Author Topic: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question  (Read 1513 times)

Offline Mattox Forge

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Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« on: June 02, 2023, 12:43:11 AM »
What does the marking mean?

I have read about twisted stub barrels. I have three different guns with four barrels marked in three different ways:
STUBBS TWISTED, TWISTED STUBBS, or TWISTED STUBS. In all cases the two words are different stamps.
Here are the barrels. In the image below from top to bottom:
William Smith fowler ca 1806 serial #25
William Smith double percussion fowler ca 1816 serial #2419
Morris Volunteer rifle ca 1803


William Smith fowler ca 1806 serial #25




William Smith double percussion fowler ca 1816 serial #2419


Morris Volunteer rifle ca 1803


Then there is this marking on a Richardson pistol ca 1800 which indicates it may have been a barrel maker named John or Joseph Stubbs or Stubs:




Is the marking for a barrel maker named STUBBS or STUBS who is selling TWISTED barrels? or is it a firm of unknown name marking their product to show it is a "stub twist" barrel. I had always thought the latter, but the S on the end of STUBBS makes me wonder.  Is it plural to show that they used more than one stub nail in the forging of the barrel? The pistol barrel makes me wonder more. The two "B"s always bothered me as well.

Other similar vintage twist barrels I have don't have these marks.

Has anyone seen similar markings and know more about them?

Thanks,

Mike



Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2023, 07:37:19 PM »
From my copy of "Art of the Gunmaker", I remember reading that in England, horseshoe nail heads were collected from the cobblestone streets, sold to gunsmiths, and forged into gun barrels.  Apparently, the constant hammering of the horses shoes over the stones introduced elements into the iron/steel nail heads that lent itself to the making of superlative gunbarrel steel, especially for smoothbore guns.  Thus, the horseshoe nail "stubs" were the raw material that was forged into the metal for the gun barrels.  I have a 20 bore Ketland fowling piece that has "STUBS TWIST" stamped into the bottom of the barrel.
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Offline Mattox Forge

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2023, 11:50:03 PM »
That has always been what I thought the markings meant.

But now I am wondering if it could it be that a guy named Stubbs was using a pun as an advertising slogan?

Mike

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2023, 12:15:11 AM »
I have looked at a lot of english guns and this is the first I recall being marked "TWISTED STUBBS". "TWISTED" is common as is "STUB TWIST" in my experience.
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Offline Feltwad

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2023, 12:21:56 AM »
From my copy of "Art of the Gunmaker", I remember reading that in England, horseshoe nail heads were collected from the cobblestone streets, sold to gunsmiths, and forged into gun barrels.  Apparently, the constant hammering of the horses shoes over the stones introduced elements into the iron/steel nail heads that lent itself to the making of superlative gunbarrel steel, especially for smoothbore guns.  Thus, the horseshoe nail "stubs" were the raw material that was forged into the metal for the gun barrels.  I have a 20 bore Ketland fowling piece that has "STUBS TWIST" stamped into the bottom of the barrel.
That is correct they were hammered into  a round iron ring known has a faggot  and heated in a blacksmiths fire until workable and then forged into a strip of a certain length,
Feltwad

Offline Feltwad

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2023, 09:27:12 PM »
Mattox

Here is one for you from my Ketland sxs sporting flintlock
Feltwad

« Last Edit: June 03, 2023, 09:59:54 PM by Feltwad »

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2023, 04:40:08 PM »
Yes, these various markings usually mean that the barrels are made of a stub iron twist, known also as stub twist, twisted stubs etc.

As feltwad says, these lost horse-show nail stubs were gathered up by poor folks on the great roads outside the cities where traffic was heavy, and sold to barrel makers.
As Taylor says, the constant pounding on the roads was 'supposed" to impart some wonderful property to the stubs, but this is of course nonsense,
as anything the pounding did was lost in the forge when making into barrels.

The real reason that these nail stubs were used, was because horseshoe nails were made of good iron, and Lots were available!

Also as Feltwad says, an iron ring maybe four inches in diameter was packed with these stubs, hammered in tightly from both sides the wedge them fast, heated red in the forge and drawn out into a bar, then twisted and beaten into a ribbon, wound around a mandrel and forged into a barrel. Further ribbons could be welded to the first to make up the barrel length.
When browned, a stub twist barrel is a very bonny thing.

Offline Mattox Forge

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2023, 03:42:03 AM »
Thanks all for the information. Seems like it was generic advertising used by one or more barrel makers.

Mike

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2023, 06:58:31 AM »
Pukka is, of course, right in that the whole story about the nails being improved by the pounding they received is just period hype. If anything was made from them the chances are most were collected by poor children who received a few coppers for a bucket full and that they simply were a source of cheap iron. It is the case that workable iron did not go to waste. Another product was "swarf balls" made from the swarf generated by the various machining operations. Swarf balls were made into high quality breech plugs and, curiously enough, most were made by women. I got that from a very obscure little book titled "Wednesbury Workshops" by F.W. Hackwood. Hackwood was a school master and prolific writer on local history subjects. He was born in 1851 and appears to be a reliable source for information he could gather from local people whose memories went back to the early 19th century. Like many 19th century historians he's not so reliable where he had to rely on secondary sources but the black country gun trade died out in his youth so he knew the last of the local workmen.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2023, 07:19:33 AM by JV Puleo »

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2023, 03:57:08 PM »
Very interesting Joe, and trust you are keeping well!

I did not know about swarf balls.
It seems some forge work was very common to women.
Nailers  as you know, were almost solely women.

Offline yulzari

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2023, 06:15:42 PM »
And in the chain industry the small iron chains were made by women in small backyard forges right into the 1960s. The strike of women chainmakers for equal pay to the men was a notable step in getting equal working rights for women. The issue was the men made heavier large chains and the piecework pay was in weight not numbers so it was easier for the men to get higher wages for the same amount of work.

Of course women were working as blacksmiths right back to medieval times.
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Offline smart dog

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2023, 02:14:33 PM »
Hi Mike,
The hoop of iron filled with packed nails looked a bit like a muffin of nails.  It was heated and hammered into flat skelps for welding up barrels.  Some barrels, such as those often used by Robert Wogdon, were welded from the stub metal with a simple linear seam down the length of the barrel.  Wogdon referred to these as "watered" iron barrels. However, the stub iron skelps were also cut into strips and twisted together with other strips.  I believe that is where the term stub twist or twisted stub comes from.  They were also often welded in a spiral to form the barrel.

dave 
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Offline Feltwad

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2023, 08:36:05 PM »
The book  named {The Book Of Trades ] published in 1780   with a  chapter on The Gun maker gives the full account on the making of gun barrels and the method of boring,  twisting, and finishing including the proof of  barrels .
Feltwad

Offline smart dog

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Re: Twisted Stubbs or Stubs English barrel marking question
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2023, 01:30:22 AM »
Hi Feltwad,
Thank you for that reference.  I am going to look for it.

dave
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