After his service in the military, Godfrey studied engraving in Europe, and returned to Spokane to work as an engraver for the E. J. Hyde Jewelry Company.
In 1907, an engraver by the name of Paul P. Wentz engraved the Lord’s Prayer on the head of a brass pin which was 2mm in diameter. Upon hearing about this engraving, Godfrey was convinced that he could do a much more difficult piece of work, and engrave a pin head with a smaller area. He chose a gold pin head that was about 1/3 of the area of the Wentz pin.
Godfrey went into training to steady his nerves and condition his body so as to be able to hand engrave onto something so tiny. He barred tobacco and coffee from his consumption, began to exercise and improve his breathing. He practiced eye rest techniques. When he felt that he was in ideal physical condition, he began to develop a special engraving instrument that would be able to perform the minute details of this hand engraving. The tool took six months to perfect. The tip of the graver was an especially fine steel point that was tempered by Godfrey by a secret process. The point was so fine it was not visible to the naked eye.
Godfrey assembled a contraption that would clamp his arm, hand, microscope, graver, and pin rigid, so that everything would remain steady and only his fingertips were able to move. His colleague, close friend, and eventual employer, Alvin H. Hankins, was present for much of the duration of the engraving. After Godfrey’s death in 1933, Ripley’s Believe It or Not published a cartoon incorrectly crediting the engraving of the Lord’s Prayer pin to a Mr. Charles Baker.
Alvin Hankins wrote to Ripley’s Believe It or Not claiming that Mr. Baker was a fraud and that he had witnessed Godfrey Lundberg engrave the pin. Alvin described the grueling conditions under which Godfrey had worked, the measures he took to prevent his hands from shaking. Godfrey had bound his wrists with leather straps, as the rhythm of his heartbeat caused the tool to skip. He had destroyed more than two hundred pins in his endeavor to create one perfect engraving.
It was calculated that 1863 individual strokes went into the engraving. Godfrey had reported suffered a nervous breakdown after he had finished the pin. While undergoing a much needed rest, his brothers Carl and Mauritz exhibited the pin at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco. In addition to the Lord’s Prayer pin, Godfrey had created a gold needle with the letters “US” engraved on the tip, to honor his adopted country. The engravings were displayed in the Palace of Liberal Arts and the Lord’s Prayer pin was awarded a gold medal.
Following the Exposition, Godfrey’s brothers toured the country displaying the engravings as one of the great Wonders of the World. The pin was so small, it had to be viewed and photographed through a microscope. Godfrey, along with his wife Anna and son Godfrey Edris Lundberg, moved to Seattle, where Godfrey was employed by jeweler Alvin Hankins. Godfrey died at the age of 54, and is buried in our Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park.
The Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin, a masterful work by engraver Godfrey Lundberg.