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The retirement on December 31, 1947, of Mr. J. Walter Thompson from the Coast and Geodetic Survey as a copperplate engraver brings to an end a combined service by the Thompson family in the Bureau which adds up to 230 years. In addition to the 46 years service by Walter Thompson, his father, uncle, and two cousins were also retired from the Bureau after long years of service. His father, J.G. Thompson, served 45 years and his uncle, William A. Thompson, served 48 years as Chief Engraver.

At the turn of the century, after a brief period of employment in the Geological Survey as an apprentice engraver, Mr. Thompson gained considerable attention with his vaudeville show featuring a trained dog act. After a tour which included stage presentations in all the prominent cities of the east, Mr. Thompson entered on duty in the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1901 as an apprentice engraver where he has been continuously employed since.

Mr. Thompson is a life member of Dawson Lodge No. 16, F.A.A.M. He is secretary-treasurer of the Arlington Wheelman and has been an active member of that organization for 49 years. Among his prized possessions is a collection of awards which he won as an amateur bicycle racer.

The art of copperplate engraving, in which Mr. Thompson has attained outstanding recognition, is almost entirely superseded as a method of map and chart reproduction. Copperplate engraving of nautical charts as practiced by this employee, afforded Whistler his first medium of expressing his artistic ability during his brief employment in the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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