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General discussion => Antique Gun Collecting => Topic started by: eastwind on July 19, 2012, 08:24:11 PM

Title: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: eastwind on July 19, 2012, 08:24:11 PM
MUSICIAN'S RIFLE--For those of you close enough - the famous"musician's rifle" is now in the custody of the State of Pennsylvania and is on display this Saturday and Sunday at the Landis Valley Museum. It literally, "just walked" in as a result of the Lancaster Long Rifle Exhibit. Not sure how long it will be on display.

This same weekend a number of long rifle events are being held at Landis Valley.

Patrick Hornberger
Guest Curator

 
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 19, 2012, 08:30:50 PM
Wish I could afford to fly in to see this one.  Well worth it.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Tom Currie on July 21, 2012, 04:44:46 PM
Me too. With this being sort of an elusive thing to get info on for so long it would really be cool to see in person.     
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Karl Kunkel on July 22, 2012, 05:47:15 AM
Wish I could have made it.  But with Dixon's next weekend, I had some branches from the storm that needed attended to.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Waldmaus on July 23, 2012, 06:38:53 AM
Just got back to W PA from Landis Valley, just happened to be in the Lancaster area to see grandkids ;D ;D
Spent three hours in a holding pattern around the display cases of longrifles :o
Lovely!
Then toured the grounds for a while, and chatted with some very fine folks...great day ;D
                              Shreck
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Mark Tyler on July 23, 2012, 08:01:39 PM
What is the provenance of the Musician's Rifle? How did it get into the custody of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Any chance of a CD of the exhibit similar to what the KRF has been doing?
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Shreckmeister on July 23, 2012, 10:00:01 PM
Just got back to W PA from Landis Valley, just happened to be in the Lancaster area to see grandkids ;D ;D
Spent three hours in a holding pattern around the display cases of longrifles :o
Lovely!
Then toured the grounds for a while, and chatted with some very fine folks...great day ;D
                              Shreck
    I'd like a full report over a single malt.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 12:29:00 AM
Maybe Patrick can offer more elaboration or accuracy.  *What I was told* (not by Patrick, but by other individuals a number of years ago when it was first "discovered") was that it was in the possession of a family in the Lititz area, and had been in that same family for quite a number of years.  An anecdotal story involved it actually being shot back in the first half of the 20th century (still within the same family).  I believe it was stored or hung in a spring house for a number of years.  I can not vouch for the accuracy of this provenance, but I was told this story by two different individuals.  I was also told that the owners became quite disgusted by attempts at purchasing it which they later felt were underhanded - again, second-hand information - and so became quite private about the piece subsequently.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: RifleResearcher on July 24, 2012, 01:02:39 AM
The owner told me substantially the same story as Eric recounted.  I would only add that "custody", to me at least, sounds like it has been taken or seized by the PHMC. :)  It is merely "on loan" to them through the run of the exhibit and absolutely still owned by the family.   
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Mark Tyler on July 24, 2012, 01:12:50 AM
Kuddos to the owner for allowing it to be displayed.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 24, 2012, 01:30:11 AM
Having now seen the Musician's Rifle, I'm surprised that the date and place etched on it are widely accepted. As Gary wrote a while back on here, the 1756 date is "an obviously secondary scratched on date." It doesn't "fit" there amidst all that precise etching of the musical scenes.

Eric K, who tends generally to be healthily skeptical, wrote that "There is no reason - that I can currently determine - for someone to have scratched 1756 NJ on the box, other than that very likely the owner was involved in the blockhouse construction and stationing of men in upper Jersey ca. 1755-1777.  There was intense activity there and across the river into Northampton County.  Presently, I would tend to take the date at face value."

But why? Given that is is obviously an advantage to any owner of a rifle to have it dated early, why take a date that seems to be "secondary," added-on at some later date, as an accurate indication of the rifle's age?

Pat Hornberger talked at Landis Valley about extensive forgeries of barrel signatures by Kimball-Teft in the 1920s, I think. Why has this particular scratched-on date--which is so crude that anybody could have done it, at any time--been generally accepted?

Scott
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 01:46:25 AM
Howdy Professor - I actually believe that I am in the minority in accepting the scratched-on date at face value.  I believe most who are familiar with the rifle believe it *might* be spurious.  My alternative take - given that it has been in a single family for a very, very long time, I first would ask, "Why?"  Why add a spurious date to it, when there were no attempts to sell the rifle?  Quite the contrary, they seem to have been quite protective of it.  Second, while there were many spurious names/dates added to a number of New England arms as well as PA rifles early in the 20th century, they generally tended to be very spectacular additions:  the 1746 Matthias Roesser rifle comes to mind (which it OBVIOUSLY is not).  This marking, on the other hand, *seems* to fit the same period as what most would assume to be the decade or near-decade of the rifle's manufacture (i.e. 1740s-1750s) and seems very similar to many other such secondary markings i.e. owner markings; most if not all of the early 20th century fakes were spectacular in nature (See above) and generally included names and or dates upon the barrel.  This marking is much more subtle and seemingly would serve no useful purpose - it doesn't ADD to the value of the rifle.  In fact, most do not realize the history of northern NJ during the F/I War nor even realize that there were settlers there and blockhouses being constructed, as well as later Moravian activity there (Hope, NJ).  There were strong connections between SE PA and northern NJ through the road running from Lancaster up through Berks and NH county, and to the ferry at Easton.  So, short of evidence to NOT accept the marking at face value, I would personally tend to cautiously view it as authentic.  Otherwise, I would ask:  why NJ?  Maybe it was a later owner's initials - I really don't know.  The fact that the rifle was at one point used with sling hangers would tend to at lease hint at possible martial service.  JMHO.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 01:48:15 AM
I should add - this is not a rifle that needs any spurious assistance to be dated to an early period, as it certainly is an early rifle.  If the date were 1720 or some such thing, I would perhaps be much more skeptical, but the rifle very easily can be dated to that same period despite the addition of that particular date.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Mike Brooks on July 24, 2012, 02:27:08 AM
Seems to be a great old rifle.What has really erked my ernie for years is the little dribs and drabs of information and pictures that have been made available....it's a very significant piece in my opinion. Of course now, with the info Eric has supplied about underhanded scoundrels trying to low ball this gun out of the family it starts to make a bit more sense. >:(
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 24, 2012, 02:35:00 AM
I don't have much to add but have been enamored of this rifle ever since I first saw a sneak peek picture of it, so can't control myself from talking about it.  As the scratched date offers no apparent advantage to owners who are very private about the rifle and have displayed no desire to sell it, it seems as reasonable to trust it as the 1771 date on the Brass Barreled Rifle, the date on the early Schroyer-attributed rifle with a wide brass box and others.  Degree of certainty will vary depending on your viewpoint. I'm running at about 90% certainty that the scratching is original to the rifle during its useful life and somewhat less certain that the date was added in that year. To really fake it well, why not get an engraver who could mimic the style of the rest of the engraving, and place the date elsewhere?

Would folks question it less if it had a wooden box?  Maybe.  For me it is as early as I'd think a brass box could be expected and given the complexity of the release button etc seems to be a prototype front hinge brass box. 

Moreover it doesn't strike me as being directly in the Albrecht-Oerter axis but maybe closer to whomever was involved in the training of Dickert.  Not saying Dickert ever did work of this quality especially engraving.  (I am fishing  ;D)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 03:02:37 AM
It is especially interesting that the box release is extremely similar to that upon a very early *attributed* Schroyer rifle (and the attribution seems pretty dead-on, given what we know of Schroyer's many signed pieces).  If that attributed Shroyer piece is not really a Shroyer, then it sure must have been made fairly early on by someone closely associated with him.  Off the top of my head at the moment, I can't recollect if there are any other extant pieces with similar box releases.  I know Wallace had published an article a while back offering up his observations/take on this, but currently it's stored away so I'll have to go dig it out. 
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 24, 2012, 04:38:31 AM
Here's a question that I ought to know the answer to but have never even thought of it before:

Did eighteenth-century Americans use the abbreviation "NJ" for New Jersey?

A search through the digital edition of the Benjamin Franklin Papers (all 37 volumes of the published edition + 10 or so unpublished) doesn't turn up any instances in which he used the abbreviation. Nor does it seem like George Washington did, if the digital edition of the massive Papers of George Washington can be trusted. Of course, there was no need to abbreviate down to "NJ" in most instances, so this doesn't prove anything. But it may be suggestive.

I'd search the PA Gazette but the subscription I have access to doesn't seem to be working right now.

I guess the place to look would be on letters...either on the address or on the inside where the writer indicated where he/she was writing from.

Probably they did use "NJ." But I'd feeling better know that they did by seeing a contemporary instance.

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 24, 2012, 04:45:45 AM
Shumway postulated Nicholas Hachen trained Schroyer in Hanover, then brother Wolfgang in Reading.  Makes sense to me.  There are no signed rifles by either man.  

(stream of senseless unconsciousness)

Was the Hachen family Moravian? How does this fit with the postulated Musician's rifle Bethlehem connection?

Matthias Roessor may have been Moravian?  Henry trained with him so they say.  But Matthias, European trained, was in Lancaster.  I feel his work or trainees influenced Schroyer at some point.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 24, 2012, 04:48:01 AM
in 1754 Ben Franklin published this cartoon.

(https://www.apstudent.com/ushistory/docs1751/joindie.jpg)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 24, 2012, 04:49:02 AM
Well that answers that! Thank you.

Roesser did join the Moravian Church in Lancaster (by the 1750s) and Henry said himself that he apprenticed with him.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 04:51:48 AM
I think I was going there in a very roundabout way, but in the past probably 5 or 6 years that I have discussed this rifle with folks, the only two names that ever seem to get tossed about are (1) Andreas Albrecht, and (2) Matthias Roesser.  Of course there is absolutely no basis to put either, or any, name on it currently, but of course that never stopped any of us yet!
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 24, 2012, 05:10:51 AM
I postulate that the slashed style cheekpiece (seen on the Ghost rifle by Peter Roessor, the Free Born rifle, a lot of Schroyer-attributed rifles and the big Newcomer rifle) came from Roessor and associates and that he used the "Schroyer signature" tang carving.  Of course like Albrecht he may have worked in several styles.  But I stray from the topic of the Musician's rifle.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: RifleResearcher on July 24, 2012, 05:47:56 AM
WARNING: OPINION ALERT
After handling the gun, I am inclined to believe the initials and date on the rifle are not of its period of use.  I did not look under extremely high magnification, but I believe you can see "bright" in the edges of the cuts, and still raised burrs.  In other words, after that was cut, the gun was not handled or used enough to abrade or polish that down and then repatinate it to match the surrounding brass.  Even casual handling for 250 years I assume would have slowly abraded it and recolored it, if it had been scratched in during the year 1756.  I assume that is why Wallace and Gary reached the same conclusion that it was not period.
An incorrect date can be applied for any number of reasons to an old gun, without the burden of it being done to deceive or increase value, as might be presumed as in the Kimbell/Teaff fake dates and inscriptions.  Some previous family member or other well meaning person may have believed they putting some significant date and initials, whether for New Jersey or Norman Johnson for that matter.  It may be the birth year of some relation that they believed had owned the gun for example and wanted to record that for posterity.  If that marking were worn and patinated like the rest of the engraving, dings and scratches, I would be willing to accept it at face value with only my normal level of skepticism, but to me it simply looks too "new" by comparison to the rest of the surfaces.  I am not sure if this shows well in the pictures that are out there, but it seemed fairly clear when I held it in hand and rolled it in the light.  Just my opinion.  Regardless, the date is secondary to the gun, whether from 1756 or 1926, and not applied by its maker.  Another point to keep in mind is that the gun can only be traced in the family of the current owner back to his father's uncle.  There is no family history that claims the gun was in this family any earlier than his father discovered it on the uncle's farm in the 20th century.  I believe the owner told me the uncle himself had claimed to have no idea where it had come from or how it came to be on the farm.     
That gun blows my mind for a million reasons that have nothing to do with when or even where it was made.  It is simply way too cool for words... ;D
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 24, 2012, 06:19:48 AM
#@!! $#@*, you mean, this is Norman Johnson's rifle? 

NORMAN JOHNSON!  I knew him well. 

 ;D ;D ;D

I couldn't help myself.

Regardless of the integrity of the scratching, or not, I don't think anyone here would have any problem viewing it as a 1750s rifle.  If it is compared to contemporary - say 1745 through 1760 - German work, there can be found many examples which would tend to reinforce this dating.  OK, maybe not north German.  Immel can deal with all the German contemporaneous work and probably give us all a city-by-city accounting.

There has additionally been talk - some recently - that it is not American at all.  I'm not a forester so I don;t know if there is a way to distinguish between European varietals of figured maple and American varieties.  I suspect that there might be.  Anyone?

The only brass box on a German rifle of which I am aware is the Stockmar example pictured in the old Feuerwaffen book.  And we do have at least one similar box release on a decidedly American rifle, attributed to Schroyer, who was wholly trained here.

Hmmmm.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 24, 2012, 02:15:50 PM
Of course we all want this rifle to be American but its sophistication, particularly the engraving, throws some off.  The chances of a rather nice quality European rifle of this period being stocked in curly maple, having a brass box, and being unsigned on the barrel seem low to me, though not nil.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: ohiostate on July 24, 2012, 07:09:37 PM
Can someone post pics of this gun, I have seen them before, but can't find right now.

Thanks
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: mkeen on July 24, 2012, 08:40:19 PM
WARNING: OPINION ALERT
After handling the gun, I am inclined to believe the initials and date on the rifle are not of its period of use.  I did not look under extremely high magnification, but I believe you can see "bright" in the edges of the cuts, and still raised burrs.  In other words, after that was cut, the gun was not handled or used enough to abrade or polish that down and then repatinate it to match the surrounding brass.  Even casual handling for 250 years I assume would have slowly abraded it and recolored it, if it had been scratched in during the year 1756.


I would have to agree with Alan on this assessment. What I saw on the markings was NJ with a period only after the J. There was no period after the N. The 1756 NJ. looked like it could have been scratched on even ten years ago. Trying to attribute family ownership is nearly impossible. Sometimes it works, but mostly it does not. To settle estates most times a public auction was held. That's a lot of auctions between 1756 and now. If a family member wanted pop's gun they would have to buy it. To establish original ownership you must do an entire ancestral chart for the last documented owner. That's a lot of people till you get back to the 1700's. Then you have to study the estates and their inventories and its really helpful if you have the craftsman's account book to verify they bought an object.

Martin
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: flintriflesmith on July 24, 2012, 09:22:29 PM
An incorrect date can be applied for any number of reasons to an old gun, without the burden of it being done to deceive or increase value, ... Some previous family member or other well meaning person may have believed they putting some significant date and initials, whether for New Jersey or Norman Johnson for that matter.  It may be the birth year of some relation that they believed had owned the gun for example and wanted to record that for posterity.  ... Regardless, the date is secondary to the gun, whether from 1756 or 1926, and not applied by its maker.  Another point to keep in mind is that the gun can only be traced in the family of the current owner back to his father's uncle.  There is no family history that claims the gun was in this family any earlier than his father discovered it on the uncle's farm in the 20th century.  I believe the owner told me the uncle himself had claimed to have no idea where it had come from or how it came to be on the farm.     
... ;D

I'm not aware of the story of this rifle being "discovered" on a farm. The family that owned it in the mid-1980s was touring Colonial Williamsburg and Dave Wagner, my apprentice, talked to them out at the forge and learned about the family rifle. The family sent us a set of pictures and at the time they said the rifle was in Colorado.. I'll see if I can find the old snapshots but we were told back then to keep it a secret.
The scratched on date was there before 1990 and they said they shot it once each 4th of July in honor of the family history..
Gary
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: eastwind on July 25, 2012, 01:14:25 AM
I'm not speaking for the State of Pennsylvania here, but I can say that as a result of the Exhibit (highly promoted in the area), the owners simply brought it into Landis valley and offered it for display. I was not there at the time.
Apparently, they were holding it waiting for a dealer to get back to them with a bid or some kind of direction. They got impatient after some time--longer than I best say and confused by $$$ they were hearing.
After it walked in, the Landis curator, who clearly knew it was not a potted plant called a few of us close to Landis and asked about it... of course all of us could not believe it.
But we were in accord that the State should try to get it... or at least "buy some time" for further study.
That is where it is now--they did not unfairly or it any way nefariously, capture the rifle. The owners simply want to find a good home for it, apparently they are upset with the gun dealer community, so that seems to be accurate as someone said here. I think they are more comfortable with it at Landis and keep in mind some big donors do exist in Lancaster (the locals greatly apprecaite early history of the Lancaster area) so there is every reason to believe they can aquire the $$$ to buy it if all the right cards fall into place.

At least for now it is in good hands and it is possible it will be there for much longer than the Exhibit ending in December.

Not much else I can add on the background.

Patrick Hornberger
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 25, 2012, 01:37:31 AM
Your efforts and explanation are much appreciated.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: JDK on July 25, 2012, 03:14:22 AM
I understand that this may not be an option at this point but would like to know when we can expect the gun to be published?  Perhaps a supplement to the exhibit book for an additional fee to support the museum or to perhaps raise money for the purchase of the rifle?

Thanks, J.D.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Tom Currie on July 25, 2012, 03:36:34 AM
Maybe I'm stoked with only three days to go to Dixon's and releasing nervous energy , but I'll add my own opinion on RIch Pierce's' thoughts and a thought on the Musician rifle.

First on the Musicians rifle,  I don't see Albrecht or Christian's Spring involved. Carving pattern looks much different in style to me and on CS work we don't see any of the raised area behind the cheekpiece that see on the musicians rifle and the Brass Barrelled rifle and it's twin for example. Also the PB lid engraving is sort of old world in a way and doesn't match in style a rifle where the carving and engraving sore of match or appear done  by a single hand.

Regarding the Schroyer tang carving, I llook at Shumways 92 and Kindigs 18 and wonder who made them. Same hand in my opinion as they both share PB lid engraving and also "hooks" in the Cheek carving, RCA 92 has tang carving  Shumway associates, and by his own admission over associated, with Schroyer. However signed Schroyer rifles don't have the hooks in the carving.  Two Newcomer guns have almost identical tang carving also.   Schroyer picked it up somewhere and I suspect in his mysterious years in Lancaster. Not implying it was Newcomer just providing an example.

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 25, 2012, 05:52:56 PM
I left the photos that I have up on a photobucket page since nobody has b*itched at me to take them down:

http://s573.photobucket.com/albums/ss172/moldyoak/

Many have searched for some kind of connection between this rifle and other rifles, especially the assumed-CS rifles.  I think it's a really tough stretch.  One thing of interest:  take the photo of the tang carving, and put your hand over the portion behind the end of the tang.

Some have suggested the gun is American but the furniture, like the lock and barrel most likely, are imported.  The problem with that - again - is the box, because the engraving all shows continuity.  While the box certainly would be easy for any German gunsmith/locksmith to make, if it was German, one would think *at least one* other German example would have surfaced, especially given the much higher survival rate of European arms.

Possibly the engraved decoration was executed by someone other than the gunsmith?  After all, any trained European engraver could have executed that work, and emigration to America would not suddenly negate his training.

I'm not aware of anyone recently being able to partially or wholly disassemble the rifle.  Possibly there may be something more to be found either under the barrel or on the underside of the buttplate etc.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Shreckmeister on July 25, 2012, 07:59:36 PM
Is that not definitely London Bridge on that patchbox?  The spire and tower are in the right
position in relation to the bridge.  It was built in 1824. Case closed.
(https://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k570/suzkat11/London.jpg)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 25, 2012, 08:51:23 PM
That London bridge thing is funny.

More comments, not conclusions.  The lockplate engraving seems by a different hand than the furniture engraving and was probably not the stocker.  It's hard to imagine a suite of furniture including a brass box coming from Europe to stock an American gun.  The buttplate, guard and sideplate, for sure.  This leads me to question whether the person who engraved the patchbox engraved the rest of the furniture.  Does anybody have ideas on that?

It would be great to know the rifle's storyline, but meanwhile we can have fun speculating. I lean to the gun being stocked in Philadelphia or some major city where sophistication and wealth were more prevalent among the "german" immigrants.  A Euro-trained Philly gunstocker is happy to have a customer with deep pockets and a sense of taste.  He stocks up the gun with an imported barrel and a local lock and takes it down the street to the silversmith or whomever to get the gun engraved.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Stophel on July 25, 2012, 09:11:53 PM
The only German metal boxes I know of are on the aforementioned Stockmar guns.  There are at least two, they are part of garnitures of a rifle, smoothbore and pistols.  Probably there were several identical sets made.  They APPEAR to be a flip up sort of thing with a little lip for you to catch your thumbnail on to flip it open.  They are oval shaped, hinged on the bottom.   I do not know of any others of any type until the 19th century.

The Musician Rifle, compared to German guns, looks like a broadly typical central-ish German rifle... leaning, perhaps, a bit towards the South.

There are a few Maple stocked German rifles.  Not many, but a few.  I wonder if it is simply because curl is rarer in their trees.  I don't know.    The Dutch used a lot of maple for gunstocks, and it is almost standard for fine Spanish guns (as I understand it, Spanish walnut is usually coarse and plain and somewhat unattractive).  If the Musician rifle is a German made gun, it is maybe even more significant than as an American gun because of the box!   :D
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Shreckmeister on July 25, 2012, 09:41:29 PM
Rich, Not intended as humor.  I believe that IS the London Bridge.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Buck on July 25, 2012, 10:09:16 PM
Rob,
Looks like London Bridge. I thought it was funny ;D. Gun looks European. The Head of the patch box finial is a character found in European style "folk art" (for lack of a better term). I am not an expert just a observation.
Buck
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 25, 2012, 10:17:52 PM
Rich, Not intended as humor.  I believe that IS the London Bridge.

If it is the 1824 London Bridge then the gun is an hisoric part of the London Bridge story.  The architect of the London Bridge saw the rifle.......... ;)

There's nothing stylistic or mechanical about the patchbox which is post-Revolutionary War.  There were a lot of bridges in Europe and the colonies.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Shreckmeister on July 25, 2012, 10:35:06 PM
Gun built before the rev war, engravings done after 1824. Those other bridges Don't have a tower to their immediate left And a round spire 2 its left. London bridge 99%
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 25, 2012, 11:08:08 PM
So, your hypothesis is that someone engraved the patchbox with a current London bridge and people with century-old garb, post-1824, but did not convert the gun to percussion, which was commonly done.  It could be but sounds complicated.  Anyway, it's all speculation and doesn't get us closer to who made it, when and where, which are the questions that interest me most.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 25, 2012, 11:25:07 PM
Well ... London Bridge "has" "a tower to their immediate left And a round spire 2 its left" only when you're looking from a particular angle--the particular angle that image depicts. So, even if the image did reproduce the same features (bridge, tower, spire) that are on the patchbox, you'd have to imagine that the engraver of the patchbox was situated similar to where the guy who did the London Bridge image was. Which seems far-fetched.

Note that on the patchbox the "round spire 2 its left" is part of a wall, perhaps a city wall, of some sort--nothing like the free-standing tower in the image of London.

So if we think the engraver of the patchbox was trying to reproduce a scene that he actually saw, he wasn't depicting the scene in the London Bridge image.

Or at least that's how it looks to me.


Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dr. Tim-Boone on July 25, 2012, 11:59:22 PM
Maybe the engraver in Philadelphia in 1826 took it upon himself to pretty up a 50 year old gun using the picture of the London Bridge as his inspiration and then like Tom Curran, took poetic or artistic license to make the image better fit the patch box........... well he coulda.......

In any event the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle are not coming together very well for me.......are we sure Kettenburg didn't build this rifle.... sometime after 1824???
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Buck on July 26, 2012, 12:00:45 AM
Gentlemen,
Look at this guy, is he familiar?  He is the guy on the patch box finial. This guy is the "Green Man" he was pretty popular in England, Ireland and Scottland. Maybe a coincidence with the London Bridge theory.          
 (http://i1159.photobucket.com/albums/p634/omixam123/141A1.jpg)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: JTR on July 26, 2012, 12:19:00 AM
So how about the rearward facing horn the one guy is playing as a datable item?
From what I've heard (antiques roadshow, google ) rearward facing horns were invented in the US about the time of the Civil War, for military bands.

Curiously,
John
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Stophel on July 26, 2012, 12:30:28 AM
Standard, run of the mill, 18th century hunting horn.   ;)

(https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v326/Fatdutchman/18JH/Jaeger/Hunt.jpg)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Buck on July 26, 2012, 01:05:51 AM
John,
This horns (rearward or french horn) origins are based in Germany, not in the US. In 1971 the International Horn Society tried to have the "French" removed from its title and simply have it called a Horn. Stopphel has supplied a great picture. It would appear that this rifle is very much European at least in decoration.
Buck
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Shreckmeister on July 26, 2012, 02:08:18 AM
Well ... London Bridge "has" "a tower to their immediate left And a round spire 2 its left" only when you're looking from a particular angle--the particular angle that image depicts. So, even if the image did reproduce the same features (bridge, tower, spire) that are on the patchbox, you'd have to imagine that the engraver of the patchbox was situated similar to where the guy who did the London Bridge image was. Which seems far-fetched.

Note that on the patchbox the "round spire 2 its left" is part of a wall, perhaps a city wall, of some sort--nothing like the free-standing tower in the image of London.

So if we think the engraver of the patchbox was trying to reproduce a scene that he actually saw, he wasn't depicting the scene in the London Bridge image.

Or at least that's how it looks to me.



I never suggested he had been there. But if he had there could be a wall  not visible in the picture
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Buck on July 26, 2012, 02:52:45 AM
It appears that the Gentleman on the Heel extension is of Scottish descent (notice the plad garb).  The bridge though it does resemble London Bridge also resembles the bridge at Stirling. The Butress between the 2 arches batters where the butresses on the London bridge remain strait. 
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 26, 2012, 03:28:25 AM
Anything that looks like that around the area of Herrnhut?

It looks to me like a representation of a hallowed location or an estate, with musicians taking the place of angels or cherubs.

Frankly, I don't think it's really productive to try to find an exact location that matches up with the image as per a photograph, as - much like the rest of the furniture engraving - it's likely meant to be viewed in the abstract or merely representative.

Meanwhile, we still have a boldly engraved name upon the lock:  J. Heinerrich Fessler.

One "Henrich Fesler" arrived in 1733 and a "Johan Heinrich Fessler" in 1766.  Both are reasonable targets, the first especially so.

Henrich Fessler arrived on the Samuel, was 50 years old with a 48 year old wife Maria and a 22 year old daughter Maria.  I can't immediately find out anything else about him.

Dave Madary sent me some information a while back regarding a Johan Henrich Fesler who was specifically noted as a "Buchsenmacher" in a 1712 court action in Wertheim.

Could these two be the same guy? 50 years old in 1733 means a birth in 1683, so he would be certainly old enough to be noted as gunmaker in 1712.  ***IF*** both were the same guy, the two really interesting questions then would be (1) how long did he live after 1733, and (2) just how early could this rifle be dated?

Let's say it was the same guy and he worked 10 years after arrival.  Could this rifle date to 1743?  Can were compare it to dated or similar German examples to decide?

The questions sure keep a'rollin.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Stophel on July 26, 2012, 04:23:05 AM
Stylistically, the gun could easily be 1740's.  Even earlier.  ;)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 26, 2012, 04:27:26 AM
I was sure hoping you'd say that.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 26, 2012, 04:40:01 AM
Plenty of European guns are stocked in maple.

This gun has really classic Germanic cheekpiece, and sophisticated European style carving. Not folk-art American. Some of the executions are a little crude, but overall, far better executed than the engraving. The engraver knew what subjects were in vogue in Europe, but again, the execution is a little crude in both draftsmanship and line quality. Not from a highly practiced hand.

If made in the colonies, certainly the stocker had familiarity with European to know what subject matter was appropriate, and possessed a passing set of skills to accomplish this rifle. I would speculate that it's a Colonial re-stock of Germanic parts.

Speculation. There it is again.

T
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 26, 2012, 05:23:35 AM
Quote
I would speculate that it's a Colonial re-stock of Germanic parts.

How then do you explain the box?  Unless, you mean that the lock/barrel/furnishings are German and the piece was stocked, carved *and engraved* here with those parts.  That I can see.  The furnishings - aside from the box - easily could be imports.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 26, 2012, 06:07:04 AM
That's what I want to know- if folks with better eyes than me sense that the furniture and box were or were not likely engraved by the same hand, and what draws them to their conclusion.  To me they are not, in that the other furniture is more or less engraved in common styles for rifles of the period, whereas the box engraving seems much more imaginative, with much more shading employed.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 26, 2012, 03:41:16 PM
EK, Furnishings could have been plain, off another gun, or imported plain. Engraved here.

Rich, I don't see the box as a different hand from the other parts. The borders are wobbly on all parts, the buttpiece is engraved to 'look like' high art engraving, but it's quite crude, esp in the shading. Same for the sideplate. Subject matter is right-on for the period, but the draftsmanship is wanting, and the shading is not regular or well practiced. It goes from shallow to deep with little rhyme or reason.

The box is again, certainly european influenced in its decoration. It's also the crown jewel of the gun, a canvas where personal subject matter can be employed. Again, it's crude, same unpracticed shading, crude draftsmanship, same wonky borders as BP and entry thimble. Since this piece is such a focal point, the artist lavished more time at it. More complex artwork, more imaginative imagery, but the hand didn't change, IMO. Maybe the box was in memory of his life on the Continent?

I don't remember seeing any castles in 1740 America, unless they were Iroquois or Seneca.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 26, 2012, 05:26:04 PM
Good input from one who has spent some time and effort in engraving.  I need to look at these things more closely.  To me, undertaking engraving a scene seems quite ambitious, but I see what you're saying about the cuts.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 26, 2012, 05:36:41 PM
I agree on stocking here. Probably engraved here, because boxes such as this just were not seen in Europe. But the engraving is strongly Euro influenced, probably done by someone with classical training in areas of the gun trade, but probably not a trained engraver.

The engraving is pretty crude for pre-engraved hardware, most examples I have seen are VERY professional, even if they are simple, the confidence in the linework is astounding. The Music Rifle engraving is tentative, and speaks of a newbie, or someone who only dabbles in engraving. Does not have the concept shading down pat.

I'm just trying to get inside the head of the person who did this. I'm not bashing his work. It's a fabulous piece.

I'd love to see some full length, or lock to butt photos.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 05:44:07 PM
Eric, I don't think that Herrnhut had city walls or tall towers or spires:

        (https://i47.tinypic.com/106admp.gif)

I would think that, if the images on the patchbox captured were "in memory of his life on the Continent," the engraver was recollecting a older German city with walls with turrets. Such as Rothenburg ...:

        (https://i46.tinypic.com/11hti0g.jpg)

Scott
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 05:51:24 PM
Rothenburg, by the way, was a large walled city:

(https://i46.tinypic.com/f1j75.jpg)

It also had a famous bridge, which is visible above in the lower right corner. And does the lower part of the structure below, also in Rothenburg, resemble the structure on the patchbox?:

(https://i45.tinypic.com/6hjd76.jpg)

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 26, 2012, 05:54:21 PM
With a double tiered bridge (I can google too, lol)

(http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/53470824.jpg)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 26, 2012, 06:03:48 PM
Many bridges got blown up in WW2.

I just called the Landis Valley museum, and the Musician's rifle will be there until the end of the year. They are open on Mondays. I may stay over one more nite at Dixon's and go see the show.

Musician's rifle came to the show AFTER the book had been published, so it's not in print, and no photography is allowed. Sketchbooks permitted!

Quote
The museum is open daily. Hours are 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday and 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on Sunday.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 06:14:02 PM
I focused on Rothenburg only because we know that "the gunsmith from Rothenberg" was the major supplier of the rifles that Caspar Wistar imported in the 1730s and 1740s.

But the engraving could be of any number of walled German cities with turrets and towers and with a bridge--if it tries to depict an actual city.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Stophel on July 26, 2012, 06:17:40 PM
Why are we trying to pinpoint the location of the bridge anyway????  There were bridges, and walls and turrets and fortifications ALL OVER THE PLACE!  ;D

And it's very standard Baroque decoration.  Images like that are all over guns, paintings, and all kinds of decorative arts.  Printed material with these types of pictures was ubiquitous, to say the least!
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 06:29:50 PM
Why are we trying to pinpoint the location of the bridge anyway????  There were bridges, and walls and turrets and fortifications ALL OVER THE PLACE!  ;D

And it's very standard Baroque decoration.  Images like that are all over guns, paintings, and all kinds of decorative arts.  Printed material with these types of pictures was ubiquitous, to say the least!

Very true. Such decorations may have been engraved to represent an actual place, but they may be just recognizable forms (turret, walls, tower, bridge) that signify "great city" or "court" or something equally abstract.

For what it's worth, I wasn't trying to pinpoint the location of the bridge. I only meant to suggest that the forms suggested a German city such as Rothenburg, with walls and turrets and towers and a bridge, than a community such as Herrnhut. We know that some such cities had gunsmiths known transatlantically.

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Stophel on July 26, 2012, 06:46:45 PM
Herrnhut was basically a settlement on the land of Graf Zinzendorf, I believe.

Which brings up a different point.  Why is it that so much emphasis is on Moravians?  Sure, we all love the Moravian gunsmiths, and we like their records, but there were FAR FAR more German gunsmiths in PA that were Reformed!   :D
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 26, 2012, 06:49:16 PM
The 'castles' in North America were made of vertical logs.  ;D

I agree this could be a thematic representation rather than tied to an exact location.
The patchbox art could be a representation 'lifted' from an engraving seen in a book, a bible, perhaps.
Consider that years may have gone by since the artist had last seen the bridge and hometown..I know how memory plays tricks.
Gun raises more questions than answers.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 26, 2012, 07:23:54 PM
Quote
Gun raises more questions than answers.

Indeed.  And, since I've learned how to use the little quote symbol thingy, it's a lot of fun to quote Tom.  I try for one in every post.

Am I crazy, or would not the most straightforward approach to investigating the rifle be to attempt to dig further into Mr. J. Heinerrich Fesler? (Yes, there is an I or J under the cock preceding the Heinerrich).  The engraved name seems to be of similar quality to the brass engraving, as in crappy as Tom has described it hahahahahaha (ok just kidding Tom), so very possibly the same guy engraved both.  At least, there is no reason *not* to assume this, for now.  It doesn't necessarily mean he made the lock - which has a raised lip waterproof pan with a drain.  And because we are operating under the near-certainty (for the moment) that the box is American, thus everything must have been engraved here, very *possibly* the name on the lock is our man.  Maybe.  So, my first impression would be that the 1733 Henrich Fessler might bear some further investigation.  Unfortunately, I can't find anything valuable with a quick googling (how's that for a continued assault upon the beauty of the English language?  Tolkein would be spinning...).  I wonder what might be found concerning Herr Fesler in the archives at HSP?

If the lock on this gun were the A. Albrecht signed lock, how would we be viewing an attribution?  So maybe we should afford Buchsenmacher Fesler the same consideration... for the moment...
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: mkeen on July 26, 2012, 07:27:44 PM


Musician's rifle came to the show AFTER the book had been published, so it's not in print, and no photography is allowed. Sketchbooks permitted!

Quote
The museum is open daily. Hours are 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday and 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on Sunday.

On picture taking. On Saturday, July 21, when Jim Lewars, the director of Landis Valley, was in the exhibit he was allowing people to take photographs. Some even used flash!  >:( Yes there is a sign when you enter the exhibit, "No photography allowed".  ???

Martin
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 07:35:34 PM
Landis Valley is itself trying to research Fesler, I was told last weekend, and they've turned something up (an immigration record, maybe?)--though this discovery may just reproduce what others already knew and that Eric has posted above.

HSP might contain in its vast papers something on Fesler, but sadly that is still a nineteenth-century institution as far as how users can know what HSP actually has: one still needs to search through an old card catalog, with hand-written cards from the nineteenth century, to find letters from so-and-so or to so-and-so that HSP possesses. There's no way to search their holdings by keyword or name, unless the keyword or name happens to have appeared in the old printed catalog that is online (and would be caught by google searches).
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Waldmaus on July 26, 2012, 07:44:25 PM
It appears that the Gentleman on the Heel extension is of Scottish descent (notice the plad garb).  The bridge though it does resemble London Bridge also resembles the bridge at Stirling. The Butress between the 2 arches batters where the butresses on the London bridge remain strait. 

I mentioned this to several folks on Sunday, along with the "Green Man" thing, and expressed an opinon that perhaps the gun was a re-patriated Rev. war trophy...what with the hole in the bow of the trigger guard and all.
Also, saw several folks taking flash shots of the assembled guns ??? ??? Mebee thay was furiners, and kaint red ???
                    Shreck
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 26, 2012, 08:59:10 PM
If the lock on this gun were the A. Albrecht signed lock, how would we be viewing an attribution?  So maybe we should afford Buchsenmacher Fesler the same consideration... for the moment...

Agree, Fessler, Fesler is the best bet at the moment.  Given the brass box it's tough for me to see the rifle as pre-1750 though.  Seems to me that side-opening and front opening patchboxes could have developed around the same time, or at least a gunmaker would have been aware of the types of latches and closures and springs etc being used by others.  That's just a thought and not a very strong one, but I might expect it to date within 10 years of the Schroyer-attributed rifle with the rather complex box catch/release or RCA #42.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: spgordon on July 26, 2012, 09:05:51 PM
There's a Johann Henrich Fessler (born 1683--so would have been 50 in 1733--this is the fellow that EK pointed out earlier) on Ancestry.com. No further information on him is available there. But Ancestry.com does say (correctly or not, can't tell with that source) that his father's name was Albrecht Vessler. All this only to say that in trying to track down Fesler or Fessler it might be worth keeping Vessler in the mix as well.

Feather/Vetter are interchangeable, too, in mid eighteenth-century records in Pennsylvania, depending on whether an English speaker or German speaker was hearing/writing.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Mike Brooks on July 26, 2012, 09:16:26 PM
I don't recall seeing a full picture of this gun  before. Does anyone care to post some pics or send me some so I can contribute my useless opinion? :P
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dr. Tim-Boone on July 26, 2012, 10:13:40 PM
Did you see Eric's link a page or two back. He has a collection on photobucket - not that it isn't easy to miss..just giving him props! ;D

http://s573.photobucket.com/albums/ss172/moldyoak/ (http://s573.photobucket.com/albums/ss172/moldyoak/)
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 26, 2012, 11:59:43 PM
I've never seen a full length picture of it. 
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Luke MacGillie on July 27, 2012, 01:29:23 PM
yes a full length pic would be nice.

Now about that trigger guard's sling swivel hole, is there a corresponding hole thru the stock for an upper swivel?

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: eastwind on July 27, 2012, 02:47:43 PM
Gentlemen: I would not want Mr. Keen to mislead you--he should have asked the Landis Valley people about photography, before stating Jim Lewars allowed photography. It is a policy of the Landis Museum to NOT allow photography in the Exhibit room. There are no exceptions.

At the time Lewars introduced the rifle---it was considered a "press review" where photography is allowed for obvious reasons. The gun is in a large glass case along with another 18 rifles and frankly, almost impossible to photograph it with any clarity.
The intention is to photograph the rifle by a profession in proper lighting... these photos may or may not be available later. It is also the family's call as well as the Landis Valley Museum.

I just do not want the public to feel photography is allowed in the exhibit area --- it is not.
Thanks for your consideration, sorry for the miss understanding.

Patrick Hornberger
Guest Curator
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: mkeen on July 27, 2012, 04:32:48 PM
Gentlemen: I would not want Mr. Keen to mislead you--he should have asked the Landis Valley people about photography, before stating Jim Lewars allowed photography. It is a policy of the Landis Museum to NOT allow photography in the Exhibit room. There are no exceptions.

At the time Lewars introduced the rifle---it was considered a "press review" where photography is allowed for obvious reasons. The gun is in a large glass case along with another 18 rifles and frankly, almost impossible to photograph it with any clarity.
The intention is to photograph the rifle by a profession in proper lighting... these photos may or may not be available later. It is also the family's call as well as the Landis Valley Museum.

I just do not want the public to feel photography is allowed in the exhibit area --- it is not.
Thanks for your consideration, sorry for the miss understanding.

Patrick Hornberger
Guest Curator

I don't believe I mislead anyone. The incident I was referring to occurred later in the day after the 11:00 AM introduction of the Musician's Rifle. At that time there were only about six people in the exhibit room. I stated clearly there was a sign on the door, "No Photography Allowed". I did not take any pictures. I can read. It was another group of people that took the pictures and Jim Lewars was talking to them. 

Martin
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 27, 2012, 06:46:00 PM
The July 2005 Muzzle Blasts article by Wallace Gusler has a lockside, patchbox side view of this rifle from the buttplate through the lock panel.  Nice architecture to say the least.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Luke MacGillie on July 28, 2012, 04:30:44 AM
The July 2005 Muzzle Blasts article by Wallace Gusler has a lockside, patchbox side view of this rifle from the buttplate through the lock panel.  Nice architecture to say the least.

So is the wood missing in the front or something? 
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Eric Kettenburg on July 28, 2012, 06:16:29 AM
No.  There just do not happen to be any currently available full-length shots available for public consumption.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Luke MacGillie on July 28, 2012, 04:47:24 PM
Thanks Eric,

So is there evidence of a front swivel being there at some point in its life?

Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: RifleResearcher on July 30, 2012, 05:45:20 PM
Fred,
I believe there is an open hole in the forestock for the forward sling swivel.
Alan
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 31, 2012, 03:48:14 AM
Just saw this rifle this very morning. To say that it's buxom is an understatement. probably 1 3/4" thru the wrist, and 2 1/4 across the rear of the lock panels. Buttplate is at least 5" tall, and 2 1/4 wide. The barrel appears to be 1 1/4" wide at breech, and maybe 42"? Hard to tell, since it's all behind glass. It's fully as big or bigger than the Oerters.

The relief carving is incredibly good, stabbed, I presume, with some incised highlights. Just a total joy to the eye.

The patchbox thought occurred to me that it could have been added later. The carving on the wrist ahead of the finial is scrubbed off pretty hard, a long time ago, and the inlet of the patchbox finial is rather deep. There is no cutout in the buttplate for the door, nor any evidence of a slider, the door just butts up to the plate. Unusual lever mechanism to open the door. Maybe this was early, and popular mechanisms weren't fully developed yet.

The gun indeed poses more questions than it answers.

It's now installed in the large case with other guns, and will be there for the duration of the show. While the glass gets in the way of getting up close and personal, this is a show that will knock your socks off. Albrecht, Beck, Fordney, Fainot, Pannabecker, Dickert and a bunch of other heavy hitters are on display. Worth a trip from anywhere.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dan Fruth on July 31, 2012, 04:08:00 AM
My wife and I just returned from a week in PA, and our trip to Landis Farm was one of the high points. The musicians rifle is a "brute"...and has a very early look to it. It is surely a grand piece. I was surprised to see one of the Haines rifles there was stocked in Honduras mahogony...and a nice John Newcomber with an English rounded toe butt plate, stocked in walnut. The exhibit is well worth the time and effort to see...A once in a lifetime for me, since I'm not a KRA member. Well done Landis Valley folks...Thanks for sharing these guns with us all...Dan Fruth
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: JDK on July 31, 2012, 04:17:52 AM
My trip down was before the Musician's rifle went on display but I may have to go back to see it.  The more I hear about it, the more I want to see it.  I really like early "fat" guns.

The Newcomer rifle really blew me away....almost fowler lines but so long and slender.  This gun is in a league of its own for sure.  I just kept going back and looking at it.  Really a well crafted piece in every respect.

Enjoy, J.D.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Luke MacGillie on July 31, 2012, 04:21:05 AM
Fred,
I believe there is an open hole in the forestock for the forward sling swivel.
Alan

Donkey shine darlin
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dr. Tim-Boone on July 31, 2012, 04:35:53 AM
Is it the same Newcomer that was in the museum at Williamsburg?  I think the Chambers smooth rifle is patterned after it.  Long skinny gun!!! beautiful architecture,eh?
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dan Fruth on July 31, 2012, 05:00:19 AM
The Newcomer rifle has a 42 3/4" barrel, 42 cal, with a fowler guard and butt plate. The gun is stocked in walnut and looks like quarter sawn. It is a light brown color, and the patch box is surrounded by a nice wire inlay border. The lock was converted to percussion. This would be a great piece to carry in the woods. Though stocked like a fowler, it has a rifled barrel and front and rear sights. Quite a beauty!

  Dan
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Collector on July 31, 2012, 07:17:04 AM
If memory serves me correctly, this Newcomer was actually attributed to 'Bullard,' and it was touted and proclaimed to be the 'Bullard Rifle,' for quite some time, until John Newcomer received due and just credit, for that beauty.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: rich pierce on July 31, 2012, 01:43:04 PM
Would have been so much easier (and less fun?) if the original builders signed, dated and put an address on each rifle!  Sure wish I could make it to the display.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 31, 2012, 02:48:43 PM
We should keep the focus of this thread on the Musician Rifle, and start a new one for the NEwcomer, if needed.
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Dan Fruth on July 31, 2012, 02:59:20 PM
Sorry Acer...I didn't mean to derail the topic...I guess I was so overcome by the other rifles in the exhibit I forgot myself. ;D
Title: Re: MUSICIAN"S RIFLE ON DISPLAY
Post by: Acer Saccharum on July 31, 2012, 03:45:36 PM
Not at all. It's a mind blowing display. I am still in awe of all those important rifles in one spot.