Author Topic: Pewter Nose Caps  (Read 4999 times)

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Pewter Nose Caps
« on: June 20, 2017, 10:48:07 PM »
Seeing the topic about Pewter bolsters in the Accoutrements Forum reminded me that I have been meaning to ask this question.

Does anyone have any solid data that can document when poured pewter nose caps came to be in general use? I am not talking about replacements but common use on new rifles.

I have always thought it was something that started very late (after the Civil War) but I don't have much to back this thought up.

Dennis
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 10:48:57 PM by Dennis Glazener »
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Offline Tanselman

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 11:35:03 PM »
Pewter nose caps probably appeared at different times in different locations...but an early user of cast pewter nose caps was Washington Hatfield of Greene County, Indiana. He was trained in northeastern Tennessee, so must have brought the pewter nose cap with him to Indiana in 1832 when he began working...his rifles have many Tennessee characteristics. The large majority of his earlier rifles (1835-1850) have his "trademark" chevron cast pewter nose cap with small "teeth" or triangles pointing to the rear. He made primarily fullstocks for most of his career, so there is no question the pewter caps are original to his rifles.

I would speculate, due to Hatfield's background, that cast pewter caps were being used in eastern Tennessee by the early 1830s, no later than mid-1830s, as well.  Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 11:35:54 PM by Tanselman »

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 12:08:26 AM »
 FWIW: Is pewter synonymous with Lead? I have often wondered if plain Lead was used because of the availability. Say, tire weights today. Then again what difference does it make?

  Tim C.

Offline mossyhorn

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 12:43:28 AM »
 Was pewter nose caps especially " chevron" used on early North Carolina mountain rifles?
Jerry Dickerson

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 02:26:47 AM »
Tansleman,
Thanks for the information on Washington Hatfield's use of pewter nose caps in 1832-1835 the early dates are a surprise to me. Glad to hear about it. Wonder if any other East TN makers were using them that early.
Dennis

Was pewter nose caps especially " chevron" used on early North Carolina mountain rifles?

If so I am not aware of it. The only "chevron" nose caps I have seen have been standard sheet metal. Hopefully Michael Briggs will see this and answer, I am sure he is much more familiar with "Chevron" nose caps.
Dennis
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Offline perce

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2017, 06:53:38 AM »
As a former Confederate collector can say that toward the end of the war, and due to a shortage of brass, the Richmond Armory was using pewter
nosecaps on their musket.  Bannerman still had these for sale in the 60's, were identical with the brass or steel ones.  Necessity builds strange
bedfellows!

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 04:04:19 PM »
Considering that pewter was cast, and formed, into all kinds of dinnerware, and utensils, very early in our history, it's only logical that gunsmiths used it as well. I'm sure it didn't take the smiths of old long to find new ways to utilize damaged plates, flagons, and utensils. I would suspect that pewter was quite likely used more in areas where factory produced sheet metal was harder to obtain, i.e. the south.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Seth I.

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 05:14:49 PM »
Hungry Horse, that is perfectly logical, but it is also a bit of a jump unless there is documented use in that period. From the sounds of things, no one here is mentioning its confirmed use for nose caps until the early percussion era. They were definitely in use in many areas later on including in the north east by the mid-19th century on factory guns.
I am here out of my own personal interests in muzzle loading and history. *All opinions expressed are mine alone and are NOT meant to represent those of any other entity unless otherwise expressly stated.*

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 08:17:08 PM »
Quote
Considering that pewter was cast, and formed, into all kinds of dinnerware, and utensils, very early in our history, it's only logical that gunsmiths used it as well.
That may be logical but I asked for
Quote
solid data that can document when poured pewter nose caps came to be in general use?
.

Tansleman gave me the type of data I was looking for. Would be interested in other makers that can be documented to have used pewter early on i.e. flint period.
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Sequatchie Rifle

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 08:50:06 PM »
I've seen at least two rifle made by Solomon Reed who was making rifles in from at least 1815 and into the 1820s in east Tennessee that appear to have original pewter nose caps. According to Jerry Noble's research in "Notes on Southern Long Rifles", Solomon Reed was born in 1791, served as a Private in East Tennessee Volunteers in the War of 1812.  In the 1820 census he was in Greene County, TN, producing 20 guns at $20, 40 barrels at $10, using a hand-powered mill.
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Offline WElliott

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2017, 06:02:38 AM »
I have an untouched full-stock Tennessee flintlock rifle signed WD (Willian Douglas) that has an original poured pewter nosecap with rectangular cutouts in the body of the nosecap and a saw-tooth edge to the rear. Ca. 1835-40?  I am also familiar with the Solomon Reed flint rifle Sequatchie referenced.
Wayne Elliott

Offline Arnie Dowd

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2017, 12:56:44 AM »
I too have an untouched, original-flint, full-stock, iron-mounted, classic NE Tenn. Longrifle which has a poured pewter nose cap with three diagonal (chevron type) bars and a saw-tooth bottom edge.  This rifle is signed "J.*Turpen" and is very strongly attributed to James Turpin of Anderson and Roane counties as the name was spelled both ways in various documents.  He was (until recently) a previously unknown Tenn. maker.  He was born in 1807 in Tenn. so could certainly have been making rifles by the mid 1830's.  He married a Cherokee woman by the name of Jerusha.  His father Martin was born in VA in 1783 and relocated to Tenn. circa 1800-1804 and married Mary Elizabeth (mother of James) in 1805.  By 1850 & 1860 James was listing his occupation as that of a Blacksmith as was his son in the same household.  The rifle has a 47" swamped barrel of .50 caliber and is stocked in walnut. As might be expected, the tang extends down and then up and over onto the comb extending another six inches.  Of somewhat special interest is that it not only has a lollypop for a screw at the base of the wrist but also a second lollypop for a screw on top of the comb which I've not seen before but perhaps some of you all have.  I have pretty good photos of this rifle but I'm not sure how to post them.  I would be happy to e-mail them to one of you and you could pick the ones you would like to post.  Hopefully I can be a little more active on this site in the future, Arnie

Photos added 6/24/17










best image hosting website




























« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 02:01:19 PM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2017, 01:27:57 AM »
Arnie,
Here is a link to a tutorial on posting photos on ALR. Hope this will help you and other new members with posting photos.
http://americanlongrifles.org/PDF/ImageTutorial.pdf
Dennis
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Offline WElliott

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2017, 05:23:11 AM »
It is great to see my friend Arnie on here. Folks, pay attention to anything he posts. He is one of the most knowledgeable collectors and researchers I know.
Wayne Elliott

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2017, 07:49:39 AM »
 ;D ;D...Will be glad to see these photos of your James Turpin rifle Arnie..... Thank you.... !!!

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: Pewter Nose Caps
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2017, 06:08:33 PM »
 :) :)... Thanx Arnie & Dennis... beautiful inlaid pewter nosecap.... some of the best I've seen....Overall this is a great Tennessee Bear Rifle....VERY impressive.....only problem I see is....she's not mine .... !!! ... HaHaHa...... ;D ;D ;D