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TORDU---DeMausson of St Etienne

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I just purchased a French SXS flint fowler with "TORDU" stamped on the rib between the barrels. The bottom of each barrel is also stamped "TORDU" and on one barrel is "A C M" and "3". Here is the translation for "TORDU"

tordu {adj.} (also: coudé, plié, courbé, malhonnête)bent {adj.}

tordu {adj.} (also: coudé, plié, courbé)curved {adj.}

tordu {adj.} (also: de travers, malhonnête, biscornu, crapuleux)crooked {adj.}Dans mon pays, on a coutume de dire que« ce qui naît tordu ne se redresse que tard ou jamais».We have a saying in my home town that " what is born crooked will take a long time, if at all, to grow straight '.

tordu {adj.}distorted {adj.}

tordu {adj.} (also: courbé)bended {adj.}

tordu {adj. m} (also: difforme)twisted {adj.}Sais-tu à quel point c'est malsain et tordu?Do you know how sick and twisted that is?... Mr Prodi, had with Mr Poettering from the Group of the European People's Party and, after you had twisted the arms of Parliament's largest group, Mr Poettering obviously did not think he had any choice.

As you can see one of the meanings is "TWISTED". Was this the equivalent of saying "damascus"? I tested the barrels with ferric chloride but could not get a pattern...Ed

I asked a similar question on another board back in 2005 about a French SxS 20 ga that I have

I received the following answer from Bill Curtis:
    "It reads CANON TORDU, which then runs into a scolly bit of decoration. Means, as I said, Twist Barrel and is a sign of superiority. All the better barrels were made in the form of the twisted spiral in the later 18th and most of the 19th centuries. Spanish barrels made like this were so highly regarded in the 18th century that they were acquired by wealthy people and put up with new locks and stocks by the top end of the London Trade. I had one once by Fernando Olave that was stocked and locked by Bond of Cornhill.
The British Government adopted the twist barrel for their Baker Rifles in 1800 and later for the Brunswicks. This was NOT because they were cheap, they were the opposite. So far as British Shotguns are concerned, right up to Whitworth Fluid Compressed Steel, I do not think I have ever even seen one without Damascus Barrels and the really cheap end of the trade (mainly export) used to fake Damascus by staining barrels with acid and even to plate the outside of barrels with a thin layer of real damascus. This was known as Sham Dam Damascus."

   The barrels were marked on the bottom

Mr Curtis had the following comments:

   "I believe that the maker of this gun (or just its barrels?) is one of the large number of Michel makers listed. Possibly Jean-Baptiste listed as a barrel maker at St.Etienne in 1762. The proofs are indeed those of St.Etienne and the gold inscription reads (in translation) Twist Barrel. There is another Jean-Baptiste listed as gunmaker born at St.Etienne on 23 Oct 1787, son of Jacques. He marries in 1823 so is probably altogether too young to have made this gun. There is also a Jean Michel listed in Paris from 1769. It was made in the time of the French Revolution and it is quite possible that there was a certain amount of displacement going on, so it is difficult to be too precise in these opinions."

All the best

Thanks pkt, I guess I was on track about "Tordu". I might as well inquire about the marking on the locks, Rt lock is engraved "De Mausson" and the left the very familiar St Etienne. Any info on De Mausson of St. Etienne? Thanks...Ed

Typically the only things they would etch into anything is the gun maker and the region he was fro.
You may do a search for gunmaker and towns named Tordule, Tordul, Toraule, etc.

I think we already determined that "tordu" means twist or twisted, and on the barrel shown "Twist Barrel". These barrels were often made by a barrel maker and not the gunmaker. The gunmaker would then sign his name on the right lock and his location on the left. I have seen this on most SXS french pieces...Ed


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