Author Topic: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts  (Read 2461 times)

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2019, 03:13:10 PM »
I will say one thing.I will put my "4 pin"Stanton copies up against any lock now being made.

Bob Roller

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2019, 04:40:10 PM »
Rich, Bruce and Dave B, thanks for the feedback. All pretty much agree with my thoughts and disappointment. Was planning to send it back, then saw this topic and figured I get additional opinions. The lock will be going back first chance I get.

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2019, 06:32:30 PM »
Tim C, I know I have read about value of locks in the period, just can't remember enough to offer ideas off hand.  This reading has come through reading wills and their (lock) evaluations while estates were being settled.  Christian Spring gun shop records stated value of certain gun components and their value.  My brain suffers on recall anymore.

Bhmack,  completely agree with your thought of prized possession and wanting the best available.  Integral part of survival for some. But I also have to think that the point Rich P made regarding accepted norm's, available good quality being the yard stick?

Jerrywh,  I wonder how many early riflemen were proficient at repair?  I see today (working as a plumber) home owners who with a screwdriver in their hand is a absolute foreign object.  Regarding gunsmiths on expeditions, Lewis and Clark had theirs.  The journals are a fantastic read.

Smylee G, I agree best equipment and accuracy go hand in hand.  I grew up in a realm of serious competitiveness with brothers and friends, regarding rifles, pistols & bows.  Always looking for the edge.  Deer hunting, started a couple months before season scouting for a great buck.  Calif, if a tough state  to answer on our allowed 2 bucks and shame to not get it done.  That lasted well into our 30's.....slow to mature.  Minute of buck....no idea what that means.  Around here a 100 yd shot at a buck was a gift from the gods.  Muzzle-loader season included.  Our Blacktail crosses are very coyote. Easier to kill a 22” Colorado 4 by Mulie than a Calif. Fork.

Taylorz1,  I also have seen photos of riflemen apparently carrying cocked...whew.  We know where the expression “don't go off half cocked” comes from...smile.

G_T,  not so sure your position is in a minority?  Not by some of what I have seen produced on this forum.  Best thing thou is that folks can apply their interest to what ever level pleases them.  No need to drop out, your inputs been great.

Huntschool, my understanding is that folks who truly had the need, ex- indentured servants etc. finding homes on the frontier, the cost of a rifle represented one of their largest life investments.  As a collector, condition rules, but for me a rifle that has seen maybe generational hard use speaks to me.  Sure feeds the imagination.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 06:39:13 PM by timM »

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2019, 07:02:11 PM »
Moravian records show they had locks of varying quality and price on hand at Christians Spring. Maybe some were for rifles with a fly and others were for fowlers or smooth rifles or repairing muskets. All conjecture.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline satwel

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2019, 07:04:46 PM »
As long as we are discussing lock quality, I have a question about a Davis Germanic lock I recently purchased. The frizzen spring appears to have some excessive twist to it. It is tight to the lock plate at the bottom, but twists away from the plate on the top and has reduced contact with frizzen paw. Is this typical?  Seems excessive, but maybe I am just being too fussy?  Thoughts.

I received the exact same lock in the mail last week. The spring on mine fits tightly against the lock plate all the way around. It doesn't look anything like yours. Something is very wrong with your spring. I'd send it back.

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2019, 07:41:53 PM »
Great Western Gun Works, 1871 wholesale catalog.
Click on picture to enlarge.




Dave Kanger

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Offline Scota4570

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2019, 09:45:16 PM »
It appears a decent lock costs about $20 back then.  About the price of a Colt Peacemaker or an ounce of gold, about $1500 today. 

I would expect to receive a very very fine lock for $1500,  like Holland and Holland quality.  I guess that is where it all gets weird on realistic expectations.  I would pay $500 for a fine lock though.  I suspect most would not.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2019, 10:17:40 PM »
 To get a lock made today of the H&H class which in days long passed were usually made by Jopseph Brazier and family. I was in contact about 10 years ago with a man in England who had compiled a list of Wolverhampton lock filers and he had a matched pair of locks in his header and I inquired as to what it would cost to get them made today.
 They were top of the line Braziers and he said for both locks with hammers it would be over $4000
at todays labor costs.I once made a pair of Stanton locks with 4 screw fishtail bridles and got $800
for them.Lock MAKING as opposed to assembling even nicely cast parts is a trade and skill unto
itself.I can still do it but have lost the interest and desire to make them from scratch,whatever "scratch"is.
There are people on this forum that can do this but rarely do it unless maybe as a personal project.
Locks today are a bargain.Be glad they're available.
Bob Roller
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 12:42:26 AM by Tim Crosby »

Offline hanshi

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2019, 10:23:03 PM »
For the price, American built flint locks are usually quite good or at least usable and often very, very good.  The only truly bad flint lock I've ever owned was from a foreign company usually considered a maker of very high end guns.  Getting that rifle to fire was a task even with the few shots I managed to ignite.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2019, 10:43:20 PM »
I received the exact same lock in the mail last week. The spring on mine fits tightly against the lock plate all the way around. It doesn't look anything like yours. Something is very wrong with your spring. I'd send it back.

Email and photographs have been sent. Waiting for reply.

Offline JBJ

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2019, 10:47:15 PM »
The Western Gun Works prices appear to be for a dozen units.
J.B.

Offline T*O*F

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2019, 10:58:38 PM »
Quote
The Western Gun Works prices appear to be for a dozen units.
Not an appearance....that's what they sold for.  Also, brass fittings were sold by the pound instead of per item.
Dave Kanger

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Offline smart dog

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2019, 12:38:57 AM »
Hi,
Historical currency calculator suggests $1 in 1871 = $20 today.  So for a flint lock at $9/doz = $0.75 per lock times 20 = $15 in today's currency. Another way to look at it, the average daily wage in America in 1871 was $2.39 so a flintlock was was 0.31 times the average daily wage.  Today the average daily wage is $24 per hour and let's say an 8-hour work day.  Therefore, an average daily wage today is $192.  Multiply that by 0.31 = $59.  Either way, it suggests today's lock prices are not particularly low compared with "back in the day".  Of course the catalog page does not describe the flintlock.  It might have been no better made than a cheap import today.  However, if we compare a filed hammer steel percussion lock, which might be the best match on the list to what we buy today, $15.75/doz or $1.31 per lock, that was 0.55 times an average daily wage.  In today's figures that is 0.55 times $192 = $106 or close to today's prices for a production percussion lock. 

dave
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Offline T*O*F

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2019, 01:47:56 AM »
This is a wholesale catalog.  So, we must assume that retailers bought in quantity for resale; or, a high production gun shop bought them direct.  Ultimately, there was probably some mark-up to those prices.
Dave Kanger

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Offline little joe

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2019, 09:33:07 AM »
It seems we are naming names and showing photos of locks when the first thing any of us should is contact the manfacturer of the lock. They are all pretty good folks and will work with you on the problem.

Offline alacran

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2019, 01:13:25 PM »
The catalog prices are from 1871. Could be the  wholesaler was selling the flintlocks cheaply because of little demand for them the time.
Those locks could have been converted to cap by an industrious gunsmith, but the wholesaler was not in the gunsmith business.
I wonder how many flint locks languished at hardware store after the cap craze started.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2019, 03:27:35 PM »
It seems we are naming names and showing photos of locks when the first thing any of us should is contact the manfacturer of the lock. They are all pretty good folks and will work with you on the problem.
I have been treated very well by all lock makers except for one. I was told by that one " If you don't like the way my locks work don't buy them!" So I don't. ::)
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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 T*O*F

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2019, 04:36:29 PM »
Quote
but the wholesaler was not in the gunsmith business.
Actually, they were. They offered a full range of ML guns built in their shop.....from rifles and shotguns in many combinations, double rifles and long range rifles.  These pop up fairly often in the antique guns forum.
Dave Kanger

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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2019, 06:29:20 PM »
It seems we are naming names and showing photos of locks when the first thing any of us should is contact the manfacturer of the lock. They are all pretty good folks and will work with you on the problem.
Posted photographs for opinions from this group during an ongoing discussion on locks on whether or not what I received was ‘normal ‘.  The lock was functional, just didn’t like the way it looked. If I only posted photographs the speculation game of who’s lock was it would have begun.

Happy to report that Davis responded to my email in less than 24 hours with an apology and a replacement lock is on the way. Good old fashioned customer service.

Offline jerrywh

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2019, 11:36:40 PM »
 just a few pieces of information here. I am a avid history student and have been for 50 years or more. No doubt some fools carried their riflers on full cock  and some fools still do, However I am positive the majority did not. Rifles with no half cock were usually carried with the hammer down on a piece of thick leather between the cap and the hammer. There were many accidental deaths reported from careless handling of guns usually in the percussion period. This can be substantiated in the daily journals of the Oregon trail also from  other sources. Some travelers carried their guns with the ramrod in the barrel and a cleaning parch on the end of the rod. This was to prevent dirt or mud from clogging the bore when walking.
 About inflation, in 1874 an ounce of gold was $16 to $17.00.   In 1962 gold was $35.00. an ounce now it is about $1285.00. From 1874 till now that is a inflation of 750% .
  After the civil war people were working for 10 cents a day and board and room which was sleeping in the barn. I have hand written journals to prove these figures. Cowboys usually mad about $25.00 a month in the 1870s and 1890s.  My great great grandfather had a restaurant in 1900. Roast beef potatoes and gravy a glass of milk and apple pie was 10 cents. In 1920 a gallon of milk was 5 cents. Figure your locks on that info. Also in the Great English gun makers books are prices for flintlocks in England. If my memory is correct. I personally would not make a hand made high quality lock for less than $2000.00. In fact I have better things to do for the money.
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Offline alacran

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2019, 12:41:52 PM »
Quote
but the wholesaler was not in the gunsmith business.
Actually, they were. They offered a full range of ML guns built in their shop.....from rifles and shotguns in many combinations, double rifles and long range rifles.  These pop up fairly often in the antique guns forum.
Thanks for that info. I suppose then that it wasn't worth their while to have a smith in their shop, converting flintlocks. The price for the flintlocks was so low because of the low demand in 1871.

Offline frogwalking

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #46 on: June 01, 2019, 03:28:38 AM »
Dave B, I read your comment on the poor frizzen spring as having been made with a deformed ax.  I thought that to be just a little rough.  I reread it, and you said deformed wax.  :D
Quality, schedule, price; Pick any two.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2019, 03:31:10 AM »
Dave B, I read your comment on the poor frizzen spring as having been made with a deformed ax.  I thought that to be just a little rough.  I reread it, and you said deformed wax.  :D

It's called production work and no attention to detail or quality control.

Bob Roller

Offline G_T

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2019, 06:02:28 AM »
Dave B, I read your comment on the poor frizzen spring as having been made with a deformed ax.  I thought that to be just a little rough.  I reread it, and you said deformed wax.  :D

ROFLMAO! Thank you for the good laugh! Happy weekend everyone!

Now back to work! Chop Chop!

Gerald

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Locks, Then and Now - just some thoughts
« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2019, 06:21:58 PM »
Following along with this topic is sure interesting!
One question sprang to the mind of this non-lock maker, non-blacksmith:  What in the world is "blister steel"?  Does the steel actually blister?  What causes it, and why is it good to use?
Yeah, I know - that is more than one question.  But it is on one topic!

I was trying to polish the plate on a lock recently acquired, and it was so porous that it was impossible to polish.  A call to the maker had the plate replaced very quickly.
Craig Wilcox
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