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JulesW Offline OP
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Drew, thankyou for those extracts (and for the references to their sources), as well as for the images of the French twisted barrels - another thing I never knew of before.

A source you may already know, but which I came across today, and that others may be interested to know of, is John Holland's, A treatise on the progressive improvement & present state of the manufactures in metal (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1831-34), 3 vols. [specifically] Vol 2, Ch.V "Firearms", pp.85-123. In this chapter we find the following comment on the 1813 legislation:

"In 1813, a bill was introduced into the House of Commons, the object of which was to oblige every manufacturer of firearms to mark them with his real name and place of abode. The Birmingham gun-makers took the alarm, petitioned the house against the bill, and thirty-two gun-makers instantly subscribed £100 to defray the expense of opposing it. They represented that they made the component parts of the London guns, which, in fact, were only put together and marked in the metropolis. The petitioners were successful, and soon afterwards, government authorized the gun-makers of Birmingham to erect a proof-house of their own, with wardens and a proof-master, and allowed them to stamp on their guns the ensigns of royalty. All firearms at present manufactured in Birmingham and its vicinity are subjected to the proof required by the Board of Ordnance; the expense not to exceed £1 each piece, and the neglect of proving is attended by a penalty not exceeding £20."

The same chapter contains quite detailed descriptions of barrel-making processes. I've made a PDF, which is available here (if my link works!)

An excerpt:

"The Birmingham workmen, in preparing the material for stub barrels, usually cut up strips of iron and steel with large shears into bits like two-inch nails. These bits are then arranged and annealed in a variety of forms by filling them compactly into a hoop or ring, in a manner similar to that which is common among the blacksmiths for using up old horseshoe nails. The hoop is then formed into a bloom in the furnace, after which it is welded and drawn out under the rollers or hammer into the strips already described. The metals, when properly mixed, exhibit a beautiful appearance when treated with an acidulated liquor, after which the barrel is finally finished.
Being finished at the welding shop, the barrel is carried to a workman whose duty is carefully to examine it, and, without heating it again, to set it perfectly straight by means of a few strokes with his hammer upon an anvil. He likewise tests its soundness by placing one end in a bucket of water and sucking with his mouth at the other end until the water fills the barrel. By this means, if there is any crack or flaw, however produced, which extends through the substance of the barrel, it is presently detected by the appearance of moisture on the outside. When this happens to be the case, the article is returned to the forger, and the fracture is closed by re-welding."

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List of London Gunmakers from 1825. Cutler is not there. You'll note that the list comes from the 4th edition of "Instructions to Young Sportsmen, by Ltc P. Hawker which compares flintlocks to percussion guns. Taking a look at earlier editions of Hawker's book might turn up something about Cutler. (1st edition was 1814. . .9th edition was 1859 - couple of years after his death. . .is was reprinted up to 1988):

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 09/21/23 07:13 PM.

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And a few excerpts from Hawker's 5th edition, 1826:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 09/21/23 02:02 PM.

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Charles Lancaster was a barrel maker for Joseph Manton in the early 1800s. In 1811 he set up his own shop in Drury Lane, supplying barrels to Manton and the rest of the London Gun Trade, including Purdey. In 1826 he began making guns under his own name on New Bond St.

Purdey percussion ML with stub twist tubes

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

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JulesW Offline OP
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Thankyou very much for the further information. It's particularly interesting to learn of Charles Lancaster's profile as a leading barrel-maker, and to see his initials so clearly stamped on his work.

The list of London gunmakers is also stimulating of fresh ideas. I hadn't really expected to find Cultler on it, as someone with serial addresses in Birmingham's gun quarter (who moreover goes missing from the record for a decade), seems unlikely to have had either the cash or the cachet to establish themself in the capital. However, I'm thinking that if "ISH" is the equivalent of "CL", then it may be fruitful to search the London Directories of the early 19th century for a barrel-maker with a first name beginning with "I" and a surname beginning with "H" (or possibly "S", if the surname is itself double-barrelled! - however unusual it may have been for a tradesman to style himself in this way).

In that regard, if anyone reading this has a copy of Howard L. Blackmore's Gunmakers of London: 1350-1850 to hand, would you be kind enough to look for "I*H" entries from the first decades of the 19th century?

Edit: I find nothing in the Post Office Annual Directory, 1808
Nothing in the Post Office London Directory, 1841. [Part 1: Street, Commercial, & Trades Directories), either.

Last edited by JulesW; 09/22/23 03:18 AM.
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In old documents “J” is sometime rendered as “I” (or vice versa?).

It may be worth searching for JSH as well as ISH.

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JulesW Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Parabola
In old documents “J” is sometime rendered as “I” (or vice versa?). It may be worth searching for JSH as well as ISH.

Thankyou for suggesting this. It had occurred to me, but as it is typically used by the Classically-educated, there being no "J" in Latin (Iulius Caesar!), to indicate their erudition, and that wasn't a description I linked to a barrel-maker, I'd set it to one side. However, the turn of the 19th century was arguably sufficiently infused with Classical motifs for tradesmen to affect them, and in any case I'm having no luck with "ISH", so it's a good moment to revisit that one.

Edit: just re-read this and it struck me as thoroughly pompous - I do apologise! This was not my intent.

Edit: I also have to stand well-and-truly corrected in the light of the following : "REVOLUTIONARY WAR PERIOD ENGLISH SILVER MOUNTED FLINTLOCK OFFICER’S PISTOL, BY “GRIFFIN” ca. 1760 [...] iron barrel with two (2) London Gunmaker Co. proofmarks and an “I.G.” (Joseph Griffin: Please see “Gunmakers of London…”, pg. 212-213) maker’s mark." (https://www.ambroseantiques.com/fpistols.htm)

Last edited by JulesW; 10/04/23 05:13 PM.
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