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Pioneer Talcott family donates State Seal tools

by David Ammons | March 28th, 2014


Three Secretaries of State, Kim Wyman, Ralph Munro and Sam Reed, headlined a reception at the Capitol to receive a cool heritage gift for the state: the original set of tools used by pioneer jewelers Charles, George and Grant Talcott to design the State Seal back in 1889 — 125 years ago.

The Secretary is designated in the state Constitution as the keeper of the seal, which is affixed to state documents, governor’s proclamations, and other important papers of state to make them official. The Secretary uses the hand-press seal-maker that includes the die that embosses the gold foil seal. The state constitutional convention commissioned the Talcotts to produce the seal, originally proposing an elaborate design that included scenes of logging, mining, fishing, farming, and milling.  As scion Richard Talcott explained Friday,  Charles Talcott said it was too busy and instead produced a “simple and timeless” design with everyday products at hand.


He drew a circle around an ink well from his desk and then an inner circle around a silver dollar from his pocket, and lettered “The Seal of the State of Washington 1889” in the space between the circles. A 2-cent stamp  with George Washington’s likeness was plopped in the middle and voila!  After getting a go-ahead, he replaced the stamp with a Washington image he liked better, based on an image on an cough syrup box!

Richard Talcott said the Secretary of State has taken impeccable care of the Seal and is the logical permanent home for the tools that were used for making this and other seals for 128 years.  “This is the perfect home and resting place for these historic tools,” he said.

Wyman, Reed and Munro all thanked the family for giving their piece of Washington history to the people of Washington.  Wyman called it “a very special day for a very special family.”

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