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Frank, a native of Kansas, but resident in New Hampshire for many years was as dedicated to the subject of antique arms as anyone I have ever met. He was a living encyclopedia on the subject and his archival legacy was extensive. He was probably best known for his 1978 published book Sharps Firearms, a treatise on his favorite subject. That book has been the bible of Sharps enthusiasts since and is hopefully in the process of being updated. I probably don’t have a complete listing of the...
This Bowie Knife (figure 1) is maker marked Corsan Denton Burdekin & Co. likely having been made prior to or shortly after the commencement of the Mexican American war (1846). It also has a cartouche, reading “Republica Mexicana”. The stamping would suggest that California is still a part of or a republic of Mexico. I have always thought that Corsan Denton Burdekin knives were early, being mid 1840’s to early 1850’s.
The Paterson Shotgun was perhaps the largest marketing failure of the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company. Approximately 262 were produced, a very scant record of them remains and barely 20% are in collections today. As with many of the Colt early products, the actual number of manufactured Shotguns may be less than the estimated number above. The highest serial number I’ve seen on record is #237, as recorded in the J.R.Hagermen Collection, 1912 catalog. Of all the Paterson guns it is without a...
As inventors everywhere struggled to become the best new thing, Myron Moses was no exception. His idea for a breechloader must have percolated for several years before he filed for his patent because by the time it was granted, his idea was already obsolete. Technology was moving fast and although he did actually devise a reloadable cartridge of sorts, it was heavy and comparatively costly.
Even the most neophyte collector has probably seen the “WAT” inspector’s cartouche on the grips of a percussion revolver, the stock of a carbine, a military powder flask or bullet mold. To some it is a mark of authority and often adds a premium to the value of the object.
By Frank Graves It was February 4, 1864 and the Colt factory was burning. Among those immediately thinking of the potential of sudden new business for revolving pistols was a group of gunmakers and investors from New York, headed by William J. Syms and Samuel R. Syms. Within three short weeks they would establish the firm of The Metropolitan Arms Company with five partners to capitalize on the possibility of producing revolvers for which there was a tremendous desire at that time.