Author Topic: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?  (Read 3248 times)

Offline Chris_B

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2018, 02:41:18 PM »
Can somebody explain me the difference between poor boys and Shimmel guns?
I understand the last are located only in the Blue Mountain region.
In an article by Thomas E. Ames he states Shimmels are "unfinished" while poor boys are "finished",
but I don´t get it....
Kind regards from Germany, Chris

Offline Molly

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2018, 03:22:34 PM »
History and Etymology for schimmel
Afrikaans skimmel gray horse, mildew, from Dutch schimmel; akin to Old High German scimbal ōn to become moldy, Middle Low German schimmel gray horse, mildew, Old English scīnan to shine


As you can see the word connects from Afrikaan to Dutch to German.

I'll guess the German immigrants of PA coined the description.  Not to say it was "a moldy" gun but just not a gun of high style.  IMO it is the same style as a poor boy or barn gun, jut a regional slant on the description.

Offline Chris_B

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2018, 10:53:26 AM »
In Germany a "Schimmel" is a white horse (my last horse was one).
Schimmel means also the green stuff that´s growing on rotten cheese ;)
I just cannot see the connection my (or your) German ancestors could have seen to any kind of gun...?
Kind regards from Germany, Chris

Offline Molly

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2018, 04:30:00 PM »
Language and local colloquialisms are odd things.  Tons of examples where the meaning of a word or phrase becomes descriptive of something very much different from or other than the "real" defination of a word or the words used.  Example:  "cool".

"Definition of cool: moderately cold : lacking in warmth"

And yet when you walk into the showroom of your local Ford dealer and see that new Mustang you say, "That's COOL".

But how can a car be lacking in warmth or moderately cold?

It's a slang adaptation used with no connection at all to the "real" meaning of the words.

BTW, I have no German ancestors and there are certainly other ideas on how that term became descriptive of a rifle made in a the form of a "barn rifle".  Come to think of it, what about barn rifle.  Were they made in a barn?

Merry Christmas to all.


Offline rich pierce

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2018, 04:45:54 PM »
Chuck Dixon made the term “schimmel” known. He’s in Berks County where a good many plain rifles are found. He has a number of them displayed in his shop.  Maybe a neighboring Amish friend described it as a schimmel and Chuck liked the term. That does not mean everyone in the area previously or currently called plain guns schimmels. There are no hard and fast rules written in a book and enforced such as “thou shalt not put any finish on thy schimmel” or “thou shalt keep thy schimmel in thy barn, that it be close at hand should a raccoon be found in thy hayloft.”

Instead of looking for rules or broad generalizations, tis often better to emulate specific original rifles.
St. Louis, Missouri

Online jdm

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2018, 05:01:13 PM »
I believe there was a K.R.A. article some years ago about schimmel  guns. If I remember correctly  it was linked to the Pennsylvania Dutch .  There were other items they called schimmel also . There was some kind of common link. After Christmas I will see if I can find it.
JIM

Offline bama

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2018, 05:17:06 PM »
I tend to look at this subject in the terms of economics and supply and demand and the time frame. As the lands opened up many people migrated to it as is pretty well documented. I think every family went with at least one gun. As expansion grew so did demand for these guns thus creating the need to produce the guns quickly and as cheap as possible to make more profit. Same as today with pretty much everything that is made.

I grew up in a southern coal mining community. I am old enough to remember my great grandfather who was born in the late 1800's and inherited his old single barreled shotgun. It was a Iver Johnson single barreled shotgun, this was the quality of gun that I grew up using. It had put many rabbit and squirrels on the supper table. If it had not been stolen from me I would still be using it today. I think that the barn or schimmel was this same type of gun and fit the same nich as the Iver Johnson, JC Higgens type guns did a few generations later. They were cheap and plain but did the job and did it well. Sears, Western Auto and several others had these guns made by the hundreds of thousands. You still see them today, most are so used that they are now dust collectors only but occasionally you see one that is in good shape. My point is that you don't see them very often. I think our plain rifles fit this mould.

I have enjoyed the thead, it has made me reminisce about my youth and trapseing in the woods with that old 36" barreled long Tom shotgun chasing Squirrels.

Merry Christmas to you all.
Jim Parker

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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2018, 06:35:11 PM »
 I think this is another case of several rifle styles from different areas getting lumped into one category. I defiately believe there is a relationship with the very plain Southern “poor boy” bare bones rifle, and the so called schimmel produced in other areas.
  But, the Southern guns with full hardware, and things like lollipop tangs, fully developed buttplates, triggerguards, and other hardware, are not in the same category in my book.
 I was told that the term schimmel was coined because these guns lacked finish, and being mostly from an area where maple was the principle stock wood, the gun would be white when new, and fade to gray as the wood got handled and aged. Hence the white, or gray, horse nickname.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Mick C

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2018, 02:41:22 AM »
This is to me a very interesting thread.  I have a rifle hanging on my wall right now that was handed down in my family and definitely meets the accepted definition of a "poor boy": Simple, southern (99% sure of NC origin), iron trigger guard and ramrod thimbles, no butt plate, no entry thimble, no nose cap. Sadly the lock is missing but I'm guessing it was originally percussion as it doesn't have the tell-tale notch cut out of the top of the lock flat but since it does have a drum and nipple, it could maybe be original late flint.  Barrel is 42" long and roughly .40 cal.

All that to say, for those that have them, can we see some of them here?  I'll start with mine which is shown with the powder horn that was passed down with the rifle.





« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 07:29:29 PM by Mick C »
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Offline Chris_B

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2019, 02:26:58 PM »
Picked up my Poor Boy this very morning at custom´s.
It´s a percussion, otherwise fits right in the category by my opinion.
Will take some pictures and post them at the weekend if someone wants to see them...
Kind regards from Germany, Chris

Offline mountainman70

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2019, 06:07:18 AM »
Yep Chris,we wanna see it. Even the simplest of these old guns have a certain presence of architecture many of us find pleasing. Cheers to all on this windy January night Dave 8) 8)

Offline Chris_B

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2019, 01:42:46 PM »
Now here is my poor boy. The lock is Golcher, otherwise I have no idea who made it.





Kind regards from Germany, Chris

Offline A.Merrill

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2019, 06:07:26 AM »
Thanks, all.

Having a plain rifle made for me by TVM now. Going to have fancy maple, but is browned iron mounted with no entry thimble, nosecap, no side plate, no patch box (but I did ask them to make a grease hole in the stock) and that’s about all. Lock will be a Chamber’s Late Ketland, so the lock is appropriate for the early 19th century.

My question is, is that a farby setup? In otherwards, could such a gun have existed in the old times?

   There's nobody alive today to answer this. Only thing people can go by today are the guns that are left. How many is there today ? How many was built ? Nobody knows how many! If you look in books today there's plenty of clunkers and how many was destroyed and the nicer ones were kept.
   I'm sure the gun your having built today would have been a fine looking gun back in the day. Gun builders today has a mind set of thier own on how things "must be and was" . I find it myself hard to believe that all the old guns have a 3/16 web. Some say carving should not be more than a 1/16 high. This is all created by people today.
   Your gun will be just fine and believable.    Al
 
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Online Mike Brooks

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2019, 04:20:22 PM »
Here's mine, about as poor as they come. I believe this type of gun was pretty common. First off you'll notice the massive bark inclusion, even has a couple nails in it to hold some of the bark on. There is a nicely formed cheekpiece in all of that bark. Round barrel channel that  I'm sure held an octagon barrel. I believe the trigger guard was brass as it has tabs inlet for lugs. It had set triggers and was probably percussion. It is well shaped and was obviously made by a man who was trained to build guns for a living. One of my favorite relics in my collection.






« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 04:27:36 PM by Mike Brooks »
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Online jdm

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2019, 03:21:21 AM »
Mike I thought that was some of your early work!!!!


It does have nice lines I can see why you like it.  I'm glad people over the years thought enough of it to save it. Well at least most of it. It would be fun to see what it looks like with a barrel and a lock.
JIM

ron w

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2019, 07:47:51 PM »
haven't posted in a while but I keep following the forum...…  I am inclined to say that the poorboys  were very common and got used up and discarded/repurposed in many ways over the years. if you consider the commonality of the early lever action rifles and extrapolate that back into the desire of our early population to own firearms for many reasons, i'd say that there were plenty of common guns built and owned. the more ornate rifles were also more expensive and it stands to reason,...even today yet,....that the plain jane hunting rifle was most common in family arsenal. the fact that few still exist s simply because the value and exclusivity of owning such an arm was about on the same level as owning a water bucket....."good to have, but of little to no use when it is worn out, and the common man would be an idiot to spend hard earned money on a fancy water bucket,...."it doesn't carry any more water, it weighs the same as a fancy bucket and the fancy bucket is just as useless as a plain bucket, when it is worn out ".

    the fact that there are more fancy ones still around is simply because those who owned them didn't use them like they would use a plain water bucket.
     

Offline Stophel

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2019, 08:44:06 PM »
"They all got used up"!  I have seen and heard this so many times...

The problem is, that they didn't all get used up.  They do exist, you just haven't seen them.  Which is understandable, since so many of us are extremely limited in what we can see.  We are not privy to the guns held by collectors, the shows are a million miles away, and if it's not published somewhere, we'll never see it.   

Well, they do exist from certain regions and time periods, and not so much from others...  Did they get all used up from one region and not another? Or more likely, were they not there to begin with?  As others have said, where and when.   ;)
When a reenactor says "They didn't write everything down"   what that really means is: "I'm too lazy to look for documentation."

ron w

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2019, 11:53:13 PM »
obviously they didn't "all get used up"...….it's a figure of speech. referring to the fact that there aren't many left because use and other circumstances have rendered them into scarcity. as said, considering their numbers during the peak of their existance, they have gone the same route as the model T.....there are still some around but only the least used and best cared and restored for still exist. this is the same with anything that manages to survive the times. woodworking tools are in that same boat....there are plenty of reproductions, but the real articles that are still in reasonably presentable shape because of slight use and/or good preservation, are fare and few between. as far as locality, just like wood working tools the eastern states are also the hot bed, simply because of population density . as the population moved west the density decreased and proportionatly, fewer examples survived.





Offline Kevin

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2019, 11:17:44 PM »
Here's a plain one the took up residence with me recently.  Was tagged as a southern Kentucky that reportedly spent part of its life in Middletown, Virginia.  Who knows how spot on that is.

Slightly swamped barrel is currently 40 and 1/2 inches long and sports an extra set of empty barrel lug dovetails each 1 and 1/4 inches from the other ones.  The stock does NOT have extra corresponding barrel pin holes.  Possible second stocking of this barrel?

The lock is not marked but has indications that it started life as a flintlock.

Current triggerguard is at least the second one on this stock.  There are other front and rear tab inlets visible around the existing guard.

No sideplate, entry thimble or buttplate.  Forearm is a wreck and missing a couple inches at muzzle end.

I had this with me at the recent Lewisburg show and a sharp-eyed fellow recognized the worn barrel signature.  He sent me down two tables from his and to compare it to a very clearly marked J. Dickert rifle.  It was a nice match.  Also lines up nicely to the pictured Dickert signature on RCA #68.

Appears to be an old one that made use of some even older parts.

Kevin


















Offline jcmcclure

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2019, 12:19:15 AM »
I think the general skill and ability of the maker had s good deal to do with if they spent time making higher end products or low cost guns. Jacob Young is more widely known for his three existing rifles stocked in maple, with brass mounts, and adorned with silver and gold inlays and overlays. His captured lid boxes were beautiful and his engraving is probably his finest trait. It wouldn't surprise me if there are a number of different items out there with Jacob Young's engraving.

The least known of Jacob's work is a walnut stocked, iron mounted rifle with a sliding woodbox that was found in Texarkana, Arkansas. It's the plainer of the guns, but it's still an impressive piece with graceful lines. One interesting note on the iron mounts is the fact that they are all touchmarked by Jacob.

Hard to know how many plain rifles Jacob made. We know his skill brought him in contact with some high paying customers and the majority of his known works are top shelf rifles. He obviously did some work that was affordable to the average customer, but it might be hard to say exactly the ration of plain to exquisite he built.

Offline Carney Pace

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Re: Rarity of “Poor Boys”?
« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2019, 04:51:39 PM »
Davis Gun Collection In Claremore, Oklahoma.

In the late 1960's I used to visit there, when it was in the Davis Hotel.  The bottom floor rooms and the 2nd floor rooms were full of weapons.  There was a trail around the inside of the rooms, stacks leaned against the wall 3'  deep.  In one room there would be shotguns another ML.  One room had wooden barrels full of ML barrels, stocks, locks, and other parts.  The guns had been taking apart, never understood why.   How many rifle barrels will fit in a big wooden pickle barrel. There was at least 30 barrels full of parts in that room.  Not even going to describe cartridge guns.

In the restaurant on the walls were mainly "southern mountain rifles'.  They were hanging upside down by chain  around the wrist and forearm.  The walls were probably 10', and the rifles went from the ceiling to about 6' from the floor. 

I was told that during the depression he bought  guns to help people live.

The items on display in the museum is very little of what was in the hotel, have been there.

Carney

Carney