Author Topic: PA Rifle but where and who? (toeplate pictures added 6/20)  (Read 27135 times)

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who?
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2011, 04:52:12 AM »
Gary, you mentioned this is a family gun.  Does that mean it has been in someone's family for many generations?  If so, it would be interesting to hear the family's perspective on its origins, and where the family was from.  It is rare for a piece like this to have a potential history connected to it.

Dave

It has been in the same family for many years but there is no solid documentation on when it was acquired. The family has roots on central and western PA but, without knowing how long they had the rifle, we have know way of knowing where it came from or even if it was purchased directly from the maker or second hand.
Not that it seems to apply here, but lots of good southern antiques found there way north during and right after the Civil War! Some of the southern rifles in the Kindig collection apparently made that trip.
gary
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Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? Some Photoshopped images added
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2011, 05:45:14 AM »
I think these cropped images may show some details that are not obvious in the bigger pictures posted earlier.


Star engraving and method of attachment. Thumb piece is also attached by a single silver nail in the center but it is not engraved.


Nosecap with soldered-on end coming loose and two rivits (one on each quarter flat) to attach cap to stock

carving at entry pipe is worn but shows some interesting details

note stamped in details in background
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 12:06:26 AM by flintriflesmith »
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Offline smshea

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2011, 04:38:49 AM »
That looks similar to a gun I handled at the KRA show last year. The owner attributed that gun to Berlin as well as I recall and most there seemed to agree. This rifle is by no means Identical and I don't have pics of the other one but if my memory serves me, this is very similar.

Offline G-Man

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2011, 04:59:05 PM »
What are your guys' thoughts on the possibility of this rifle being a William Antes?  I could be wrong - Early PA guns are a bit out of my territory.

The tang is not unlike the daisy-box Antes shown in RCA - that one has very slight side notches but it's form overall is more pointed than you usually see on PA guns.  The architecture of the buttstock and construction of the cheekpiece, and the patchbox form in particular, are all very very similar to the Antes gun in Shumway.  The funky carving behind the tang looks like Lehigh (or would the correct term be Northampton - i.e. the Peter Niehard rifle) to me.  Perhaps we are just seeing Moravian elements that sprung from a common teacher, but by Antes and Niehard's genearation were already being used in a number of different "schools" around the region.

Guy

 

Offline rich pierce

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2011, 05:46:25 PM »
Guy, good thoughts.  I could see Antes influence as easily as Berlin, but think by this period Antes might have quit using the stepped wrist and moved on to the curved underside profile.  But we have so few existing specimens and so are forced to make judgments based on a weak foundation.  Great gun, fun to speculate on it.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline bgf

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2011, 06:02:32 PM »
Flintriflesmith,
Do you have a picture of the toeplate?  It looks damaged, but there still might be something useful there (even screw holes).  I am assuming that the PB release button is/was on the toeplate as well.  Is there any clue to its shape (i.e. the release button)? 

Also, are there 3 or 4 ramrod pipes?  The ones I see look short, so I'm thinking maybe 4.

Guy,
The tang on that Antes rifle is as close as you can get to a southern pointed tang without having one!

Offline G-Man

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2011, 07:54:00 PM »
The step on this one is so slight. It gets visually accentuated a bit by the termination of the toe molding right there.  This is something you see on a lot of the "Step Toe" guns made in Vriginia - the actual step is very slight and a lot of contemporary builders tend to overdo them when building these sorts of rifles. 

The North Carolina attributed guns I was referring to with similar patchbox forms include No. 29 in Bill Ivey's book, which is also No. 133 in Shumway.

Guy

Offline rich pierce

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2011, 08:03:15 PM »
Has anyone ever seen a Southern rifle with that kind of carving at the tang that is found on Northampton guns and Berlin pieces?  Could happen but it would be news, I think. 

Random thought; I wonder if the patchbox could be second work?  We'd all be thinking differently about it if the patchbox gave us some clues.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2011, 08:10:07 PM »
I thought about asking about the possibility that it might have had a wood box at one time, but it all looks so clean and non-modified that it seems very unlikely.  It may have never had a box, and this could have been added cleanly (spectacular job if so), but then, I really don;t see the box as a 'problem.'  The piece is odd, but then there are a lot of odd pieces out there and these guys did not always adhere to our modern categorization.  Let's put it this way: if we pretend the box is not there, does it change anything?  I still see a NH County connection somehow - not necessarily made there, but some degree of influence.
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Offline G-Man

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2011, 08:33:57 PM »
It could be secondary work, but my hunch is still leaning toward it being an original box and the gun possibly by Antes - the box is very much in keeping with the brass boxed Antes gun shown in RCA 1.  The tang carving is very Northampton looking.  I have not seen that tang carving anywhere else.

The carving behind the cheekpiece looks like a descendant of the popular Moravian form you see again and again, including RCA 42.  In feel, this example is unusual in that it shares a similar vibe to some later Piedmont NC guns where the carving is all above the surface - not much incised or gouged highlights, but this may not be anything significant with regard to where it was made.  As other pointed out, perhaps this just reflects the customer's wishes or the gunsmith's ability, time constraints, or preference at the time this piece was made.  

The patchbox and sideplate forms spread far and wide - note this slightly later Virginia rifle by Martin Sheets

http://www.kentuckylongrifles.com/html/martin_sheets.html


Overall this piece looks like a real road map of Moravian gunmaking with regard to its blending of features that we find on longrifles from a number of other widespread gumaking regions.  I really like it, wherever it was made. 


The lockplate on this rifle looks pretty early to me - I would guess this piece to be late 1770s or earlier -  what is others' opinion?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 09:32:43 PM by G-Man »

Offline rich pierce

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2011, 09:30:32 PM »
Looks 1780's-90's to me based on buttplate, guard, and general styling.  Would be good to have some buttplate measurements.  I'm guessing the buttplate is about 1 and 7/8" wide.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2011, 11:51:05 PM »
Flintriflesmith,
Do you have a picture of the toeplate?  It looks damaged, but there still might be something useful there (even screw holes).  I am assuming that the PB release button is/was on the toeplate as well.  Is there any clue to its shape (i.e. the release button)? 
Guy,
The pictures I have posted are the only ones I was sent. If you look at the very first picture (of the patchbox) you can see that the toeplate was nailed on and is now broken in half. The box relaese is in the heel of the butt piece but there is no picture of it.
Gary
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Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who?
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2011, 11:56:37 PM »
Are there initials on the back of that buttplate?  I see a WH or HM, depending on which way you look at it - like they were scratched in a long time ago.  Could just be coincidence, staining or scratches that look like initials.
Eric,
GOOD EYE! The scratched on initials on the face of the buttplate do appear to be WH and there are some members of the family with those initials. Unfortunately no specific dates are attached to those persons or the scratching.
Gary
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Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2011, 12:03:42 AM »
Guy, good thoughts.  I could see Antes influence as easily as Berlin, but think by this period Antes might have quit using the stepped wrist and moved on to the curved underside profile.  ...

This rifle has both the slight steptoe and the curved lower butt profile.

I posted it here because I'm seriously out of touch with recent discoveries related to early PA rifles but Antes influence was one of the first things that came to mind.
Gary
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Offline Ky-Flinter

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2011, 07:56:51 PM »
I'm not well educated enough to give an opinion on the "where and who", so I will throw out a question.  I don't think anyone has mentioned the little circles decorating the muzzle.  Is this a feature that would help with the where and who?

-Ron
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2011, 11:09:12 PM »
That was pretty commonly used by a number of people over a broad area.  Looks neat though, doesn't it?
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Offline Ky-Flinter

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2011, 12:30:46 AM »
That was pretty commonly used by a number of people over a broad area.  Looks neat though, doesn't it?

Yes, it does Eric.  There is a thread over in the Gun Building section asking about muzzle decorations on originals, so this was pretty cool to see.

-Ron
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Offline Fullstock longrifle

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2011, 01:31:32 AM »
This rifle seems to have all of the proper bells and whistles, but the patchbox isn't engraved.  The star on the cheek piece is engraved, but the box isn't.  You would think that if a buyer would pay to have the star engraved, the box would have been done at the same time.  I'm starting to wonder if (as was previously stated) the box was a later addition to this rifle, nothing recent, but not done when the rifle was made by the original gunsmith.  The rifle, without a patchbox, then starts to look like an Isaac Berlin to me, the box doesn't fit the look of the rest of the gun.

FK
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 01:36:45 AM by Fullstock longrifle »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2011, 02:32:41 AM »
Another way to look at it is that of the star being a later addition, and so all originally was unengraved!  It's a real tough one.  Frank I keep coming back to the box too, but if it's a later add on, it's one heck of a neat job.  It IS much easier to view the rifle w/o the box, very definitely.
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Offline jdm

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2011, 04:19:22 AM »
I hate to bring you back to this but didn't Dickert start out in the Berks county area?  I have seen some Dickerts with the slight curve of a roman nose.  Just throwing it out there again.  JIM
JIM

Offline JTR

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2011, 05:53:30 AM »
Jim, According to Kindig, The Dickert family moved to Berks Co first, then to Lancaster in 1756. Jacob would have been 16 years old. Certainly old enough to be familiar with a rifle!

As for the patchbox, no patchbox, on this rifle, with all the bells and whistles it has, I can't imagine it being made without a patchbox. I think someone suggested that maybe it originally had a wood box, and the brass box is a later addition. If so, you'd think there would be signs of the wood box cover dovetails in the butt plate, and there's not, or at least doesn't look so in the picture.

I think this patchbox was pretty common/popular, and was used far and wide. One of my rifles has the same patchbox finale, although reversed top to bottom. It also has a completely different hinge and the gun has no other similarities.

Thanks for posting the pictures of this fine looking rifle Gary!
The cheek side carving reminds me of Andrew Figthorn,,,, but other things say he's not the maker.

John  
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 06:00:52 AM by JTR »
John Robbins

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2011, 07:15:47 PM »
Just learned this weekend that there is a bit of wriggle work engraving on the remaining half of the toe plate. Still waiting for a picture of it but it is apparently a simple border around the plate and a series of 4 or 5 diamond shapes down the centerline. The plate seems to have been originally attached by four iron nails and 1 screw, in the center. Hope that method of attachment rings a bell with someone.

As for the rifle having been made with no box---I really doubt it. The wriggle work engraved toe plate speaks to a smith who wasn't doing a lot of scroll engraving. Maybe he was up in years and his eyes were failing as we know they do.

Likewise I don't believe any eighteenth-century customer was likely to be directing the smith to leave off the engraving in order to save that TINY bit of extra labor/cost when purchasing a new rifle. In a hand made rifle (even with an imported lock and purchased barrel) the time/cost of a bit of scroll engraving is virtually nothing! A rifle was a major purchase and a moderate amount of engraving would not add materially to the total cost.

Gary

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Offline bgf

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2011, 05:58:57 PM »
FlintRifleSmith,
Thanks for getting additional picture of toeplate -- what's left of the hole fore the screw in the center was looking like the hole for the patchbox button to me, since I couldn't see any sign of it on the heel of BP or the BP itself.  Is it possible to get a picture of the PB release also, just for thoroughness?  Just in terms of the patchbox's originality, it could be somewhat meaningful.  I like the patchbox, can't see anything wrong with it -- and it seems to appear all over the place.  Maybe the customer was in a hurry, and the other parts just had standard engraving already.

Offline flintriflesmith

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (more pictures added 6/14)
« Reply #48 on: June 21, 2011, 05:14:31 AM »
Here's what remains of the toe plate.






I think it is interesting that the wrigglework, when examined closely, doesn't come close to forming a latic work patten. In other words the diamond design isn't crossing back and forth over it itself in a symetrical pattern as our modern eyes might expect.

Gary
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Offline bama

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Re: PA Rifle but where and who? (toeplate pictures added 6/20)
« Reply #49 on: June 24, 2011, 03:00:10 AM »
Gary I appreciate you showing this rifle. The last shot of the toe plate shows an interesting pattern in that it is different from the norm and it appears that the engraving was done off the rifle which I feel indicates it as first work. I like it.
Jim Parker

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