E-Museum of Pyrographic Art

Antique Art Hall


to the Exhibit of

Maud Maude's
January 1892 article

"The Art of Pyrography or Poker-Work—No. 1"
in The Delineator Magazine

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The Art of Pyrography or Poker-Work—No. 1
by Mrs. Maud Maude

Adapted from The Delineator Magazine, January 1892, pp. 82–83.

Published by The Butterick Co., London & New York.

In 1891, Mrs. Maud Maude authored one of the earliest, if not the earliest, popular book on the subject of pyrography in the U.K. just as the art form was becoming a fad with amateurs. It was in 1890 that the compact version of the thermo-pyrography tool invented by Manuel-Perier of France had made its way to England under another name: the Vulcan Wood Etching Machine, manufactured by the Abbott Brothers.

The VULCAN Wood Etching Machine
Illustrated in the book A Handbook on Pyrography or Burnt Wood Etching by Maud Maude, 1891.

Mrs. Maud Maude was generally assumed to be a pseudonym, but a pseudonym for whom was not known. And William Freeman, the illustrator, was an artist and pyrography instructor who advertised his classes in the back of the Maud Maude book and elsewhere.

Thanks to Elaine Katz, a rare book cataloguer and collector who specializes in books by and about women, we now know a little more about the mysterious Maud Maude: Her name was actually Ann Maud Abbott Freeman. She was the sister of the manufacturers of the Vulcan tool as well as the wife of the illustrator of her book. Not disclosing her identity allowed her book to be sold independently of the tool. As a result, it was not considered a mere accompaniment to the tool but a serious reference work in its own right.

Maud Maude's book was so popular that reprints soon followed. In the United States, the publisher of The Delineator Magazine commissioned her to do a series of three articles for them. Her first article, displayed here, offers an excellent introduction to the then newly burgeoning technique and details very carefully and thoughtfully the steps necessary to correctly use the Abbott Bros. benzine-fueled thermo-pyorgraphy tool and its platinum points.

It was interesting to discover that this 1892 Delineator article by Maud Maude and its two companion articles in the subsequent two issues that year were all incorporated into an 1893 book with much additional material. However, in that book, entitled The ART of WOOD-CARVING and PYROGRAPHY, published by The Butterick Publishing Co. of London and New York, there was no attribution given to either the author or the illustrator.

If you have either any questions to ask or any additional information to offer on this article or other articles or works by Maud Maude, please e-mail the E-Museum Curator.

You are leaving the exhibit of
Maud Maude's
January 1892 article
"The Art of Pyrography or Poker-Work—No. 1."

You can continue on to read her

February 1892 article (No. 2),
her March 1892 article (No. 3),
return to the Pyrography Tools and Techniques Hall,

or continue on your tour to one of the following:

Pyrographic Art Exhibit Halls:

Antique Art

Portraits and Paintings

Decorative and Applied Art


Folk and Traditional Art

Children's Pyrographic Art

Special Pyrographic Art

The Book Store and E-Museum Library

Pyrography Tools and Techniques

Your questions and comments are welcome and appreciated. Please e-mail the E-Museum Curator.

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© 2009, 2010, 2011 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.
23 October 2009. Updated 3 April 2010. Updated 26 February 2012. Last updated 30 April 2012.