Page 69c2 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

Stanley Drafting Set, VAS Williams, RMC - 1884

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flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous discovery is the personal drafting set that Canadian Victorian soldier Victor AS Williams used in 1884 when he enrolled as a cadet at the Royal Military College at Kingston, Ontario.

He probably took it with him to South Africa when he fought there with the Canadian contingents in 1900.

And later, when he became a general and fought in World War I.

It's hard to see a commanding officer leaving his primary plotting tools at home when he went off to the wars.

All the more so when one see how he went out of his way to inscribe or engrave his name on virtually every ruler - 4 long, and 7 small - 3 triangles, and various metal dividers and calipers.

To keep colleagues from pilfering expensive tools from his high quality Stanley set.

Oddly enough, a couple of the pieces have someone else's engraved intitials on them...

Stanley Drafting Set, VAS Williams (Maj-Gen) - 1884
Orig. Stanley - Size - 15 x 37 cm
Found - Rockway, ON
The custom fitted case is in remarkably good condition, considering it is an in-the-field working tool for a soldier, and is some 130 years old.

The rulers are of fine polished wood; the triangles are of bakelite or celuloid; and a protractor and an angle calculator appear to be of ivory, as are the handles on some of the tools.




















Below another RMC officer, a contemporary of Victor Williams.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure "He's a European officer I think." said the antique dealer when we asked for information. "It came from a house in the Lindsay area!"

We are always sleuthing out high profile antique shows. Especially those with a reputation for high prices, because antique dealers try to save up special items to sell for large amounts. The logic, for us, is that unique items will show up there that are set aside from ordinary auctions.

That is also why we make sure we are first in the door, on opening night, before the crush of greedy buyers overwhelm the place, and clean out the choice items.

The door had hardly been open for five minutes when we spotted this large oil of an anonymous soldier, by an anonymous painter, in the booth of a seller who knew next to nothing about the picture, or the era, the sitter was probably from.

The crowd was gathering and we knew if we looked further, to see what else was available, it would probably be gone, sold to a knowledgeable collector, or, a smart dealer, looking for choice items he could "flip" at inflated prices at another sale.

Believing we had a special item, of exactly the kind we were looking for, we asked for "her best price" for an item that was already priced very low.

Sellers know that paintings of anonymous sitters by anonymous painters are not popular among antique buyers.

So was he English, Hungarian, Austrian, French, Italian, Polish, Spanish, or German?

All possibilities, in Canada today, where antique portraits have been brought over by generations of immigrants from all parts of Europe over the last hundred years.

Go to Solving the Mystery

Lt. George E Laidlaw - 1885
Orig. oil on canvas - Size - 16" x 24"
Found - Bowmanville, ON
Unsigned, pencil dated c 1890