Author Topic: Green, Henry 090315-1  (Read 9247 times)

Offline nord

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Green, Henry 090315-1
« on: March 27, 2009, 04:01:59 PM »
In all probability the smallest original longrifle any of us will ever see. The reason that it was made is open to discussion. It is far smaller than any "boy's rifles" of the period. A child small enough to use it would be a "toddler" and doesn't it seem likely that anyone would give a functional firearm to a small child. My own theory is that it was made for an adult midget, but who really knows?
Henry Green is listed as a gunsmith in the 1850 Industrial Census, but was not found in the population census. He made four rifles during that year. He died in 1851. I have copies of his probate file, found in the Knox County Courthouse.
Maker:                Henry Green, Henderson, Knox County, Illinois (Just north of Galesburg),  1851 or earlier.
Barrel signed:      H. Green Henderson Ill. (in hand cut script)
Length overall:     24 1/4"
Barrel length;       16"
Length of pull:      6 3/4"
Stock:                maple fullstock
Caliber:               .275
Rifling:                 7 groove
Lock:                   Moore & Baker (New York importers - in business 1849 - 1853)
Mountings:           Hand-forged iron


A theory:  a "Sampler"
If we use American furniture as an example of the theory I am proposing, perhaps it hold the answer. Many furniture craftsman in American ( I know nothing of European practices) made samples of their furniture, called "miniatures" today, presumably to model their skills and their products, to be used by "sales persons" to illustrate their work to potential clients. Obviously they could not easily travel to a customer home with full size and multiple types of case furniture. There is a whole collecting culture of "Miniatures" in the furniture world. The rug weavers of the Middle East did the same, it is thought, by weaving "Samplers" , a weaving with many unrelated but symmetrical pattern and forms in a single rug. These also were shown to potential customers to pick a custom made rug of the customers choice.

It's doubtful that anyone will ever know the circumstances surrounding this astounding little rifle. It shows considerable use and one wonders if it was perhaps owned by one of the 'little people', or other individual of small stature. It is a grand little gun and Green took pains to make it come out right. Scaling a gun down is a hard process, and he did it very well.
Fred could be right and this rifle is a sampler; it could be his journeyman's exam, it could be a childs gun, or it could even be a concealable poacher's short gun.

The possibility of it being a "Sampler" had occurred to me as well as to the owner. But why would a gunsmith living in a rural area, who only made four rifles in one year, have need for anything like that? certainly is one possibility!

Perhaps the most famous of the "little people" of all time was Tom Thumb, and he lived during that time period.  This rifle would have been just about the right size for him, or someone of similar size. Whatever the case, it definitely shows use by someone.

An after thought: if "samplers" were used by gunsmiths , where are the other ones?
There is an abundance of furniture miniatures.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2019, 11:59:00 PM by Dennis Glazener »
In Memory of Lt. Catherine Hauptman Miller 6/1/21 - 10/1/00 & Capt. Raymond A. Miller 12/26/13 - 5/15/03...  They served proudly.