Author Topic: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle  (Read 18669 times)

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #50 on: November 26, 2017, 10:53:21 PM »
I see. I was thinking (again, with no knowledge of styles) that Beck arrives in 1761/62, when Oerter is beginning his apprenticeship, and IF there was a stylistic similarity (closer, in any case, than Albrecht's style), THEN that might be good evidence that Beck DID do some work or had some influence at Christiansbrunn, even if we don't know from any other "source" that Beck was there.

Unfortunately there just isn't enough "there" there to really make a determination one way or the other.  RCA #42 is an extremely accomplished rifle with a strong step-wrist architecture.  Architecturally, it is most similar to the 'lion and lamb' rifle and the 'two tailed dog' rifle, all of which are very close in profile pattern.  Also a rifle allegedly belonging to David Deschler that had descended within his family, which can practically overlay right on top of 42.  Nobody knows by whom, when or where ANY of those rifles were made, but at least the first three are typically viewed as Moravian rifles.  I have a very hard time viewing the 'lion and lamb' rifle without attributing it to Oerter, for despite the architectural differences, the carved decoration appears to be by the same hand.

Then you have the Marshall rifle and the Moravian Hist. Soc. gun, both of which seem to share very similar architecture and profile pattern, and both of which also seem to have been long-attributed to Moravian manufacture.  These are also step-wrist guns, but not as dramatic as the aforementioned group of pieces.

Oerter's rifles maintain a residual step wrist, not much of one but it's there, as do many of the rifles made nearby and later by Moll, the Rupps, Kuntz and Neihardt.

#43 and #52 are also step wrist guns, 43 frequently attributed to Oerter and 52 sometimes viewed as an apprentice rifle or a piece of somewhat 'hastier' manufacture.  Oerter?  Someone else?  Who knows.

Finally, you have the shorty and #19, both straight stocks and unlike ANY of the above.

Where this leaves us is most assuredly confused, and definitely operating on a LOT of assumptions.
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Offline Pennsylvania Dutchman

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2017, 01:19:16 AM »
This has been a very informative and interesting discussion. I have been interested in Andreas Albrecht for quite some time both as a gunmaker and a contemporary of my 5th Great Grandfather Johan Georg Bohlich. Both Albrecht and my grandfather were born in Zella Germany in 1718, and my Grandfather was a master Kettenschmied, a blacksmith who makes chain, there until he came to Pennsylvania in 1754. I have often wondered if they could have also been acquaintances, as Georg Bohlich's son, Johann Valentin Bohlich b.1749, my 4th GG, was sponsored, at his baptisim, by Johann Valentin Bader, Master Gunsmith in Zella, and his wife.
Thanks, Mark Poley

Offline Seth I.

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2017, 06:04:57 PM »
Hi Eric and Scott,
I semi-retired from a 30-year career as a research scientist and our bread and butter is independent replication of results when at all possible (there are times when that is not possible) and review of results by our knowledgeable peers.  That process, which acknowledges human error and biases among scientists, can at times be brutal and sometimes deservedly and other times undeservedly humiliating, requiring a thick skin and a strong stomach.  Other disciplines like history have somewhat similar processes though usually less robust and more subjective.  The problem with scholarly debate on forums such as this is that many folks are unfamiliar with what passes as documented evidence, and the experience to link a chain of evidence into a cohesive hypothesis of events.  You are not born with that skill set.  You acquire it through education and experience.  Add the fact that short posts on the forum often do not accurately convey the author's intent (just like e-mail and TWITTER), and you have a formula for acrimony.  So what is the solution?  Well, I believe the solution is partly what you have already done, presented documented evidence and information.  As long as your comments are not personal attacks this forum has no problem with disagreement and if folks have a hard time with that they need to ask themselves, can I respond with evidence and logic or am I just mad?  If the latter, and you cannot respond with evidence and logic, don't respond because you have little to add.  Those folks who have a lot of information and expertise, you need to understand that not everything you write is clear to those who do not have your understanding and experience and so I believe you need to be mentors more than authorities or advocates.  Do any of you remember the play and movie "Harvey"?  In one scene, Elwood P. Dowd, the center of the story, says his grandmother always told him that to survive in this world you had to oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.  He said he tried smart but he recommends pleasant.

Mike, I agree with you and it begs the question of whether private collections motivated by monetary value enhance or hinder historical progress.

dave

Yeah historians theoretically are supposed to be thoroughly peer reviewed, but in actuality few publications are really confirmed one piece of evidence at a time. Peers confirm the soundness of the argument based on the evidence the historian says they found, and if the peers have good reason to doubt the claims, they may do further research to confirm the source material, but often they don't, especially for relatively run of the mill or non-controversial pieces. Others get challenged by their peers in separate articles or monographs. It can be a lot of fun to follow the historiography of some contentious topics as scholars get into "polite" arguments with eachother, sometimes including veiled insults. A famous case of a historian being taken down by his peers after failed initial peer review was the big "Arming America" controversy. That book actually won the Bancroft Prize (one of the most prestigious prizes in history) and was initially endorsed by the academic community. I found it in a used book store and read it over a break it while I was still in my undergraduate studies and even I, at the time very unfamiliar with the details of surrounding his argument, could see it didn't match the realities I had seen in my own research. After finishing the book, I read about the controversy online. The author was eventually stripped of the prize (the first time that ever happened) because of faulty research and evidence (some non-existent or fabricated). John Lott, (an economist rather than a historian) got into similar hot water over missing data and some false claims for his popular book. Since guns are a controversial issue in this country, research on them is often subject to scrutiny from both sides. This is far less the case with other issues, especially given that only one or perhaps a few scholars may have studied a particular individual or event in great detail.
*All opinions expressed here are mine alone and are NOT meant to represent those of any other entity unless otherwise expressly stated.*
". . .some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them." D.H. Lawrence, "Things Men Have Made"

Offline rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #53 on: November 27, 2017, 06:29:05 PM »
I had 30+ years experience in peer review in science, as author, reviewer, and journal editor, and as grant writer and reviewer and study section leader.  Peer review is dependent on a system where papers can only be published in peer-reviewed journals. We don’t have peer reviewed journals publishing articles on original early American firearms. And writers who are first collectors or builders, unless they have been trained in putting together scholarly manuscripts which will be subject to peer review, seldom have any perspective that their arguments and conclusions need to be rigorously supported by documentation, and posited as hypotheses with varying degrees of confidence, when evidence is largely circumstantial. A string of probabilities requires the squirrel to choose the “right” branch each time to end up on a particular limb.

So I’m not surprised when attributions fulfill someone’s “most exciting possible outcome” scenario, if they don’t have an academic background in research. However, once in print, what should be hypotheses become “fact” to many people.
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Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #54 on: November 27, 2017, 07:24:16 PM »
Amen, Rich.

dave
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Offline Seth I.

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #55 on: November 27, 2017, 08:09:27 PM »
I had 30+ years experience in peer review in science, as author, reviewer, and journal editor, and as grant writer and reviewer and study section leader.  Peer review is dependent on a system where papers can only be published in peer-reviewed journals. We don’t have peer reviewed journals publishing articles on original early American firearms. And writers who are first collectors or builders, unless they have been trained in putting together scholarly manuscripts which will be subject to peer review, seldom have any perspective that their arguments and conclusions need to be rigorously supported by documentation, and posited as hypotheses with varying degrees of confidence, when evidence is largely circumstantial. A string of probabilities requires the squirrel to choose the “right” branch each time to end up on a particular limb.

So I’m not surprised when attributions fulfill someone’s “most exciting possible outcome” scenario, if they don’t have an academic background in research. However, once in print, what should be hypotheses become “fact” to many people.

I've seen Abraham Lincoln's family long rifle a few times.  ;D One of the guys actually had a gun with a barrel signed by a maker listed as having made a rifle owned by the Lincoln family and shot by Lincoln as a boy in a period biography (accuracy of said biography unknown). The rest of the gun was unfortunately completely reassembled around the barrel, and there was no reason to believe that particular barrel had ever been on a rifle the Lincoln's owned other than that it may have been used by a maker who had built one rifle for the family. It's always kind of sad to see that stuff. Some people are really convinced it is what they claim them to be, some were duped by someone else, some are crooks themselves, and others will unfortunately pass the same incorrect stories down to another owner who will keep passing it along. The story I always relate is my grandfather's rifle that forever he been told and always thought was owned by the first member of our family to come over to the U.S. from Sweden in the late 19th century. He supposedly fed himself and his sister's family with it. It was the first rifle many generations of my family had shot including myself. Unfortunately, the company that made the rifle didn't exist until a few years after Great Uncle Otto died. My grandfather isn't a liar. He's just wrong. That is often the case with a lot of people's stories about old guns.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 08:10:10 PM by The Rambling Historian »
*All opinions expressed here are mine alone and are NOT meant to represent those of any other entity unless otherwise expressly stated.*
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Offline Bill Paton

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2017, 02:09:59 AM »
Thanks, Rich Pierce and Dave Smart Dog for stating such important issues so clearly.

Sometime back, somebody on this forum naively criticized a writer who expressed uncertainty about a statement who wrote something like “may have been” or “I believe”, saying that if they didn’t know for sure, they shouldn’t discuss a matter. Uncertainty is the reality of much of history, and absolute statements about uncertain subjects supported by incomplete or suspect information makes little sense. We should present information along with source documentation, and then offer hypotheses supported by the available information. Our interpretation of the available material should be open to scrutiny and/or additional material may become available that counters our hypotheses. Thus our knowledge can advance by putting multiple minds together to look at additional information and alternative interpretations. We won’t always agree with each other, but we should be able to see and interpret each other’s information and discuss it together without animosity.

Bill Paton
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Offline Arcturus

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2017, 07:35:48 AM »
Interesting conversation so far, and I appreciate the points by several gentlemen regarding the touchy subject of discussing hypotheses versus making pronouncements without producing enough supporting documentation, conflict of interest between financial concerns versus furthering of historical knowledge, etc.  ... Without taking sides on this particular gun, my love of American history and desire to know more about the early Moravian guns makes this particular hypothesis interesting to me.  As others have stated, much more documentation and a thorough examination of the barrel signature is necessary to really state anything beyond a theory... but these old guns are cool, so why not talk about them! 

....And Albrecht's Lititz rifle (we assume Lititz) also looks nothing like Oerter's work, so there we have another outlier if comparing to Oerter; if it was not signed, would ANYONE point to that gun and believe it was made by Albrecht?

The one signed Albrecht gun we know of, RCA 46, doesn't look like Oerter's work, or what we associate with Christian's Spring either.  Looks more like Dickert's Lancaster guns, and isn't heavily step-wristed (that I can tell from pictures) if at all.  Could a highly trained European gunsmith of the era produce a custom gun based on an Indian customer's stated desires that differs quite a bit from his later work?  I notice the similarity of the butt plate finial on RCA 19 to that of French guns and am reminded of the Wilson trade guns of the mid-18th Century that mimicked French guns to satisfy Indian market demand.  Smoothbore, large caliber, with furniture and engraving that suggests Indian motifs and tastes... It makes for an interesting hypothesis that this could have been a Chiefs gun made at a Moravian settlement.  Speculation to me until I see some kind of real proof, but a cool hypothesis.
Jerry

Offline rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2017, 08:25:38 AM »
Jerry, certainly Albrecht could have built in many styles.  Regarding the one signed rifle of his made in Lititz, I assumed he was following Scripture, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Customers buying rifles in Lancaster probably expected a Lancaster-styled gun, and perhaps that’s why he made that gun that way. 

But would your hypothesis, that Paxinosa wanted a particular architecture,  explain the identical architecture of the sister rifle?

My thinking about what is strong and what requires a stretch in the proposed hypothesis:

1) That the Paxinosa journal entry and panther motif engraved on the guard supports that Albrecht built this rifle for Paxinosa. I give this moderate strength.  For it to be really strong we’d have to firmly believe that Paxinosa requested that engraving (possible but unproven), and that the engraving was unique to Paxinosa’s gun (an argument weakened by those who say that design is used to this day).  The assertion has been that by chance, we have captured an unique event.  If indeed the engraving is a totem of the Shawnee, Paxinosa was the only Shawnee to ever have a rifle built with that engraving in that time period.  Certainly Albrecht built him a gun.  A smooth rifle,  in fact, if it is this one.

2) That the signature on the sister rifle supports that it was built by Albrecht. Extremely weak. Everybody claims that at best it could be Albrecht’s signature, talks about needing better light, advanced techniques, and so on.  Nobody goes so far as to say “ I see the Alb, all right!”  And by logic, if the signed sister rifle was built by the same guy (Albrecht) in the same shop around the same time, why is RCA 19 (possibly Paxinosa’s rifle) unsigned?

3) The architecture unlike any Moravian-attributed guns. Extremely weak support for Albrecht making these 2 guns, except somebody made them quite early and there are only a limited number of gunsmiths in the colonies making rifles at that time.

So yes, it is possible Albrecht built these guns,  but the reasoning includes none of the sorts of detective work commonly used to attribute unsigned guns: architecture, construction details, decorative elements, and tell-tale tool marks. 

It still could be so.  The data don’t convince me, yet.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 08:31:24 AM by rich pierce »
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Offline Arcturus

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2017, 09:00:57 AM »
Not "my" hypothesis Rich, just throwing out ideas to discuss this possibility as I remember when the idea was first advanced by the owner of the shorter rifle in an earlier thread.  I tend to agree with your assessment, but enjoyed having an excuse to look through RCA Vol I again.  To me, if a newly discovered signature by Albrecht was undeniably obvious on a privately held rifle, I would think the owner would share it with everyone if promoting a new theory like this.... hence I remain a skeptic.  But the Longrifle student in me loves that we're talking about this, instead of someone's arthritic hip, or how kids today are spoiled ingrates, etc.... ;)
Jerry

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2017, 02:54:37 PM »
Could a highly trained European gunsmith of the era produce a custom gun based on an Indian customer's stated desires that differs quite a bit from his later work?

This has been an awesome discussion!

Regarding the above: I've expressed (I hope not with "disrespectful negativity") my skepticism that this gun was made for the Shawnee chief, because there is no evidence for that claim. BUT: I think it VERY LIKELY that ANY gun that Albrecht stocked in the early or mid 1750s was made for an Indian.

When Bob L and I were putting together our article on gunmaking in Bethlehem and Christiansbrunn, I went through every journal/ledger in the Moravian Archives that record the transactions from every trade, including internal transactions between trades (glue sold by tanner to locksmith, for instance).

MOST of the transactions that related to the gunstocker involved work for Indians in the 1750s. There was some work for neighbors (whites). But MOST of the work during the 1750s involved repairing Native American arms. Here's part of that paragraph from our article:

Most early instances of gunstocking work captured in Bethlehem’s financial ledgers note work done for Native Americans. Augustus owed 5 shillings “to Stocking & Smith, [for] work on his Pistol” in January 1752, Mary Ann owed £0.13.0 for having had her son Lucas’s gun stocked in February 1753, and Nicodemus owed £1.12.0 to “Locksmith for stocking . . . a Gun” in March 1753. The leader of the Shawnees recalled that Albrecht had “stocked his rifle . . . to his complete satisfaction” in Bethlehem in 1752. In August 1753 Jasper Payne at Dansbury sent “Indians [with] 4 Gunns to be Mended” to Bethlehem. Albrecht also stocked a gun for Richard Shackleton in this period, so his work was not entirely for Native Americans. Shackleton, who managed the Oxford Iron Works in New Jersey, had at least six guns stocked at Bethlehem between 1752 and 1759, usually for other men.

So I would think both RCA 19 and shorty, if stocked by Albrecht, were stocked for Indians. Percentages suggest this. But for Paxonisa himself: long shot.

It is very interesting to wonder, though: would Albrecht's work for Augustus, Lucas, or Paxinosa look different than his work for Shackleton?
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 03:26:33 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 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2017, 05:51:02 PM »
I would "assume" ;) when observing the shorty that the barrel is a restocked barrel from a Germanic rifle and any engraving on the barrel is likely/possibly/could be  from the Germanic gun it was first in/on.
 It's a miracle that any of Albrecht's guns have survived and the odds are even more unlikely that the  exact gun made for a particular Indian mentioned in old manuscripts survived. You really have to stretch to make this all work, especially since neither one have a legible signature. The odds of the actual Paxonisa gun surviving is phenomenal. But, I suppose anything is possible and I'm not saying that this is absolutely not the gun, I'm just saying the odds are stacked against it being "THE GUN".
 It's very obvious whoever made these guns was trained in Europe, not that that means much of anything, except Albrecht was trained there and "would have" been comfortable making guns that looked like jeager rifles. Personally I also think there is an incredible leap in style from these two guns to the signed Albrecht. Was he capable of a leap like that? I don't know.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 05:52:32 PM by Mike Brooks »
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2017, 07:02:37 PM »
An interesting way of examining things like this for chain of continuity in regard to construction technology is to focus on the mundane.  We can all see overt stylistic changes over time, and while sometimes you can view work of someone like JP Beck, for example, who largely developed one style and then stuck with it for apparently the course of his life, there may be other instances where a master/apprentice relationship is not so obvious.  In this case, we have ample evidence of Oerter's work but practically nothing definitely of Albrecht, save a piece that was likely made somewhat contemporaneously with what Oerter was doing in the mid-1770s, and in a completely different location or 'market.'  So perhaps such a comparison doesn't carry much water.

One "mundane" aspect that I think might bear some close scrutiny is the box mortise.  Both the shorty and 19 have a huge hogged-out cavity clear back to the buttplate in a rounded fashion.  I can't speak for #19 off the top of my head but the shorty has the brass cap on the box affixed with a total of 5 freaking screws (filed flush, no evident heads), 4 in an arc around the curved top and 1 directly above the spring.  Now, compare these box mortises to Oerter's or Albrecht's (assumed) Lititz rifle.  They are the stereotypically 'standard' box mortises, a squared, flat-bottom mortise with wood between the mortise and the buttplate.

*IF* the shorty/19 were made by Albrecht, why would he and Oerter later change a construction technique so largely insignificant as a simply cutting a box mortise?  I can not think of any benefit or purpose to such a change, and frankly, the earlier 'hogged out' methodology is faster and easier (at least I think so).
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Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
Thanks for this great discussion,
I just read the pamphlet by Newman, Cowan, and Keller and one thing that bothers me is they show the barrel signature, which is pretty illegible in the photo but just above it they show another signature for Albrecht that is very clear.  However, it takes a bit to realize the clear signature is from the lock they show below the barrel fragment.  If you don't carefully look at the pictures, you get the impression that the clear signature is meant to be the barrel signature shown in "the better lighting" they refer to in the text. I find this to be very misleading and poorly presented. 

dave 
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2017, 08:35:18 PM »
What is also interesting in the pamphlet photos is (1) where the heck is the breech plug?  Physically removed or photoshopped out? [and why?] !!!  and (2) it appears that there is similarly indecipherable engraving  or something on the oblique flat right near the breech, just above the vent location.  What is it?

Looking at what remains of the barrel marking compared to the engraved marking on Tim's Albrecht lock, I frankly do not see the first word as matching up with "Albrecht" as it is engraved on the lock.
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Offline DaveM

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2017, 09:31:48 PM »
If I were the owner of the RCA #19 gun – and first I would be excited to own it no matter what the origins – there are a number of questions that I would want to satisfy myself of, and I would pursue with great effort to confirm:

•   Is it truly American Walnut, or is this based on the word of some owner 40 years ago?  I would do a new independent test through the testing lab.
•   How would I confirm that the hardware is not European import?  I have a trade gun book that states that French trade gun hardware was imported in great quantities to the colonies including pieces made for Indian gun use.  We all know that animal motifs were used frequently on European gun hardware.   How do I know it was not made and engraved in France for export, possibly even for the Indian trade?  The trigger guard seems to be French in style but the finials seem both in question as to originality / completeness (in the photo the forward acorn looks original to me??) which seems odd given the excellent condition of the remainder of the gun.
•   The butt plate is definitely French.  Why would a gunsmith that just settled from Germany use a French butt plate?  Was he purchasing the hardware for his rifles?  Even if he were purchasing hardware why would he use a French fowling style butt plate and not a Germanic one?  If so, how does that fact square with the Moravian records of gun making?  Was there any mention of making brass hardware in Bethlehem at the time or did they purchase parts from Philadelphia?  Could he have even used trade gun engraved import hardware for a non-Indian customer if that was all he had available?
•   Is the fellow engraved on the butt plate tang really an Indian?  He seems to have a European buttoned jacket.  To my eye it does appear like an Indian wearing a European style jacket.  I would talk to experts on art and fashion of Indians of the period to try to confirm it is indeed an Indian.
•   Did Europeans at this time ever use Native American motifs on their art? I would want to talk to an expert to see if that was the case.  Maybe other European art had similar American Indian motifs seen as fashionable at the time in Europe? 
•   Same question for Colonists – if the Indians were seen as exotic did American colony guns occasionally include Indian related symbols?  With so few surviving guns of the period it is tough to know – did other American art of the period include Indian motifs?
•   What other same period art shows a panther?  When did the Shawnee adopt the panther symbol?  Was this used by other Native Americans before the Shawnee adopted it?  What other period Native American art show a panther of this type?  Why does the panther not have a tail?
•   Are there period examples of the “old man” face on the trigger guard?  I would find source info on the “native woods man” and again contemporary examples in art.
•   Why is RCA #19 essentially an unused gun?  To my eye it looks like it was unused and always hanging on a wall.  Someone earlier said that Indians could have had a rifle made and essentially cherished it like a peace medal and not used it.  Is there documentation to this effect?  According to the contemporary records the same Indians apparently kept coming back to the makers for repairs on their rifles. 
•   Why would an Indian gun have sling swivels?  Do other known Indian guns of the period have sling swivels?  I always saw this as a European / colonist military feature.
•   Why would there be a sling swivel behind the rear of the trigger guard in addition to the hole at the forward end of the trigger guard loop on both guns?  Is this further evidence that the trigger guards are imported with the stocker preferring the separate stud to the rear?  Or could this mean that the rifle used older hardware from a previous gun and restocked it?  The trigger guard hole does not appear to be damaged.
•   As stated by many others the signature so I don’t need to state that again
•   Finally what definitively dates these two guns to the early 1750’s.  How would a wood patchbox rifle from say 1775 differ?

These questions are not meant to be taken in a negative way and no one should be insulted by questions like these.  I am hoping that others can chime in to help address these questions.  They are simply “due diligence” research questions that should all add up and make sense.  If me, as a researcher of the item could not answer them, I would find experts in the art field and history field who could assist.   

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2017, 09:48:55 PM »
The acorn finial is a recent restoration, the original finial was probably more continental, the sceptic in my wonders if this isn't when the panther was added..... ;) Why would anyone with even a remote understanding of early rifles put an acorn finial on this trigger guard? ::)
  I have always suspected the buttplate was French as well, although I think I was poo-pooed on that idea...I don't recall why. The screw seems to pierce the engraved figure, not likely done unless it's a reused trigger guard from an old French trade gun. I haven't looked at #19 in RCA I lately, but doesn't the figure seem to be wearing a helmet? ....could be another gun I'm thinking of.
 all of the above is irrelevant I guess and doesn't help connect the gun to Albrecht.
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2017, 10:11:39 PM »
Dave I do believe there was some wear to the hole on both guard bows (imho, though not a lot), and both also seem to have had the rear sling hanger moved behind the guard to the toe.

I also would like to see the wood on BOTH guns tested to determine species and origin.  The shorty to my eye in particular looks a heck of a lot more like a Euro walnut than American.

Bob L would be able to supply more specifics but gun mounts were being sold in Philadelphia by the 1750s and I believe there are Moravian ledger entries indicating that Bethlehem was purchasing furnishings.

CAN a buttplate like #19, with a flat toe and given the overall height, be swaged out of a typical shorter French round-toe fusillade buttplate?  I have my doubts but admittedly I've not tried it.

I guess I'll throw it out there:  since #19 is missing the original lock, is the sideplate also a restoration or replacement?  If tightly-fitted then it certainly could be original, but I will admit that whenever a lock has gone missing, I automatically suspect the sideplate also unless it's screwed or pinned to the stock.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2017, 10:30:04 PM »


CAN a buttplate like #19, with a flat toe and given the overall height, be swaged out of a typical shorter French round-toe fusillade buttplate?  I have my doubts but admittedly I've not tried it

Yes. I am 95% sure that’s what I did for my RCA 19 Rifle. I peened the heck out of it with a 3 pound cross peen hammer with a fairly round poll. The only question I have is which casting I started with. I’ve been able to lengthen buttplate by 3/4” by peening.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline sqrldog

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #69 on: November 28, 2017, 11:31:30 PM »
I actually handled RCA 19 at the TN KY show in  2016. It was a pleasure to hold such a treasure and get to put it to my shoulder. The owner removed the patch box snd I photographed the interior. I had never seen the interior if a wood lid box that did not have the bridge of wood at the rear. Discussions with people that know a lot more about these things than I do said it was a German method used by some of the earlier German gunsmiths. A picture of the interior of the box and other pictures of the rifle are on Brice Stultz's blog. RCA 19 is surprisingly light and handles well. I thought as a perception not from much knowledge that it had a decidedly indian flavor. The lack of an upper sling swivel has always intrigued me. The owner said the upper forestock was a restoration done before he acquired the rifle and when done the swivel was left off the rifle. I know nothing about the provenance of the rifle, former owners or other work done on the gun. However I do know it is a fine early rifle that we are privileged to have pictures of and occasionally the opportunity to view. All of this chatter and  doubts and maybe /maybe nots doesn't detract from its importance and probably matters little to the owners of either piece. I feel privileged to have held it.

Offline smart dog

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #70 on: November 29, 2017, 12:02:48 AM »
Hi,
Folks might want to read the description of the Shawnee seal in the link below.  Read the whole thing.

https://www.estoo-nsn.gov/culture/the-tribal-seal/

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #71 on: November 29, 2017, 12:04:55 AM »
Such a cool gun!  Interesting that it’s not a rifle per se. It’s a smooth rifle, built with an octagon to round smoothbore barrel. My copy has a rifled .54 barrel supposedly profiled off the original by John Getz who got dimensions I guess. A very fast and comfortable gun to carry and shoot.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline spgordon

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #72 on: November 29, 2017, 12:13:15 AM »
Bob L would be able to supply more specifics but gun mounts were being sold in Philadelphia by the 1750s and I believe there are Moravian ledger entries indicating that Bethlehem was purchasing furnishings.

Bethlehem's Moravian ledgers record quite a few purchases of furnishings:

The Locksmith & Gun Stock Maker's account is charged for purchases of gun locks on December 12, 1755; April 30, May 11, June 30, and October 18, 1756); for gun brasses (December 15, 1755); and for guns (September 30, 1757, and December 21, 1761). The Strangers’  Store purchased a half-dozen gunlocks on September 23, 1755 and George Klein (an agent) purchased three more in Philadelphia on August 21, 1758.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 01:09:40 AM 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 spgordon

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #73 on: November 29, 2017, 12:16:01 AM »
Hi,
Folks might want to read the description of the Shawnee seal in the link below.  Read the whole thing.

https://www.estoo-nsn.gov/culture/the-tribal-seal/

dave

As discussed above, the issue is whether the Shawnees used this sort of drawing of a panther in the eighteenth century, when this rifle (and the engraving?) were produced. If they did not--and yet the twentieth-century Shawnee panther appears on this rifle--it raises more questions than it solves.
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 rich pierce

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Re: RCA 19 "Sister" Rifle
« Reply #74 on: November 29, 2017, 12:31:56 AM »
Ok now let’s look at this gun which is in RCA volume 2. I forget the number. It is currently on consignment at Aspen Shade. Keep in mind early builders probably had buckets of castings from Europe. But the tang carving plus the buttplate choice are interesting features. The comb is quite different and obviously the patchbox cover as well. From RCA I recall the guard has vestigial acanthus finials










I WOULD like to know what the patchbox cavity looks like.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 05:02:00 PM by rich pierce »
St. Louis, Missouri