William and his younger brothers were raised at the court of Frederick V beginning in 1756, during the Seven Years' War. Under the direction of court turner Lorenz Spengler, they learned the art of turning and created at least sixteen works. William continued to practice the craft after becoming Count of Hanau during which he produced a memorial obelisk for Frederick V and at least three other turned ivory pieces. His enthusiasm for turning was evidenced by his inventory which reveals having at least seven lathes.
William I became Elector of Hesse and later William IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. An ivory objet d'art by Wilhem IX survives. A rose engine used by the landgraves around 1770 is pictured in an engraving.
How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered into the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which have been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known!Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707 - 1788)