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Salut Argo,

Ces vieux catalogues sont sûrement le chemin le plus court vers la vérité. Ils ont traversé des décennies pour nous transmettre des informations.
Il faut toujours être prudent avec la littérature contemporaine : la vérité du moment ne sera pas forcément celle du lendemain.

Si ce poinçon du banc d'épreuve apparait sur ce catalogue de 1884, il ne fait aucun doute que le banc d'épreuve de Paris était déjà existant.

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>>la vérité du moment ne sera pas forcément celle du lendemain.<<

Great phrase.....


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Originally Posted by Argo44
Translation". "Hi Raimey: How does it feel to be out of Africa and lost in the Elysian Fields of Belgian and German guns? The Paris proof-house was at 129 boulevard de Versailles, the same address as that of Bernard after 1878.

(actually FAB did not write the first sentence but I understood the unspoken communication - what he intended to say). Gene

What some proper insight to things unspoken.......

I gladly take the >>Elysian Fields << but Germany's modes of transportation is quite a bit to be desired as it has failed me miserably in my quest to arrive in Liège, where Marc was awaiting my arrival.

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Merci Fab. Rough translation:

"The old catalogs are surely the shortest cut to truth. They crossed over the decades to give us information, One must always be skeptical about contemporary literature. The truth of the present will surely not be that of tomorrow.

If the stamp of the Paris proof house appeared in this 1884 catalog, there must be no doubt that the proof house was already in existence."


And I still have questions. One old catalog cannot negate 100 years of written history. Admittedly, gun history is subject to a lot of "oral legend' and "old wives tales." However, the origin of the Paris Proof House does not seem to be one of these. The provenance of that catalog needs to be established. Either that, or FAB has truly pushed back the boundary of history.

And by the way...did anyone notice the proof-stamps for the USA under "military firearms"? Anyone have a date for those?

Last edited by Argo44; 08/13/22 01:34 AM.

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I'm glad I found this thread. This past week, I purchased a French Rook rifle on Gunbroker. It was listed as a Mon Marquis and said they could not identify the caliber, even though they had a chamber cast (included). They only had a few pictures. I was the only bidder. I recieved it Thursday and have spent most of the time trying to find information. It is a relatively simple Rook rifle like many of the English side lever single shots, but the wood was very high grade, it had very good quality engraving ( heavy oak leaf around the tang and breech and nice floral encircling the pins and screws. It has a really nice feature in the fore end release. It appears to be attached with a screw and the pivot pin for the barrel has a screw head. I suspected it came apart like a Tell rifle, but when I started to remove the fore end screw, it turned only a quarter and stopped. I pulled on the fore end, and it turned out that the screw was actually a release. The entire gun can be disassembled with a quarter turn. The top of the octagen barrel is engraved:

Mon (on superscript) Marquis Coirier Succr (superscript r) Boulevard Des Iteliene 4 Paris.

As noted in one of the posts, the flamboyant script style made it very hard to read. I Googled every variation of my suspected spelling and was coming up blank. The impossible words were Coirier and Italien. The street appeared to be Halien and the only reference I found to Boulevard Des Heliene was an Impressionist painting entitled "View of Boulevard Des Halien". (I later realized the Gallery had mis-read the artist's title. It was, after all, an Impressionist painting.)A MapQuest search for the address kept jumping to Boulevard Des Italien, so I switched to that, realizing that the "It" looked lik a stylized "H". When I tried that with the correct one of the 8 possible versions of Coirier, I found the pinfire blog entry and this thread. Sometimes it is really hard to find the information you need. I f I had read this first, I would have already known when I saw the gun listing.

My only remorse about the gun is that it was marked 380 on the barrel, but had been lined and rechambered to 32 Long Colt. I plan to order some brass and bullets and try it out.

Not wanting to hi-jack the thread but thought that two guns from the same obscure maker at nearly the same time was an oddity.

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That is an excellent story and so typical of our collective research into French guns. Thankfully we have a small group including a couple of French posters, FAB500 being prominent, (Wildcattle seemingly lost on Passionlachasse), who can shed light on these guns.


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One final note. I broke the gun down this morning and found a couple of things. I has the ELG mark on the barrel and frame along with a * over L on both. I am presuming Belgium manufacture. The barrels and frame are prominently marked 7 which I presume is the serial number. The barrel is marked 19, which I think may be a date code for 1919. Also, I reported oak leaf engraving on the frame and tang, but on second look, I suspect it would be more properly called Acanthus.

As an aside, I went to Google maps and located the address. Walked the little man down the street. The actual building is some sort of odd shop, but from the architecture and neighborhood, this was never the low rent district. People in that neighborhood never ordered low price guns from their LGS.

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[[Linked Image from i.goopics.net]

[Linked Image from i.goopics.net]

[Linked Image from i.goopics.net]

Argo adore tradurire le français.

Sur le papier, le poinçon du banc d'épreuve existe depuis 1866.
En 1882, l'état français commence a tapé du poing sur la table pour que les canonniers éprouvent leurs productions.

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Argo is most adept @ translating French. But if the mark was adopted or in force since 1866, why do we not see it on some of Léopold Bernard's tubesets with the Paris touchmark?

As far as location, was there a Paris Proofhouse facility in 1866 that had a physical address??


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Voila a rough translation. It looks like a proof house law was on the books in Paris since 1866 and the Paris proof stamp had be homogulated; but the law was generally ignored and an actual proof house was not created until possibly the 1890's. It seems clear from the last paragraph that as of 1882, a separate Paris proof house run by the government did not exist and that M. Leopold Bernard was the proof house as of 1882. This 1882 circular looks to be one of the first (as FAB said) to really try to force the issue of proofing guns in Paris. (See the complaints of M. Herve Didier-Drevet in his report on the 1878 Paris Exposition on the lack of a proof house in Paris previously posted). So the Paris proof stamp existed, it was irregularly enforced, and the proofing was performed by Bernard "if requested."

Office of the Prefect
1st Bureau
Circular 21

Relative to the proofing of firearm barrels meant to be sold commercially,

Paris, 30 June 1882

Sirs, by a circular dated 14 November 1881, Nr. 51, I have instructed you to remind your management of gun fabricating establishments and of gun merchants of the presecriptions of the law relative to the proofing of firearm barrels intended for trade. I beg you, moreover, to invite these industrial products to be proofed by M. Brun, expert gun seller, living in Paris, rue de Rivoli, 110, proofer named by my Prefecture, of arms which have a magazine and which would not be provided with a proof mark

As a result of various circumstances, the measure as presented has so far not been able to be executed (put into effect).

The Minister of Commererce, by a decision of last 26 April, athorized M. Brun to served as proofer for those who ask for it, of the Proofhouse of M. e Leopold Bernard, owner of the gun store situated on rue de Villejust, in Paris.

M. Brun will have to use, for marking the arms, stamps adopted by a ministerial decision of 1 March, 1866, following of which are the stampings.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I ask you, in consequence, Sirs, to invite your management of gun making and gun selling establishments as well as second-hand shops, to have proofed (stamped) without delay the guns which they make as well as those of Parisian origin in their stores which are not currently provided with the proof mark.

As for unproofed foreign weapons that gun sellers might still have on display, the Minister of Commerce has decided that these arms having been introduced in France in a period where the prescriptions concerning proofing of fire arms was not rigorousely applied, it was necessary to wait before submitting them for testing for the creation of a functioning proof house in Paris in accordance with the prescriptions of the degree of 22 April 1868, for which the Ministry of commerce is responsible.

Kindly let me know upon receipt of this circular the results of your efforts.

Please accept, sirs, an assurance of my utmost consideration,

The Prefect of police.

MAIGRET

Last edited by Argo44; 08/15/22 09:03 PM.

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