Author Topic: English Fowler?????  (Read 6704 times)

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1709
English Fowler?????
« on: July 22, 2008, 06:57:13 PM »
Here are some pictures of the fowler with the proof marks I was searching for. The quality and worknanship does not meet English standards ( in my opinion) although it does have English propofs on the barrel. The engraving leaves a lot to be desired, The lock needs some major tuning to get it working right, frizzen hits hammer and will not close at 1/2 cock, frizzen is soft and will not spark at all, main spring is real weak, touch hole drilled at bottom of pan. This does not have a hooked breech. There is a major re[paired break in the fore end. The upside is I really think this gun was NEVER FIRED, how could it with a soft frizzen and weak spring? The long 43 3/4 inch 16 ga. barrel is bright and shiney inside and out!!!!Now do I keep it or send it back?????Whats it worth????






« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 07:03:50 PM by Longknife »
Ed Hamberg

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1709
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 07:01:37 PM »




Ed Hamberg

Offline E.vonAschwege

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3073
    • von Aschwege Flintlocks
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 07:42:18 PM »
Hey! Cool!!!  I'm looking at a brother to the gun I own.  Mine is in a state of disrepair... the stock was full of dry rot when I got it, triggerguard bent and torn out of the mortice, well pitted percussion conversion, etc... BUT the engraving is identical on the triggerguard, similar on the buttplate, same lock bolt heads and washers, same architecture, etc.  Yours appears to have been nicer quality from the start.  With the lock reworked you might have a nice shooter if the bore is ok. 

There are some things that jump out to me as not being right.  I might be way off, I'm just telling what I see from the pictures, so please take this with a grain of salt.  I think it's been restored at some point, the barrel cleaned up and the lock reconverted.  The stock and brass bits look just right... they've got lots of bumps, scratches, and evidence of use (especially a broken forestock).  Stock might have been refinished, the details at the tail of the lock panels are really worn down, but have nice finish.  Likewise, I get the feeling the checkering might be newer too. 

The engraving at the tail of the lock is good, what's left of it is pretty typical of the lower to mid grade English locks of the time.  The engraving under the pan is newer, by a different and unpracticed hand.  Also like you said, it could have never been fired with such a soft frizzen and geometry like that. 

The barrel is what I realy don't get... it's beautiful.  The front sight is really nice, no evidence of pitting anywhere up and down, and still looks like a tight fit in the stock.  It appears to have the same sheen as the lock does.  I dunno!?? 

Regardless of its past, It's a very nice gun with great lines and looks.  The stock on mine is mahogany (yep!!), I can't tell what yours is.  I'll take some photos of mine for comparison.  Thanks for sharing!
-Eric

PS, does the buttstock seem heavy at all?  Mine had 1lb of lead poured into it, but I don't know if it's originl or done afterwards. 
Former Gunsmith, Colonial Williamsburg www.vonaschwegeflintlocks.com

Offline Robert Wolfe

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 795
  • Great X Grandpa
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 09:11:53 PM »
I think Eric is onto it. I would guess the barrel has been heavily restored and the lock reconverted (or at least replaced a missing hammer). Sombody was looking to make a shooter out of it but did not finish the job?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 09:14:22 PM by Robert Wolfe »
Robert Wolfe
Northern Indiana

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1838
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 12:07:22 AM »
Good comments fellows. My take is that the gun (somewhat used) has been treated to a process referred to as 'museum polishing' which you find amongst the Englishes. Most guns in British museums have been treated to this beautification. They don't usually touch the wood save perhaps for a coat of varnish. Just my first thoughts on looking at what is without doubt a nice single barrel fowler.
Regards-Dick

Offline JV Puleo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 630
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 01:23:07 AM »
Your're right that its not up to the standards of the English domestic market. This is a conventional "export" fowler. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, were produced in the Birmingham area for sale in the United States in the 1790s and later. They were literally imported in wholesale quantities. Dealers like Richards Upson and A.W. Spies in new York and Lane & Read in Boston sold them for years. They were available with full and half stocks and virtually the same gun with a full stock and a bayonet lug was sold as a "musket" to Americans compelled to comply with the Militia Acts of 1798 and 1808.

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 03:02:55 AM »
It does look like an export gun to me and well work repairing in my most humble opinion.

northmn

  • Guest
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 03:13:29 PM »
Longknife thanks for posting.  For me it could not have come at a better time as I am in the final shaping phase of building a smoothbore of similar design.  Made sopies of the pictures for my notebook.  As comments about the originality of the gun you posted I cannot say much.  What I found unusual was the lack of escutions plates on the one side of the stock where the underpinning lugs go in.

DP

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1709
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 06:09:22 PM »
Eric, I think you hit the nail on the head, it was poorly reconverted, DUH!!!! Why didn't I notice that????? The "sun burst" below the pan is to cover the pan / lock plate seam. The frizzen and hammer do not match the lock or even match each other for that matter.  The barrel has a few light "marks" or maybe pits that were not polished out on the surface, but the bore is absolutey pristine!!!! I haven't unbreeched it yet though. The wood , now that you mentioned it does not resemble any of the walnut stocks I have and very well may be MAHOGANY!!!!! No weight under the butt, this 44 inch barrelled gun weighs under 7 pounds!!! I have a feeling the checkering might have been added later too. or at least cleaned up some.
  Northern, I also thought it odd that there were plates only on one side of the stock. If you need more pictures just ask, I also have another one I posted here a while back, check the archives.
 Mr No gold, would a restoration of the stock be in order since the barrel and lock have been re-worked already?
 Thanks, guys for all your comments, you really made my day, I was almost sure I had a cheap Belgium tourist piece, can't wait for Erics pictures of his "brother"!!!!!
Ed Hamberg

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1838
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 09:48:19 PM »
Just one more thing about this fowler. These do not command huge prices in the collector market. They can be found for well under $1500 and do not go up especially fast after that. Why would anyone go to the effort to reconvert, checker, rebarrel, generally restore overall when they likely could not recoup time and dollars expended? Neither is it signed by a maker,
hence a lower value to the piece.
The hammer could be a replacement since most have a molding line engraved around the edge or perimeter. That I could see; but the rest makes little sense. 
Just a few more thoughts on this subject.
Dick

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1838
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 09:54:53 PM »
As to the stock; you would be well advised not to do anything to the wood. If it were my gun, I would treat it as a scrubbed piece and have the barrel browned, or otherwise aged, and do the same with the lock. Brass looks good as does wood. If wood proves to have been skinned you might add some aging to what is already there. It looks pretty good though.
No changes to either of the latter in my opinion.
Hope this helps.
Best-Dick

Offline E.vonAschwege

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3073
    • von Aschwege Flintlocks
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 10:34:51 PM »
Why would anyone go to the effort to reconvert, checker, rebarrel, generally restore overall when they likely could not recoup time and dollars expended? Neither is it signed by a maker,
hence a lower value to the piece.


Dick, that had occured to me too... My fowler (pics by this evening) was a wreck, I was younger and paid too much for it at $225.00, then reconverted it and restocked it.  I kept the old stock and now that I know better I plan to put a little effort into it and put everything back the way it was.  Certainly not to make a profit, but for practice and to keep it alive. 

This one was probably in better shape to start with, but it still doesn't make sense money wise to put tons of effort into a restoration/museum polishing.  My guess is that someone thought it was worth more and probably had the knowhow to do the basic work that we see.  The barrel may not have been too badly pitted to begin with and only needed a light freshing out and file work to bring into nice shape.  The sparse engraving around the breech is worn down (but with crisp barrel flats), indicating possible drawfiling...

I'm pretty sure the lock has been reconverted... I think there's a seam underneath the pan (correct me if I'm wrong Ed). 

As to the stock, I'm with Dick... Don't touch it.  It looks like it has a nice patina in the wood, even if it has fresh finish over it.  You could rub some finish mixed with lamp black into the checkering, then rub most of it out with a rag.  Brass is good.  I might LIGHTLY tarnish the barrel, but even a year left in humidity with handling will begin to tarnish it.  If it were mine, I'd redo the lock conversion and engraving, even though it's not worth your time in a monetary sense.  Good luck!
-Eric
Former Gunsmith, Colonial Williamsburg www.vonaschwegeflintlocks.com

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1838
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2008, 05:22:13 AM »
Good thinking, Eric. That pretty well describes the history of this little fowler, I bet. English fowlers are desirable guns and are a good value for the money spent, especially the flints.
Let us see your gun in both states; your stock and then with the original wood. Would like to see them.
Best-Dick
Did you ever get the photos of the Neihart from Brooks, by the way? I never heard.

Robin Hewitt

  • Guest
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2008, 06:20:23 PM »
The pineapple is 1810, but it should be in iron  ;D

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1709
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2008, 08:34:24 PM »
Robin, I have heard that before, but here I have a fowler, with english proof marks on the barrel and finished in brass hardware!!! What do I have????? Your opinion is appreciated, Tghanks , Ed
Ed Hamberg

Offline Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9526
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: English Fowler?????
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2008, 02:22:11 PM »
You have an english fowler built for the American export trade. I've seen lots of them and yours is quite typical. The lock has been reconverted, the barrel has been polished and the stock has had the checkering freshed up. Brass mounts on these export guns isn't unusual at all. All in all a nice example.
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'?