Bud Tinkham started to work for Bill Raynard at E. G. Washburne Co., Inc in1950 in Middleton, MA. He learned the art of hand made copper weathervanes and copper lighting fixtures. He was also one of the employees who created a replica of the wooden eagle that sits atop the New Hampshire State House in Concord, NH. His wife Grace Tinkham learned the art of gold leafing from Theresa Raynard in1959. She gold leafed flagpole balls as well as the weathervanes.
In August of 1963, Bud and Grace and their two children, Cheryl and David moved up to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire and it was there they started the business Golden Eagle Coppersmiths. They worked day and night making copper weathervanes and copper lighting fixtures.
The first mold Bud had made was a smuggler horse. When the mold was completed he hired Steve Dutton, the young man next door to hand pound in the new steel mold he had made. Steve would use hickory wooden dowels and different hammers to form the copper in the mold. From 1974 to 1976, he had the 18” Patchen Horse, 36” Rooster and Eagle heads for the 18”, 24”, 30” & 36” eagles. The eagles are all handmade except the head. David Tinkham has worked most of this life in the family business and became full time in 1974. Cheryl Tinkham came to the business in1975 and became full time in 1981. Cheryl learned the art of gold leafing from Grace and carried that trade throughout the business.
In 1976, we were incorporated and became Golden Eagle Coppersmiths, Inc. From 1977 to 1979, the main products that were made and sold were weathervanes. In 1980, imports started to come in from over seas and our weathervane business
started to suffer. In 1980, we bought out a company called Post-a-Lite. This was a company that made copper lighting fixtures of all types. We hired a salesman and started with the copper lighting. We became UL Listed in 1981 and copper lighting became our main source of income. We have done a lot of custom lighting work for Walt Disney in CA and FL as well as lighting for Municipal buildings in Columbus, OH.
In 1987, Bud Tinkham purchased land in Seabrook NH and built a 12,000 sq. ft. building. He moved the company to Seabrook with 14 employees. He had dreams of expanding the business and needed a larger building. It was during this time that the economy was at its peak and heading down. Times were tough and we had a lot of stock of weathervanes and lighting fixtures. But we hung in there.
Bud Tinkham passed away in October 3, 1990. David Tinkham and Cheryl (Tinkham) Call were able to carry on the family business for about 18 years. Grace Tinkham retired in 1992. Cheryl Call became President and David Tinkham was Vice President. During this time, we made our last mold, the Mountain Boy horse. Cheryl acquired the Mountain Boy weathervane by bartering a Philadelphia Street Post Light with an elderly gentle man who needed a post light inbetween his house and barn. David Tinkham took the weathervane apart and molded the horse with clay. We took this to Etheridge Foundry in Westbrook, Maine and they cast the Mountain Boy mold. Cheryl has the first horse out of this mold and it sits proudly in her house.
We kept the family business going for 48 years and decided to retire in 2011.
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