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I was reading Dig's book "British Boxlocks..." for the second time last night when I noted a statement I had not paid attention to the first time:

"...most capitalist of countries betrayed its faith in the free market when it introduce the McKinley tarrif of 1890. This imposed a charge of 35% plus $6 on every gun....allowing American makers like Parker, to succeed with what was an inferior produt." (p.122)

Can anyone provide some information on the relative prices for English and American shotguns in the 1890's? Did the tarrif have a big impact on the shotgun market?

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That is an amusing view point. By 1890 English gun production was on the skids. There were other motivations for the English proof house test of various barrel materials.... American gun makers understood their market and how to sell to it.

The tariff became a political point of contention between the parties for years. It was never "aimed" at firearms, but rather at wool and tin plates. The Belgians had no problems with the tariff. In fact it helped fuel their firearms, lace and glass industries. They read the law and proceeded to sell barrels and parts in addition to complete guns. They successfully lobbied congress in this regard.

There were regular hearings in Congress about the tariff. American gun makers routinely denounced it claiming the Belgians were using women and children in their factories all the while lying to congress about these exact same practices which they employed.

Eventually the Belgians reformed themselves regarding child labor. Well ahead of American efforts.

Protectionist laws effectually fail to protect.


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Originally Posted By: forester
allowing American makers like Parker, to succeed with what was an inferior produt." (p.122)


Amusing, or not, hard to argue with this fact-I think Dig hit the nail right on the head. Zutz (and, others) warned us first, however.

Best,
Ted

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Let see here: I used to be an avid clock collector and an American clock maker names Chauncey Jerome sr. managed to flood the British market with a very inexpensive shelf clock called an OG due to the shape of its case. He put a declared value on a large shipment of $1.50 per clock. The was a brass movement weight driven clock with a veneered case. The Brits thought it impossible to make a clock that cheaply so exercising their tariff regulations seized the shipment for face value. The clockmaker gleefully turned around and sent another large shipment at the same price. After a few more shipments the Brits gave up.
I point this out to demonstrate that the United States wasn't the only Country with tariffs and their purpose was to protect domestic manufacturing. In the case of clocks it cartainly backfired on Great Britian.
Jim
As an aside: IMO there was one American double gun built during this period that was arguably superior to all the others and that's the Colt Model 1883. The simplicity of design and excellence of craftmanship is immediately apparent to anyone who has owned one of these.

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Originally Posted By: forester
"...most capitalist of countries betrayed its faith in the free market when it introduce the McKinley tarrif of 1890. This imposed a charge of 35% plus $6 on every gun....allowing American makers like Parker, to succeed with what was an inferior produt." (p.122)


I was incredulous when I read this in his book. Inferior to what? By what standard were they judged? American gunmakers made guns that would stand up to the requirements of American shooters of the period. And they did a darned good job. What British gun could have stood up to the decades of use and abuse our shooters subjected their arms to. In our vast country with supplies of ammunition limited guns were shot with whatever was available and this was generally with what the Brits would have called "magnum" loads (If they'd had that word then) and unsuitable for their fragile arms. British guns were designed to be returned to a gunsmith for frequent upkeep--American guns had to endure decades, even more than a century of use without anything more than an infrequent drop of oil. Inferior? Blasphemy! I would gladly put any Parker, Lefever, Smith, Fox, Baker, ithaca, and any other American gun up against their highly touted toys.


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Originally Posted By: Joe Wood
Originally Posted By: forester
"...most capitalist of countries betrayed its faith in the free market when it introduce the McKinley tarrif of 1890. This imposed a charge of 35% plus $6 on every gun....allowing American makers like Parker, to succeed with what was an inferior produt." (p.122)


I was incredulous when I read this in his book. Inferior to what? By what standard were they judged? American gunmakers made guns that would stand up to the requirements of American shooters of the period. And they did a darned good job. What British gun could have stood up to the decades of use and abuse our shooters subjected their arms to. In our vast country with supplies of ammunition limited guns were shot with whatever was available and this was generally with what the Brits would have called "magnum" loads (If they'd had that word then) and unsuitable for their fragile arms. British guns were designed to be returned to a gunsmith for frequent upkeep--American guns had to endure decades, even more than a century of use without anything more than an infrequent drop of oil. Inferior? Blasphemy! I would gladly put any Parker, Lefever, Smith, Fox, Baker, ithaca, and any other American gun up against their highly touted toys.


Go back and read the date-1890. There was no Fox, if you said "Parker", it probably meant a lifter gun to most folks, as the hammerless had been on the scene very briefly, and some products produced by the others were pretty crude. More than one gunsmith reported Parkers with a bunch of soft parts in them, and Parker hammerless gun have a bunch of parts inside. Everything used black powder, and there were no magnums, as such. The typical US 12 gauge was built on a 10 gauge frame, and was a heavy gun with 30" barrels.

Hate to be the horsefly in the yogurt, but, there exist plenty of US built doubles that are sub-par. Especially lower grades.
That typically isn't the case with even low grade English guns of any time period.

Sorry.

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Ted

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Price comparisons (though mostly U.S. makers) here, and a bit about the 1890 tariff and subsequent Panic of 1893. The McKinley Tariff of 1890 set the average ad valorem tariff rate for imports into the United States at 48.4%. “Sporting, breech-loading double-barrel shotguns” had a 35% ad valorem PLUS an import duty of $1.50 if priced less than $6; $4 if $6-$12; and $6 if priced greater than $12. The tariff contributed to the “Panic of 1893” with 500 bank closures, the bankruptcy of over 15,000 businesses, and the failures of the Philadelphia and Reading, Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroads. An estimated 18% of the workforce was unemployed at the Panic's peak, especially in the west and in farm states as the price of wheat and cotton fell. A series of strikes followed in 1894, the worse being the Bituminous Coal Miners’ and Pullman strikes. The U.S. economy, and U.S. gunmakers, did not begin to recover until 1896.
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1OTND2bQH0vhlbCf7c2sN8H1vzmT7xagUSXhewGB03SE

In 1895 Will Park, Gun Editor for Sporting Life began publishing a series of editorials encouraging the purchase of American guns, shells, and powder.
See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfg2hmx7_311kp75d7hd

http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/SportingLife/1895/VOL_24_NO_21/SL2421013.pdf
Feb. 16, 1895 Sporting Life (Spelling is as written)
During the past three years on visits to such sporting clubs as Larchmont, Carteret, Tuxedo and Riverton, we have noted the peculiar fact that out of 20 or 30 guns on the grounds at one time there will possibly be one gun of American manufacture. All the others are "Crown Grade Grenier's," "Premier Quality Scott's," "Purdy's" and other foreign makes.
The remarkable state of affairs, which is not creditable to American manufacturers, would indicate that there is something lacking on their part. We know that men with "hobbies" are willing to spend much money to gratify their "hobby;" but we are not willing to concede, if only from a patriotic sense, that American manufacturers are unable to satisfy their countrymen's "hobby" in guns.

April 6, 1895
http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/SportingLife/1895/VOL_25_NO_02/SL2502014.pdf
Some Facts About the Retail Gun Trade - The Mania For Foreign-Made Guns
Parker Bros., of Meridan, Conn., are producing a Special high grade pigeon gun which is certainly equal to an imported gun in every way, and best of all, the shooting quality is not lacking.
The Hunter Arms Co., of Fulton, N. Y., also make a special gun which is finely finished, perfectly balanced and contains the best workmanship.
The Lefever Arms Co., of Syracuse are also catering to this better class of trade, and have already filled many orders for guns costing $300 to $400 which were equal in material, finish design of engraving and general workmanship to any foreign gun costing much more money.

By the First DuPont Grand Smokeless Championship Handicap Live-bird Tournament October 1895 the most used gun was of U.S. make
http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/SportingLife/1895/VOL_26_NO_06/SL2606012.pdf
Fred Gilbert (L.C. Smith) and Charles “Hayward” Macalester (Purdey) tied at 25; Gilbert won the shoot-off 5/5 to 4/5. Charles Wagner (Parker), E.B. Coe (Smith), Capt. John L. Brewer (Greener), and A.H. King (Scott Monte Carlo) tied at 24; Wagner won the shoot-off taking 3rd place.
Guns: Smith – 13, Parker – 8, Greener – 11, Lefever – 6, Francotte – 4, Scott & Remington – 3 each, Francotte – 2, Colt, Grant, Boss & Purdey – 1 each


Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/14/13 04:00 PM.
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Any of the Syracuse L.C. Smiths from Quality 4 to Quality 7 were as good if not better than any English gun built.

And Ted you are wrong, these guns were built on 3 different frame weights. The medium weight 12 ga. could be made as low as 7 1/2 lbs with 30" barrels.
The Quality 7 was $450.00 in 1888.


David


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H&D Folsom acquired Crescent Fire Arms in 1893, and the flood of U.S. made Trade Name guns soon followed
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1OxZo5Tkvx2G8eYf747QR9B5RJdN6Siu5JGIhfguSXXQ

Most of the low quality deceptively named imports were Belgian, which was part of the motivation for the 1890 tariff

“Synopsis of decisions of the Treasury Department and Board of U.S. General Appraisers on the construction of tariff, immigration, and other laws, for year ending 1891”
http://books.google.com/books?id=L_xDAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1207&dq
It has been the custom of manufacturers to stamp fictitious names of individuals and other trade words, such as "Richards," "Western," "U.S. Armes Co.," etc., upon the lock plates or on the ribs connecting double-barrel guns imported at your port from Belgium; that in a number of recent importations of guns from Belgium there is a conspicuous absence of any words to indicate the country of origin, but on the contrary words have been found which represent to consumers that the guns are either of English or American manufacture, thus nullifying the object and intent of section 6 above referred to, and under these circumstances you request further instructions from the Department as to the marking of guns imported not only by Boker & Co., but by all others, whether in store or en route.
As it appears that it is practicable to stamp the name of the country of origin on the guns, you are hereby authorized, under and in pursuance of Department's decision of March 18. 1891 (Synopsis 10832) to deliver the guns covered by this and subsequent importations only upon such stamping, the language of said decision being that "where articles of foreign manufacture required to be marked under the provisions above referred to were ordinarily stamped at the time of the passage of said act, the name of the country of origin should be stamped thereon.

Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/14/13 04:00 PM.
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Interesting timing. Sir Diggory previously expressed his disdain for the 'Farm Implement L.C. Smith'. A future DGJ will have a bit of a retort smile

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