BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


Firearms in American history

by Charles Winthrop Sawyer

Excerpt:

Length 5 ft. i| in., length of barrel 3 ft. 10J in., caliber -f-g- of an inch, taking 10 round balls to the pound, loosely, to allow for variations in the casting. Weight about 14 lbs. Length of lock plate 7! in. The lock plate is dated 1620, and the barrel and stock bear the private marks of the armorer and the stocker. The wood seems to be ash, shellacked or varnished. The ramrod is of wood, having a brass tip on the outer or ball end. This tip is indented on opposite sides to hold a rag, and in the center of the end there is a threaded hole to take a wormer and scourer. The musket is brass mounted, and in size and shape these mountings are much like those of an early Brown Bess. The thimbles are of size for a ramrod § of an inch in diameter. The lock movement works from strong pressure on the trigger. The pan is like a hemispherical bowl cut in a block, and has a notch like a lip under the touch-hole. The pan cover is very large, and swings

horizontally by hand towards the butt. Since the

pan holds a considerable amount of flash powder—it is I of an inch in diameter—the fence is of enormous size to protect the shooter's eyes. This musket was presented in 1807 by William Parsons to the Massachusetts Historical Society, and bears every evidence of being all that it seems — a Colonial musket of the time of the Pilgrims. It is probable, however, that it did not come to America with them, although it may have; the greater part of the matchlock muskets of the Pilgrims were probably the old style ones, while this one in shape was then comparatively modern. It is particularly interesting as showing the derivation of the form of the flint Brown Bess from that of the matchlock Brown Bess.

LOCK AND MATCHLOCK

Plate No. 3

Length 3 ft. 11| in., barrel 31! in., octagonal; caliber I of an inch, smooth bore. The armorer's marks have not been identified. The wood seems to be maple, turned a yellowish brown by age. It is covered with inlaying of ivory placques, engraved, and thin ivory strips forming scrolls. The character of the ornaments indicates German make. As with the wheellock holster pistol, the tang pin enters from below. The mechanisms of both locks are on the same lock plate, and both are operated by the single trigger. Pressure upon the trigger operates the wheel first, if it is wound, and if not it operates the serpentine. This combination of the wheel and matchlock, so that if one misses fire or gets out of order the other may prove serviceable, is credited to the celebrated French General Vauban, about 1670, and was used extensively by the armies of Europe; it must therefore, have been used to some extent in America. The arm shown seems to have been designed for either sporting or military purposes, and doubtless belonged to a person of consequence. It was more appropriate to sporting purposes in America than to military. The wheel is on the exterior of the lock plate.

WHEELLOCK RIFLE
Plate No. 3

Length 3 ft. 7 in., barrel 30! in. octagonal, caliber about I of an inch; rifled with seven deep rounded grooves making one turn in about twenty-seven inches; weight about 8 lbs. The wood seems to be a variety of hard, close-grained mahogany, rather light in color, and different from any at present on the market. It is inlaid with horn, ivory, and mother of pearl, forming designs in good taste and, from an artist's standpoint, well spotted, well balanced, and harmonious in tone values. The butt plate, of horn, has at the heel a spur of iron so that the gun will not slip when standing on the floor. The lock plate is 7§ in. long and \ of an inch thick at the part where the wheel is. On the exterior it is engraved with conventional designs of leaves. The cock is formed and engraved to represent a strange monster, half animal, half fish, with a bird on its head. The bird's tail, prolonged, forms the handle of the cock. There is a cover for the pan, which slides with a snap on and off, both by hand and automatically. The interior mechanism is hidden by a cover-plate. When removed, the wheel is seen to be about an inch and a quarter in diameter, about three sixteenths of an inch thick, and contained in a recess sunk in the thickness of the lock plate. The circumference of the wheel is channeled so as to make four sharp ridges and these are cut across at intervals so as to form them into teeth. When the cock is in position ready for firing it presses its pyrites (or flint) very hard against this toothed circumference of the wheel, and when the wheel revolves, which it does with tremendous force and speed, it reduces a considerable portion of the flint to chips and dust and at the same time causes, under favorable conditions, a great quantity of sparks in the pan. If grease or wet exists there the grinding of the flint produces no sparks. One end of the axle on which the wheel turns passes outward through the lock plate, and, square in section, receives the spanner which winds the lock. The other end of the axle is held in the cover-plate before mentioned. Between this bearing and the wheel there is an offset to which is swiveled one end of a chain. The other end of the chain is swiveled to the end of a spring of tremendous power. On the face of the wheel, which is flush with the inner face of the lock plate, there are two depressions, serving as notches, and


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