Wood With a History: Historic Pen Makes a Business of 'Witness Wood'
Independence Hall Wooden Beam
A wooden beam from Independence Hall, circa 1735.

Photo By Historic Pen

A four-foot-long beam from 1735 is selling for $40,000. It's provenance explains why: it was removed from Independence Hall during a 19th Century renovation, the symbol of the Revolutionary War. Independence Hall was renovated from 1897-1898 and the 16 original beams were removed and replaced. Project superintendent Samuel S. Reeves  the beams were sold and cut up to make souvenir relics. 
The single beam is for sale at the New York Times Store, on behalf of Historic Pen Company. The 48 x 10.5 x 10.5" long wood artifact weighs more than 100 pounds. 
Historic Pen creates fine writing instruments, picture frames, bottle stoppers, ornaments, magnets, bookmarks, furniture, knives, watches and artwork from what it has branded as "Witness Wood®" of cultural significance, repurposing artifacts "that normally would be discarded in the preservation, restoration and renovation process," the company says. "We strive to 'Keep History Alive' by salvaging and repurposing pieces of our past that typically would be lost to time."
Historic Pen's wood species such as bog oak, ebony, kauri, ebony, are reclaimed from numerous structures with local and national appeal, such as an Oakland, CA railcar, San Quentin federal prison, and Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. 
Salvaged wood  includes Atlantic City and other boardwalks, wooden ships of the world, and whiskey barrels, among other sources. "Our business model gives old resources new life," says Historic Pen. "With great political, social and environmental challenges facing mankind in the 21st century, our once-strong relationship with our forefathers and national identity is fading into obscurity. Historic Pen Company is not only committed to preserving our country’s sites and buildings, but is also dedicated to supporting charities, organizations, communities and historic sites." 

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.