Author Topic: British officer fusil  (Read 872 times)

Offline WESTbury

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British officer fusil
« on: June 07, 2020, 04:02:48 PM »
As far as I can tell, the flintlock shown in the attached photos meets all of the requirements of what DeWitt Bailey describes as a Officer's Fusil on pages 130 to 134 of his book Small Arms of the British Forces in America. It is silver mounted and cut back at the muzzle to fit a bayonet. Per Bailey; "Generally speaking, an officer's fusil may be described as a full-stocked fowling piece whose muzzle is adapted for a socket bayonet, whose caliber will accept regulation carbine(.615 in) or musket (.693 in) ammunition, and which is fitted with sling swivels.". The name on the lock belongs to Edward Newton who, per Bailey, built "complete arms" in the years 1759-1761.
The only problem with this weapon is that it does not belong to me. :)
My friend whose Foglesanger rifle I posted in the Contemporary Collecting section of this forum, owns this fusil. He would welcome any input from members of the ALR Forum about this arm. He's not interested in values, just history and any background info.















« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 04:06:11 PM by WESTbury »
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
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Online smart dog

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 06:47:03 PM »
Hi,
Edward Newton worked from 1718 until his death in 1764.  A long 46 year career and all of it spent in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England.  His work was greatly esteemed by the wealthy sportsmen that were his clients.  He also made some of his own barrels rather than purchasing blanks from a barrel maker.  Perhaps most importantly, he trained some of the greatest gun makers who ever lived and worked in England. Robert Wogdon and John Twigg apprenticed with Newton.  In addition, John Manton apprenticed to the gun maker who was likely Newton's shop foreman, William Edson.  That is a lovely gun and I suspect it is an officer's fusil from the 1740s or early 1750s.

dave
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Offline WESTbury

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 07:10:27 PM »
Dave----Appreciate all the great information and I'm sure my friend will also.

I know that Bailey has Newton listed a supplying 600 Marine or Militia Muskets for which Newton supplied many of the components including barrels, locks, brass furniture, etc.

But, that is about the extent of what Bailey attributes to Newton.
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Online smart dog

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 08:04:36 PM »
Hi,
This is likely the location of Newton's shop on High Street in Grantham.  The original building was demolished and rebuilt in 1910.


So curiously, the little market town of Grantham produced 5 of the finest gun makers in England, Edward Newton, John Twigg, Robert Wogdon, John Manton, and Joe Manton.  It is also the place where Isaac Newton went to King's School as a child. 

dave


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Offline WESTbury

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 08:11:56 PM »
Dave,

This is great. I knew I could rely on the members of this forum.

Appreciate it!

Kent
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2020, 10:13:56 PM »
Newton's shop was on the Great North Road the primary route north for any of the gentry or peerage traveling in that direction to their country seats. They all had to go past his shop so he had no reason to locate in London. The London market came to him.


Offline WESTbury

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2020, 10:32:24 PM »
Joe--As the hackneyed saying goes; "Location, location, location."

Kent
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 11:31:05 PM »
At least he had a Subway next door so he could grab a quick lunch.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Online smart dog

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 02:06:51 AM »
Hi Mike,
I suspect if he ate at Subway very often, he would not have had a 46-year career.

dave
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Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2020, 04:14:40 PM »
A Lovely gun, West.

Very elegant lines, and Edward Newton was a very fine maker, as Smart Dog says.
I would have expected some engraving on the buttplate finial;
Do you think it was "smoothed out" if badly rusted ?  The stock looks a little refreshed, so maybe the buttplate got the same treatment.

Congratulate your friend on this piece.  a genuine one at that!

Richard.
pS,

Dave,
I've had a 50 year career up to now, but  only eaten at Subway twice....   

Offline WESTbury

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2020, 04:57:00 PM »
I'm sure it has been rubbed, polished, and who knows what over the years.

I read some years ago that some of the troops in the 18th & 19th Century would burnish the barrels of their muskets so hard, that the barrels developed thin walls at the muzzle. Additionally, some barrels had to be straightened, although that seems to be something of an exaggeration in my mind.
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Online smart dog

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 06:17:01 PM »
Hi Kent,
I suspect the thin barrel walls at the muzzle were from using steel ramrods, a lot.  If they burnished the outside of the muzzle so hard as to reduce the outside diameter, the bayonet would have a sloppy fit, something I am sure they wanted to avoid.  I've custom fitted quite a few bayonets and it does not take much excess filing and polishing of the barrel to create a sloppy fit.  Then the bayonet sticks in the body rather than pulls out still attached to the barrel. 

dave
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 06:21:22 PM by smart dog »
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Offline WESTbury

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2020, 07:08:04 PM »
The steel ramrods would result in wear to the bores on muskets with barrels with thin walls due to non-uniform barrel forging and boring.

Early on, Springfield tried solving the thin walls at the muzzle by actually brazing bayonets having modified sockets to the muzzles of 15,000 new production muskets. Nearly half of these muskets, 7,042 to be exact, ended up having approximately 12 inches cut off, in 1813, resulting in a 33 inch long barrel. This caused a great uproar because they were to have only 3 to 4 inches cutoff. In 1815 most all of these shortened muskets were sold, 6,042 in number were sold to arms dealer William Crammond. Most of the rest were sold as refuse.


« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 07:38:27 PM by WESTbury »
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline Ezra

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Re: British officer fusil
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2020, 10:26:49 PM »

So curiously, the little market town of Grantham produced 5 of the finest gun makers in England, Edward Newton, John Twigg, Robert Wogdon, John Manton, and Joe Manton.  It is also the place where Isaac Newton went to King's School as a child. 

dave

Something in the water, undoubtedly.

Ez
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