Author Topic: Yet another locked thread?  (Read 4866 times)

Offline Mattox Forge

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2023, 05:19:23 PM »
That's interesting about the lock source before the war. I was just at Yorktown and learned just how tight the importation controls that the English Parliament had imposed on the colonies were. They required all good to go through British ports and to be shipped on British owned ships. They also restricted local manufacture of nearly everything. I wonder if any importation records survive that might show the movement of imported locks?

Mike

Offline spgordon

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2023, 08:00:46 PM »
Here's an example from March 1776 of a purchase of 1001 gun locks from Holland & Germany (the top image is a detail--from the bottom right of the bottom image):






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

Offline Mattox Forge

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2023, 08:51:00 PM »
Here's an example from March 1776 of a purchase of 1001 gun locks from Holland & Germany (the top image is a detail--from the bottom right of the bottom image):





That is an interesting document. Thanks for sharing it. Are these locks that were bought to support the arming of US or Pennsylvania troops for the war?

It would be interesting to find similar records from the pre-war period that would be purchaces ostensibly for commercial sales.
Mike

Offline spgordon

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2023, 09:32:31 PM »
Are these locks that were bought to support the arming of US or Pennsylvania troops for the war?

Hard to say. Pennsylvania is asking for reimbursement from the United States. It could be that PA paid the merchant (Ross) for locks & muskets that were used by continental forces. Or it could be that these locks and muskets were used by PA troops but, because Congress had agreed to cover the charges, PA is still requesting reimbursement from the United States.

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

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2023, 12:42:23 AM »
That makes perfectly good sense since after the war started the Americans were certainly not going to honor the Navagation Acts and obviously British sources had been cut off. Actually, the Privy Council embargoed the shipment of military stores to America in 1774 so those had been cut off before the war.

As far as the pre-war period is concerned, there is a good chance that records do exist regarding the trans-shipment of goods to America through British ports. The problem is that you would have to go to Britain to find them and I suspect it would not be easy and it may be that the goods themselves were not described in detail.

It certainly was not the case that American merchants could purchase whatever they wanted in continental Europe and just ship it...the entire system was called mercantilism and it was a theory that every European country subscribed to. The French and Dutch were just as protective of their colonial trade. America was slightly different because we had no colonies and few, if any manufactured goods to export...only raw materials. The biggest single export from pre-war days to the early 19th century was hardwoods. American walnut, for instance, was being exported to Britain in the 1690's. When we did institute a national maritime law it was not much different. Incoming duty was much higher when arriving on non-US flag vessels and even higher if the importer was not a US citizen.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023, 12:50:24 AM by JV Puleo »

Online DaveM

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #55 on: June 09, 2023, 03:02:57 AM »
JV, or Scott, do either of you have a good idea of the “time gap” in say a Pennsylvania gunsmith getting an english lock to put on a gun, with respect to the post war embargo on british goods?

In other words, if an old american gun has an original british lock, it would need to predate the year “x” or post date the year “y”.

For example - in 1780 or 1781, were british locks still imported for american use, possibly unofficially?

Offline spgordon

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2023, 03:52:17 AM »
Here's some food for thought. In November 1775 the Lancaster gunsmiths were forced to agree to give up rifle production and to produce muskets instead. But, when the local committee visited the gunsmiths, unannounced, it found many of them still working on rifles. (Busted!) The committee found Jacob Dickert and all his workers, except one, at work on rifles, though he had four muskets "nearly finish'd."

The unexpected visitors found that Dickert was "putting old Crown Locks on them, and Says the Locks are as good as those that are made here."

So probably there were plenty of British locks around, which were put on new guns--or used to repair American-made guns--throughout the war (as well as before and after).
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

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #57 on: June 09, 2023, 04:06:38 AM »
The embargo was place on military stores in 1774. Presumably there were locks available for some time thereafter as they were usually sold by the dozen. Early in the Revolution we begin to see plaintive advertisements placed in just about every newspaper begging for anyone who might have the skills to make a gun lock to come forward so it seems reasonable to think that by 1776 these were pretty much used up.

The embargo was partially lifted near the end of 1792 and the importation of locks restarted early in 1793. From that I'd say that  American-assembled guns with English locks either pre-date 1776 or post-date 1793. This, of course, does not include the re-use of locks from damaged or otherwise obsolete guns which must have been common. All this should be taken in a statistical sense. Obviously we can't account for every single gun lock but rather as a general guideline. I would be skeptical of any gun with an export grade, flat-faced English lock as being from the period of the Revolution unless there is other confirming provenance. If the lock is marked "Ketland & Co." it cannot pre-date 1794. I know this because I have the records of their shipments.

There are several rifles known that were sent back to England as war trophies and thus have an un-impeachable provenance. I'd start by looking at those locks for clues as to where they came from.

I should add that I feel most pre-Revolutionary English locks had rounded faces. Yes, flat-face locks existed but the export trade was very conservative. They were making large numbers at low prices and this is not conducive to keeping up with the latest trends. We know very little about this trade but some good information is found in the diary of R.R. Angerstein, a Swedish industrial spy who traveled widely in England in the 1750s and had a particular interest in gunmaking.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023, 05:53:45 AM by JV Puleo »

Offline stan57

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #58 on: June 30, 2023, 03:31:12 PM »
Correct but there is no need  when you can purchase an original.
Feltwad

Last visit to UK we toured Sandringham. The Royal gun collection shocked me to the point that my tarrying forced the tour director to say "please sir , mind the others, we must proceed". Like Feltwad said, all originals, impeccably maintained - some hundreds of years old yet appearing brand new, gifts from rajas and kings, etc. On the subject on the prevalence of muzzleloaders, the tour director tersely stated "the Queens attendants load".
« Last Edit: June 30, 2023, 03:37:21 PM by stan57 »

Offline backsplash75

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #59 on: June 30, 2023, 05:39:07 PM »
Here's an example from March 1776 of a purchase of 1001 gun locks from Holland & Germany (the top image is a detail--from the bottom right of the bottom image):





fantastic stuff thanks for sharing!

Offline backsplash75

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #60 on: June 30, 2023, 05:43:53 PM »
The embargo was place on military stores in 1774. Presumably there were locks available for some time thereafter as they were usually sold by the dozen. Early in the Revolution we begin to see plaintive advertisements placed in just about every newspaper begging for anyone who might have the skills to make a gun lock to come forward so it seems reasonable to think that by 1776 these were pretty much used up.

I should add that I feel most pre-Revolutionary English locks had rounded faces. Yes, flat-face locks existed but the export trade was very conservative. They were making large numbers at low prices and this is not conducive to keeping up with the latest trends. We know very little about this trade but some good information is found in the diary of R.R. Angerstein, a Swedish industrial spy who traveled widely in England in the 1750s and had a particular interest in gunmaking.

Good points! In the Indian trade gun realm this is especially true, some of the features really fossilize from the 17th century (continuance of 3 side nails, ventral screw to breech tang, nailed on buttplates, & etc.). There is an odd Bumford trade gun in a WV museum with a 3 screw flat lock, particularly interesting as Bumford died in 1775.

ETA the lock looks like a bad recon (brass pan) and I'm not 100% sure it is original as I haven't had the gun in hand, only viewed in the case, but interesting if original to the piece.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2023, 06:31:23 PM by backsplash75 »

Offline Feltwad

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #61 on: June 30, 2023, 08:33:27 PM »
Correct but there is no need  when you can purchase an original.
Feltwad


Last visit to UK we toured Sandringham. The Royal gun collection shocked me to the point that my tarrying forced the tour director to say "please sir , mind the others, we must proceed". Like Feltwad said, all originals, impeccably maintained - some hundreds of years old yet appearing brand new, gifts from rajas and kings, etc. On the subject on the prevalence of muzzleloaders, the tour director tersely stated "the Queens attendants load".
Most likely the tour operated would not have a clue  on guns  some would have been gifts  if you look at the trade labels inside gun cases by top London  and Birmingham gunmakers [By appointment to his or her  majesty } these are guns that have been supplied to the crown by the maker  either by  order or by gifts by some person of wealth to the monarch
Feltwad


google heads or tails
« Last Edit: June 30, 2023, 08:46:30 PM by Feltwad »

Online Bob Roller

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #62 on: July 01, 2023, 10:10:50 PM »
Here's some food for thought. In November 1775 the Lancaster gunsmiths were forced to agree to give up rifle production and to produce muskets instead. But, when the local committee visited the gunsmiths, unannounced, it found many of them still working on rifles. (Busted!) The committee found Jacob Dickert and all his workers, except one, at work on rifles, though he had four muskets "nearly finish'd."

The unexpected visitors found that Dickert was "putting old Crown Locks on them, and Says the Locks are as good as those that are made here."

So probably there were plenty of British locks around, which were put on new guns--or used to repair American-made guns--throughout the war (as well as before and after).
[/quote
FORCED to give up rifle production?! I suppose that was a real contribution to the survival of the Kings Red Coats?
Bob Roller

Offline spgordon

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #63 on: July 01, 2023, 11:29:03 PM »
Here's some food for thought. In November 1775 the Lancaster gunsmiths were forced to agree to give up rifle production and to produce muskets instead. But, when the local committee visited the gunsmiths, unannounced, it found many of them still working on rifles. (Busted!) The committee found Jacob Dickert and all his workers, except one, at work on rifles, though he had four muskets "nearly finish'd."

The unexpected visitors found that Dickert was "putting old Crown Locks on them, and Says the Locks are as good as those that are made here."

So probably there were plenty of British locks around, which were put on new guns--or used to repair American-made guns--throughout the war (as well as before and after).
FORCED to give up rifle production?! I suppose that was a real contribution to the survival of the Kings Red Coats?
Bob Roller

Yep, forced to give up rifle production--forced to make muskets instead.

At first the Lancaster gunsmiths refused, at which point the local revolutionary committee declared that "the Tools of the said Gun Smiths so refusing be taken from them" and that "such Gun-Smiths in the County have their Names inserted in the Minutes of this Committee as Enemies to this Country and published as such." No surprise, they complied. Except when members of the committee visited them a month later, most were still working on rifles.



« Last Edit: July 01, 2023, 11:36:02 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

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2023, 04:45:26 AM »
That's pretty draconian. I would read it as politicians, with no concept of what was involved, ordering people who actually knew their trade to make something that may not even have been possible. I seriously doubt the Lancaster gunmakers made their own barrels or locks and, if they did, they were quite different from musket barrels and locks. They would have needed a supply of musket barrels and locks both of which may not have been available. Certainly the locks may not have been. If you look at the Philadelphia newspapers of the time ads frequently begged anyone, especially clock makers and locksmiths, who might possibly be able to make a gun lock to come forward. All of it smacks of people in power demanding something that may have been realistically impossible.

I suspect those same gunmakers would have been perfectly happy to make muskets...if they could get the parts they needed and if they got paid for their work...both of which were highly questionable. Depriving them of their tools is idiotic. Who was going to use them? You could strip my machine shop of the tools and you'd still have a hard time finding anyone else who could run them and that was much more the case in the 18th century when very few American had mechanical skills.

Online DaveM

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #65 on: July 02, 2023, 04:58:21 AM »
That is a pretty great original document. Interesting to notice that Peter Gonter apparently was working along side John Miller. Anyone ever see an early Lancaster gun by Miller?

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #66 on: July 02, 2023, 01:51:55 PM »
I see my distant cousin John Graeff is listed as being one who was at "rifle work".

It is deeply satisfying for me that he seems to be as "difficult and cooperative", as one of my bosses characterized me on occasion. ;D
"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 spgordon

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2023, 02:11:29 PM »
I suspect those same gunmakers would have been perfectly happy to make muskets...if they could get the parts they needed and if they got paid for their work...both of which were highly questionable.

Maybe not perfectly happy.

Their reluctance stemmed from finances: the Lancaster gunsmiths claimed initially that they could not make the muskets at the prices mandated by Philadelphia authorities. They stated that they "could not make them for the Price of £4.5.0 nor would be governed by the Philadelphia price. Nor would make them for less than Five pounds." Is is after this refusal that the Lancaster committee threatened the gunsmiths and each agreed that he would work only on muskets from November 1775 to March 1776, furnishing "as great a quantity of Muskets & Bayonets as he possibly can in that time at the Philadelphia prices agreeable to the Pattern." (But, as I mentioned, they didn't in fact give up making rifles.)

The gunsmiths would be "glad of an[y] excuse to lay by the Musket-Work & make Rifles," the Lancaster committee noted several months later, "which are more profitable for them."

Obtaining barrels does not seem to have been a major problem. There were barrel mills in Lancaster County, including one in operation by 1776 owned by Dickert and John Henry. Obtaining locks, as we've discussed here a few times in recent months, was where the supply chain failed the gunsmiths. It is interesting that, early on, the gunsmiths do not mention this as a reason why they should not be compelled to make muskets. Perhaps the scarcity of locks hadn't yet become evident.

Depriving them of their tools is idiotic. Who was going to use them?

The point was to deprive the gunsmiths of a way to make a living, if they did not comply. So more draconian than idiotic.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2023, 02:20:33 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

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Yet another locked thread?
« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2023, 02:51:24 PM »
Interestingly to me is the paragraph about Dickert which mentions Dickert having "all his hands except one at rifle work". This may indicate that Dickert had a "rifle factory" pre Rev War or very early in the war. Please notice that I qualified my statement with "may".   
"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