Services Offered

In an era of astonishing specialization, we do many things very well. Here is a sampling of the services we offer:

Restoration & Conservation

We can restore everything from vintage furniture to antique dolls, but specialize in military artifacts—particularly headgear and accoutrements. We maintain a large inventory of scarce materials, as well as an extensive stable of sources, to ensure use of the most appropriate restoration components. Our reference library and archive is unequalled in the field, so even obscure artifacts may be quickly researched. And we tailor our efforts to individual client requirements—well aware, for example, that a collector might apply different standards than a dealer. Since each project is different, please contact us and we’ll hash out the details.

Historical Reproductions

Our reproductions have been hailed for their quality and authenticity by advanced collectors and seasoned curators, worldwide. Areas of concentration have included (but are certainly not limited to): US military accoutrements, 1855-1945; American civilian horse equipments and gunleather, 1860-1900; US military horse equipments, 1859-1942; German WWII field equipment; American military headgear, 1861-1975; and French First Empire headgear We greet requests for special projects with enthusiasm, whether the goal is a single reproduction or a production run of hundreds. And while quality is our hallmark, we are eminently flexible and can happily craft look-alikes of lesser materials for cost-effective background use in museum exhibits or theatrical productions.

Most of our reproductions are crafted in-house, which means we enjoy the ultimate in control over standards of craftsmanship, quality of materials, and delivery times. Similarly, we stringently regulate those few items we do subcontract, treating everything we offer as if it originated in our own studio. Unless you see it listed in our online catalog, your order for a Turner & Laughlin reproduction will be a custom order, and we look forward to working with you.

Custom Manufactures

We are happy to entertain any proposal for custom work - of historical objects or items with a more contemporary slant. An elderly gentleman, who in his youth was an American airman held in a German POW camp, asked for a reproduction of his long-lost prisoner dogtags and we provided them. Another distinguished gentleman had us craft upgrades of his favorite but worn-out “Socrates Sandals,” purchased forty years before in an Athens marketplace. And more than one customer has ordered a piece of exotic luggage, typically observed in a photograph but now commercially unavailable. We can provide such things, and enjoy working closely with clients to ensure they receive exactly what they want.

While we take great pride in our one-off products, providing custom goods in quantity is not unusual either. We’ve provided helmets in the hundreds and belts by the bucketload to several film studios, and would enthusiastically greet proposals for the manufacture of thousands of items. Similarly, while our focus is obviously historical, the same tools and equipment utilized in crafting WWI accoutrements can be used to manufacture unique gear for modern troops, and we have built custom equipments for electricians, policemen, hunters, and tree-trimmers.

After determining the customer’s precise requirements, we provide a free estimate, and require a 50% downpayment before commencing work. For large orders, we can provide a sample before arrangements are finalized. Always wanted something but didn’t know who to ask? Now you do!

Museum Services

Although we began our careers as museum curators, our focus has necessarily shifted away from work in the arts and humanities as budgets have contracted and institutions withered. Nonetheless, there’s always something about a first love, and we do occasionally enjoy forays back into the museum world.

Our primary focus is collections management, though we’ve certainly worked at the full range of museum functions, and can boast some unique experience in exhibit planning and construction. Our specialty as contractors has been crisis management-tackling those challenges for which staff has neither the time nor, perhaps, the expertise - and we enjoy receiving calls to undertake the seemingly impossible.

Our resumes should serve to fill in the gaps and answer many questions.

Collection/Artifact Consultations

We are asked daily to research, authenticate, and provide opinions about diverse arrays of artifacts, collections acquisitions, historical practices, and restoration techniques. And, since you can take the curator out of the museum but cannot take the museum out of the curator, we enjoy such exchanges - as long as they’re fast, uncomplicated and preferably connected with an order or project.

If not, we enthusiastically accept orders for research or consultation. The answers to many queries are spontaneous (we both tote astonishing cargoes of Holmesian minutiae in our heads), while other requests require digging in our research archive of thousands of published volumes, unpublished photographs, manuscripts, drawings, and documents. Our fee is $85/hr. with a minimum order of one hour. Work products range from an emailed or telephoned bit of advice, through one-page authentications, to stacks of telephone book-sized research volumes like those we’ve provided to film studios and prop houses. Public speaking engagements are individually negotiable.

Some of our clients have required even more information than that plausibly contained in a pile of books. For these voracious enthusiasts we now provide custom-tailored classes. (See Restoration Classes for details.)

Research

We are trained, skilled, and highly experienced in the complex strategies of artifact research, and, as a result, can often produce results on obscure topics in a fraction of the time required by less accomplished hands. We are well aware that much valuable information cannot be Googled, and so maintain an enormous research library and archive focused on: world military history, tactics, and technique; military artifacts of all eras and nations; civilian costume; artifacts, crafts, and craftsmanship of all periods and locales; Native American cultures and artifacts. Too, we are located within minutes of a major university library, as well as the libraries and archives of several historical and anthropological organizations-so if we don’t have the information, we can rapidly access it elsewhere.

Research products can range from a verbal or written identification of a single object delivered via phone or email, to a multi-volume, index-tabbed compilation of resources relevant to an entire collection. We can also provide detailed written artifact evaluations and authentications, cross-referenced to relevant sources. Our hourly rate for research is $85/hr. Lead-time from receipt of a research request to information delivery can range from a few minutes to several weeks—depending upon the complexity and obscurity of the task.

Restoration Classes

After decades of studying the care, restoration, and reproduction of historical artifacts, it’s time to share some of that knowledge. In response to client requests, we offer professional instruction, ranging from online tutorials to in-person apprenticeships. The emailed programs typically revolve around one type of object or a specific task - such as plume manufacture, or resewing a Pickelhaube visor. Hands-on workshops can consist of one day’s instruction or last several weeks, and cover topics as diverse and complicated as nineteenth century leather stitching techniques, or the restoration of French Second Empire mounted helmets.

Whatever the format or venue, instruction is individually-tailored. You let us know what you want to learn, and we work with you to provide the targeted online materials or construct a curriculum for our modern version of an apprenticeship. Fees range from $85/hr. for online tutorials, to $250/day for one-on-one instruction, but there are many variables in play, and every case is unique. So what have you always wanted to learn?