Author Topic: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book  (Read 9501 times)

Online rich pierce

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I have been studying the carving on the early rifle-built gun which is RCA 17 and also illustrated in color in the new book Moravian Gunmakers of the American Revolution by the KRA.  I have looked at this carving for over 25 years since RCA volume 1 came out, but never "understood it".  All I could say about it is "baroque, I guess".  What was the maker trying to do?  There is a rhythm to the carving, for sure.  But I guess we could say that there's nothing much else like it.



The gun is reported to have associations with Bethlehem, and is early, pre-1770's, perhaps, and so that leaves us a few gunmakers to consider.  Noting that the sideplate is identical in form to later Antes rifles, and that there is an A engraved on the barrel in the same form as Antes always used, the author of the gun sections in the new Moravian Gunmakers book, Steve Hench, has tentatively attributed the rifle to William Antes.  All tentative attributions are just that, but this one has some legs (location, sideplate design, and an engraved motif later used by the maker).

The more I looked at it after reading the chapter in the new book, the more it popped into my head that this might be a monogram.  A “W” is pretty obvious.  The “A” requires a lot more imagination.  It’s not perfectly satisfying and for sure this is no “Adam Haymaker” monogram.

Here it is for your amusement.  



Now before you snort in your coffee, you can thank my wife for this next view.  Clever and artistic lass, she said, “look at it upside down”.  To me this is more satisfying.  



By no means am I (or Steve Hench) suggesting this “nails” the William Antes attribution.  It could just be that my brain reacts to Rorschach tests this way.  It somewhat satisfies my perplexity over this carving design as a possibility.  I talked to Steve on the phone about it and he had no trouble seeing the W, of course, and also thought the A could be seen by those looking for it.  I didn’t mention turning it upside down.  That works better for me.  Your thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 06:42:51 PM by richpierce »
Andover, Vermont

Offline smshea

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 06:01:30 PM »
Yep Rich...when I see that it brings on allot of old issues with my Mom ;D
Seriously...Very interesting observation

Offline smart dog

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 06:03:32 PM »
Wow Rich,
Another Da Vinci code.  You might give Dan Brown a run for his money.

dave
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Offline Stan

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 06:47:35 PM »
Rich I find it interesting that most early rifles were hung upside down. And that when there is a name ( other than on the barrel) most are in a position we consider upside down. On the rifles with scenes engraved most are upside down,
so that when hung they are viewed in the correct perspective.
Stan

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 07:50:34 PM »
Rich, what is growing in that lab of yours??  Have you had the air tested ... do you have biowatch sensors??  :o :o  ;D

I get the W or M with no problem, but as you mentioned...the A seems a stretch... Upside down it just looks like a lewd drawing!!!>. :o :o :o But he sure seems happy! Now tell me you will ever be able to get that image out of your mind!! ;D ;D :D


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Online rich pierce

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 08:18:16 PM »
Tim, the Moravians would be shocked and dismayed, I am sure!  Just kidding.  Earlier, before this wild idea struck me, I was looking for associations between this carving and that on other early guns and struck out.  I wondered why the gun would be Bethlehem-associated and yet the carving behind the cheekpiece does not resemble other work there, style wise.  Who knows?  This is just one possibility- a stylized monogram.  Now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to make a design from my initials.
Andover, Vermont

Offline A.Merrill

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 02:14:26 AM »
    Makes me want to get my gun books out and study carvings, just to see if I can find something hidden in the carvings. :-\
Alan K. Merrill

Offline Jim Filipski

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 03:26:46 AM »
Rich,
 Thanks for posting this: I felt you were on to something when I first saw when you sent it to me . I'm sure the ALR Populace maybe a good help!
Jim
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Offline Tom Currie

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2010, 04:11:49 AM »
Interesting carving pattern found near St Louis. Maker unknown. ;D

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 11:36:59 PM »
In an earlier conversation today with the owner, of the aforementioned rifle, Mike D'Ambra, the topic of this discussion was brought up. He immediately took out the gun and closely examined the carving from both perspectives. He agrees with the conclusions brought forward here. In real time the 'W' and the 'A' can be readily seen. Additionaly, he expressed his gratitude to all who have 'seen what they were looking at' to provide a real clue that the rifle may have indeed been made by Antes.
Dick   

Offline Bill of the 45th

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 03:29:21 AM »
Kind of Where's Waldo, hiding in plain sight.  Now everyone's going to be reading RCA, and Kindig upside down, and sideways. ::) ::) :P ;D  Mine are now on the coffee table with a glass of Rare Eagle Bourbon, to help me study.

Bill
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Offline Jim Kibler

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 03:33:46 AM »
I see the pattern as essentially two large C-scrolls rebounding against one another.  There are two radius cuts between the scrolls to allow the design to be carved more easily and to add interest.  I generally don't buy into the idea of imbeded designs in carving that are discussed from time to time.

Online rich pierce

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 06:09:01 AM »
It's good to hear all sides of any possible attributions.  Unless/until something definitive shows up, like a piece of paper under the buttplate saying, "If you find this in the 21st century, be assured I built this rifle, signed, Wm Antes", any attribution will be a speculation.  So few really early guns, so few of them signed and dated!

I think all this speculating has turned my head around.  Tonight while making a custom stud for a sling swivel mount for a buttstock, I filed the wood screw threads by hand and thought, "not too bad!".  Then I tried to screw it in a piece of pine to test the threads and all it did was spin and make dust.  I worked more on the threads to "sharpen them better" and tried again, same result.  ??? Then it dawned on me that I had filed the threads left handed.   :o  Screw it in counterclockwise and it works like a dream.   I think I have been looking at things backwards and upside down too much.  Need to go clear my head, LOL.
Andover, Vermont

jwh1947

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2010, 11:50:09 PM »
This is about as productive as a bunch of monks sitting around a table discussing how many angels can sit on the head of a pin.  It never ends, as in the game of "clouds" played by children, where the players lie on their back and stare at the clouds above and conjecture about what their minds are envisioning there.  No problem, just limitations; we're all commenting upon what our eyes see from our own frames of reference. 


Actually this thread is most reasonable.  Some have fallen off the deep end regarding squiggles and symbols, making somewhat of a cult-like preoccupation with it and dismissing all criticisms and requests for sources as the utterances of the uninitiated.     

Online rich pierce

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 12:55:44 AM »
True, it's what the maker intended that matters, and he'd dead and we're not even sure who he is.  Sometimes   :o  our time here is not productive, just a bunch of guys who love longrifles BSing.
Andover, Vermont

Offline Tom Currie

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Re: Observation on Antes-attributed early gun on Moravian Gunmakers Book
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2010, 03:04:25 AM »
Ok Wayne I'll take the bait. Not sure where " most reasonable " and " cult like obsession " work in the same sentence ? Not sure where you got " dismissing all criticism " and  " off the deep end " came from either. You're right in that this is all non productive, it's just longrifle BSing between friemds. We all have other things we need to be productive with.