January 1, 2015 (For immediate release)

Miniaturist William R. Robertson selected as 2015 Craftsman of the Year by Joe Martin Foundation

Carlsbad, California—The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship is proud to announce that William R. Robertson of Kansas City, MO has been selected as the winner of the Metalworking Craftsman of the Year award for 2015. The award is presented to a craftsman who has produced a large body of work that is recognized as being head and shoulders above all others in that field. Another point of consideration in receiving the award is a willingness to share the lessons of craftsmanship with others through publications, seminars, videos, etc. William R. Roberson has for years taught classes and seminars on how he creates his pieces. These are held in the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition, his outstanding design work includes the "Wm. R. Robertson Fine Arts Rotunda" at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Kathleen Savage Browning Miniature Collection in Maysville, Ky.

For over three decades Mr. Robertson has specialized in producing historically accurate miniatures of all types, most often in 1/12 scale. This is a common scale for dollhouse miniatures, but the quality of these miniature masterpieces far exceeds what would normally be found in a child’s dollhouse. His work is now sought after by museums and collectors of top quality miniature work world-wide. Subjects he has modeled in miniature extend from classic wooden furniture to mechanical objects like microscopes, coffee grinders and miniature hand and machine tools. He has also done several complete rooms including a drafting classroom and architect’s office from the early 20th century as well as two large 18th century Georgian homes called “Twin Manors” that consist of over 75,000 individual pieces. One can currently be seen at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, MO, along with the largest collection of his works on public display. (NOTE:  The museum is currently being remodeled and will reopen later this year.) His miniature 18th Century Hewitt gentleman’s tool chest was featured, among other places, in Fine Woodworking magazine in 2012. A significant amount of historical research goes into each piece to assure that the original work is accurately represented in miniature.

The award to be presented to Mr. Robertson consists of a check for $2000.00, an engraved medallion and a trip to California to accept the award in February. During that trip Mr. Robertson will be available to meet the public and show some of his work at the foundation’s Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA. Exact dates will be announced soon. The award is normally presented at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Wyandotte (Detroit), Michigan in April, but a scheduling conflict precluded that tradition this year. Mr. Robertson’s work can be seen in detail on the foundation’s on-line museum web site at The site features the work of over 100 craftsmen.

The Joe Martin Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization started by the late owner of Sherline Products, Inc., Mr. Joseph H. Martin. Sherline has been producing high quality micro machine tools in America since 1974, hence his interest in miniature craftsmanship. With Mr. Martin’s passing in February, 2014, a trust was established to assure future funding of the foundation from the continuing profits from Sherline Inc. The foundation was established to reward excellence in craftsmanship—something that Mr. Martin felt was not sufficiently appreciated in relation to the craftsman’s contribution to society compared to the fame and fortune showered on sports and entertainment personalities.  The foundation’s motto is “Craftsmanship is the Foundation of Great Nations.” The annual award was first presented by the foundation in 1997, and Mr. Robertson is the 19th annual winner. For a more complete biography and a large selection of photos, see William R. Robertson’s museum web page at .

(Four sample images attached)

For more information or to receive higher resolution images for reproduction, please contact:

Craig Libuse, Director

Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship

Ph: 760-727-9492


Photo 1 Caption: Louis XV style microscope. This miniature is copied from the one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. where they let Bill Robertson examine the original, which was made by Claude-Simeon Passement, Paris. The 2" tall miniature is made of 24 k gold, nickel silver, wood, glass and shagreen. It has a functioning 3-element lens, coarse and fine focus adjustments. The ivory, wire and mica slide is made of 9 pieces. There are over 100 parts in the microscope. It is screwed and riveted together. The finish is burnished with dogs teeth as pure gold will not take a polish. (photo furnished at full resolution)


Photo 2 Caption: 18th Century Hewitt gentleman’s tool chest. It is complete with all the planes, chisels and saws a craftsman of that era would have used, reproduced in miniature down to the finest detail. Even the key lock on the chest is functional. The piece showcases both his wood and metal working skills. Over 1000 hours were invested in the construction of the tools and toolbox, but it illustrates the lengths to which William will go to get every detail right—down to the 5-leave hinge on the tiny folding rule. Even the label on the underside of the lid is printed (in perfect scale) on actual 18th century paper. (Reduced size image, but larger size available upon request)


Photo 3 Caption: The drafting classroom—This complete miniature room display features drafting instruments and drawing boards from an architectural drafting classroom of the past. Even the photos on the wall and instructions on the blackboard accurately represent that era. (Reduced size image, but larger size available upon request


Photo 4 Caption: William R. Roberson (Reduced size image, but larger size available upon request)