Author Topic: A rifle by A. Bonnet  (Read 2617 times)

Offline Brooks

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A rifle by A. Bonnet
« on: July 17, 2017, 05:18:52 AM »
I picked up this rifle in a trade. It's marked on the top flat A. Bonnet. The bottom flat is marked 1866. It's also marked with the #24 on the bottom of the barrel and breech plug. Any information will be appreciated.






Offline Mark Tyler

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 06:20:25 AM »
Anthony Bonnett (1835-1907) 
Gunsmith and Violin Maker
Clarion and Brookville, PA

Offline The Rambling Historian

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 04:30:08 PM »
Guns an violins? Interesting combination. I suppose both require similar skills.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. -John Adams during the trial of British soldiers for the Boston Massacre.

Offline Mark Tyler

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 04:46:56 PM »
http://www.tombstonehopper.com/html/jul2005.html

Also see Russell Harriger's book Longrifles of Pennsylvania, Jefferson, Clarion and Elk Counties.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 07:17:52 PM »
That's a nice looking example of his work.  Do I see a name on the brass sideplate?  I am thinking from later in his career.  Second rifle
I have seen marked A Bonnet that has the patent breech forged by Wm Shreckengost but this one has engraving also that looks like
early Shreckengost.  Further support for their relationship.  Is the signature stamped or script?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 07:20:20 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Lucky R A

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 07:48:18 PM »
    There is some real collector interest in Bonnet's guns locally.  A number of the members of the Jefferson Co. Longrifles club own a number of them.  In Russ Harriger's book there is a lot of Bonnet's business papers and a list of many of the original owners based on the number of the rifle.  Your rifle was originally built for Wlm. Bowley, and was sold on Nov. 26th 1883 for $23.00.  This would put it in the high middle range of the price structure of Abraham's guns.   
Hope this helps
Ron
"The highest reward that God gives us for good work is the ability to do better work."  - Elbert Hubbard

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 08:18:51 PM »
Thank for the info. The name A. Bonnet is in script. There is a name on the plate on the stock. Hard to make out, but you can see on the lower part of the plate it says Marrila.

Offline Spinner

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 08:42:25 PM »
Last year we (Jefferson County Historical Society) featured an exhibit showcasing Jefferson County (PA) gunsmiths. We featured several gun and violin makers including Anthony Bonnett and Daniel Long. We had examples of Bonnett's rifles, violins and calligraphy.  We recently acquired a painting by Bonnett, which we are scheduling to have restored.

Sometime later this year we are going to revise a carpenter shop that is part of our national award winning "Living on the Land" exhibit. We will turn it into a gunsmith shop and feature local rifles and violins. We will include Bonnett's work,  gunsmith, John Showalter's gunsmithing tools, and Daniel Long's violin tools.

Always nice to see further examples of Anthony Bonnett's work.
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Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 11:33:57 PM »
Could you post a photo of the signature?  I wonder if it will match another script signature of his?



« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 11:36:35 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 03:15:06 AM »
Here's a pic of the name on the barrel.


Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 04:27:13 PM »
I think it's by the same hand and likely Wm Shreckengost engraved it.  Perhaps Bonnet was apprenticing for him.  Certain elements
of the rifle suggest that, particularly the hand forged patent breech which is a signature of Shreck.  Funny that it went from
Bonnett to Bonnet or vice versa.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 10:29:51 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 07:06:51 AM »
A couple more pics. The rear sight is missing it's ladder. A few inches in front of the rear sight is a dovetail that has been filled. In front of that is a small hole not very deep maybe 1/8. Any ideas on what that might be for? The muzzle has been engraved.
Thanks Again for all the info.

Marc Brooks.










Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 09:07:49 AM »
I know I'm not supposed to ask, but what is the middle of the high price bracket for this rifle?

Offline Lucky R A

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 01:38:05 PM »
       It would guess that the adjustable rear sight is a replacement, as is the front sight.  Marble sights were often used on these guns.  I have seen them on Burkett and Harriger rifles built the Brookville area.   The sight extending over the engraved name would have been avoided if the sight was originally installed by Bonnet.   I have seen this situation on a number of later guns like this.  What is the condition of the bore in your rifle?   From what I see in the photo it looks neglected.   Just speculating if the gun had been used during the early muzzle loading revival. 
       Price is very subjective, if a couple of  members of the family who originally owned were bidding for it the price could go high.  Otherwise it would fall into the high end of normal half stock percussion guns of the late 1800s.
"The highest reward that God gives us for good work is the ability to do better work."  - Elbert Hubbard

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 02:21:54 AM »
Thanks everyone for all the info. I did have one other question. The rifle has a crack in the stock.
Should the crack be fixed or stabilized or left alone? The crack runs through both sides of the stock.
I have no intentions of shooting this rifle, but I would like to make sure such a rifle will last for further generations.

Marc Brooks.






Offline JTR

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2017, 02:09:43 AM »
That type of crack should be fixed securely. An accidental small bang, bump or thump into some other object, and you'll end up with a two piece rifle. As is, its best stored laid flat. Or if it has to be on end, muzzle down.
That break looks fresh with little loss of wood, and is an easy fix for someone that does that sort of thing.

Keep in mind that easy doesn't necessarily mean inexpensive....

John
John Robbins

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2017, 02:53:23 AM »
Well rifle #3 that looks like a shreckengost product but is signed A Bonnett. This one has a Shreckengost Patchbox from the template collection. Evidence of having had a patent breech. Shreckengost barrel engraving and a very interesting wrist repair.  This one has the same muzzle decoration as the first one on this post.















« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 07:08:37 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2017, 07:10:23 PM »


Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2017, 09:37:53 PM »
Anthony Bonnett

America is indebted to Germany for some of her most competent workmen; and the subject of this sketch, whose
handicraft shows a rare union of artistic taste and mechanical skill, is deserving of especial mention in a volume
which aims to record the names of the leaders in various lines of effort.  Coming from the Fatherland as a boy of
seventeen, and compelled from the first to rely upon his own exertions for a livelihood, Mr. Bonnett was engaged
in various undertakings before he obtained a foothold in the business of manufacturing guns and violins, in which
he has achieved so marked a success.

   He was born in Charlottenburg, Nassau, Germany, in 1835, and his parents, Henry Charles Bonnett and Elizabeth
(Priester), were also natives of that country. The father died there, but the mother came to Pennsylvania to pass
her declining years, her death occurring in 1873.

   Mr. Bonnett attended school in his native land until he reached the age of fourteen, when he secured employment
in the lead, silver and copper mines near his home. Three years later he crossed the ocean, being seven weeks in
crossing in the sailship, "Chesapeake," and on his arrival in this country he located at Pike Furnace, Clarion Co., Penn.,
engaging in the mining of iron ore. He remained in this vicinity about three years, and then went to Clarion, Penn.,
where he learned the gunsmith's trade. After working at that business for a time he moved to Catfish, on the Allegheny
river, and remained one year.  Some lands north of Brookville attracted his attention, and he spent a year in clearing land,
but returned then to Pike Furnace.  In 1860 he moved to the vicinity of Reynoldsville, Penn., and in 1864 he went to
Brookville, where he followed his trade and also learned the art of photography. The year 1868 found him in Clarion county,
pursuing the two occupations, and from 1879 to 1882 he was engaged in agriculture. On leaving the farm he established
himself in his present business in Brookville.  Some time ago he made a study of violin construction, and he has made some
of the best instruments in use in this section.  In fact, Mr. Bonnett is a genius in his way, and his artistic ability is manifested
in all that he undertakes, some specimens of his ornamental penmanship being especially noteworthy.  As a citizen he is
progressive as a business man straightforward, and his fellow townsmen hold him in high esteem.

   In 1857 Mr. Bonnett married Miss Elizabeth Gibbs, of Clarion county, Penn., and seven children have blessed their union:
Mary Elizabeth; Rebecca Jane (deceased); Anna Elmina, the wife of Louis N. Kline, of Montana; John C., a machinist and
electrician; Olive Clementine; and William H., a druggist.  Mr. and Mrs. Bonnett attend the Presbyterian Church.  Politically
our subject has been identified with the Democratic party heretofore, but at present time he looks above all party movements.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2017, 09:41:02 PM »


Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2017, 08:36:49 AM »
That is a very nice rifle sir.

Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2017, 08:42:36 AM »
Here a few close ups.


Offline Brooks

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2017, 08:48:07 AM »













Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2017, 06:34:57 PM »
Thank you for posting.  Your rifle shares attributes with Wm Shreckengost's work.  The patent breech which was hand forged
by Shreckengost is present on 95% of his rifles.  The engraved flower around the front screw in your patchbox is seen on most
Shreckengost rifles.  The fleur de lis on either side of your barrel signature is often seen on Shreckengost work.  I would be there
are 4 circles punched in your front sight to hold it in place if it is original.  The engraving on your patchbox is very similar.  Yours
is the 4th rifle I have discovered in the last 2 years which shows the relationship between these two gunmakers.  I believe they
both apprenticed to Nicholas Shenefelt.  I have seen a rifle with the Bonnet and Shreckengost attributes that is signed N. Shenefelt.
Shenefelt was a neighbor of the Shreckengosts in Northumberland County before they moved west. 
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Waldmaus

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Re: A rifle by A. Bonnet
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2017, 06:23:45 PM »
Mr. Meister,
  Not too sure about the Shennefelt apprentice thing as Shreck was 17 years older than Bonnett, and has at least one documented family rifle as being built by Uncle Billie Shreckengost...before Bonnett is listed as a working gunsmith.
  Just my 2d worth.
                            Shreck ( Not Meister )
Then again, this just may be the ramblings of a crotchety old man who did not get his birthday whisky, or whiskey ::)
" Ever notice how a banana gets all soft, mushy, thin-skinned, covered with spots, and, becomes tasteless when it is over the hill? They are just like people! "
from Poor Pat's Ponderings...Ramblings of an Untrained Mind, August 2017