Author Topic: Help with identifying English lock maker  (Read 592 times)

Offline deepcreekdale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 440
Help with identifying English lock maker
« on: September 18, 2019, 02:07:26 AM »
I recently had come into my shop what appears to be an original English fusil, typical styling, nothing very fancy but in excellent original shape with a perfectly working flintlock. The makers name on the lock is Mather and beneath that it says Newcastle. There are no military markings on the lock or any other markings on the lock for that matter. A search in Newcastle records on line came up with a Mather who was in iron monger in the 1830's but no lock maker. Anybody ever hear of this maker or know where I can find some information?
”Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

Offline smart dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4158
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2019, 08:11:28 PM »
Hi,
Marks on the barrel?  Name on the lock might just be the retailer.

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline Feltwad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 672
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2019, 10:09:16 PM »
Mather was one of the top Gun and pistol makers  working in Newcastle -upon-Tyne from 1795 to 1825 . He made duelling pistols and also sporting guns he did supply the Northumberland estate called Wallington Hall with Flintlock muskets and Flintlock Carbines  for the estates militia, at this period in time it was common practice for the Lord of the Manor  to arm the estates militia  because of the intending invasion of Napoleon. I own a s/b flintlock conversion by Mather .
Feltwad

Offline deepcreekdale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 440
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 12:17:53 AM »
Feltwad, thanks for you information, it was very helpful. It looks like I might have one of those militia type firearms. It looks overall, like a military weapon but is completely devoid of any military proof marks or other military markings, just the usual barrel proof marks. My first thought was it was an officers fusil but it is really too plain for that, unless it was a very poor officer!. I do understand that some NCO's were issued similar weapons but I would think those would have military markings. It is exceptionally well made but is quite plain with no extra carving other than the normal beavertail around the tang. The lock is wonderful, very strong and tight. The only things I see that might be outside of the dates you provided for Mather appear to be later additions. It has what appears to be a saddle ring taken off of a trapdoor Springfield (!?) on the left side obviously something added later in its working life. The other is it has a bulge toward the end of the ramrod with a groove that fits in a tab on the nose cap. I understand that became common in the 1830's. Overall, the gun is strong and tight, the customer has every intention of shooting it. To be honest, I don't blame him.
”Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

Offline smart dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4158
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 12:48:09 AM »
Hi,
What are the barrel marks?  London, Birmingham?  Any photos you can share? I am glad Feltwad chimed in because my references show no mention of a "Mather" in Newcastle. 

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Online WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2019, 04:13:12 AM »
How about barrel length as well as barrel proofs.

The British Light Dragoon Carbine Carbine had a saddle ring and bar and a swelled end ramrod with a grove that fit a ridge on the end cap.
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline Feltwad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 672
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2019, 11:57:20 AM »
My gun is a sporting gun by Mather  a flintlock converted to percussion by the drum and nipple  principle  it is London Tower proof   about a 16 bore Damascus twist barrel  it is  stamped with the proof load  although faint is 3.1/4 drams to 1.3/4 oz shot, both the lock and the barrel are stamped Mather which is also small and faint , the barrel has a sun burst  forward of the breech plug  the stock has two wedges in the for end which was typical flintlock. I have seen this name entered as MATNER  which because of the faint engraving I believe is taken for Mather
The muskets and Carbines he supplied to Wallington Hall  may have been bought in from Birmingham gun makers  with the London Proof marks  or early Birmingham proof Marks  and stamped with his name Mather, I have seen steel and wood ramrods of this period with a tulip for end drilled on the end  and threaded to take some cleaning device and on the other end a cork screw worm is fitted
Feltwad 

Offline deepcreekdale

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 440
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 03:53:05 PM »
Westbury, thanks for that information. I was not familiar with that particular weapon, when I looked it up, it appears almost identical. the only difference I can see is the side plate is smaller and lies flush with the wood. Otherwise, it looks the same overall and that is the exact saddle ring and ramrod. This piece has no military or other  markings of any kind, just the MATHER and NEWCASTLE on the lock and a Tower proof mark on the barrel. Overall, it looks like a military weapon, perhaps finished a bit better although not with any extra carving or detail work. Feltwad, you have also provided lots of interesting information, much appreciated. When I first saw this piece I was a little skeptical, because it's condition is so good, but everything I am seeing, leads me to believe it is in original, unaltered condition. The lock is in perfect, shootable condition, it is as good as anything available today from any lock maker. I do apologize that I lack the computer skills to download pictures, I have some great shots, just no ability to post them. :(
”Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

Online WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Help with identifying English lock maker
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 05:59:53 PM »
Glad the info I posted was helpful.

As you probably know, the British military arms system was called the Board of Ordnance which purchased components, semi-finished weapons, and complete weapons from independent contractors. I would imagine there were many surplus components or rejected components available to be assembled into weapons for sale to private entities. This was also these case in this country as well in the early 1800's.

Great book on this is DeWitt Bailey's British Board of Ordnance, 1689-1840
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964