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OVERVIEW LISTINGS OF THE PLUMB BOB AUCTIONS OF MARTIN DONNELLY IN 2012 AND 2013 YOU WILL FIND ON THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. SCROLL DOWN PLEASE.

                   NELSON DENNY, his ideas about collecting plumb bobs...

This page is written by Wolf Ruecker to remember his collaboration between 2004 and 2012
with NELSON DENNY architect, Lyme, CT U.S.A
(born September 7th 1946 , deceased April 5th 2012)
for the International Plumb Cob Collectors community.

MORE DETAILS AND PICTURES YOU CAN FIND IN WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS 2012-05 NELSON DENNY plumb bob collector AND IN WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS 2013-04 THE NELSON DENNY COLLECTION (CLICK ON THE MARKED TEXT FOR THE DOWNLOAD)

 

Diese Seite soll erinnern an meine Zusammenarbeit
mit NELSON DENNY, Architekt in Lyme, Connecticut U.S.A. (*7. Sept.1946, + 5. April 2012) zwischen 2004 und 2012 für die Internationale Senklotsammler Gemeinschaft.
  Den gesamten Artikel kann man HIER downloaden und ansehen

I will let Nelson talk about the collaboration by his own email texts.....

about PLUMB BOBS, HIS COLLECTION AND HIS DREAMS....

January 2004: I'M 57 YEARS OLD, AN ARCHITECT THAT WORKS ONLY ON PRIVATE RESIDENCES..... MOST OF MY WORK IS ON WATERFRONT PROPERTIES THAT ARE FOR THE MOST PART, LUXURY VACATION HOMES.
I'VE BEEN COLLECTING PLUMB BOBS FOR ABOUT TWENTY YEARS BUT ONLY SERIOUSLY FOR THE LAST 3 OR 4 YEARS.  

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF PHOTOGRAPHING AND CATEGORIZING MY COLLECTION IN A DIGITAL FORMAT THAT CAN BE SHARED WITH OTHER COLLECTORS ...... NOT THAT THE WORK IS EVER REALLY FINISHED (BECAUSE WE'RE ALWAYS ADDING AS YOU KNOW) BUT I AM HOPING TO PUT OUT THE FIRST DRAFT BY THE END OF THE WINTER.....ALTHOUGH I LIKE THE DIRECTION MY COLLECTION IS TAKING, GENERALLY SPEAKING, I AM AWARE THAT YOU AND RICCARDO COLLECT FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE AND WITH A DIFFERENT FOCUS WITH MUCH MORE EMPHASIS, I IMAGINE, ON EUROPEAN EXAMPLES..... SHARING INFORMATION AND CORRESPONDING WITH OTHER COLLECTORS AND SEEING OTHER COLLECTIONS IS AN IMPORTANT FEATURE IN MY INTEREST IN THE SUBJECT SO WILL DO MY BEST TO HELP YOU WITH ANYTHING YOU NEED ON THIS SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC.


click on the picture to get a big one.



His answers were very detailed and helped me very much to understand inventors and users of plumb bobs (below he talked about the PERFECTION PLUMB BOB) see PATENT NEWS 2007-31 mercury and lead filled:
PERFECTION PLUMB BOBS ARE NOTABLE AS AN EXAMPLE THAT GO TO THE OPPOSITE EXTREME OF EXTRAORDINARY SYMETRICITY.  THERE CLAIMS ARE THAT IT IS SO SYMETRICAL "THAT IT COMES TO REST IMMEDIATELY" AND "POINTS DIRECTLY". DON'T BELIEVE EVERY CLAIM MADE IN A PATENT APPLICATION; MOST OF THEM ARE PURE MARKETING HYPE. IN THE CASE OF THE PERFECTION, THE BRASS SKIN OVER THE SOFT LEAD CORE IS SO THIN, THAT THE FIRST TIME IT BUMPS ITO SOMETHING SOLID, IT IS IMMEDIATLY RENDERED UN SYMETRICAL. LOOK AT ANY OF THE LARGER PERFECTION PLUMB BOBS THAT HAVE BEEN USE, THEY'RE FULL OF MAJOR DENTS THAT OF COURSE MAKE THE BOB UNSYMETRICAL.

THE SKILL OF THE USER IS FAR MORE A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR THAN THE SYMETRICITY OF A BOB. WHERE YOUR EYE IS IN RELATION TO THE TIP OF THE BOB AND ACCOUNTING FOR THE VISUAL  PARALLAX FACTOR WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR PENCIL MARK AT THE POINT OF THE BOB, TAKES SKILL AND PRACTICE AND OFTEN A NUMBER OF LITTLE MARKS ARE AVERAGED TO COME UP WITH ONE CORRECT READING. TAKE ONE OF YOUR BOBS AND FIND SOME WORK OR LAYOUT TASK TO DO WITH IT.  YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT IT IS A TOOL THAT DOES NOT WORK AUTOMATICALLY, IT TAKES SOME TECHNIQUE TO GET ACCURATE READINGS.

Searching for information about the English LMSD-plumb bobs he used all sources:
I AM A COLLECTOR OF PLUMB BOBS IN THE UNITED STATES. IN THE COURSE OF PUTTING TOGETHER EXAMPLES OF THESE WONDERFUL TOOLS, I HAVE ASSEMBLED A GROUP OF HALF A DOZEN OR SO, BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED PLUMB BOBS THAT BEAR THE MANUFACTURERS TRADE MARK STAMP, THE LETTERS "LMSD" WITHIN A CIRCLE. ALTHOUGH, I HAVE PURCHASED THESE EXAMPLES FROM MANY SOURCES BOTH IN THE UK AND EUROPE, I BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE MOST CERTAINLY BRITISH IN ORIGIN...

IN MY SEARCH FOR INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY THAT MAY HAVE PRODUCED THESE TOOLS, BRITISH TOOL DEALERS AND COLLECTORS HAVE TURNED UP NO USEFUL LEADS. HOWEVER, A GERMAN DEALER, U. G.,  PROPOSED THAT THE "LMSD" MAY STAND FOR "LONDON MIDLANDS SCOTTISH DERBY (OR DERBYSHIRE). SUCH A COMPANY, IF THERE IS ONE, MAY VERY WELL HAVE BEEN A FOUNDRY OPERATION THAT MAY HAVE PRODUCED, NOT ONLY PLUMB BOBS, BUT OTHER ITEMS CAST IN BRASS OR BRONZE.
I WOULD CERTAINLY BE INTERESTED IN ANY LEADS THAT MIGHT LEAD ME TO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THESE INTERESTING AND BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED ITEMS.

About displaying and inventory:
THE STORY OF DISPLAYING PLUMB BOBS AND KEEPING AN ACCURATE INVENTORY OF THEM IS A STORY OF ITS OWN AND LIKE MANY THINGS IN LIFE IS A PROCESS OF LEARNING BY MAKING MISTAKES. 

FORTUNATELY, BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN I COULD COUNT MY COLLECTION ON MY FINGERS AND TOES, I HAD THE FORESIGHT TO PURCHASE A SIMPLE DATA BASE COMPUTER PROGRAM ON WHICH I DESIGNED A FACT SHEET THAT ALLOWED ME TO RECORD THE ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON EACH ITEM AS IT WAS COLLECTED. I ASSIGNED A NUMBER TO EACH ITEM AND A DESCRIPTIVE NAME BUT IT BECAME CLEAR AT ABOUT THE COUNT OF 50 PLUMB BOBS OR SO, THAT THE BOBS THEMSELVES AND NOT JUST THE LISTING HAD TO HAVE A NUMBER TAG AFFIXED TO IT, AND  A PHOTOGRAPH ATTACHED TO THE LISTING. FINDING A SPECIFIC ITEM WAS PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THOSE THREE ELEMENTS. SO DIGITAL DESKTOP PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIGHTING (SO THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED OUT DOORS) BECAME ANOTHER LEARNING PROJECT, GOING BACK THROUGH THE ENTIRE INVENTORY I ALREADY OWNED. 

BEING A PERFECTIONIST, I WANTED THE PHOTOGRAPHY TO REFLECT THE QUALITY OF THE ITEM, THAT GOT ME INTO SPECIAL LENSES FOR THE CAMERA. I ALSO NAIVELY THOUGHT THAT AN ITEM SHOULD BE PHOTOGRAPHED HANGING. IF YOU'VE EVER WAITED FOR A PLUMB BOB TO COME TO REST, SOMETIMES HOURS FOR THE HEAVIER OF THEM, I GAVE UP ON THAT NOTION PRETTY QUICKLY.  I DO SEEM TO ACCUMULATE FASTER THAN I HAVE SPARE TO DO THE PHOTOGRAPHY. I'M ALWAYS SEVERAL HUNDRED BEHIND.  AT SOME POINT I'M GOING TO TAKE A FEW WEEKS OFF TO CATCH UP ON THIS ELEMENT OF THE EQUATION. 

CLICK on this line and you will get a PDF-file with EXCELLENT PICTURES of his BOB ROOM




About the danger to hang plumb bobs over his head:
ON THE SUBJECT OF DISPLAYING PLUMB BOBS:
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, WHEN I STILL HAD THE ENERGY TO STRAP ON A TOOL BELT, I BUILT THE HOUSE I STILL LIVE IN. WITHOUT PLUMB BOBS IN MIND AT THAT TIME, I BUILT A LIVING ROOM WITH A VAULTED AND BEAMED CEILING. AS PLUMB BOBS CAME MY WAY I BEGAN TO HANG THEM FROM THE BEAMS AND CROSS MEMBERS, WHICH INVOLVED HAULING OUT A STEP LADDER AND DOING A BALANCING ACT FOR EACH NEW ARRIVAL.
AS YOU ACCUMULATE MORE,   YOU BEGIN TO WANT TO MAKE SENSE OUT OF THE RANDOM ORDER OF THINGS BY GROUPING BOBS INTO "LIKE KINDS." THAT INVOLVES MOVING THINGS AGAIN AND AGAIN. 

THEN WITH THIS OVERHEAD HANGING ARRANGEMENT, I HAD ONE RATHER HEAVY POINTY BOB GET AWAY FROM ME; IT DROPPED TEN FEET OR SO AND CAME TO REST IMBEDDED AN INCH OR SO IN A HARDWOOD FLOOR. THEN I STARTED HAVING DREAMS OF THE NEWSPAPER HEADLINES THAT MIGHT APPEAR, "NOTED COLLECTOR KILLED BY FALLING PLUMB BOB." 

THEY ARE STILL ALL HOUSED IN THIS ONE ROOM, SUCH A  DOMINANT FEATURE I MIGHT ADD, THAT THEY OVERSHADOW THE 2,000 OR SO BOOKS THAT ALSO OCCUPY THE SAME SPACE. HOPEFULLY BY KEEPING THE OVERHEAD ITEMS TOWARD THE PERIMETER OF THE ROOM I HAVE AT LEAST MINIMALIZED THE RISK OF AN UNTIMELY DEATH.  

 

His dream in 2004 of a WEB SITE for all plumb bob collectors: (a part of this dream is realized with this web site here and by publishing the PLUMB BOB NEWS)
I AM TOLD THAT THERE ARE ABOUT 5 OR 6 MAJOR COLLECTIONS OF PLUMB BOBS IN THIS WORLD (OVER 500) BUT THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF COLLECTORS THAT MIGHT HAVE SIGNIFICANT PIECES IN RELATIVELY SMALL COLLECTIONS. I ALSO DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A PERMANENT COLLECTION ANYWHERE, IN A TOOL , ART, OR NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM. IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE A BOOK ON THE SUBJECT BECAUSE NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT'S OUT THERE; COLLECTORS AND COLLECTIONS SEEM TO BE SOMEWHAT SECRETIVE. 

THE WEB SITE THAT I HAVE IN MIND IS TO DEVELOP A MUSEUM OR A PLUMB BOB COLLECTION ON LINE, USING MY OWN COLLECTION AS THE INITIAL CORE OF THE DISPLAY.  THE NOTION IS TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO ENCOURAGE OTHER COLLECTORS TO CONTRIBUTE LISTINGS OF  ITEMS IN THEIR COLLECTIONS INTO THE DATA BASE FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES. IT COULD ALSO BE A FORUM WHERE PHOTOGRAPHY OF COLLECTIONS IN SITU COULD BE DISPLAYED. ON ONE LEVEL IT WANTS TO BE A COFFEE TABLE BOOK (LIKE VISITING AN EXHIBIT AT A MUSEUM) ON THE OTHER HAND, WANTS TO HAVE ACCESS TO MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON A SUBJECT FOR THE GEEK. 

THE PROBLEM IS THAT I AM ENOUGH OF A BUSINESS MAN TO KNOW THAT I ONLY SEE MONEY GOING OUT OF POCKET. I DON'T THINK THAT THERE IS AN ADEQUATE MARKET FOR SUBSCRIPTION SUPPORT.  AND, I QUESTION WHAT WOULD MOTIVATE OTHER COLLECTORS TO TAKE THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE "MUSEUM QUALITY" LISTINGS. EVERYONE HAS DEVELOPED A DIFFERENT TIME CONSUMING SYSTEM FOR RECORDING THEIR COLLECTIONS.

His wish to get information and plumb bobs from other parts of the world:
AS YOU KNOW I AM SOMEWHAT OF A GENERALIST IN MY COLLECTING HABIT.......RECENTLY, PRIMITIVO SENT ME A WONDERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE INVENTORY OF HIS COLLECTION. I HOPE THAT YOU ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH IT......ONE THING THAT I NOTED IN PARTICULAR WERE THE 20 OR SO PIECES THAT I WOULD CALL SINGLE PIECE LUMP CASTINGS IN LEAD (SOMETIME WITH A WIRE LOOP OR PRIMITIVE POINT MOLDED INTO THEM), THE MOST PRIMITIVE OF PLUMB BOB TYPES......I DON'T SEE ANY OF THIS TYPE AVAILABLE IN THIS COUNTRY....... SO, IF YOU SEE ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN THE COURSE OF YOUR TRAVELS I WOULD BE VERY INTERESTED......I THINK THAT THE PILGRIMS (OUR EARLIEST IMMIGRANTS) MUST HAVE BEEN CARRYING FANCY ENGLISH MADE TOOLS WHEN THEY LANDED AT PLYMOUTH ROCK.....

When he bought a plumb bob for me on the American Ebay (if the seller did not wanted to ship it abroad) he made a joke (he hated to modify and eliminate nice brass patina)
I CLEANED IT UP ON MY ELECTRIC, HIGH SPEED ROTARY WIRE BRUSH AND SCOURED OFF ALL THAT NASTY SILVERY STUFF THAT WAS CLINGING TO IT. ALL BRIGHT AND SHINY BRASS :) :)

For the story about LEISTNER and HEIMBACH Mike Urness, Nelson and me searched a lot of information in Germany and the States. CLICK on this line to open the LEISTNER page on this web site.

THOUGHT YOU GUYS MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE SOME NEW EVIDENCE ABOUT THE MARKING ON HEIMBACH PLUMB BOBS........SITUATING HIM FOR A TIME IN ST. LOUS. IN THE STATE OF MISSOURI AND APPARENTLY WORKING INDEPENDENTLY FROM PAUL LEISTNER.......I HAVE ANOTHER BOXED BOB THAT HAS THE DISTINCTIVE HEIMBACH CAP DESIGN (BUT NO MARKING ON THE SHAFT), BUT DOES HAVE AN INKED LABEL ON THE LID SAYING, "LEISTNER & HEIMBACH, ST. CHARLES, MO." INDICATING A WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO, AT LEAST FOR A PERIOD OF TIME...... 

Sometimes he was so busy that he had no time for his hobby. His clients had first priority. About his work (from 2006):
AH WOLFGANG.......I AM HERE! AND YOUR COMMUNICATIONS HAVE BEEN COMING THROUGH......AND AS ALWAYS MUCH APPRECIATED.

 I MUST CONFESS THAT MY ENERGIES HAVE BEEN DIVERTED FOR THE LAST 6 MONTHS ON A VERY IMPORTANT ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT FOR ME.....I HAVE A VERY WEALTHY CLIENT THAT I HAVE WORKED WITH PERIODICALLY FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS THAT COLLECTS HOMES IN EXOTIC AND BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. HIS NEW ACQUISITION IS A THREE ACER ISLAND OFF THE SHORE OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT. WE HAVE A TWO DIFFERENT LARGE AND LAVISH HOMES UNDER CONSTRUCTION AND A SWIMMING POOL; THEY SIT ON A GRANITE CLIFF OVERHANGING THE OCEAN, ABOUT 40 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL.  ....
SO AS AN ARCHITECT IT IS PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING, NOT ONLY IN THE SENSE OF DESIGN, BUT ALSO IN THE SENSE OF HAVING TO INVENT THE TECHNOLOGY OF DELIVERING WORKERS AND MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WOOD, STEEL AND STONE TO A VERY REMOTE AND INACCESSIBLE LOCATION........WORKING WITH A LOCAL CONTRACTOR WHO IS GENERALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, WE EMPLOY BARGES AND CRANES AND ON OCCASION A HELICOPTER TO TRANSPORT EXCAVATORS, REDI-MIX CONCRETE AND ALL SORTS OF CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL TO THE ISLAND. IT IS ONE THING TO DESIGN IT, AND ANOTHER TO MAKE IF HAPPEN IN AN EFFICIENT WAY.....

The future (2006):
I HAVE ANOTHER FEW YEARS TO GO FOR COMPLETION OF THIS PROJECT............THEN, RETIREMENT, TO INVEST MORE TIME IN THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE......PLUMB BOBS!

The last revision for the English version of the monthly WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS he did for us end of 2010 with the report of the International Plumb Bob Collectors Meeting in Cologne, Germany.

The last email news from him I got on March 09, 2012 (asking if a special plumb bob of his collection is offered in the auction of Martin Donnelly in Nashua):
My life is an open book!

Fine to tell him the item is mine and some other selective item.

NELSON DENNY

These statements from Nelson Denny should give you an idea how he was thinking about collecting plumb bobs and the collaboration with others. I will continue working in this mind of my friend Nelson.
Wolf Ruecker

LINKS TO OTHER INFORMATION AND PICTURES OF THE COLLECTION NELSON DENNY on this site:

- picture gallery1

- THE PLUMB LINE continuum

- LEISTNER and HEIMBACH plumb bobs

-special plumb bobs

- SHOWROOMS, DISPLAYS, SHOW CASES from plumb bob collectors worldwide

- HIGHLIGHTS FROM plumb bob COLLECTIONS



 Nelson John Denny in his favorite chair at his dining room table surrounded by his boats and plumb bobs


TOBY his trusted side kick for many years

THE PLUMB BOBS OF THE COLLECTION ARE SOLD BY MARTIN DONNELLY IN SEVERAL AUCTIONS IN 2012 AND 2013. BELOW SOME LISTINGS WITH PICTURES AND INFORMATION:

- MJD AUCTIONS IN 2013  PLUMB BOBS W REALIZED PRICES

- REALIZED PRICES MJD AUCTION INDIANAPOLIS OCT 2012 NELSON DENNY PLUMB BOBS

MORE DETAILS AND PICTURES YOU CAN FIND IN WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS 2012-05 NELSON DENNY plumb bob collector
AND WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS 2013-04 THE NELSON DENNY COLLECTION


Link to Nelson's Obituary

MEMORIAL CELEBRATION for Nelson J. Denny.
Date: Saturday May 19, 2011
Time: 11:00am ~ 2:00pm
Location: Stony Creek Church of Christ Congregational
192 Thimble Islands Road, Stony Creek, CT 06405