Author Topic: RCA 19  (Read 26617 times)

Online rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2016, 11:28:09 PM »
There are several early rifles with animal figures, for sure.  The furniture on RCA 19 may be recycled from one or more earlier guns.  I say that because the buttplate is of rifle style with a square toe but has a form on the top extension often found on French smoothbores.  Yet the guard is of rifle type.  This rifle remains a mystery to me, as do all unsigned early originals.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2016, 11:33:22 PM »
Interestingly -- we know that Bethlehem gunstockers often restocked or repaired rifles using the furniture that a customer--often an Indian--brought with him. So in October 1758 an Indian who arrived at Bethlehem brought “both Lock & furniture” and needed a “new Stock." He arrived with another Indian who had a “Barrell & Lock” and received just a “plain Stock without furniture.”
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2016, 11:56:49 PM »
There are several early rifles with animal figures, for sure.  The furniture on RCA 19 may be recycled from one or more earlier guns.  I say that because the buttplate is of rifle style with a square toe but has a form on the top extension often found on French smoothbores.  Yet the guard is of rifle type.  This rifle remains a mystery to me, as do all unsigned early originals.
I believe that BP was purpose made for this rifle. It is 5" tall and square toed.  Too tall to have been cut off at the bottom and squared up from an old French trade gun BP.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Online rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2016, 01:41:36 AM »
Makes sense, Mike.  I had to peen the Dickens out of a trade gun buttplate  to stretch it long enough on my re-creation of #19.  I have a really rounded cross peen hammer good for that kind of thing.  The buttplate and guard look good together and could certainly be purpose-made for this gun.  If so then that might lean against it being an Albrecht gun, unless, of course, Paxinosa was partial to French trade guns :-) and Albrecht was feeling eager to please.  I say may lean against, because it seems the Christians Spring gun smiths normally had several styles of furniture they used over and over.  All speculation/hot stove conversation.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Gaeckle

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2016, 06:16:22 AM »
Interestingly -- we know that Bethlehem gunstockers often restocked or repaired rifles using the furniture that a customer--often an Indian--brought with him. So in October 1758 an Indian who arrived at Bethlehem brought “both Lock & furniture” and needed a “new Stock." He arrived with another Indian who had a “Barrell & Lock” and received just a “plain Stock without furniture.”


In terms of economics, what would one charge an Indian to build or stock up a gun? What sort of goods or money would an Indian have? By today's standards there is the convinience of instant money (credit cards) and that green stuff (cash money) is a standard 'script' accepted everywhere, but step back 200 plus years what would an Indian use to purchase goods or services for such an essential as a gun? It is surely easy to believe such items as foodstuffs were bartered, but I often wonder about this.....after all, nobody does anything to earn a living for free.

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2016, 01:05:59 PM »
Let's remember that gun mountings were available via Philadelphia very early on.  Most were imports (and some were advertised as "finished") but by the 1750s IIRC there were at least two local founders offering gun furnishings.

Also, we have absolutely no way to determine *when* the furnishings on #19 were engraved.  One thing I will say, the engraving on the guard - neither the dog or panther or whatever it is, nor the face on the forward portion, have the "look" of professionally engraved import mountings.  Not saying that the mountings can't be imports, because frankly they are more likely to be imports than not, but the engraving certainly does not look like typical European commercial engraving to me.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2016, 01:55:36 PM »
A series of entries in Moravian ledgers proves that in the mid-1750s they were purchasing gun locks and "gun brasses" (and guns themselves).

Regarding payment, how Indians in particular paid, etc.: the Moravian gunstockers/gunsmiths had the unusual luxury of not needing to worry about earning a living. The communal economy (1741-1762: Albrecht, the first gunstocker, arrives only in 1750) ensured everybody food, clothing, housing, medical care, etc., in exchange for their labor. Albrecht was in Christiansbrunn when the communal economy in Bethlehem ended--but it persisted in Christiansbrunn until 1771, so he always worked (until he moved to Lititz) in an economy in which he did not need to worry about "the bottom line." However, to pull his weight he needed to work--and this gets back to the point I made in an earlier post. There wasn't full-time work for a gunstocker in the Moravian communities. So he was assigned to other duties ... and when an additional gunstocker (Beck) arrived (1761), authorities had to find something for him to do or somewhere to send him where a gunstocker's work was needed.

We know that Indians paid, at least in part, in goods rather than cash. In 1750 at Bethlehem, for instance, the gunstocker earned only £0.3.0 (Albrecht had arrived mid-year). But the following year, when most of the work was for Indians, the gunstocker's trade earned £4.3.3½ in cash--and more than £6 worth of venison, deer skins, and butter. So more in trade than in cash.

Most of the work of the gunsmith in Bethlehem throughout the 1750s was for Native Americans. This is why, in our recent article, Bob Lienemann and I propose that "during the 1750s the gunstocker’s activity contributed more to supporting mission work than it did to the General Economy." The Moravians needed a gunstocker to service the Indians' needs (and train the next generation)--but he did not provide an urgent service for the residents of the Moravian community itself such as the shoemaker or the butcher. It's worth noting that when the Moravian settlements needed weapons to defend themselves in the mid-1750s, they purchased them from New York.

Scott

« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 02:28:14 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2016, 02:58:59 PM »
Not that it would make any difference....but I'd like to see if that BP was a casting or hammered out of sheet. Sure would say alot about where it was made. French made BP's with a square toe would have been highly unusual. Original French trade gun BP's I have examined are really thin, not enough thickness there to peen out to a square toe. You'll also notice the lack of a pin through the upper finial which you would have with a casting.
 It seems Shumway had printed an inventory from one of the early gunshops and it mentioned imported german barrels, but with out specifics. Either of these barrels could have been made in german lands. I have read that # 19's barrel was of lesser quality with inclusions  etc. and would not have been suitable quality for export and was therefore American made. I have seen jeager barrels with brazed repairs that looked to be made at the time of manufacture so that kind of shoots down the "too poor of quality for an export theory". At least in my mind.
Fine entertainment. ;D
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline Gaeckle

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2016, 05:29:57 PM »
Scott, that info is just awesome.....learn something new everyday. Wonder what everyday life was like back then. These little glimpses of the mundane stuff help knit an interesting picture of what life was like.

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2016, 05:43:56 PM »
Scott, that info is just awesome.....learn something new everyday. Wonder what everyday life was like back then. These little glimpses of the mundane stuff help knit an interesting picture of what life was like.

Yeah, it's the best thing about working with Moravian materials: they record so much that you get an incredible glimpse into daily life in the eighteenth century.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 05:44:12 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline Bill Ebner

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2016, 01:52:49 AM »
 This has been a fascinating and very educational discussion; thanks for all your comments. I hope that we can continue it now, or in the future as other information may become available.  I am really interested in guns of this early period and like some of you have done, plan on building a copy of 19. Reading your opinions of the engraving, barrel, lock and the furniture is priceless.

 As an example of the work being done for Indians, William Reichel's book, "Count Zinzendorf and the Indians" mentions an Account of the Brethren, April 1757, work done for an Indian by Daniel Kliest, locksmith:
 "To new stocking a rifle gun, new brass mounting for rifle gun, a bullet mold, a screw and a drawer, new boreing the barrel, cleaning the outside, a new trigger, cleaning the lock and 2 screws."

Offline alex e.

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #36 on: September 27, 2016, 02:58:18 AM »
FYI, I have been given permission to post the photos that I have of the two guns side by side. I'll also share some other things that I know about the 19 gun. Please be patient.
Uva uvam videndo varia fit

Offline Tom Currie

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2016, 04:59:42 AM »
Eric, Scott and Rich, I just sent an email copy of the published essay to you in case you don't have it. If anyone else is interested send me a PM.

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #38 on: September 27, 2016, 05:09:54 AM »
Thanks for the courtesy Tom, I do have a copy.  I would have liked to have posted it here right at the beginning but I'm not clear if the booklets were being sold for a fee or being published free of charge and I did not want to damage any income of the three authors involved, not to mention copyright issues.  If any of you know the authors and it is no longer being published, maybe it could be posted here along with the page detailing the dimensions of the short rifle?  Would go a long way toward enhancing the discussion for those who have not been aware of the more recently discovered rifle.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Online rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2016, 03:09:34 PM »
All the attribution of these superb early rifles hinges on the signature on the newly revealed rifle.  Like most really old rifles with a signature, the signature is subject to interpretation.  The parts of the brochure associating Paxinosa with RCA 19 are a plausible theory but seems, in the brochure, to be recounted as an eyewitness account.

I hope none of the debate reduces enthusiasm for these fine early rifles.  To me, finding a short-barreled rifle with similar architecture and shared furniture lends support to the idea that RCA 19 is in the "very early" category, perhaps pre-dating the Schrit rifle or the Marshall rifle.  More in the "tulip rifle" timeframe.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #40 on: September 27, 2016, 04:48:56 PM »
I don't think any level of debate detracts from ANY rifle.  The surviving pieces can stand alone in their own right, independent of 'story.'  In this particular instance, we begin with #19 which many have admired since George first published it back in RCA1.  It's a great piece and it fits to a T the image many associate with a very early American rifle/smoothrifle.  Then we have a shorter piece turn up, and it does seem to have been stocked by the same hand or at the least in the same shop or to the same pattern.  It too is a wonderful early piece in it's own right, and there's really no doubt as to the fact that it is a great early American piece.  In fact in some regards conceptually it reminds me very much of mid century German martial rifles and given Albrecht's martial background, this may lend some credence to the possibility that he was responsible for it's stocking.  I think the interpretation of the potential markings atop the barrel and the subsequent development of the Paxinosa association with 19 are simply another layer of interest to be added.  The two pieces do not need proof of association, nor do either need proof of maker or proof of owner, to be extremely fascinating in their own right.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2016, 11:08:48 PM »
I have now seen the color version of this brochure. Architectural profiles lead me to believe they were built by the same hand. One interesting note, and I'm not sure if I'm getting this clearly from the brochure, but it seems the acorn finial may be a replacement on #19? It may have originally had more of a flame front finial on the TG? If so it sure eases my mind about it's "earlyness".  I have always been uncomfortable with that acorn finial, never looked right to me.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Online rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2016, 11:49:28 PM »
Mike, had the same concern and changed the finial on my rifle based on 19. Turns out I was right or lucky. I'll take it.
St. Louis, Missouri

Online rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2016, 04:38:58 AM »
No worries Alex!
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline blienemann

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2016, 07:44:14 AM »
Like Alex, I have discussed these two arms with their owners and researchers over a few years.  A friend suggested this thread is a little like arguing about a ghost – we have not seen photos nor has anyone posted a specific position or argument here for debate.  A publication and exhibit were developed a few years back, but research and careful recreation of both the smooth rifle and rifle have continued.  There may be new and improved info to share at some point.  Components are being developed so that we can stock up good versions of each.  I am trying to be patient to allow these men who are putting much effort into their work to present their case when ready.

The owners of these great old guns – public or private – usually have considerable investment in time, pride and dollars.  I agree that debate does not detract from an old piece.  But it can jump the gun on research, hurt feelings, diminish respect, mess with values, interrupt study, etc.  Right or wrong, that’s where we are.  Debate is fun, informative, but can sometimes push folks and their guns away – where we may not get to see them and add to our understanding.  This has happened with a number of collectors and students who no longer post here.
 
Both the smooth rifle and short rifle are very important early guns, stocked by the same man / shop.  Few such examples exist.  Archival research is a fine addition to comparing details of profile and decoration.  I hope we can support and respect the efforts of those involved, study carefully, and then follow their - or reach our own conclusions.  Bob

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2016, 12:45:56 PM »
Bob and I have discussed this issue (not the rifles, but the issue he writes about here) many, many times over the years, so he will not be surprised that I feel differently--or that I'm posting my thoughts here! I'd just start by noting that it sounds like this discussion has led to a list member receiving permission to post photos, though they have not been posted yet.

The owner has shown these two guns publicly and written and circulated a publication about them. So specific positions and arguments have been made about them. Bob, you yourself made such an argument/take such a position when you say at the end of your post: "the smooth rifle and short rifle are very important early guns, stocked by the same man / shop." The publication makes several others: one of the rifles was made for Paxinosa, the other is Albrecht's personal rifle, etc.

I understand that the "interests" of the owner(s) and the "interests" of others who want to learn about these guns may not coincide. It is certainly true that, while these guns (or others) are in private hands the owner can choose to do anything he or she wants to do with his property. As Bob says, debate (or the new facts/interpretations in which debate may result) may hurt feelings or "mess with values." My feeling is that, once the owner makes the guns public (by making claims about them, by showing them, by writing publications about them), these concerns must give way to others. In this particular case, the owner has made his conclusions about the guns very clear and published them. If he has agreed to make good photographs of them public, it may be that he is eager to learn more about the guns rather than protect what he already believes. Or, maybe put better, he is confident that learning more about the guns will confirm his account of the guns. So I say: let the debate continue! (Ideally, with new photographs available.)

If one thinks that debate is just fun and entertaining, I can see why one doesn't value it. But if one thinks that debate is the way that you learn the facts or truth about something, it plays a very different role in the process. It's only through debate and research, not through dutiful silence and deference, that one learns new things (facts and possibilities for interpretation).
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 01:56:17 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #46 on: September 28, 2016, 02:15:52 PM »
Hi,
As someone who has published frequently in scientific journals, I know this process as a kind of "peer-review".  Some handle peer-review well and others do not but it is the surest path to reliable knowledge.

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #47 on: September 28, 2016, 02:27:43 PM »
By "Fine entertainment" I only meant that the conversation on these guns is very interesting and I'm learning alot of new things....which "entertains" me. Wasn't meant as a negative.
 This isn't an "argument" but rather a discussion or maybe a "thinking out loud session". No reason I can see for anybody to get hurt feelings for just discussing the possibilities . I greatly appreciate the people that have contributed to this discussion. There are several other old guns I'd like to have this same kind of discussion about.
 Now, what really burned my butt is when everybody decided the Bullard rifle was actually built by Newcomer......now that was annoying! ;)
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2016, 02:32:40 PM »
This isn't an "argument" but rather a discussion or maybe a "thinking out loud session". No reason I can see for anybody to get hurt feelings for just discussing the possibilities . I greatly appreciate the people that have contributed to this discussion. There are several other old guns I'd like to have this same kind of discussion about.

Agreed! And I didn't mean, at all, to criticize you (or anybody) for calling this discussion fun or entertaining. It is! I just meant to emphasize that it has another function or result: it helps arrive at the truth, or better interpretations, or new information, or even new facts. I'd think that's why you make things public--to learn more. Showing things just to your like-minded friends is the way to guarantee you just hear what you want ... an echo chamber.
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline EC121

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Re: RCA 19
« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2016, 02:43:25 PM »
I have a couple of pictures of the rifle on my blog under "TN/KY Show"  April this year.  One shows a different way of doing a wooden patchbox.  Since it was a public show, I don't see any reason not to show them.   www.bricestultzhisblog.blogspot.com