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Our first incarnation was formed in 1966 (named BetterTools) where, as a reclusive guild of wood and metal workers living on a commune in the mountains of Virginia, we crafted fine tools for the woodworking trade. As we contemplated our craft, and attempted to advance it beyond the state of the art, we realized we could be even better at what we did if we took the time to find the correct way to approach our work, and to articulate clearly what we hoped to accomplish in our trade. This led to some years of study, of a great variety of disciplines, and utlimately to the place we now call EssentialWidget.

Along the way we have strived to carry over what we learned about art, design, and craftsmanship, into our non-working lives as well. What has evolved from this is a small community of hardworking, earth minded folks, who try to live in a right way.

As tools, technology, science, and the philosophy thereof have advanced, so have we made great efforts to explore, understand, and incorporate anything new we thought could forward us toward our goals. The result is that we now use some of the most advanced space-age tools, materials, and techniques to create our widgets.

Our success has been the direct result of the two most fundamental ideas that guide us in our art. The first idea is that of Quality. The second is the idea of Deep Experience. These are discussed in more detail below. Other tenents we apply are: The perfect melding of old world craftsmanship with modern materials and precision manfacturing technology. The perfect synergy of human beings, materials, and design. The harmony of form and function.

Today we are a 50 person community of designers, artisens, metal workers, materials experts, millers, draftsmen, carpenters, physicsts, chemists, and families. We hope that our products enrich your life, and lead you to a better way of living.


Quality and Deep Experience

EssentialWidget is a group of artisans and designers dedicated to creating extreamly high quality desktop widgets. Quality is expressed along two vectors in our widgets: 1) quality of materials and workmanship, and 2) quality of experience.

To achieve the first vector we build with only the aboslute best materials earth and human beings can provide. We cut and mill these materials to very high tolerances of fit and then supply extreamly long lasting and robust finishes. Quality also means that no new widget design nor an individual widget is released before it is absolutely ready. There is no hurry to release something early. The Zircon Incruster for example took 5 years to design, 2 years to build first prototype and each one takes 3 months to put together.

The second vector is much harder to accomplish and to understand. Essentialy it is the expression of the idea that a truly interesting and well designed object we experience in the world should be able to keep our attention for a great length of time and be able to supply many layers of amazement and surprise. It means exploration of the object never ends. Each widget should provide a lifetime of experience, learning, and wonderment.