Author Topic: The Lehigh Indian Head  (Read 70478 times)

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6524
  • I Like this hat!!
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #50 on: December 21, 2011, 01:03:05 AM »
Apparently there used to be a major statue in the center of Allentown, of Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap as opposed to the spiked crown of her namesake in NY Harbor.. The statue was damaged by hurricane and destroyed in the early/mid 20th century I think.
De Oppresso Liber
Marietta, GA

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. William Allen White

Learning is not compulsory...........neither is survival! - W. Edwards Deming

Offline FALout

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 876
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #51 on: December 21, 2011, 03:02:50 AM »
Great discussion. I don't have anything to offer, but I remembered a pic I had seen with these carvings/engravings of indian heads (such as we think they are indians), so I had to go and look up that pick.  It was from a web page on Joe Kindig, within his collection, he had lots of rifles with these symbols.  Oh would I love to see that collection of rifles....
Here's the page: http://kindigrifles.com/sun_article.html
Bob

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #52 on: December 21, 2011, 04:53:11 AM »
I forgot about Antes - he's an interesting character, w/ ties to Northampton, Bucks and Northumberland counties.  I don't really know how he would fit into the Allentown area group, but there certainly were familial ties to Bethlehem and NH county and he *apparently* (there is a scant amount of documentation) was doing something gun-related during the War.  It's not entirely clear to my knowledge.  I'm going to have to discount the whole Ephraim Bloom thing though - a single surviving gun, stamped only with EB and with no other basis for comparison?  I have to pass on that.  To my mind, that smacks of the 1960s-1970s dire need to put a name on everything.  Neat gun, but by whom and built where is very questionable I think.

Great pic of the Kindigs.  There are a mix of Berks and Lehighs there.  I see three Peter Angstadts which are an odd blending of a Jesus figure and an Indian (that's how I see them, anyway...), at least one Neihart and one John Rupp, as well as some other Berks and Lehighs.  Great photo.

I can't take full credit for the theory I posited previously.  I've believed for some time that the Allentown figures were directly tied to the arsenal and the War effort, and in multiple conversations with Robert Weil on this topic, he mentioned a hypothesis that the figures were something of a regional trademark or 'club emblem' of sorts, and therefore I have essentially combined the two ideas.

Let's also remember that following the evacuation of Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell was hidden in the Zion church in Allentown.  It's unclear to me, however, whether or not the bell was possessive of any inspirational or symbolic meaning at that point in time.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Lucky R A

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • In Costume
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2011, 02:34:08 PM »
       The E.B smoothbore attributed to Ephraim Bloom, may well fit into your hypothesis and should not be discounted.   E.B. whoever he was, worked in an early Bucks Co.  The Indian heads at the front of the lock panels are nearly identical to those on the Antes swivel breech, which suggest some association.    It could be entirely possible that both of these gunsmiths were members of the group assembled at Allentown to do gun work.  Antes, Weiker etc. seem to be the forerunners of what evolved into the classic Bucks Co. style.  These men would certainly would have been identified as gunsmiths before the onset of the war
        The whole idea of the Liberty Cap being used as a unit/guild whatever identifier makes a lot more sense than the "head shot" theory.   There were a lot of classically educated men in Philadelphia and 50 miles north in Bethlehem.  The Liberty Cap would have been known, and a perfect symbol for the cause.   The circumstantial evidence mounts.
"The highest reward that God gives us for good work is the ability to do better work."  - Elbert Hubbard

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2011, 08:35:09 PM »
Let me clarify - I'm not discounting the EB gun itself, as it is a neat old gun and of course carries the Liberty head ornamentation.  What I do discount is the attribution to Blum/Bloom based *solely* on the very crude EB barrel marking.  That's all.  The gun very well could have been made anywhere in upper Bucks or practically anywhere in NH county and in fact for all we know could be a War-era piece as it looks hasty or built of necessity.

Thinking a bit more on Antes, looking at the signed guns as well as a very small handful of attributed guns (the attributions based upon the signed work), it is obvious that he worked with a VERY broad palette and did not confine himself to what we now view as distinctly regional forms.  It seems, to my eye, he was more willing than many to 'borrow' design features and integrate them into his own unique work.  Perhaps he had  no connection at all with the underlying purpose behind the Allentown area Liberty heads, but having seen them somewhere, he 'borrowed' the design based solely upon decorative appeal.   
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2654
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #55 on: December 22, 2011, 01:29:18 AM »
The concept of a logo mark for a specific group, as being the inception of this figure, makes good sense to me. Fraternal orders are replete with symbols and other traits of their organizations. It is an easy jump to think that this occurred among a select group of specialists. But, after awhile it became another ornament to be applied as a regional item of decoration and it lasted for a long time.
The image on the coins is always in profile; the image on the rifles seems to always be full faced. There may be some undiscerned reason for that change. The alteration of a known image for the purpose of a 'secret' symbol is quite possible.  Doubt that we will ever know, but a round of standing applause to you who have done the research for this.
Dick

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1273
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2011, 01:54:05 AM »
How late, roughly, was this symbol used on NH rifles (I recognize that dating of many rifles is only approximate)? What are the latest rifles that we know of that have this figure engraved?

If I understand correctly, the earliest rifles that carry this symbol would date from the Revolution--and so would predate the coins with the Phrygian/Liberty cap. To me, this means that the coins are useful in showing that the image on the rifles is sporting a Phrygian/Liberty cap--but not that the coins are its source. So the profile vs. the frontal view of the face isn't particularly troubling.

(Actually, the Phrygian/Liberty caps on the coins aren't really "like" the ones on the rifles: the ones on the rifles emphasize the curved top of the cap, and the caps on the coins [from what I can tell] don't.)

Scott

Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #57 on: December 22, 2011, 04:06:34 AM »
I'll have to dig into that; just off the top of my head, one of Herman Rupp's is signed/dated 1809 although I'm pretty positive that inlay is a restoration (filling an original mortise, however, so there definitely was one there).

The Moll pistol made for, or later obtained by, Col. Levi Wells, has touchmarks stamped into the cast brass barrel w/ the head in profile within a cartouche.  I'll have to double check on that one - again, just going by memory here as some of my books are currently boxed up.

I have to reiterate that the earliest, or *apparently earliest* (I know you are inquiring as to the latest dating...) pieces I have seen with these either carved or inlaid are both signed and attributed to Johannes Moll.  The Antes swivel breech is probably contemporary with these, i.e. late 1770s/1780s.

I am aware of a early unsigned rifle that is almost positively Peter Neihart - anyone viewing it would immediately assume Neihart, although it is not signed - that looks War era.  Certainly quite a bit earlier than his dated 1787 rifle, and this does *not* carry the head.

Random thinking.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline DaveM

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 452
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2011, 04:33:53 AM »
I'll throw my 2 cents in the ring - I think those that think it is an indian and those that think it is lady liberty are both right.  The earliest depictions of "America", later to become lady liberty, depicted America as an indian woman.  These two logos were created for a popular magazine by Paul Revere and are examples of the earliest symbolization of "America" dating to as early as about 1774.  If this depiction originated with Revere, that could mean the first usage of this symbol would have been about 1774 as depicted in magazines circulating in the day.  My opinion anyway, others may be more correct.I believe this logo morphed between the Rev War and the federal period coinage so it could vary depending on how old a gun is.  The liberty cap was also stamped on the 1797 Pennsylvania contract muskets.  Forgive me if anyone copied these same images before but I didn't look back at old posts.  The image at the bottom I read was the earliest known usage of American as an indian female.


Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #59 on: December 22, 2011, 01:57:22 PM »
That is extremely interesting Dave!  It also might explain why they look more like the classic "Lady Liberty" or 'anglo' in the Allentown area, and more like Indians on some of the Berks rifles.  Two different regions, two different interpretations of the same personification.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1273
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #60 on: December 22, 2011, 06:47:18 PM »
Three good sites/blogs about this here:

http://www.clements.umich.edu/exhibits/online/american-encounters/american-encounters-women.php

http://b-womeninamericanhistory18.blogspot.com/2009/09/america-depicted-as-woman.html

http://b-womeninamericanhistory18.blogspot.com/2009/07/blog-post.html

Please make sure you check out the second image in the third link: a female patriot carrying a rifle or musket and a powder horn!

And the first site includes a 1755 image in which an Indian Queen represents America. Another pretty interesting book, American Indians in British Art, 1700-1840, includes images of America as a female Indian dating back to 1700 or so.

Seems like the first America-as-Lady-Liberty image dates to 1782 or so? The earlier images feature America-as-Indian (without the "liberty cap" that seems crucial to the images on the rifles). What's further confusing is that "Lady Liberty" most often isn't wearing a liberty cap in these images, though she sports other icons that identify her as the representation of liberty.

Nor, of course, is the liberty cap always or even most often identified with "ladies"! It's more typical association would have been with slaves--i.e., male figures.

So I guess I'm convinced that the carvings on these rifles represent the liberty cap, which would make sense at the revolutionary moment when colonists felt they were resisting Britain's attempt to "enslave" them (especially if, as Eric K. suggests, they began to appear on rifles by craftsmen associated with the arms factory at Allentown). Not so convinced they have much to do with Lady Liberty.



« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 08:03:46 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #61 on: December 22, 2011, 08:25:19 PM »
Maybe the Allentown heads are Ann Penn Allen!  Didn't everyone love her?  Alex Chamberlain (now deceased) had a GREAT - probably the greatest, in my view - John Moll rifle which he believed was made for James Greenleaf; KRA show @ 2001 or 2002 had a great display revolving around it.  So maybe Moll was tight with the Greenleafs?  BTW that rifle seems to have vanished or at least nobody is talking, and unfortunately it has not been published.

This is probably all very silly, and mostly a whim, but it came to me just now whilst eating a ham sandwich.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 08:27:08 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Kermit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3099
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #62 on: December 22, 2011, 08:35:17 PM »
I'm really enjoying this discussion. The only "very silly" aspect is that quantum leap involved in the "clean head shot" idea. I'm reading nothing that begins to support such a notion.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Offline DaveM

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 452
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #63 on: December 22, 2011, 08:51:53 PM »
Eric, yes I agree different locales and slightly different designs could be explained by interpretation.  But in general I would think they all represent "America" as the basic patriotic message, and visually something easy for anyone looking at the guns to understand in the period.  Art of the period has plenty of different interpretations of the same "Lady America" persona.  Here is a link to another article that talks more about the evolution of this persona design / logo.  The headress in this image looks to me very similar to the cap in some of the rifle carvings (the ones without the more obvious cap) but hard to tell from the side.  spgordon thanks for those links that is some of the stuff I saw.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/liberty/origins.html

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6524
  • I Like this hat!!
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #64 on: December 22, 2011, 09:53:26 PM »

1800 - Brown University

Looks like the headress on the Rupp rifle???

Very interesting history  and graphics here:   http://www.midi-france.info/06141204_libertycap.htm

« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 01:07:44 AM by Dr. Tim-Boone »
De Oppresso Liber
Marietta, GA

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. William Allen White

Learning is not compulsory...........neither is survival! - W. Edwards Deming

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #65 on: December 22, 2011, 11:18:18 PM »
Boone shoots - he scores!  Goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

That is a FANTASTIC picture.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2654
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #66 on: December 22, 2011, 11:45:40 PM »
Not the same, as on my Peter Neihart rifle, circa 1785.
Dick

Offline Kermit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3099
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2011, 01:53:01 AM »
As Tim's avatar says, "I like this hat!" Thanks for the link--a good read.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #68 on: December 23, 2011, 03:43:33 AM »
Dick I don't think we'll ever find a piece of artwork or other graphic representation that is a dead-on match for those Allentown-area heads, nor the Berks Indian heads etc.  These early guys were executing relatively simplistic engraving and relatively simplistic inlay work (compared to, say, Kuntz or John Young etc.) and I think (speculation here) the inlay or carved head took the form it did because it was fairly easy to inlay or execute via carving and engraving onto the curved surface of a rifle.  I think all of the graphic representations of the American/Indian-Liberty, Lady Liberty etc. that have been illustrated here largely point towards the concept of the heads being some kind of (primarily feminine) personification of American liberty or independence as these tradesmen interpreted it; this interpretation is filtered through the typical means of execution common to their trade, therefore the heads look like rifle inlays or carving precidely because they are rifle inlays/carving designed by gunmakers.  I think it actually might look funny to find a portrait of someone that outright resembled one of those heads as they stand upon the rifles!  I remember Robert Weil doing something like that in Photoshop for one of the old CLA posters, and it was quite humorous.

One thing that I find extremely interesting is the extreme similarity of all of them attributable to the Allentown area; this to my mind points toward a common source or prototype, so again I have to toss Moll's name out there as I genuinely believe him to be the progenitor of the 'school.'  He certainly was the oldest.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline bgf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1403
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #69 on: December 23, 2011, 04:23:05 AM »
I may have missed it in the preceding discussion, but isn't the feminine personification of America also called "Columbia" as on the coinage?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_%28name%29
I noticed it says she was often depicted with the cap, but also with a laurel or Indian feathered head dress.

That's all I've got and maybe not relevant at all, so I'll go back to enjoying the discussion.

cyrus1066

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #70 on: November 13, 2014, 01:51:02 AM »
This raises more questions by location eg forward of trigger guard.:
The hardest issue is to execute a reasonable personification of a portrait on a small,curved limited space..eg forewood....as seems to be the case mostly.
Why was the Indian Head (if so important) not carved,relief or incise ,or engraved and inlaid in decent size on cheek piece or other very obvious area....instead it seems to be relegated to an area of low visibility.I believe it had low importance otherwise it would have had primary viewing placement eg behind cheekpiece or on patchbox side,or patchbox itself.
As portraits they also seem to be single dimension..eg no shading........re sides of head,beside nose,under chin.......therefore these (in my humble opinion) are representational of a theme or belief only .
That theme is interestingly placed forward of the trigger guard.
Remember that colonials in this era were still superstitious.
I see this as raising more questions until an actual  document is found between gunsmiths of the  period discussing what the head actually means. I believe  we may never know.
 
 

Offline Shreckmeister

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3719
  • GGGG Grandpa Schrecengost Gunsmith/Miller
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #71 on: November 13, 2014, 04:18:37 AM »
You said the inlay is relegated to a place of low importance, an area of low visibility.
I would venture to say that a very large percentage of guns are stood in corners.  This
would actually make the inlay in one of the most prominently viewed areas of the gun as it rests.  Just throwing that out for discussion.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 04:20:36 AM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline jdm

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1364
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #72 on: November 13, 2014, 04:59:28 AM »
Got a Lehigh rifle with one engraved on the patch box lid.
JIM

Online Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3973
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #73 on: November 13, 2014, 07:02:59 PM »
Post a picture!

I think the "head on the box lid" guns are some of the coolest around.  Interestingly enough, they all seem to be later than the head forward of the guard guns, something of a second generation thing.  I know of two that are definitely Stoffel Long, which is particularly interesting in that his work very clearly seems to have an affinity with that of Jacob George up in NE Berks Co. and out of the accepted "Lehigh" area (although bordering it).  Without going back through all my paperwork currently in many boxes, I'm guessing there are a 'handful' of pieces out there with the head on the box lid, something of a rarity I think.  As I recall, all of them are somewhat folk-art oriented, in other words, they're not as refined as the pieces either carved or inlaid/engraved forward of the guard on the pieces accepted as Molls, Neihart or Rupps etc., but they have a very strong appeal in their own way.

Wondering if yours is one that's been pictured or I've seen previously? 
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline RAT

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2014, 07:06:40 PM »
This...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_%28mythology%29

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Having said that, others have co-opted classical symbols including folks involved in the revolutionary cause. The image for "Lady Liberty" came from someplace. Like everything else, it probably came from classical Greece/Rome.
Bob