- AHM Volume 1 click
- AHM Volume 2 click
- AHM Volume 3 click
- AHM Volume 4 click
- AHM Volume 5 click
- AHM Volume 6 click
- AHM Volume 7 click
- AHM Volume 8 click
- AHM Volume 9 click
- AHM Volume 10 click
THE LAST WORD
Looking Back (and Forward)
This issue marks the start of our eighth year of publication. When we started, very few people felt that an on-line magazine could succeed. We chose that format because, starting from a zero subscriber base, there was no way we could enter the realm of paper magazine—our limited resources prohibited it. While we wish we could have a larger audience, the reality is that many arms enthusiasts are older and many eschew the use of computers. As media technology progresses, we note that more and more media venues have turned to the same on-line format we use.
Over the past seven years we have been approached by several large magazine publishers with inquiries to acquire Arms Heritage. After initial discussions, we determined that the quality would suffer and that “pap” articles and ads for jerky and snow blowers would dominate. Our magazine was never about profit. You may notice that we are very selective about the ads we include—they all relate to arms collecting in one way or another and we have turned away unrelated ads. The owners of Arms Heritage are all serious collectors, mostly trying to fill a need and to attempt to stimulate and preserve interest in our hobby.
Our subscriber base has grown as more and more collectors realize that when we publish articles, each one contributes to the body of knowledge about the subject. We are fortunate to have contacts throughout the collecting world and experts who are willing to spend time and effort writing these articles.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our subscribers and advertisers for their support. Our base is now around 3000 subscribers in 21 countries.
We’d also like to thank the many unpaid contributors who have done research and written articles for this magazine.
In order to satisfy those who demand a paper magazine, we arranged with Cornell publications to extract the content from each years-worth of issues and publish Annuals without advertising or editorial content. We’ve been surprised at how few have actually purchased these Annuals and conclude that most of you are content with the online format.
Speaking of articles, we are always happy to receive articles from our readers. If you have something you’d like to share, please contact us. Virtually any arms-related subject is fair game. The only thing we try to avoid are articles about relatively common guns that have provenance to an individual no matter how sexy. We feel that these articles are mostly of interest to the piece's owners. Unlike past magazines, we don’t allow Arms Heritage to be used to hype the value of individually owned pieces.
We have received a number of reports about a flood of reproduction (faked) powder flasks recently. They apparently are coming from India and are of high quality, good enough to fool most serious collectors. They are often convincingly marked with makers' names like Dixon, Hawksley, etc.
Please beware of sparklingly new-looking flasks. It appears that original stamping dies may have been obtained.
A Few Thoughts on Powder Flasks
I can offer a few comments here as an afflicted flask collector. It has never been a primary interest for me, as a matter of fact, about a decade ago I sold off my collection of about 85 flasks and swore off buying flasks. They came along eBay and some late night playing on the computer, and bingo, the numbers are building again.
Recently, there have appeared some good reproductions. It seems that about a dozen patterns of the more popular Dixon/Hawksley models are being made currently in India. Generally they can be identified by using the magnifying feature on eBay or by close inspection.. Lookout for too sharp edges, springs that are not well finished and the lack of any signs of wear. One giveaway is the lack of tiny screws to hold the collar to the body of the flask. Strangely (because this would be such an easy remedy) most of the repros have the brass collar soldered to the body. Most of the repros I’ve seen are of the “common top”, exposed spring variety. Much simpler to make than the patent, hidden spring flasks.
But why collect flasks? I used to consider them as a sort of consolation prize at a gunshow. If you couldn’t find anything else there were always a few flasks to feed your collector appetite. A little wear, a rich patina, a few dents and it’s easy to envision a gentleman of yore, afield on the moor, seeking game for the pot. Life was so much simpler then. I guess you have to be a bit of a romantic to understand.
The scope of flask design is immense. Rilling's Powder Flask book, encyclopedic as it was, only touched on the scope of the field. My personal favorite is the dead game motif, I have about a dozen, along with unusual metering devices and history. I bought my last (i.e, I shall never buy another) last week, same as with the one I bought before that.
Some years ago, when 85 or so flasks still hung on the wall , a guest offered an opinion that I clearly suffered from a testosterone deficiency. Up until that point I had intended to show him my pistols, but prudently thought better of the idea.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
(Ed. Note: John is the author of the book
“Queen Anne Pistols” which we will review in
the next issue)