Author Topic: Kentucky Gunmakers of the Muzzle Loading Era 1775-1900 by Shelby Gallien  (Read 8645 times)

Offline Dennis Glazener

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                 New Book Release:  

Kentucky Gunmakers of the Muzzle Loading Era 1775-1900  

Printed in a two-volume set: Volume I is “Gunmaking History” in 289 pages, and Volume II is “Biographies” in 322 pages. Pages are large format size 9x12 printed on premium 105 lb. coated paper with matt finish. Bindings and covers are high quality and each volume has an attractive dust jacket. The publication is a massive, thorough study of early gunmaking in Kentucky. It documents the gunmakers who shaped Kentucky’s gunmaking traditions and the fascinating “southern” guns they made. Many never-before seen rifles are illustrated as the story of Kentucky’s gunmaking is told…from Kentucky’s earliest gunmakers to its last holdouts who clung to the “old ways” in the state’s southwestern hill county area until the end of the nineteenth century.

Volume I… is a highly illustrated narrative of Kentucky’s gunmaking that begins with the first pioneer gunsmiths to walk on Kentucky soil. The state’s early rifles were “working guns” with limited furniture that was often a mixture of iron and brass. The “golden age” of Kentucky gunmaking appeared about 1800. It has seven identified schools of gunmaking that includes the outstanding Lexington, Bardstown, Louisville, and Ohio River Schools. The percussion years from 1835 to 1900 saw a gunmaking industry blossom in Louisville and elsewhere that sold thousands of rifles to settlers heading west in America’s “Manifest Destiny” or great western expansion era. Superb target rifles appeared during Kentucky’s percussion era, with Benjamin Mills’ rifles being among the best not only in Kentucky, but in the nation.

Volume II… contains over 1,100 biographies of gunsmiths who worked in Kentucky during the muzzle loading era. Within its pages the lives of Kentucky’s most noted makers are documented, along with their training and early migration patterns that help explain the final styles found in Kentucky’s major gunmaking schools. Readers will learn about the Bryan and West families of Lexington, Jacob Rizer and David Weller of Bardstown, Moses Dickson and Joseph Griffith of Louisville, Benjamin Mills of Harrodsburg, John Shell and Pleasant Wilson of the southeastern hill county, and others whose high quality work is becoming admired and sought after today.

For years Kentucky’s gunmaking was often ignored by collectors and researchers due to the assumption that its guns were, for the most part, lesser quality “hog rifles.” Better rifles were often attributed to “southwestern Virginia” during that era that today can be identified as Kentucky products. Collectors, researchers, and historians can now identify Kentucky’s early rifles and avoid the injustice of calling them “southwestern Virginia” guns. More importantly, Kentucky can now appreciate its early arms-making heritage and take its rightful place among states where early gunmaking became highly developed, artistic, and an important economic factor for the state.

Price:      $ 149.95 for the two-volume set. Mail orders add $14 for shipping and handling.
Availability:    Introduction February 22 & 23 at Prairie State Longrifle Show in Princeton, IL.
      Available at KRA, CLA and other “splinter” longrifle shows in 2013.
Mail order:  order at with shipments beginning first week of March.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 07:01:41 AM by Dennis Glazener »
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