit in a circle no wider than two human hairs.
The first step was to engrave the Lord’s Prayer in the proper design and size suitable for reduction. This was done with the aid of a standard George Gorton copy type. The resulting master had the lord’s prayer engraved in a two-inch circle.
The next step involved polishing the surface to be engraved. Flatness to within one hundred thousandth of an inch (.00001″) was necessary to produce a legible engraving.
The engraving operation had to be performed by the very point of the cutter. Vibration, temperature changes, dust, and even the weight of Mr. Knapp’s hand on the feed mechanism was sufficient to distort the minute letters of the finished engraving.
The finished lettering requires a magnification of about 175 times to read. For inspection of the lettering during the engraving process, however, a small power glass was used. The cutter operating directly above the engraving made it necessary to mount the glass at an angle to see the work. Consequently, the field of view was so small that only one line at a time could be focused.
The result of this meticulous preparation is the complete Lord’s Prayer, consisting of 286 characters, engraved on the end of a platinum-gold alloy wire within a circle of 0.005″ diameter. Using the same size letters, the entire Bible of approximately 2,750,000 characters could be engraved within an area of 1/2″ x 3/8″.
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