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Air Guns




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THE NORTH ,A,.!v[ERIC!'\N PR.ESS ~·f 11 wa ukee, wu.

Engr,ayin,gs by ~L~1\DEL E.NGR_,_\_ \!IKG CO'.


Preface .


Historical Revi,e"r .r ntroduction

Gell ~ ra 1 Ref e rences '. . Antiquity of the ... C un The A i r Gun a s an Actua 11 tv


Preliminary Specimen Anal ysis

Th e Air Gun as a \"A.I capon ~

Air Gun La \.vs., ~ ~

Ai r Guns, vs. Firearms .

The E low GUll '.

.. ..
.. '. ~
• • • "'
.. .'





The Mystery oi the Bellows Gun

Transitional Spring Guns +

Americ an Galle 1,7 Guns +


Primary X'e,v v ork City Type

Secondary N ew Y'" ork City Type

upstate New York "I'.ype

St. Louis Tvpe

N ew England Type:

Unknown or Questionable Makers QU(lcl<enbush

T',inpIat~ '. ~

European Pneumatic Arms, Introductory Remarks B 11 tt -res c rvoi r ..:.1\, ir Gun s ~ Conti 11 enta I

Outside-lock (:;'uns

'Transitional or Concealed Variety A us trian Btl tt ~ re servoir Ai r Guns










Barrel-surrounding-reservoir Air Guns, German and English .. Ball-reservoi r Air Guns, Continental

Hall over the Barrel JJ er lin Bottom- ba ll . \\! alking-beam-lever

B 1 k A," -...;

, ar- OC '. ~'""\.1 r Guns

.' ..





. '




B ri ti sh . Pn eumati C3 Air Canes

The Giffa:rd Story .Pump-in-butt Air Guns ~ American Pneumatic Arms

Miscellaneous ..










, .

:\1 oderns-e-A G limp se ..

Appendix I, Quackenbush Records ~ Appendix H, Air Gun Con11nents Appendix III_, ~Iakersj List

References ~










Page 1 3 3 4 .s

13 17 18 23

?I:' "';)

33 46 '~4:-

..... .




61 63 64 69 70 72 78 79 80 80

89 92


102 102 103 105 105 lOS l15 123

~ 128 129 133 136 139 143

.. 153 .. 186 195




1. Off -hand ;Sh()()ting, c 1493

2. Off-hand Shooting) c. 1472

3. Saxon Matchlock 11 u sket .

4. Musketeer Firing a Matchlock

5, Bellowst. c. ]495~l500.. ii'

6., Be [lows-operated Hand Organ

,'l~ Hand Organ, c. 1375 ~ .,

8~ Bellows ~..;; ~

9,. Marin's ('?) Gun '. '. ~ ,. ;;

10" Von (;ueri{:'~{e'~s .. A i 1" Gun +

11.. Von Guericke's Air Gun " 12.. Comparative Penetrations ;;

13~ R'lo\v G'llI1 Distrihution "

14 ~ T he Primi ti ve Blow Gun ~ ~

l$~ The Blow Gun in JlIe<ii'e"H,'i Rurope

16~ B 10\"r Cane A dverti sem ents . .. ~

1,7. European B Iow Gun S,~.. ~,~"

l A. I) ist r ibuti mil of B ellows Guns

19. BeUo\\rs Gun, Single-spring 20, Bellows 'Gun! Double-spring

21., Transitional Spring" Guns. '.

22~ Primary New York City Type Gallery Gun 23.~ Primary N ew -Y" or k (~i ty 'Type (if,an e~-: Gun s

2~4,~ Gallerv Pistols ~ . .. ~ '.




.... }U .:::...el.

29 30., 31. 32, ..

33.. 34,.


IkII iii



" ...

37~ $8~



40.., 41~ ,\1'2

''9t, .:~


", '1iI

L-~~ ." f' I" '0, .... .. ~. ' .

. . ·lst 0 I, ~ ustratsons

~ '. .. '.' '.
~ ..
~ .. ..
• '.


.. ' ~
,. '.



. '





~ .. .. '.






Primarv ,N' ew York Cit v' 'T vpe Gall,t':I-v G uns

.1' ~ I. _ ."

Secondary ~ ew 1~ ork City Type Gallery Gun

Upstate New York Type Gallery Gun... ~ ;;

(1; Upstate .N'e\v \T nrk TYPt!, G,al1ery Gun; h. New England Type

Gallerv Gun s I ~ ... '"


St .. - Louis Type Gallery Gun

St. Louis Type Gallery Guns .,

St. Louis Type Ga,n~ ry Guns .'

New England Type Gallery Gun ~ 'European Trigger-guard- lever Spring Guns

European Crank Spring IGUll.S. + 'I " '. '. • 'I' ..

Qu,a.ckenhush and Other Pistols +.

Quackenbush and Haviland & Gunn Spring Guns ~ Quackenbush and Foreign Spring Guns

Tinplate . <I ~ ,I ~ '.

D i str ibut i Oil ,0£' Ou t $] de-li JC 1k' Air Guns.

Locks, Essential Types .. I' <I ~ '. ~ +

Outside-lock Air 'Guns ~


Otttside-loc:k Air Pistol ; Fire 1 .. ight1er . Outside-lock Air Guns

.. .. .. ..


.1)09,(J 7


8 9 11 11 l2 '1' ?


'1' '~: ! ~J


IS 16 20 34 36 40 44- 45 47 52 S2 55 5,,7

$7 58 S8 61 63


63 64 tl5 65 69 '-7" '1'

t', .J

72 i4 75

77 78 81 82 84 ,8,5








Page 87 89 90 92 93- 9~3 94

100 102 103 105 106

+ 109

· 110

· 112 ~ 11.3

119 ~ 124

· 128

· 130


44~ Outside-lock Air Guns ..

45. Distribution of Transitional Type Air Gun ~

46. Transitional Type Air GtU1S

4.7.. IJ istri bu ti on of Au s tri an 13 u tt- re s e rvoi r 1\ i r Guns 48~ Austrian Butt-reservoi r Air Pistols

49. Austrian Butt-reservoir Air Guns

50. Austrian Butt-reservoir Air Guns

51. Barrel=s-ur,rollnding-reservoir Air Guns

52'~ Ball-over-barrel Air Gun.., ~

53. Berlin Hottorn-hall Air Guns .'

54~ Walking-bearn-lever Ball-reservoir Air Gun

5$. Bar-lock Air Guns .






.56. British Bottom-ball ,.1\ ir GUllS 57~ Bate Bottom-ball Air Guns


58. S9~ 60.,

61. 62. 63

. ~

64? H ybrids-c-Out of Time 65.. Unique Unclassified

66. Modern Air Guns

British Air Guns-Late 'Type Back-action -1 ock l\ ir Guns

Cased Air Canes ,; Cane Gun With Trigger Guard .

Giffard Guns " ~ ~

Pump-in-butt Air Guns "

American Pneumatic Air Guns.




133 135 136








Illustrations from Japanese. text, Appendix II~ inc luded between pp. 145-151 .



'\VOLt'F. AIR (~UN'S


It was more than, fifteen years ago that the seed of the present volume was planted. With tIle exception of certain changes of recent date, the manuscript wa s fin ish eel in 1955 ~ L~ t th e ti m e of it s i ncepti on, it H ppc~ltC d that J i ttlc ],1'1(Jt<~ rial, ci tb e r by wa y of specime 1.1 S o r reco rd s s w a s a vai la IJ Ie ~ Duri ng' t II e d el'tu It an d ;;;L half of s:tudiy and research the opinion repeatedly had been reached that the work was done, when, with persistent regu larity ~ additional specimens and data eame to' light, causing amplifieatjon and alteration of conclusions. The field, had been almost enti rely 11 n touch ed ~ Bits of materia I were a Viti lab] e i n an as so rtrnent of sources, but little of a definitive nan rre could he located,

Wh en th e 1113. S8 of data m 0 1'1 nted to i lTIp ress iv c si ze ,; tw o vol um c 3 0 rigi nally were considered. TJI timately, rea 11 zing that it woukl be necessary to publish available findings without waiting until, unquestionably, all was at hand; it was determined to limit the study to its present size and scope.

Here, then, will he found the development of the air gUl1~ its history; forms, relationships, and makers, Bibliographical 1i'stings £ttrnish sources for students who desi rc to g'o aclditioual l,y' ; nto the 'Subject.

During the years of study, arms enthusiasts, were contacted in the hope of ga theri ng additional data, 1\-1 uch was furnished and, in return, the f ndings herein presented were not withhe ld. ] t is \\:'1 th great satisfaction, therefore ~ that an upsurge in air glln interest is noted i li1 numerons l)ublica t]ons~ ]r]cJn~Hng several h1t)u],s but, for the Ul0St part, specific topi.cs in arms magazines.

The writer does not claim to have donr- thr- work alone _ lV ithout the whulehearted cooperation of the arms-loving fraternity it would have been impossible to have produced this volume, Similarly, without the cooperation of the "}1 ilwa ukee Pu h 1 r c M ~.1 S C 1J HI, oth ~ r stud en ts woul d 11 a v c had the same di fficulti es that we would have expe rienced 'had thi s been t he work of one pe rson .

To list the names of all the' friends and advisors \;\·Ol11€1 be impossible. To

"1'" 'II 1 I'll ,t" '~' 1 ··]·1""'

t 11;~ . argr: group~, one ant aJI~ tne writer e.xpresses, rus (eep appreciation. t1(J:='

vidual opinions, where incorporated without mention, may be recognized. Where actual data are supplied" the sou ret: is 1 ;s~:ed in the bill I iog"m'phy,. For inaxl vertent 'O'111i ss io n i nd uIgenee is as kee 1. No li s t of data as vari c( 1 as th is can be pre] ia red wi thou t some error.

\\,i e ackriow ledge with part icular thanks the inval uable aid furnished in. this . t ··'1'·!' b· the foll .,.' .", . · T'·~:·: G·: ·C·"·l·· .. t· "C H· ... + - :-.,., J" f1· th .,.'. of s: .... · 1:1 c..11.S S - U() y_1e 0, 0\\ mg : . 0 ._ iar er u at rrson, "r'J ror ie use 0., ~_ peCl1,"._e"" .

d I I 1 . ".. '11· f h 1 ] (" 1 £

. ,,. .. ~ I' -: ",' ,i I ., ,: ·'~':"I· ': , ," ,"."t ,"~,". i· ;' ", ·:i "", ..", . 1'"." ',., " .. ; I ~ Iii I' 'S, ' 11;,." r · (]i

an , (~7~ ta ron) HS ext ensi \ e co I ection ~ lor tl e rna ny I) _,e~l sa n t 10 U r: ofJ, ." t l rc ) ..

hi S 'I l lU teria 1 s, for h is kind cooperati on. 'i 11 gat h e'ring the photogra phs of h 1 s speci _, mens ior the museum's files, and for his valuable critical sll,gg'estions _: to Samuel ~: '. SIX) i th t '\\7' iSCODS m n S l ~ l OS~' 01. ~ t. standi ng ~ ua r lia 1 a rm s collecto rand w i del v recognized student and writer on arms topics, for his, aid h1 the military aspect and developmental critique of this study ; to ,L., C~ Bewsey, for Bri ti sh rf~tn rrls and inlorrnation ; and to Thomas ,Stich) - a collector and student of S\viss arms for



the use of his specimens and information, Translations thankfully acknowledged are thos e "f rom French sou rce s, hy th e la te H elma .L. "~l 0 Iff T Li b rari a 11.; and those from. the. J apanese, by .J~. J + Gillan, Supervisor of Property; both from the Milwaukee Public 1\'1 U.sC1Ul1 ..

T he scope of the pres ent wor k covers air guns from ear Ii est ti 11lCS to about 1900, along with a glimpse into the present. It has been written in what is hoped will prove to be a readable fashion for the collector. It is not complete. New da ta are constantly corning to light; more are solici ted.

J\111 on g th ~ rn 1. 1.11 e ro u s art i c les w hie h have a.l)peare. d o n the s u h j ect the fa 11 owing are suggested as additional reading, as they either amplify or present the views of other writers,

The M useum Record ; Milwaukee Public Museum, y' 01.. 4 ~ No. 1 ~ J uly ~ 1947, SOInething on Air Guns : \i"ol 6, ]\"'0. 2;! Oct., 1949~. Blow Guns: 'V"ol 7, N(J~ 1, Oct., t'95{)~ Powderless Guns, all by Eldon G. Wolff.

The Gun Collector's Letter, The Gun. Collector" Madison, Whitewater, and l\Iihv3u kee ~ \\7] s. ~ N fl, 4~ ] )e.e., 1940, l-\ Rou'; llet Pi sto] ~ G. Cha rter H arrison j Jr.; No.7, jan .. :t 1947, ~ Repeating Rifle by Stall d enrnayerJ F .. C. Bewsey ; No. 23, J uly, 1948, Ho,v an i\ir Gun Operates, C;, Charter Harrison, Jr.; 1.\0. 36~ June" 1951, Dated XVII Century Air Guns, Arne Hoff.

. The Gun Report, Aledo, Ill. May, 1956, The Lewis and Clark Air Gun; Oct., 1956, The Miracle Gun; Sept. ~ 19.57' .. Haviland and Gunn to Quackenbush; D~c+'; 19S7lt T]l~ Saloon Gun, all by G. Charter Harrison, Jr.

Eldon G. ',V"olff



: ..

...... __.

"I'Ii:'"O'"I 'E"F AI;[) s : :r'~N-- ~ 1r'1! ," •• IJP~·y.i.i. JI."\. ~J'Uoll;, .. "'J

Hi .. I R .'

, istortca I , '",.,'-e'V:1e'\V


l~'ad Oliver C'rOITl\VeH been assassinated hy the air gun, so hopefully' bought Ior that purpose; or had the American Continental Army adopted the air gun., as was p:re sumably proposed at th e t:i In e s and us A t ,lh t r j a later d 11 d ; 11. ~ 'I(] 'h ad Xapoleon not taken, such violent ex,ception to the' use of the air ~un during' his Ty rol can cam pai,gn", -0 ur subject '\,\~'0111d not be as obscure as it is,

The air- gun is but casually known even to collectors 0'( arms and studenes of arms history. In fact, hy most people it is considered little more than an ineffective toy, judgnn.41t being biased by the popular air rifle (or BE gun) v .. ~h'ich tech nically i s neithc ran ai r ,g"u n nor a rifl e.

Th 1S weapon, toy" or gadget seems to have been with us in one 1'Ur1."[1 or another not ,onl_y since the early days of firearms, 'but actually before, It :~s fou nd even in sa v age cul tures, For a ~ ubj oct as li t de known as the air gun there is a surprising quantity or itriorruation available, but this information, particularly as applied to' the €'.ar]y days of. the \V{!,i11)()I1:, is unfortunately rather vague. T t appears to have been j nvented by a number of d i"IT erent people, in different phu.:es, at di Herent times, and in differen t forms. The maj or difficulty arises in detern1ining what was invented. In most cases it is impossi ble to distingui sh between b low guns, spri ng-acti vated 't)tU~ ).\VS' or piston guns~ or true pneun iat i c compressed -a ir weapons,

Leonardo da 'Vinci (5 . .Jj p. 79-3) mentions the air ,g'Lrn casually as a common-

place .. 'using ~':,. '. , 8t0l1C~ . -e '. Ii ke the. 'balls of .an ai r,-,,gu:n ,. . . ~" as a standard of

comparison. In another instance (55~ p. 816) he deals with the construction of an ai r gun r rea t 1 y a bar re 1 ), de scri hi n g its wi rc -'W' 0 und structure an rl t cell niq ue of manufacture, and giving not nn'ly the dimensions of the tube but also those of the' steel da rt to be shot t heref f( nn, H e d escri b e s no 111 echani srn in c (. mn cct 1.0t1 wi th this barrel, which \vou]d Jead one to believe- that rut was a lo~ rrel ~:Lnr,l fllj;t],dng' more ~~1 other - v ... .ords, a ~'II,)o:\\" g. 1"1- n

,.II, .Ii, ""'" I: iI! __ 1. __ , ,I' . u';:'J'. l ... " " , ",I;., , _ ~

That da, \!inci should have mentioned the blow gun is not slnl~rlslng! as this weapon was found in medieval Europe" as well as having been used :~n the primitive culture's of the Amazon Ri ver region in South America, anl0ng the head hunters of Borneo, and in OUf own southeast .. among, for example, the Cherokee Indians,

It is u n ~'i kc ly tha t: t h c. ea T"] Y c laimants to dl e in v en H(Jln o-{ the air gUll 't-V oul d. simply have produced a blow gl1n~ but instead probably wnuld have, developed some mechanical appliance for storing or compressing the air, or, in other words, a substitute for the lung·s.

Of tIl e n 1 eell a n 'i ca l cot 1 t ri v ance s fo r corn p res sin g th e ai r ne eded for disc ha r ge,. the 11'10 S t logical w ould a ppea r to be' thebe 11 0 w s, Thi s i nstrurn en t ha s been k 1.l0'\V n since early times in recorded history and was described by numerous Greek histori an s ~ Stra bo (' 22 5) a scribed the b ellow s to Anacha r si S;, btl t wi t h the eYE den t



conviction that these, the double anchor, and the potter's wheel were of an age far an terio r to' th e Scyt hia n phi 1 f) soph e r.

'The reason for considering the ben O'1\r S gun a san early fo rm of the air ,gun sterns from the fact that most of such pieces now extant exhibit certain characteristics that are reminiscent of IGth century wheel lock guns, While no specimens have been authenticated as earlier than the late 18th century, the highly stylized construed on and inci d en tal mec han i.sJ.TI of thes e pi eces make ita ppa Ten t tha t here is no sudden development, The principle upon which they _ operate is as follcnvs:. A hellows, confined within an iron housing, is iound inside the hollow butt of the piece. To operate the bellows, it is expanded by a crank against the pressure of one or two powerful 'l-springs~ In this connection it is well to note the link so commonly associated with wheel locks. T~1e gUll is discharged by. having the bellows suddenly released through the agency of double set triggers and a uniquely cuntrived release bar which opera tes a sear near the butt plate. l -v he involved chain reaction of this release is reminiscent of that used on the late, heavy crossbows and also on the wheel lock mechanism. Other similarities, of w hi c h the re are many, wil 1 be d j s C usscd in the chapter cove ri ng' thi s type of ,gl] 'n,


N umerous r'eferences are found presuming to identify the air gun and. to establish the ear liest inventors and dates, Several featu res will be noted in them, these heing an agreement in names, a reasonable agreement in dates, and sufficient similarity overall to cause one to wonder what the original sources were, 1"' he re is a great po S 51 hi li ty t ha t U10 st 0 f th c references are re - wo rdings of a common sou rce ~ Anothe r fe atu re w IIi ch is 0 u t s tan eli ng is th e ve ry lip pare n t fact that but little \\'~:J.S known at the time the references were made, Certain vo lumes go consid erahly i nto what should. be. the general subject, but actually is a detailed discussion, not always correct, of a certain. type, which is almost invariab ly identified as • "the air gun.';- Great varie ty does not appear to have been recogni zed by wri ters in the pa st.

In B rockhau s' K 0 n ucr sa ti o ns. ,L e xi k on (3 3 ~ Tf.! in·d b,[; c ks (!) w e find. ," The air gun was apparently invented in 1430 by Cuter 'Of Nuremberg, although also Hans Lobsinger who lived in Xl1rembe.rg in 1566 has been called the. inventor.'

The Dictionnalre Umioersel Ires ~)(i,encrs),ne~, Lettres ei DeJ Arts (oG), 1857, states, "People do not agree as to the time of the invention of the air gun, One attributed it to Marin of Lisieux ~ an d Gute r of r\ urem berg (1560). This invention '\-vas above all perfected in t be last century by Jean and. N ic, Bouilett j gunsmiths of St. Etienne and Paris."

.LA.. ccord ing to .L~ ugu.s t. Demrnin (58, p. 556) " ~ . . the ai r gun ( Gern1a n : rfr i'ndbiichse) was invented by Cuter of N uremberg in 1560 and subsequently improved on by GF.rlac.h and Sars nf Berlin, Contriner of Vienna, Fachter of Liege, Martin Fischer of Suhl, Futter of Dresden, Schreiber of Halle (1760-

\'11:~' 0 T T.i"F' A I''") F':r -:- """T ,So

o "... • , .... 1'1 ,', ~ .l!l." _"- ,_ L .> ..I,"" .. '


J 769)} C:. G. \\7 erne r of Leipsi g (1750-..1780), Guttsc h e of :J,I ers e bu r g , M iill er of \~rarsa,v" Valentin Siegling of Frankfurt, a.Mi, Vrel of Coblenz, Jean and ,~'icholas Bouillet of St. Etienne, nate of England, Facka Speyer of Holland, and others, It is a \veapon in which the explosion is produced by compressed air which is provided by means of a pneumatic pump. Two varieties of air guns are known, nne in which the reservoir :is in the butt, and the other in which a ball reservoir' is affixed either above or below the chamber of the weapon, This attn, 'v hi ch is forbidden in Fran ce, 11i'Ll s t be cl as sif ed a s a repeater tit being capable of disl:h(.,t'rging up to 20 bullets without recharging. Near the end of the 18th century the air gun served during the war in Austria, where it was a special wea pan of certa i n CfH11 pa 11 i es. ; ;

According to Nicholson (177j Pneumatics), "The air-gun is a pneurnatical instrument, of an ingenious contrivance, which wi 11 drive a bullet with great violence, by means of condensed air, forced into an iron ball by a condenser." Subsequently a description of a pump-in-butt air gun" similar to the Sars, and a ban reservoir flint-luck air gun is given, a]ollg with operation instructions, )J 0 suggestion of origin or date is given.

Charles Knight (143) says practically the S~Ul1e tlling and also. illustrates a Sars-type ill ec hanism ..

The air gun is identified iII the New International Encyclopedia (1.31) as " .. + an instrument resembling a sporting rifle designed to discharge darts or bull et s by th e elasti c f 0 tee of com pr essed ai r L A 5 ord ina ri 1 y made, th e a:i r gun consists essentially of an air chamber or reservoir, usually located in the stock, of a condensing syringe. for pumping air into a reservoir, and a valve operated by a trigger~ which admits the compressed air Irom the reservoir to tlie barrel behind the bullet." The article goes on to say that 3. pressure o£ 500 pounds is secured in the reservoir, sufficient for a num ber of shots, and also suggests e s s en tia Is . of 1:1} echani sms,

The American Cyclopedia, (4) 1873, glV'i,ng similar information, illustrates an air gUI'.l in which the barrel of the piece is supposed to serve as the pump cy linder ~ having a piston inserted into it. This device will be discussed later"

In like fashion TIlany other encyclopedias present the then available data, none going into the subject sufficiently to indicate broad knowledge of the device. T t r emai ned necessa ry to anal}' z e th e 11 ro hI ern by d eta 1 le d st 11 d y of specimens, co rrelation of contemporary mention, and interp olati 011 by inference,


'Relative to the antiquity of pn eumati c weapon s, we have, as typica l, the f0110 wing : it-The ancients were acquainted with SOllIC kind of an apparatus by \V ll:i c h a j' r wa S mad e tn act upon t h e s horter arrn of a '1 ever, whi I e the longe r a tin impelled a. projectile; and it is said that Ctesiphus of Alexandria, a celebrated



iill,,:4t'I'" .natical nhilesooher ,,'~'1'" lived R",j;"'-'" 1')0,1 1-'1"- ·''Ii"I·---:!':ll ~,," ,~ ~~r'-"'" ,';I-~ ~"

rna IJ. len iau car I)] .11, "')~ "i.,~ 1)ll .... ,_r " '\i\ 10 ~]" ec '. ..,'l_.,., . ~j ('JJ11"~ ~ r t 1 C iL eo an III ~I!. rum en Ii. In

'\vhi'cb the air, by its clastic force discharged an arrow Irom a, tu be .,"~' (144~ p~ 47)

A ~t- t -- -, - '1· ," ',' i _." the C"'~ . ,I .... N' "" 'i' '0' ,1' 'F ~, 1 '( 5-' 3' '14-')' t'[~' ,,-, "T: 1 " -.",

~~, aeln'ent ]S tna,tle Ul I; le ' ,,e~ oe ,3".y cata og , '-'" p~ !' .:1.1 at " ._lel e

1. s also preser ved in 'the l\ rmory nf Schmetan an air gun bearing the date. of 1.47 4 .. ~' The earliest reference (1.83-4) to this remark is found in the Journal of the Franklin Institute (84f p .. .287) where the following is noted. "It is a curious fac t, that altho u,g h the air PlUU[l is a mod if: rn ~ n venti on; YIP\" ~ h Ir: air g'l.! n ~ w,'h ich is so nearly allied to it, in the construction of its valves and condensing syringe, should have existed long antecedent to it : for it is recorded that au ail." gun. was made for Henry the Fourth, IJV :rvlarin of Liseau, in Normandv . as earlv as 1.408)

". ~ .. or" ,~ r.

and another was preserved in the armoury at SChnl€tan .• bearing the date of 1474"

The air gun of the present day is, however, very I.E fferent Irom that \\. r hich was I 0 rm er 1 y mad e ~ and which di scha rged hut one bu 11 et a f te r a In ng a 11d tedi 011 s process of condensation, while it I1(HY discharges five or six without any" visible variation in force, and will act uuun a dozen, tll0ngh with less effect.' This.

it L.. ..

quotation will, in part, appt~'ar as source in subsequent notes.

R,ebta,rding this gun F'~ ,~l~ Feldhaus (7'8) comments as follows, ~~ An air gun from the vear 1474- :i s found men ti onerl h v Mu sschei 11, roe k in i In I rod '1.,' c J io tul

p ~

phiJosophitl-'1:u natural, T" 11" #2'1.1.1. It was found in the arms cabinet of' the

Lord of S·" '1-" -,( ....... ,... G-·' '" ,',,' Lt -,_,' li", ~.' :r" ~ "~. - .. ,,~ ~ ,'-- -, --I 't·· T't, , '-' ,,~, "~'" '

...vr _ 01, .. cnme ,!k\1.U in .. '·C'rn_'iiany,~ was, nowever, very meompic c, ,_J.C 0llUl.l.on dates of such apparatux is always to he taken. with care, I, however, find neither the tlme nor the place where the aforementioned arms cabi net was.'

'n .. 1]·' f ] ,.~ 1 d J lJl- ~

'I rarm '-~"'_' r-r'O"S"'-'_":_'j":' : ,~'I"" ,: ,';,,',1 '"';;;"'1'" ,,'_ ',,','.'" "~',',.:,'~ ','r

lle "\ arious spei. ings 0 the name .'":H., unettau are nn e~ .. ian - a _ . e~ iecause as dll}

studr t 'f'- the G','Qt-- ... la ""''''''.'1'::1. '-"'·11- t', tifv " "I'" '1i~!!o ,j:·~t-:i';; •. , free - ttl ~ alte ",1 stu en 0 me . 1;,., man ,(+nguage \\ 1 i tes 1. )'~, a [OU .ne IS _ 1 equenny arteren,

j n translations into English, into a single, Also, if one does not observe closely, a lower C~L~~ ", U n call be misread j 'n." With this and the corrohorati on of date in mind, we can assume that these references ate to the .58.11'1(;: place. Tn the Brockhaus Konu. Lexiko« -( 33.~ Schmettau) t.he follo\Yltlg i:-'i in~tT'ld. 'I Scluuettau,

S~, '1 C' ..... unt -,r ,,' .p',' -"-:,",,,'_." '", "'·"1 f~"l"l ' .. ',,1' 1 t:r··T. rd " .-- ,'t" .:~ '-" tillerv

. amue " ." oun "\ all, ., russian gen€ r a ' le ( mars ia ~ ~ 1 an, mas __ er 01 ar _1 rer y "

11·,,: Ma .h '2~ t::. 1 ~81'4 "'!Ii. 'il'" ,: ·'1· " '1· xl "\ ,.j" 'I Ii,) i, ...., ~ 1- · t H lit ~~ I'-I' '!; "- ,',' •

dom ,. arc.. _-v,. u' a,~ __ {~r ltt'l " . ,', -( HX l.t.lgt.lSI!. .. o~ 11 J, a: -l,er. UL (. sa\-\'

service, according tn the article, in ,;\tars of the Spanish Succession. in Poland, Si ci ly, and. 1 ta 1 y 0;' again s:t the .Fi rene h in the Rhi nc con n t ri es, .a,ga inst t be- Ttl rks

, •. -11' ~.] '] -'--t-~ 'or .~.~ .. tior ., ~,'i" ·"f r·· t , ]-.' ~'P-, ti ,_ .. s-'- .. '~; , ~ Sch - .·lIt, 'J. jj.

1.0 .De "gra.(~e, c"c~ .,,,,,,0 ln01Ca. Ion 1.5 g.~V en !iriS.o a ,Ot: .. a Ion ~ _ur.ll $l, .•• , t"lIIU;1l, .. alL I l-

.is probable that the t'O"'" is a noble accessory to an existing family name, cornmonly employed in hi,gli military rank, although the Coun: should normally indica te the n tune a s '~' h at' n( a place.

The q uot~'lt i',on fro 1'11 l )ietc'r van !\l u~ssc h en b ro e'k,. .g-i. 've:n by Fe I d haus., stJeru:s to indic.ate tta,at th'e ahnve~ C:nu,nt \'on Sclunettau ,va.s tt:h.e n\vne.r OL the aflllS cahinct. 'Thrlll;S schenh roe k ] i v ed i rOU1 1692 to ] 761" and hi s b oole 'Vvas p u bIT i s h,ed po sthutno'Usly itt ] 762. SeJl.nll,ettatl ,1I{as l\1.usschenbrock's sel1:ior hy eight years and p rec ed ell hhn ill (lea t h by te n. N 0 1110 red eta i led 'ref e rence to S (' hUlettatl has been fOl1nd~ nor is uny :inforll1ation pre~entlv avaiJablc a~ to his ])oss(;'ssions.

- ~ ,

.i\.ccnrding to Feldhaus (78) the ear1iest inventor of w'hieh there is allY record is C;'nter of N l u·einberg \vho is suppost~d to have invente.d ·an. <~i r gtU1 in 14.30..

There is a sugge::;tion of doubt and confusion regarding this reference, as ad 11'1 i t:t:r. d l;y Fe Id hall S wh o q n ( ) te ~ the s ta temen t an rl say s tl 1 erca f ter :

" (-~ - i fie . I . fi d i J c" \~' 1'1 n • ,. :; l" __] Ji. ~ -. I ~ 1 E fi

'-' .Jtlt,tt is I .rst iuenuned 'Ill " I, ~,/ i(J r )e(hng S /1 rCl'H'V (l.,(;>~'~ {'t.;i ut2"r£H·r~'l~'1'" -,,,,-

d -ung Cll ~ Leipzi g" 1792,~ p. 5 18" I t. is remarkable that the t \l~ 0 "\10 rthy K u rem I )erg cl -, '0""· '1 ,,'_ ,_- ~': 1\,:1 - ~. (n'" -_;.-", ",'_--, i"':;!' ib. - d- " :"/' '. .~ "t-~'", 'd +-k-- -/1'- ,r, - ;tr ~', sb "., ] ~O'-" :1 ): cnrr n Ice IS, "\' on lY-l U1 [ ,.L .. scm (d")t,u19 er .:;1' eruu. uro (!J Ci., C',~ H,I r~ urn e'J}) "c", "

and Soeben kees (K'I fin e Chr o·tliA~ ,i.V' Urn berg s J' 1790) know 'nothing reg a rding thi s ~ -. ,', ,-- t "" - 1-' -- tlu ~"'k -t'~ the ]" 'tf.;' -, it ~ ,",':' "',,,., '-1 t~ .. t'· ,'" 142·9-· ' "'1-'" sh ''Iio- .ith inverr or. n me wort 0" ne ,a, rer 1., ,]S announcer mat In . peop e s ,011", "'1 ',.

Buchsen. at marks : however, that this occurred with air gUllS is not stated."

Gustav Freytag (85) gives a surprising amount of data regarding the German shooting festivals which arose about 1300 and continued for five centuries thereafter'. The descriptions of Sll(){)ting techniques ,sllg,gcsl firearms, in add ition to crossbows, 'but the innovations and changes noted would alkrw the use of air guns a Iso, They a re, however, not noted, The following po,mnts. lead one to wonder precisely what arms were used,

The N uremberg Chronicle of 1493 (44) ~ now in the library of the \V iscon sin St"lte I] j storical Society, ShO\,,8 au [llustration of a 111LU'l shooting off-hand \V'~ til an unidentified light ,gun at: a disk target (l.,j'ig,. l). From what is known of (irearn lS

Fig. 1.. Off-ha,nd ShootiIlg, c, 149.l

Fr0111 C hronicon l~lurl?~nbfrQens€"_ The shooter is shown '1 eft- 1, arulerl, pro bahly due to a. rever-sal OI the origi nal eng raving,

(Neg. 195687)

n.[ tl\~ prriod;, off-hand Sh.oOti11g at a, mark seems unlikely, although target shooting with guns was already established (85) '. J\-1~ Thierbach (228"1 P'., ,7) j discussing th e d evelopm en t of t he mate h loc k, say s~, !, VI' hi s improv en1 en t, w hich now f rst

',' '--1" ," --' ;,~'bl" th ~"+ ~1 .',. , ~ ," t "'t '.. 'I' , et .. , tl - s: st 1"·' If' ". e the 15'th-

n1~( e P()~~l .' .e ,U: se,llI(lng O,L a Iarget, can )e Sf, iu fne ,I rrs 13u' or f ne .t:., _ "

century, 1420 1440.: t H c, however, neither su~gCgts what the target could have heen nor descri bes the means of holding the ar111 while shootitlg. The improvement i s identified bv him as one over the hand cannon.

. J -

In s upport of the possi hi] i ty of off -han d s hooti I1g 0 f a hand can non or uta tch ~ lock c:~~, .. 'T), l "J Pav G"'~, ~1'" ."-", ~ (. '~-U·1 " 8,-) ·:'-I~ .. ,t .. '·ee~' '-l' ,,", ,.'.',,, r ~ .. , '- '\1",I-t', -~, ,. IO[ _'j ~'ll J'\,alp 1 ,a.J ne- ' 'd.~ \\e), ,.II o·-r'~, p.. ' ,. 1_ ~n~,r,:l.!L, ,OJ (1, (, ra.\\ 109 101U . d. U r.UlS

('F'i g., 2), cdi t ~ on I 4,72~, ] 11 ,\ .. '11 i'e:h:r 1 n cornpa ny \v i n 1 c ross hn",: nll~ n ~ g'~.l n n~]I":S are


M IL \V J\. T r K I:E PT ~'BL I C ]\.f I ~ S F, I J JI,'f P L Hr. T C :'\:T ION S t ':\J 1-T IS TOR Y 1

sh own firing in a sor t of off -hand fa shi on, J\. . C. C l ep h an in us trate s a ha rq ue busi e r of the rei gn of Maximilian 1, c. 1500,. hea vy rna tchlock off-hand, an apparently d:i fficu It undertaking,

(45, p. 63, fig . .22) firing a 'very

i'"rhi~rEJach., 110'\VeVerJ later discusses (228, P 24) j' and illustrates (228, fig. 40) a Saxon musket and forked test as dating from the time of Duke Christian II,.

)) ::,.0:" ... i" "i.'i~ •

,'. .:- .-.

< ( U· :.:

.... :- ......

Fig. 2.

o ff'-ha n d Shooting, c. 1472. Front. Payrie-Ga llwey, q noting '\~ al tur ius.

(Neg, 195693).

at the end. of the ] 6th century (Fig' . .3) ,. The use of the forked rest with the slowly matchlock ·i s understan dahl e.

J. Schon (209, p. 31~. fig .. 36) states that the arms were lightened near the end of the 16th century 7 hut that the musketeers of the time included in their eql.1.ipment a forked rest for the matchlock musket, and illustrates its use (Fig. 4).

T·hi.s incidental information is indicative of the r~rl:snning which has led wonder whether the Biichsen which were "shot at marks" and the poorly

us to ilhlS=

Saxon Matchlock Musket, End of the 16th century. (Ne.g, 195692)


Fig,. 4. Musketeer Firing a M atchlock. End nf the 16t.h ceu tury i (~e'g, 195689)

trated targeteer in the ::\1' uremberg Chronicle of 149.3 might HUt. indeed m ~1 in stances 'be references to air gn1.1S~ probably of the bellows type,.

\:V" e also find the elate of 1.560 gi',\7'cn for' Guter's supposed invention of the air' gun (58t P .. 5.56). This date is the same as: that ascribed to 1- ans Lobsinger, alsn o~ 1'\ uf'·e.n1berg,. Here we have an authenticated. individual and we also have a clue as to. the type .of mechanism he could ha ve produced, Lobsinger was one

Regarding the etymology of the German word Bii(..·,hsf'-J'f,~ atLention is called to file source of a related term, harquebus (or arquebus] i which is identified (242) as a comhination of 11u~ :I talian words arco (bo\l!) and buso lntgio (hollow, pierced), This \vott'ld indicate the possibHity of the origi'naJ harquebus, having' been something similar to a. s~url)Of\~~ or perhaps a bow-powered piston or air gnn~ The German form of this word is Hukenblichs», iuentifiea as an arquebus or a hook gu 11 (226~ p, 33);; The latter portion of the statement appears to be an apology for lack of in lrn'mation, inasmuch as the old hand cannon that have the hoo ks to r p resu m ed s 11 ppo rt 011 Tarn pa rt s ha ve no re semb lance to th e H rr IU e t JUS as C0111nl0nlv identi ned.


There is no c:.1 early delineated trail in German for 1'1 iichsen. H it means box, as has been popularly claimed, it bas no association with a firearm. \\r ere it to actually mean box or bellows, not only would the term he explained, but the

' .. , .. ,: Iv . ,. £ ..... , ... ; .. ,.; and :'H ,~'~,!:" ,~, ,', .~. II, ,1 .] .. r. itelv .... '1:' . it· ·t'I' -.~ ,.~. " .. ""._, ",_.,- ,-', -['l, , lizi ,-r

ear J re ere J1Ce an I [w nstra t Ion w on. ( ( ,(1':] ~ ~ 1 r f':: ,} pOI n _ .0 tne ai (' gun, . xe a izmg

the. problem 0'£ complexity in linguistic or'i,gins lor 'the word, it is admitted that

. zreat d'" 'I ,:.r ", I .. : bilitv i,·· .'.'.,~ '1"'~'1J';] 1 ,.'-. ~""'" t ... :"- '. ,.' ".' .. ]- . ,~ -.1- .. :,-, ~:!.:~::.f

a ,g t ra : .. ra~ 011 ,P rona _ )1.1] J is inv 0 '\ L"t..l ,1 ere, "I;::; ru e In. so m ucn (.1 r tnc a na.I,} S l S or

the ea:d.v air gun,

,,, "

In Beckman's History of Invention (15_. p. 63) we find considerable infnrrnati on rega rd i n g Lo Lsi ng er and his h ello ws, from w hi ch it wo u ld a ppea r tha t Lobsinger's a .. ir gun either consisted of some kind of bellows-operated mechanism or else a spring-driven piston, of the order ()f ~1 syringe~ although Edward Hop ki ns (1.28~ :p" 76) is more specif c. 1-1 e says ~ ,i j, I n 1..51'0 Hans J,~ bsi n ger Jo of Xu rem be rg. i nven ted the he I, 10 \~.,1 S \V l.1h one fol d, w hich is still 'found i 1.1 old orgn n s ~,' ~ The origi nal source is, unfortunately, not given, and, aside from the a,Cl{11,'O'Nledgement of his invention; we cannot be assured of Lohsingcr's design. Nor docs this author interest himself further.

,i,th' O.;"'ft··, I ~ idivid ··.i·. wh -, '.",'" ted " ~'1 .~. de .. " '. f" - 'I ~ '-1,( ' .. - . everal

0.1, I., ose ~Lec 1.11.1 v I(Jl3IS \\ 10 opera. co ann mac ,e a, name ,OJ. umseu In se . '~~'_."

fi elds, and ~ tis 'to t h is happy c i rc um sta nee that XV(! can ar ri ve at the 1)( issibl e . '.' ij- ... ,. , - ,[. I·' "" , z .. : ,-' [ tior .\ ·c·~ . ' .• 1,:0, - .' tc F" ldhr ~.( 7·!t) )" ,:'., ]:"" 5, '0' I "'[ b < 0"', ,." de r. _. site d nature OlU; inven Ion . .l"'\CCOl( lng 0 ei naus .... 0,[ t in .e: .. _A}Sln~Cr,cpo~n c .

with the magistrates of the city a description or several of his in ventions, one of these being an air gun~ The actual description is lost, but a record of its deposit remains. It was not pu hli shed ~ btl t Doppelma y r g i ve ~ .~,i rni 1 ar info rma tion regard'ing ,it in. his Hlstorischen Nuchrichien 'von j\r urnberqer Mathematikcrn nnd Kiinstler, i\;-i;r1f.beT'!J'~ 1730, Anm. X, ... X. A,-ccording' to a note in Soehenkees' Chronicle, Lohsi ngcr i nven ted an ai r gun about 1.560,. F n asm II c has '] iere t J1 e t 'j n je, place, and person ,are definite~y given, [one can credit ,gret;'1ter pnssihility tn the accuracy of the sta rem ent,

f\ transcrjpt o F Rr.cl_nitlJnl~.~' lVOTd~ (1ST pi,. 66) i llustrates the varying possihilities which have been accepted piecemeal by a number of writers. i'] n the middle of the sixteenth century IiV'e(i at Nuremberg .an a rtist called Hans I .obsiuger, who, in the year 1550; gav',e 'to the magistrates of that city a catalogue of his machines, From this catalogue Doppelmayer concludes that he under= stood the art of maki ng small and large bellows without leather, entirely of wood, which could be used in smelting-houses and for organs, and 1] kewisc copper bellows that always emitted a like degree of wi no. As T .obsinger xl1ade organs, he, perhaps, fell upon this invention ; 'but in what it actually consisted, Of' whether it might: not have died with him, ,I have not 'been able to learn,

\. ~'J 'I d~ I· 1 '1 ~ ... ... k .. r ] b ]'~ 'lit

Agrico a, '\V ']0 ,:I,~' :JU t ,Ie vea f ",j,,j,",,, rna es no mennon 4), - ';VOO( en -: e "IOVi:S~

- ~

It is quire reasonable that Lobsingcr's would not have been a true pneumatic gun in which compressed air is stored in a reservoir pending release hy <1 valve mechanism, This is somewhat horne nut by E. 1,. K. :&rlu1.eykc.r;s statement (163" lJ~ 1) that I. R, Porta describes an air gun in his Jf a.qia naturalis (1. S89) . which contained a brazen cylinder for the compression of the air (a syringe ?') '.

Lest. there be any doubt: regarding these claims or the existence of a 'b~'11()ws

., 1 ~ f' f ~ 1" 'I - ,,," ~ "11 '" hi 'J

" I '-,'-'IOr'It. ',. '":.l " . I' ,. ,r .;.---- .. -_',' ,", .. 't" . " .. ,.~. __ .r .-',. """ ',-',-~ '11'-'- I,..or.;· ,-, .... -, -.~ '. ," ~-,

1.1t acceptable orrn ,o:r a gun at t us ;( ate, '\:f€: relet. to certam 1 ustranons w rcn

not on 1y prove our conten tion, but also show in dctai I what bellows we re k,110WT- n ~

Tl F N 1· t' ~ t Alb ht D·· ,] 1 h' · t f-'

. , '," .-. ''''i.; .. .. ,_- ... --,~ ~'" ,: .• '~ .::. '. ' - '.':).' ,~.- ... '. ".,_''' _' .. '~.' '1' ' •. , '" Co -,,'

.. ,,1 e .. ' an H_. 1L_: :. U Ten 1. J erg c1 r .. ,1 S ., ~," .mrecr , U 1 e r J w 10 las ! ern recog 111.Z e( tor

" -

his meticulous detail, illustrates a bellows (67 i No. '106) in his "Torture of St

John by Domitian," attributed to' the period 149S.-l5(XJ~ The instrument is there shown used. to blow u.p a fire ( 'F'ig. 5).

\oVOLFl:"", ~.o\IR GU~S

Hans ,:\Je:rnling (14,30~1495) ~ the Flemish painter oi portraits and religious su b j ect s ~ ill ustra tes (170) a n urnhe r of h cUO\~tS in cc in n ect i on w i. t h hand o r,ga ns of a peculiar design, showi ng- t '1'~ bellows from various ang~,(~~ and ira. considerable

detail ( Fig, ()). .

14 g 1 500 F -- , H T .. ,'~ ] I 1 J .. ,..

Bello\vs~ c. ~ :9J'~,'., : rom Durer's 'Torture or ~t.. 0 In L}Y _ )ollnHtuL '

(X ce. 195688)

~ ~ ~ : ~.: • '. •• 'I. : ,I .; ......

H.~?;~ ; .~~ ~:~> I

.' ; )

, ,i .. :":.: ..

... .

ii:_.;"·I-t7' 6

c-" '0. I.

Bellows-operated Hand Organ. From ~:letnHr!Jg's shrine of St. U'rsuj'ai.:. 1-489. (~eg. 195686)

While the hand organ is not shown in detail .. a depiction of it (_Fig" 7) exists on a monumental brass dating c. 1375 (1.1.1, p1. ]7)"

I t takes but Ii 11'1 e :i maginat i on to vi 8U:1 lize the d eve lopm en t. of a. be no \\. S glui from such an organ, the structu re appearing vr:r,}I ,~ill~il,ar ('Fi,g,. 8) ~ The truly curious fact is that. such a device was not hit upon sooner than it was, Another item 'VI1icl'1 strikes one forcibly is the fact that the hand organ does 1'10t appear to have been. used in Nuremberg in 1 )ii rer's time, inasmuch as he never illustrated it. Presumablv he was not acouainted with it. else whv did 'he not include it in

,.. nl ~ r.-

at least one illustration?


12 MIL \V AU K.EE Pl-BLIC J!k[ rSI::.-e l\l l=>"CBI ,IC.AT I O~\1 S IN HISTORY: 1

Fig, 7. Hand Organ. c. 1375+ Fr- .. 1111 a brass. mon tun. ell t, England. (Neg. :195690)

Whether l .. obsingers bellows "vas a new invention in Nuremberg we (rank ly cannot he certain. He could, reasonably, have hea-rd of the hand organ through a traveler J or even visited F'landers himself, and thereafter applied the mechani sm to the organs which he made, as an improvement over the water-and-cask bellows previously used. Subsequently he could have been popularly credited with the invention.

Relative to the matter of a syringe, Sir E .. .,;.~. Wallis Rudge, in his monumental wor k, "~'T b e ~!I ummy' ~ (3 7 ~ p., 204) ~ q noting Carey ~ s trans] (:1 ti on of H erodot II S , describes the usc of the syringe in the embalming of the dead of ancient Egypt" stating, "'\~V'heu, they have charged their syringes with oil made fronl cedar, they fill the abdomen of the corpse without making any incision or taking nut the bowels, hut inject it at the fundament .. r. .' " 'I he operation as described by Herodotus precludes the po~sibility of mere reeds having been employed through lung power.

A variety of air syringe or bellows is found in branches of the Indonesian cultures. This device consists of a. cylinder into which is fitted a piston and

TI· 0. .

. r' ~g. d.~

R ellows. Fr DIn a s i ng Ie-sp ring bell ows gun by J 0 s. M 0 n d. ( Neg. 426832)


driving rod. Tile valve effect is produced hy a packing of cornhusks and chicken feathers which, in the retracting motion, permit the entry of air into the cylinder but nominally prevent its exit by anv other means than the correct port (47,

~ ,.,

Pi 415) . Admittedly, the device 1S far from airtight, hut it is sufficiently effective

to penni tits use in the smel tj ng of meta] s. Whi le it i s 'i in pos si b Ie to d ate the

1'] d f 1- 1 f hi 1. •. • • ffi'''· ~

mecnanism, the spreao 0,' t.1C 'CU, ture 0 -, "V, 'lCL1 :It is a component 'IS SUo cient rn

area and in recng n 1 za b 1 e age to in di ca te the remote an tiq n ity "\v hi ch is a s sociated with th e working of metal.

Consi deri 11 g the matter of crediti n.g the invcn tion of' the air gun, to any single

';:"1~ d ividual withe ut 'f~ tr th er investigation F- eld ]'1~~~'~'Ii_": savs ,(,''''',''' o P" 2, ' .... 1: 2:,·") {"'O-', n 10::.

,U.:a.,,1. L, ,. ... v , "i"ll 1 "d", 'Ii.., Inv'!.. "",,I :-a· Ill" ,,,- (, ~I~ .. ,~ ,;;!I~,..) ~, 0, I" ,',' "I II,;:-

'. l~ - '" 'JI d · - 1- Al dri C .. '1 .,. 1 I' 1 I

~.~,-,!)" , ,,': ,', ,,~', 1 ",-'" "1-" :, ',;0" ", ' -:: ' " -'--, ~,,:, ,',~ , , ",I ,"':' : - :" --1'~ ," -', ",',

ml!:),lt ] ust as we ere, It t ae ,', exan rtan '" tesip l.US \\ 1t 1. a S10U,( er ,\ capon

because even he is identified as the inventor of an air-gun out or which one could catapt 11 t stc n 0=0 S ,.,'

"'- ,', .,:1:, ',' , ,: __ ,J, .._ "~ •


It: is 'not until we reach the late years of 'the l oth century that 'VIe. can. definitely say that a. true ai r gun has come into being .. About 1602, if not earlier, according to Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary (l44j p. 47) ~ Marin le Bourgeois of Lisicux designed a pneumatic gun which was seen at that time by David Rivault and published in his Elemens d~ Ariillerie, printed previous

to 1608., This air gun was ex hibi ted before H enr y IV of Nava rre, Hug h B. C~ Pollard (]86, p~ 122:) stares that it was l)feserlted to H,e:m-lry of Navarre prior to 1600 (Fig, 9) ~ 1\1 ari n Ie Bou rgeoi s, accord in g to the Wallace Collection Catalog (164j, p, 348) ~ was the brother of Jean Ic Bourgeois" a watchmaker and gunsmith of j .. isieux.

There is considerable confusion regarding the name of le 130nrgeo1s,. in the cla ri fica tion of w hich we h a v e b een as si sted by Dr, Steven \7. Grancsa y (1. 01 ) . As it can readily be translated "citizen" (Fr. bouraeois); he is usually referred


to in arms works as "Marin, citizen (or bourgeois) of Lisieux." Accordingly, we have one Sf r i es of data for tb 1 s ta len ted ~ u d i v i d ua 1. rec 0 rd r:d U 11 de r the name of Marin (or a lso !V1.a rti 1.1) ~ and anot he r rega rd i ng both hi m an d h is brother J ran rec ordcd under the name of Le B ourgeois.

One writer in the Bioqraphie Uniuerselle (26), dealing with t.he life of Marin, "citizen of Lisicux," is surprised to find that no other biographer had mentioned so. extraordinary an artist. This is by no means the only instance of confusion regarding the men whose names have been associated with the early forms of the air gun .

An excellent example of this ron f U S1 on is the reference to be found in the Daly Catalog (5.3, p. 14), which gives us th.e ear liest date for the invention of the air gun thus fat found: "The air gnn ., .. dates back to the 15th Century, .. , as indicated by a record in the Castle of Henry 4th at Poe, indicating that an air g-nn was made lor him in 1408~ s s 'The da.nger wi th any date w hich is the earliest for anything is that it 11'kl.Y he picked UI) blindly and used to the exclusion of later dates that may be far better authenticated. In this ease it Is apparent that whoever compiled the l:Cl.talog remembered a previous reference to an air gun which was made 'for Henry I\T of Navarre, obviously that of Marin, In r.he~king the dates of Henry I\r~ the compiler inadvertently took Henry T\r of England (\vho was born 1387; ruled from 1399 to 1413; died 1422), thereby p1acing the date of the invention of this air gun ahead p-recisely two centuries. There is little q uestion about the error ~ as Henry 1\7 of X'avarre (horn 1553, ruled 1589 to 1610) had a castle at Pall .. not at. Poe as given in the Daly Catalog, which would he carrying coincidence too [ar. In substantiation of this, l..ippin·cott' s Pronouncing Gazetteer (1 59,. p~ 14'13·) gi ves thi ~ information: "P AU',. (po}, a town in France ~ , ~ Pall was the capital. of the old province of Bearn, Henry 1\7 was bo rn in. its ancient royal castl e. , , .i\11 a tt ern pt s to I oca te a to wn or cas tle of floe (in any phonetic form ) in Englund failed.

One of the interesting references to the air gun in the 16th century is that g'iven in tile A utobiograph y of Benvenuto Cellini (4?, p. 3iO), in which he says, (;. ~ ~ a shower of hail began to fall. ~ . ,. At first the hail was somewhat larger than pellets f r01TI a popgun, and. wh en they s truck me, they h 1.1 rt con s i rlera bl y ~ Little by little it increased in size, until the stones might be compared to balls from a crossbow, . . i 'The hail now grC\~l to the size of 'big lemons, H This was written about 1544_

Th e well know n name as soc ia ted with the ea r 1 y developmen t of the ai r gun is that of 'Otto 'von Guericke, the Mayer or Magdeburg .. who is better known for 11 i s Iamou s '\l agel ebu rg hemispheres. In conn ection wi t h the air gt1n~ von Guericke is often credited with the invention of the air cO.1npressor (131, Air Compressor) r This is possible, although the pump that ~VOl1 Gucricke is known to have employed was the exhaust pUIUp lor creating a partial VaCUUTIL It is not definitely stated whether the Mayor described his own invention, but he is supposed to have descr iberl an air gun of the compressed air type .. nne. which today would be considered an. unusual construction.

'\VOL fF ... A lR (~U :\I"'S


D~ 141'

r'lg~ '.'~

Vo n Gue ric ke t s !\ i l' Gun, }\. ccord i:n,g to l.f. al eyka.

. ,..~ ,~ n ~n·}"'·'

( l\ eg, l'Y~')Y...;., J

The air in this arm (Fig. 10) is presumably compressed 'by the act of seating the bullet, encased in a leather wad, 'into the barrel by means of the ramrod, the air in the barrel compressed thereby. When the ball is seated, the air is held confined 'in an adjacent reservoir by means of at petcock. Turning the petcock permits the compressed air to escape suddenly into 'the 'barrel and drive out the

bull p t and \\ ~a(:t pre - ill ma 'I ~ -.. wi tho ut mucl f ) nx Mal #" v ~ .. ,.... (- 1 t:) ',J!' .Ill.: -r f..- ,).. "'II ~ I So

" ,,; ;!:; ... ~ IL: ~<'.JI" tn :ljll ';,1: 'u. JI) '1: .'1,.<1, " ~; 1 rorce. ,.11,\" _ cyxa .. j,'1,. .,)" ug.. 0 L h ~~-'

tratcs a portion of this mechan ism and. id-e-ntiries it us von G"ueri:c'ke~s. Feldhaus

(.79~ p. 3(8) shows a cannon which appears to be similarly constructed, but ~ays nothing about it. He does, however ~ note (7H~ p. 272) that ~~ N urem herg c raftsmen prepared a. r C::Lnt1011.S out of '\V hich '1 t was possi hle to shoot four pound halls 400 paces through two inch beards."

Maleyka remarks (163,. p.. 5) that the air in such ,:1, load-compression gun would be 11 nd er about on c atn iosphere of :I)r-e-ss 11 re + It ] $:" howe-ver, qlles t io 11.11 hie w hethe r th i.s d ev ice w au ld ft 1 ncti 't)11. at al ~ :i n the m an ner (lese ri bed. A possi bi Ii ty exists of the, barrel having been the cy Iindcr of a pump a nd that, by repeated thrusts with a properly headed ramrod-piston, a reasonable compression of air in the res e rvoi r UTi g ht 11a ve bee 11 a. tta i ned. Even s 0 ~ th e eff ci ency of the d evicc would hav-e been very low ~ certainly too low for a cannon. \V·hat complicates the

~ Fr·

matter i So the fact lhat no normal valve is prescnt : instead, a iaut~'e-t ,is provided

Ior releasing' the air, Such a device would he di'ffie-ult to operate in connection with a pump.

An ojt-repe-ated rumor might not be amiss here, 'i nasmuc h as we arc still dealing with prohabi lities, It 'would have been feasible to place a proper quantity of .gL1np()~"c1cr into the reservoir, which, in the. r.ase ni the cannon .. appears to be quite strong, and thereafter ignite the enclosed powder by heat. The resulting


71. ,f r L- -,'P i 'i"T 1"'1'" 'E- 1''I'U' ''I'); LIe .... 'r "If T S I"lr "\ f' P U' B' LI C" \ '1'10' . '.T '. ~'~'- 1~j']- t!'_,Pf'Q' 'ny'·

1.'t..L. .',. - "'V r.~ \._. ~l ~ l,=-", ~~ _ ...• .l ~,." III ~ '£_ -'{~ ... . . i-· . r .... .,::Jl ..Ii 1"!1i n. ~~ Jl ._" ..L~ _.

: 1

ga~,es. trapped. within the re . servoir could then he n::~leased, at will in discharging the. weapon (,F"ig . I 1 ) "

Whether 'this pn ~lbabi lity is reasonable or not l1r1a,y be decided by the evidence of the: S~:nls= Dud ley pneumatic ,gun" Qu.oting the l\~ ew I nternational Encyclopedia

Fiz. 11. Von G,lt~ri(~k'f'~S ",4.. if Gun.

Accord ing to Felrlha 11S. The original source is unknown. The s ta ad upon whic h the bal I, rests may he a furnace for indirect ign'ilt'io 11 0 f grmpowder .in, th e g,~ o b e, '~~ l U~ .P ]'ou ucii 19' ,!.Sa S es f or ~,H Sf: 1.1 ~il r ge,.

(1\ eg" ] 95691)

(, l 3· l), the Sims-Dudley was a .field cannon with a range of f rom 2It)(X) in J60fJ yards. It consisted (l~ ,n. lower, or combustion tube, ,7 feet: hHlg- and ,4,y~, inches in diameter, and. an upper tube, or barrel 20 feet long and 20 inches in diameter. mounted on a regular f1e:~.(] gun c3.-rri.age. ,,~c.artridge inserted in the breech of the C:0111 bust i on c i ian J 'I) era n d con tai nin g' a 7 ~ to 9~otlnce ch ~ rg-e of s mokeless powd er ~ is fired; this compresses the air in the lower chamber so that it passes "into the upper ttl be or barre 1 1 iehi nd the pro j ("'~ct'i lr: and forces it on t. The proj ectile was a tight casing, f llerl with explosive, fired by a time Iuse, or l}y n contact fuse upon s t riki ng .

In 1886 L .. ieut, E. I,,,; Zalinski of the United States Armv was involved in the


invention of a pneuma tir ,gun for th rowi ng proj ectiles filled with dynamite, The



Vesuvius, which was later built for the United States Navy, was equipped with three of these guns. The range was considered tuo small and the oi fire ins uffici en t to Ina ke it a s e rviceahl e wea pan on shi pboard ( 1 ~11 ) ~


Grad ually;p_ after the long meander through the realms of historical probability." it is possible to arrive at a paint in the developrne nt of air guns where, although q uestio n s s ti 1'1 p res en t 111 ems elves -' a c t ual 5 pecim en s a re av ai la hl e -for analy si s.

W hi 1 e the story f rom here on wi 11 be d eve lope din som cdc tai 1 in s uc cecd in g chapters, a brier resume will serve to point uut the items of importance arid the re la t i 0 nsh ips of the va ri ous types,

Th e earl i est v ari et v w hie 11 can be fitted i nto the s c r i e sis the un narn ed one


which we can the outside-lock pneumatic. Arms of this type have butt-reservoirs,

basically similar but intrinsically different locks, and simple barrels. "The outsidelock pneumatic gun is usually not marked with the maker's name, From the standpoint 0'£ its essential lock mechanism it assumes a definite place in the evolution of the true air gun. I t appears to ha ve gi ven wa y to pneumatic guns in which the reservoirs were enclosed in the hollowed-out butts, the discharge mechanisms of which followed the principle of the outside-lock .. but were built upon the flint-lock mechanism, ... Actually, these pieces lonk like flint-locks and cant if hut casually' examined, pass for them, This type of weapon has 'been found marked with names of known indi viduals dating around 17S0~

The mechanism does not appear' to have been standardized for SOIne years, however, and transition examples exist in which the air purnp for filling the reservoir became an integral part of the arm .. it being placed in the butt, and the reservoir thereupon be'lng moved ahead into the wrist and, in instances, oJ around the barrel. The latter is the Sat's type mentioned previously,

A no ther li ne of d ev elopm ent occ u r red in til e pro duct ion of the rem ova 1) I e ball-reservuir, a variety which assumed great importance and survived for a consi dera hie length of ti me until it became known as the .,~ old dange rous system, of glohe reservoirs" (200~ p. 8). Following the ball-reservoir we find the cane. gun in which the reservoir could be located either in the rear portion of the ann or surrounding the barrel.

It appears that the pneumatic weapons to this point in their developmental hi. sto 11'" arc repeaters, that is, the compressed air in the reservoirs was not exhausted with a sing·lc discharg e. As manv as twentv to forty shots are possible

" ~ _ r

with a well filled reservoir. Single shot pneumatics, with few exceptions, are

remarkably recent and current, such examples as the Crnsman, Rochester, Apache, and Sheridan l)Clng quite familiar to American readers ..

i\ t an unkn own date a dive rge n C~ oct u rred w 11 i ch 11' tima t ely res ul ted in th e production of a radically different type of weapon .. the spring gun, which employed

Sp'~·i ng gnus of complex iorrn became quite prominent in America slul'T'tly after the Civil ,lVaT. period, They were developed further in shnplified. form, p r: imarily e , (1 ackenb (",':t.. •• ~ '," 1 1",,· '~", f' '. ,~,·,·"t,'· '.4"0' "··n"'R ~"'" 1I"rf.t"his in ~'UaCl\etIU~~u arms, anc tnen, ~xcept or cnntrnnatron as ,'". gtlnS, ,1E'h. ',','

country entirely, They became important thereafter in Europe, where the pneumarie gun was displaced, until its production ceased entirely. At present, spring gun s a re th~ r u 1 f: in E 1.1 rope;, all (1 Hg ht pn ell mati c sin A 111 ~ ri ca, conlp le tel y rev e r s i ng the S! tuation which exi sted in the last century.

ai r for d i scha J btl t did, not have the a i: r t ruder CO]U.p ression until the instant of use. The pre:sun~ab~j" earliest variety, the bellows gUl1:t has already been noted. It is in reality a Iorrn uf spring gun, the release of the cocked spT'ing furnishing the power necessary for the momentary compression of air.

The basic p0culia,tit~·{ of an spring glU1S is the' lack of a valve and reservoir, which eliminated the ne.{~es~jity: of ,(1 pumping sy stem. ";~Jso,, these ph~C'{~'s, are (Jf necessi ty ~ing-] e-s hot weapon s. Th e 1)( rwer 0-[ spri ng ,gun,s, is relat h;'c-iy 'J i nl, ired '.

The COID1l10n characteristic of spring guns, aside from the bellows type, is, th C use of a pi stan and cy lind e r-e-actua Il y a form o r 1 ~ 1.1 m p or s yri nge+ T l ca n he identified as a simplification of the pneumatic .[{un,~ the pU111P itself bei ng employed directly, spring' impelled, instead o( being an intermediate device for charging

"J ;'" ,0.;;:: ~ r' "'\:0'('''1, J~ I'"

1LI.i J. ~~..;:.. .~ "_,I·, _' p.


The usc of the air ,gun in the past for hunting' 'V'US ~uf'pris'ing'I'y extensive,

, , -

although very limited in militias, La '\'"8 regulating it have heen widely q noted.

, .

Maleyka (163, p. 3) includes an interesting section on air guns as, hunti .. ng '\.ve:apnn.s in which odd facts are brought to ]1ght~ Quoting the unnamed author

,~ (Count von, Mellin ") of 8" hunting book produced in ]779, he says.~ "For shooting one' has two varieties of g t l ns, [I. r st those out of w 1 ~ i c h the 1 ead is shot by :1i1Ca,n s of powder, the second t bose ou t: o:f' wh ieh the lead is, d riven through. the pressure of air, The first is cal led a sharp gun and the latter a \ll.indgu'n., ~ '. 7

~,~ I n the SID11 ~ 11 1.1 11 ti 11 g 1 )no k f~f 1779 it is sta ted t ha t general [y three h u nd red stroke s of the pump .. vere n ecess ary to Ell th e btl 11 ( reserv 01 r ) wi th at r . 1~ his ai r was sufficient for from twenty to twenty-four shots. With 'the first six shots the lead bullet is claimed to have been able to pierce a deer at from seventy to. elghty

'" paces, The subsequent shots were, with gradually reduced, pressure in the reservoir, weaker. (';'l1llS also were claimed to have been made which permitted greater volume of compressed air to pass out when the' reservoir was opened. by proper pressure upon the valve,

"A counting device i=l'ffixed tu the gun informed one of the number of d18- charges, simplifying the counting process for the shooter,

"According to old reports; as for example, 'das Schiesswesen,' the German hunting paper of November 30th, and December t7tll, 1905:!, Louis V~III~ Land-



grave of Hessen (169'1-1768) preferred to use air guns rather than firearms for big ganle hunting. In the rutting season or 1747 this ruler, with his air gun, brought down a 22-·point stag of 4·80 pounds \v'eight in Battenberg, The antlers wei'g'h~d 24U PfHHl.(h;. Many great deer and ~:ln unnumbered amount or wild boar are claimed to h ave fa llen sa cri fi ce to hi S uner ri ng ail~' gun.

"The Experimental Station of N eumannswalde in 1905 ( Schiesswesen Deutsche Jii.gerzeitung, Dec, 17:! 1905) inspected and experimented with an air gun from the alms collection of the Schloss Pfaffroda in Saxony where it had been placed for keeping. The 9_5 rnrn. round bullet was wrapped with thin paper and targeted at a total shooting range of approximately 5.00 meters. ..,;\.1 a 35 meter distance a 3 em, fir board was pierced, The flight speed amounted to about 200 meters per second.

"With due respect to the value of the gun as a museum specimen and to be on the safe side, the reservoir was tilted with only 100 strokes in spite of the fact that in its time it was intended fo r more . The re sult of th e investigati 011 wa s that the penetrating power of the air gun in 'question was sufficient, upon extreme pressure upon the valve), to kill hig galll.e at a distance of lOO paces.

"F ine sho t has also been fired au t of ai r guns j for w hich purpose a wood or pa pe r w ad wa s first loaded into the ba rrel, A si de from smooth b or es ~ guns w hie h had straight rifling found use with shot. '.;

Maleyka's quotations will bear comment. It is interesting to encounter a hunting book which gives details on air guns, and particularly' one which identifies them by name, The German word for air' gun is Windbiichse. The ,~ v ord I \\1 ind," i.e .. movable air, is identified instead of simply air. Occasionally one encounte rs Fngli sh references La wind guns also, a possihl y 'literal translation from th e Ge rman wh ere it was presu rnah ly fi rst identi fied, The French term fusU a. oen lid en ti fi es th e wea pon a s a. gttn wi th a valve.

We have encountered a reference to an existing air gun which has a counting device affixed, This operates with gears and is reminiscent of the footage indicator O't1 a motion picture camera,

The. suggest i' on, of penetration and resulting effectiveness is quite reasonable in view of our experiments, ,A pressure of 750 pounds per square inch of carbon dioxide was introduced into a ball reservoir and a bullet discharged from a rifled air' gun; P enetra ti 011 eff ecti vene ss wa ~ rea 11 z ed \v hen the hard pine board s w hi ch served as a tar get we re S p Ii t. A. Ken tuc ky ri fie wa s the n tested uncle r simi lar circu mstance s, usi 11 g ~'ti grai n s of :FFG powd er ~ The Kentuc ky bullet penetrated. only a half inch deeper t han that 0-£ the air gun" its extreme penetration being only t\VO and one-half inches (Fig. 12) r

l\ strange phenomenon is here apparent. The air gun i~.j jrorn the standpoint of pressures used, decidedly [note efficient than the fire arm, It .appears that gas, confi ne d un d er pressure and the n ::;11 dd en 1 v re leased. ha s a re La ti velv 1110 re p' .. 0 werfu 1

~. -

Fig. 12.

Compara ti ve [lcllct.ra lions.

Uppcr : From a ban-reservoir air r ifle. Reservoir pressure, 1$0 pounds of c arb 0' n-rl ioxi de,

Lower ~ 1~:1501n a. rifle. Load, 35 grains F14" (; black powder. _

Bu th sho t,.:; \V'il;:T~ made at a range of about twenty ~f.t~t. T lH~ di.,:,~inl i la If IiulE(~t~ 'V(!''f,C designed for the guns in which used.

(Keg~ 42(066)

effect upon a. proj teet ru 1,(,; than ha s the nasccrrt g,as g-r n e rated by tIl e hurni n g or lex,p los i on 0' gl W n pr)'\,\,·( 1 er ~

]~'ca.'hz;ing' that the !(ent.ueky rifle has LR~C'n proven cfftct,ru'Vc against deer, elk, and bu ffalo i'~ ~ N ,n rt ~II, /\ n te r i ca ~ w e ca u vr eU accept d ~ e' repo [( of ~ ~ ~ ~ 480 -pou nd trophy brought down by an air gun, in Battenberg,

I~ elati ve to th: j nat ter of air shutg lUJ.S,~, we ha ve successiully eiuployed a breech -loading arm (')J~ the Austrian type against a variety of small game,

It might he (I~ If'st'j ~)nr.d why air guns are not buil t Iur rnure e»: t reiue pressnres and thereby become more effective. This is answered when one remembers that goa,s liq ucfics at definite pr~g.sure~ and, depending upon the gas used, au tornatical br limits the arms, In the case of a Iiquid carbon dioxide gun, such H~ the- Giffard, +11- e" ,'::Jt- '1; ~i n 1- ust vola 't- ;'['["'1";('! befor t:-" it can 1,.)e employed the n'r-;AS~111r--'e' I"')J: the ('T-:'iS at- that

,1;,.., ,'. JL!L ,i,Ji. {.Il I "'~' • C ,{,I" :~, ,;.........i .. _ ~_ ," ..... i .... ,c' r" '" , ,~~' 'L,I(,,~, _"~' 1'" -.......:.J, '"', ' - "",, I, h..; ~,i(:1,. , (' l,ll"

~Iale:lktt, notes the preS'UJlle\ ] effectiveness of the arm used at ~ cumannswakle, stating 'that: the penetrati ng ,r(nl;e:'I" ,nr the air gun in question was ,~nfn,r'm,efl~;, upon extreme pr(~.s.sur-e upon the va,h .. 'e~ to kill hiig' g~arne at a distance ,(),( m 00 paces, This frequently repeated remark, which indicates an ad] ustablc trigger-valve mechaniSI1l1" remains to be prov'en" If we assume that the pressure on the valve was an internal one. actually the pressure in the reservoir, instead of an adjustable pressure by the trigger upon the exi t or outer s'iti ~ of the valve, the rx pressl011, "extreme pressure upon the valve" makes sense. J t E S hard to understand why the reservoir pressure was not so i(lentified~ unless it was the peculiarity' of Malevka's phraseology. The balance of his article:" however, is verv clear.

d' rJ" ~.. .!f/'

... An ad] ustablc trigger, or as has been so Irequeutly suggested, a variable one, is precisely what is not wanted in an air gun. /\11 adjustable t'rigge-r' would have

'\VOl,FF . AIR cu r.\ S



to be altered, so frequently to COlTIpensate fen: pressure losses as to be more or less of a nuisance. Also, a trigger with a variable potential is undesirable because, without any effort, nne migbt hold Lack too long on the trigger and expend the contents of the reservoir in Clue blast, a disconcerting' experience, indeed! None of the m ec hani 8111 s \v hi ch we have exam i ned has 1110rc tha 11 the firm, a 1]110 st instan tan eo us t hrns t a D'3. i nst the valve to op' ,. eli" and ther ea f ter an a b so lute release

~ .

to permit closure. This device is invariably between trigger and valve;' no direct

tr,i.ggf.r-tn~v::t lve control has been round except in. cases of single shot weapons where it is accepta 1) le. If ever one existed in multiple pressure arms, it has either been altered or discarded. Incidentally" no alterations from such, a possible system have been encountered. 1.\"1" ormallv, red need l)r{~s.sure within a reservoi r slow s

r" •

down the valve closure, C0111,pcnsating 'for pressure d r,nps, One model of the

G'iffard~ with a n adj ust able ha nuner stroke 7 is (it possible exception of dou ht r [1.1 value. SOlnc current gas gUI15 arc similarly equipped,

YV· e are indebted to Mr. T .. ~ C. Bewsey for additional notes on hunting with the air g'nT1~ and can do no better than quote his remarks completely,

"Baillie-Grohman, author of (Sport in the Alps,' mentions the use of air gu,ns for red deer shooting- in Germany during the seventeenth century." (17.)

~~ ~C:olonel Thornton's Sporting Tour in France.' quoted in J olmson's Sportsmans Cyclopedia-c-/Atter trying for a considerable time we at length found; and the 'bounds having a ,good scent, ran tolerably Ior about t\VO hours, during which time T got only one view of the garne; hnwever. he soon lJegan to run shorter in rings and lie down ; and as the sun got up the scent became weaker. I then dismounted and took lIly stand under an oak; intending to have a shot at tIle roe-buck with the air gun which had succeeded so. well at the wild boar, but before I could pull the trigger; he was in thick covert.

~~ 'After a fcvv r'jng~ and cold hunting, we catn,€' wi thin twenty yards, when 1 discharged rny pit:ce~ and wax convinced both hy his springinc and the sound of the ball .. that I had hit him. I gave several view-halloos, but th€ company either did not hear or could not unrlersta nd 11'1 e; a lthntIgh had T shot wi t h powder they m us t have been apprised by the repo rt.

,,' 'After some further rnnni l"lg- " .. T rode hefr. rc him, and put. a. ban hctween

11l ,Co ""~; ~d (_,

." ',," .. 'to , ... --,'.


,," "The rest of the company soon. carne up .. and were highly delighted, but the keepers could not comprehend the- nature of an air gun, though they carefully examined The piece, and the effect of the ban. It must, in this instance, have shot very weak, or the first shot must have gone through the deer's head; hut it had broken the shoulder, and being turned, 'by the hone, had come out through the skin or the neck. This was deemed very extraordinarv : but I once shot a deer with

~ / .

the same gun, at Thornville H.oyal~ which was 'in the act of leaping a fence: the hall went in at the shoulder exactly opposite the heart, but it turned at the hellv

r ~

between the skin and the intestines, and came out at the hock.'

~~TlH~ Col nnel (] 757-'1823) is considered a pretty reliable writer. Sir 'V\.T al ter

The use of the air gun as a military arm has been fillllitoo ~ according to a vailable information, to the Austrians. Such, effectiveness was experienced by the opposing F rench troops du ring the 'T yrolcan campaign that Xa poleon ordered the summary

. """ 't·,·" ... -, -, 'f: .' ':0' A --t- .,,..,, 1;;" ".::I ""." tl ~'I" ~,., .. , ,: ~I""l'l':-' "·'ea' -, (' ,~' ~1' 1-' ~ ',',' '·'1 rd tld

execution 0 an) ,r\U~ .rian round w 1. 1. an air gun. "~IS w " P J!.1 Vii in )(,. 111(, U, e ,

in a later chapter.

Scott in reviewi ng hi s ~ T ou r th rough th e X ort hem Pa rts 0]' Eng] and and th e great part of the Highlands aI' Seotlantl~' tuok exception to the great amount of technical sporting details therein" but this peculiarity just suits 'us+ The French tour took place in 1802"

t":1Ii 'F "'1" I,) J l ,,~ S · C"""~ '1 m • I -- ., 1 icl iI, '\ ~ (.... ,

,~ro:nl , ', ,D't,OLlnson s ' ..... ,po:rts:nlarlfs "~yc~nrJe(_i.a,,,· ,gJ,_ ~ arucie _if'I.:r .nms,:

afte r a ve r.y genera l. descri pti on :'---

,~ 'F or buck ,0 r d Cit! r shooting the best ai r gun is not, su fficien tl y po w erful ; Io r rook shooti ng it is very w ell calculated j' and cou ld we s top here, it would be very well, hn t th 'j ~ ~ ni sc 11.1 e v i ou sins t rUITI en t has sometime s b een a. pp 1 i ed to the most diabolical purposes ; and ~,t length has found its way into the hands of the poacher who willingly uses it for noctu rnal depredations.'

~~I consider the last i)art of this most happily ph .. rased. The 'Cyclopedia' has about one thousand pag'es of such stuff! )JOlV for the poacher's opinion ..

~~ From Richard jeffrres' "1~11e Amateur Poacher,' second edition ,]881 ~ The speaker is 'Oby' the' author's "professional' friend ::~

~,.. ~ I had a ai r J,t'll n once as was took f rom line _" but: he weren 't much go; I likes a gun, as throws the shot: wide, but] never shoots any but roosters, unless .1 can catch 'e.m standing stilt';' (.2'1.)-

While the statement remains to he proven., the Catalog 01 Ye Olde Curiosity Shop (undated ~ bitt c. 192.5) in clu des a sugges ti on of ex pc rirnen ta I usc of ai r guns by the Continental i\rlllY duri ng the Amer ican Revolution, ~~ o eorrub()rating da ta ha ve 1. )e-en located, 111 thi s catalog ( 253) we re ad! "t; Air gun wi t h octa gOon brass barrel t stock mad e' en ti rely of i ron to hold ai r J Ge rman si 1 ver moun tID ngs, 'wooden ramrod, t1i ntlock I iau unt'T' (}U side drops down and strjkes lever to release air, ba,rrel34 inches, 50 'inches. overall, Made as a. model for the Continental army by' Peter Ballou, (made the first St;lte House Clock.) t"

Realizing the, pee u liari ties encountered ill the descri ption s of ai r guns in dlt past, the "Ballou" air gun could he anything, beginning with something similar to the unmarked pneumati cs and passing through the development up to types

whic h we date :8; rou nd l820., .

}\.,S regards thi S 111 a ker ~ it is poss i b Ie that the COll1 pi ler of the a hove catalog mi ssp ell e d and confu s ed the na me and date, i\. I) eter Pelai x was 1;\FO rki n g as a gunsmith in Philadelphia in 1816 and, under the name of Peloux, in 1829. He is identified as a maker of flint-Jock rifles similar to the model 1819 (,104, P+ 699) ~

The n10St. interesting series of references to the use of ail" gUllS. in this country during the last century occurs in the Original J ournal of the Lewis and Clark


EX1)e d i ti 011., i 1.1 'v hi ch the rc arc seven teen en tri es specific all y referring to ai r guns (153) + One note identifies Captain I ... ewis' air gun; another states ~ ~ . "we shot the air g'uns . + .' The balance of the entries refer to either "my' or "the" ai r gu 11" an (t note the am az eru en t of T nd '[;1 n o h servers, parti t:1.11a rl v ove r th e killing

, -'

of a deer with the gun. "Forty shots with one load" is stated in an, editor's foot-

note; and, in anoth cr plac e rcie renee .appears to be made to the bellows of the capt ai Jl" S gU,I]. Aetna U y, the note regardi ng the bel I O\V~, '\V hi] e a ppa ren tIy referring to the gun in context, nU1Y mean the blacksmith's bellows, which also a tt racte d cons i derable attention.

There is no descriptive matter available regarding the mechanism of the

. I

weapon ; in all probability none was deemed necessary, Inasmuch as the expedition

extended from 1804 to. 1806, it is reasonable to conjecture that either a ballreservoir or a butt-reser-voir air gun is meant,

Several repa irs rve re needed duri ng the cours e of the trip, springs s eeming to give some trouble. The references, however .. extend rather uniformly through the seven volumes, and no disparaging remarks are included. Presumably the \veapon or weapons functioned very "yell"


It is curious to note that one ·verjl frequently encounters references to laws regulating air guns, Francis Bannerman in his catalogs from 1907 to as late as 192~j (11) states, H·. • • as air gUllS were prohi bited in olden times in Oriental countries, who feared the silent bullet." Thi s statement has become one of the traditions in America, although its source. has been generally forgotten, if ever it was known to those who still quote it, Not only is the law cited, but the "oriental" angle is accepted without question, in spite. of the fact that to date only one referen ce to a n (l ri ental ai r gun is known, and tha t J apanes e . T he pi ece, 111C j den ta 11 Y' j which Bannerman illustrated .in connection with this remark. is an Austrian type with the Girardoni breech.

A ugu ste Dernmi n ~ in hi s b ri ef rema rks 011 ai r glU1 S (58 t p. 556) ~ sta t es that the air gun was forbidden in. France. The Dictiouna.1+YtfJ Ll niuersel Des Lf) Des Letires, et Des Arts (66), discussing air guns from the French point of view, also refers to the prohibition. Pollard (186, p. 122) says, "The air-pistol has heen known since a remote period, and was sternly forbidden as a. weapon during the earliest days of firearms." Feldhaus (79) puts the matter succinctly where he says, HIn guerilla warfare the air-gun was a priceless '\ve-.aPOl1. As. a result Napoleon, in his wars against Austria, caused every person who carried an air-gun to be summarily shot or hanged; If this gun had not accomplished 1111](h, the -(OIPS certainly would have nut CUlTIt under thi s nU1SS r<;guLatiun,;) 11aleyka (1,63, p. 5) includes. it small section entitled "Air Guns Partially Forbidden,' ~ which contains the following remarks :

"The introduction of air gunEi was not universal, This is probably due to the

{act that the relatively si lent ,gUll coukl easily be elll:p loyed for improper pur'poses,~

I, - - ,c- " t_' -r J id 'd .' ,~ ." ~. " , . . t,· ,", .~ "

r w as 011,)1. en m var rous s_ ares,

2. ' ·"4' il" ~ r 'L'Ii_r A l~ I' ~ 'F 1- p'T "''tl L II C' fL1 U co II • r r "'1 [_J li~ 'U Lli'(~ \ T 'f'f) ..... 1' S r lI..'" 1;1. I r.::::,T'O" R. -',Y". '. 'i ..

-e- '~,~ ... t'l( . I ...... ", .. I(! ... : U -Dw' -.It ~ .. :_. ~,~!r L= :'.V. it I, .D' ··1 ..... j" . ,~\. ,I.;'I._", ,'.L.,,\ J~ ...,

I ~ 1 J anns F ricd ric h von F I en 1-111g ,!/ii rites i n his complete 1~ eut sc h f!,}1- J ii. £1 er (Leipzig, 1724) page 31 g (under another title) "The air guns are very dangerous and noborlv is allowed to use them cxcep t officia~ s. ~ ~ j


We cannot, however, discount the matter of assassination with an air gun as sheer nonsense inasmuch ~,i"::, there 1~'~ "", record o ~ "'1'1'1: attempt or1 the l'~i fe.- .r'~~' O·"~~,ver

_v L _ _ _ ; ,I II; v ,Ii, ,L:'" ,~!dI ,,' "",, .., , ~... " , ...... "" ,~ R 0(1). ,L 'il',1. ., _. ,,_ !j, ~ "II:, . vI .,~ _ _

Cro m we ll \ov it h s ueh ,;'1 '"~'ea.pon,. J ~ )J '. 'George (89; P ~ 29) gives :i nteresting i,n.i or = marion relative to this matter and says, "Alter 'die collapse '01 the attempted rising of 1664, the plots 'Of t 11 e l~oyalist f)arty against the Comrnon wealth took a ,fresh 10rr1}, ainling at the assassination of Cromwell rather than at a g'Cl1 eral rising, which was felt to be hopeless as long as he lived .... J\.Tr .. Secretary Thurlo~~ , ~ . was . , . kept well informed with particulars of the various plots


m p rog ress,

~~ ,l\ evertheless, the conspirators devoted much in_g' to planning the destruction Or the Protector, to which end, '~hey purchased a surprising variety of weapons and explosives, including a powerful air-gun, guaranteed to kill at

1"'0·- , .

. J paces, .. '

'!'his glimpse at attr: mpted assassination is enlarged for us by F ~ C. Bewsey (25), who sent the following excerpt from a letter in the "Thurloe's State Papers," (.1 742 editiJom~, rl .. atcd 12th '~oye~llIl.l~r-, ].(555) +

H, ,~ ~ I feare that C~ S. (Charles Stewart) his instrnments have bin deali ng wi th ] na j 0 r Wi I ~ iarn C runt we 11 ~ a nd that some d esigne is plotting to k i II the Protector ; for besides what I gather at the former discourse, 1 finde sir J oseph \\/ agstaff hath bought at l J trecht a gunn e ~ which sliewts with wynde {)111y a DH ll{~t a 1 30 paces, and that 7 times nne after another, with one charging with wynde: It makes no report, or little smoakc CO.H1eS out of it; so 'tis difficult to discerne, whence the shot comes, I am well inform'd, this g:'unne is to he' sent for Englan d _; \\" he-are I am s ue r none kn ows how' to use i t ~ bu t: he that: carrcy $ it ovc r ~ This, 'I do u:11 t ~ is bought for no g()~:ld use; '\"\- h et h er i ( w i 11 'be sent or v,,:: here sl l'i pped 1 cannot tell. ... ,,"

]j ew s e.y (19) b rings th e busi ness up to date i 11 E urope, H e. say s, ~ L V\1,j t h. regard to England and Germany producing spring guns, firearms restrictions are severe 01'-· "1· 1-, t d·" -" ,t .' ffect ",-',:' .. ~' -' .;:," '1'·' 1 .,. ... .- -, .:~. 11 ~ ., B·' ~,., ~, id " tif ed

... I ru .. es JU . 0 no, a" ec ~11, q~ uns, 11 11:::i l:urre.spOntle __ ce ;,e'\'V sey 1- en tn.€:

current "air guns" of the leg,a') 'variety as spring guns._ not true pneumatics. As a result, modern types such as Apache, Sheridan, Crosman, etc, .. ,. are restricted and BU I) j e.c:t; to Iiceuse,

1\ umerous local laws and ordinances exist in the, United States regulati ng or forbidding air guns or any arm so classi fied in popular terms, These laws arc rarely discrirnina tory. They merely j nc lurle surh arms, for purposes uf safety, along with firearms which are not to be used in or near cities or heavily occ 11 pi e d areas,

,,;rOL FF:; AIR (i: L"NS

Air Guns versus, Firearms

When one considers the advantages of the air gun, it is also necessarv to

o ' , .. ¥

review the disadvantages of the firearm, particularly as, they existed in, 'the flint

lock and. earlier igni,tion systems, comparing 'the arms with such disadvantages and limitations wi th tile': coexistent ai r guns, While this may '[)1"'f;Stl.ppost:; its superinrity, the air gun did. have certain objectional features that apparently prevented it from ever being,' taken ttl) seriously by manv nations .

• , J .... r.'" .)

The first and l'110'S,t obvious d" oI the firearm was the, uncertainty of ignition, in which respect the air gun had a. decided advantage. The flint-lock, wheellock, and matchlock were in a state of constant struggle with the clements, and hunting wi th them was €Hs-entia 11y a fair-weather sport, T .ikewi ~e~ bad weather could upset military tactics, and in the matchlock era the ambush as well as the stal k t ng of gam e was pnH~ t l ca i, 1 Y i 11'1 po s sib 1 e.

JA s far as certainty of ],gnition, ] J.~'~" (li~ch;:.9JT,g'e operation, :is concerued, the air

gun never m ']~ ~'~'-;",~ f re except under circumstances 0,£ st ructur al iailure, In the

" ,,_ '"" ~, .~.:J''Ii....;;I' II" II;.,. ........ "" _ '!;,_ '_' " _" ,. II "-,. ~ I ~ II;: ,J! , ,"',,., ., ., ',' . "..I:"L, 'IU, '~, ~ (,I., ,j ,l;., '. , ' , "


thou san ds of expc ri men tal shots (1 isc ha rg-ed with n umerous pne ~ unat ic ,gu J.}S Vi·'C

have never experienced a failure due to this cause, We have had onr troubles wi th the aft gu n 'butt h I,S was not one of them,

f~ xperi e~ 1 ce w it II early ig ni ttion sy.s terns revea Is that in i s'fi res :u re not at a 11. unusual, Matchlocks miss fire because of a number of reasons. The powder in the open pan 111ay fall out if the a rm is not held cor rectl y ., T 'f 'i tis. co r rectl y h el d ~ a. gust of. 'wind. rnay blow out an essential part of the priming, Ii the primer docs stay in the pan; it 1.T1Hy not 'be sufficiently fine to take fire readily and thus ig'nitic,n is further rlelayr,(1. T)re~111Ue that it does ignite OIl schedule ; the flame lTUi.Y" not pt11e-

. ,

trate through the touch hole because of several causes. 'The vent may be fouled

so badly llY previous shots that ignition is impossible, Further, {~V(~t1 granting a clean'fi there rnay' not be any primer in it to communicate the fiame, or the: fame does not penetrate for another reason. II the printer docs ilgnite and the fkune. does 'pr:net ra h:. to the charge ill the cham her, :igui.tion shonkl nOTluaUy uccnr, unless a spoi 'led P()'~'· clef is in the gun. Thi s latter can he, discounted if d esi red f. hut

Ill, : ;:y-'- -',t"·", - ·'·1~ ,~" ,- ,.','.. r.; t-''- •. <fi' 11 ." -1 .,"~ .. , iot ··1, ., 1 tel ,., , .... ,,~t,,·;, •. ,.

ne l~IH IOn U: me arm, m ne " nai ana ,J sis, is no a. )50. 11,(:} Jl-OS.h tv C"

In t he mate h lock th e ut Ice rtaint y of t he 1 uatch i tseli is. a de te r r i] tg' r eat t 11 re _ T-he wheel lock is more positive, producing, as it does, a shower of' sparks within the priming pan itse'IL In. the case of the flint-lock, fouling of the Aiut~ or a poor striking edge, can prevent a sufficiently plentiful supply of sparks such as result from the Iorceable contact of flint and frizzcn. Thus, as \V,,~ have repeatedly eXlx~ r 1 e n ced, 111 e hummer rnav fa 11 wit 110 U t h avi l1g, .. the I' J r] mer isrnite ld,1 all or, as ha s

, ~,~

occ u rred on 1y too 0 £ ten un de r parti cula r 1 y em barrassing ci rc urn stan ce S ~ the p r i m er

may ignite satisfactorily but the chamber charge remain untouched, Hence the expression, ~ ~ just. a flash in the pan." Ideally, the flint-l ock may be considered very satisfactory, but needs a reasonable amount of attention to maintain that condition.

26 M It \IV A U 1(F.:F., ~p UHLIC M 'C-SEU :~I' PUltLICAT 10 KS I).f li:rSTORY : 1

\\,;- hi le the: soun d of t he ex plosi on was an irnporta nt psychologi cal factor ] n the early 'Use of firearms, and for many years one of' its most efr ective ('eat ures a iter till": novelty \VUI,"e off 3,11 d it was f oun d tha t the noi se itsel f d 'I d not: hurt" it began to have its ve ry evident disadvantages, The thought of a sil en t btl 'I Jet was

so'· d. l-,C~O' ncerti ng' a '~ times '1<11"1' t i' became the "'::'lll)J~ ect of some ....... onjecture

,..:¥\... . I. '_ ' . '_ '_ I~ I ~~ . ,II!. _ ~ or"",,," ,n, !Ij_ . lI., J. _ , , "'..-. "...:nJI,. , '-- "w}., ~'-', t l~ _' ~""

. . . .

Hime (1,20~ p. 167) notes the follov\-~ing: "Throughout the w hole gunpowder period, enthusiasts were never "Va.11 ring who believed ,i n the possibility ot making sm okel ess powde rand noi seless powder. . ~ . The belief 'i n a noise le H S powd e-r was scoffed at by \\!h:i tchornc ~ ''1 "here be many who hring up 1i~H.! sayi ng that they can ten how to make powder that shooting in gunnes shall make no noi S'E:;, the which is impossible. ~ j\ century afterwards Sir Thomas Br01vnc 'believed that means might be adopted 'to abate the v:igour thr: reo]', or silence, its 1 iornbulation.' ~ ~ .

An example of the effect of the silent bullet occurs in Thornton's U Sporting

T .... r h I ( ,~ I', \'f" l' 2' . I: 9 ( 24 ) H ('J' 1· · 1 G 1

our .. nrougn to :ranccj'".· or. ':t p. ,:(....,:'~ ~,ne cay 111 parttcurarv Lenerar

[\1 nrtier, in speaking of air-guns, recalled to the recollection 0-£ some officers in. company, a circumstance which happened after the retreat oil' the enemy, but. where J cannot precisely call to mind, He: said, 'do you not remember when I ordered the cannon to cease ii,ring' that an. orderly sergeant who was standing close to us, leaped 'Very high in the air and 111en fell d.uwn'? '\.-\J.e supposed, at first, that he \~vas i,n it fit, and we were ,r:!'I"~atlV' astonished to find him dead, as nothing

- - .

had been seen or heard to injure him, 0'11 his being undressed, however, a ball

was found tn have struck him, which must have been shot Irom an air-gun in, the adj oini ng' h.'e:kl ~ and aim ed at some of us.' 'Yes ~ ~ rep heel one of' the officers t ,~ I remember it very well, and T t hin k \ve had a fortunate escape.'

"Thev the n s ta ted tho. t on accou n t of th i s t reac he rv th ell h tlllg' up.' a ll of that

~ .. J' lU

.c h t f- ·1· '1· ~ - tl "I 1- '" deri - '1 ' '11' 1 t ~

• •• .'.,". • m "~ '!!I". - .,£.' '... "," ,. j' .. .~ , .',' ". I' - -,' .. ..' " -: . ". ; Ii I"' -'!'.'~':" e, .... ':"":. ..0:''1

corps, tna : eu Into ' ien nan: rs, (.O~lS1: f':llllg them nut as suo t ler;:.; Jl1 as assassrns,

and never g-::av'e them anv quarter,

, ... t

"Th cy aCl{]10\V l edgee 1 j tt t t h f~ sam e t in ie ~ t ha t tl u:y I {JS t :l.11(~ ny tin e men by t ha t Corps of Austrians, which they stated to consist of about five hundred men."

The attitude of the officers in this report is. quite understandable, While "they were incen sed at the, use of the si ]cnt bu Ilet ~against them, one wend ers how they would have ('el't- had t hev be-en the owners of such wea non 5 or ha d t hev had

[J ,[ ..

S' '-1- ~ '''-:-.' 'It-- . 'I ., ... T' .~,~, .. ,t '·'1-"-'" . - ... """ . ·---·d'·"-' t' .-] -.,,~.-- , .. nterest ,~',

uc 1 IS .. :,EJe( ~or use. i .n ~Ml) event, mere IS- no question regar In~, t ieir m eres .. ],0,

the c ,'._- " bi - -t-~ tabl ... rl -.-1--'1 .-. -- -", .. ha ".'" .. '. -- sid -,- •.... '. it f" _., ". "]:"t~ '." ' ...

ue ,3.1r ,gun, onjec I,Ol1Uu (I r . tougn tilt} may nave consi iei Cfl 1 rom a l1U JLcU~

standpoint. A ce rtai n ele l nent of t rad 1i {,1 on rna V' ha ve in ,A He-need them also, a


tradition .of. noise and smoke, which would have pre] udiced them against the,

to them, new, horrible, and. unsoldierly "V capon. To the Austrians the ,a; r gun was q u ,j te sat 1 ~r:., r act o~~y an d ~ except 10 r certain p rob] em S Vr~ 11 i c h \\' e w it L d isc ass later; a reasonable arm to employ in war ~ I t appears, however, that the scruples of certain of the gentlemen were ultimately rcmnved, inasmuch ,is 'rllurtOl1 ,also includes notes on the use of the air gun for hunting" in \vhich c;onnection he speak'S of it 1n glov~~i ng terrns (SC't p. 21 ct seq.) .

.LA.nother titcutnsta,l1ce in \vhich the eli,lUiJ.lation of noi:se \vas c1esi rable va\s :111

~'~ .. (] I 'C''':- ,-- T '[:'; (" T -,.._- '-" 'tV." ..... I,· r). r ,~, ._iI ~I I~ ... ~


huntjng~, as the: relative silence of discharge often gaye- the' hunter several shots at t he. same an i ~11~l1 or flock ~ The same a.rgu:mell tis sti U 'used 'by archery en t husiasts, gUllS have also been considered a. poacher's weapon because of the obvious desirahi lity of a noiseless discharge, However, in this connection Payne-Gallwey ( 183 ~ p~ .. 108) say$; ~ "These 'rascals nowadays ,gener,ally usc common ,gllns~ though air guns are not altogether d i sea rded, notwithstan ding' that they make nearly as loud a crack as a lightly-charged fi rearm, and ave not half so effective."

The di s tUI" bing tho ugh t of the as sassin w 110 could 1{111 i 11 si lence ov e r a considerahle range appears to 'have been responsible for at least some of the anti= air-gun legislation of the past,

It is not a question of the ethics involved in these matters which is of interest here, It is simply a recognition that the silent bullet which could only be dis-

h d i~ , l~ ~ 'lIt - 1 1 1 1- 1- - I 1 '1 d (. I

. :... . . . - ,- ~ .. ~.,. ,-" 't' , - .~" .. ,-. . - r - _..' ~ - .-, ~ " .... - . - . - . ~ '- - '., :..' - '- ..

c arge _ J) an all g un Cl(~ ia v e. ar \ antages w lie 1 1ftc to le., consme reo. rt

appears that: the' bullet-shooting cross-bow never attained the efficiency of the air g'1Lln~ \\"SS. cl umsy to handle, and was difficult to prepare for shooting.)

,,\rhi~t!' several moderately successful repeating' mechanisms were produced for firearms of t 11 e pre-cartridge period, the inherent ,I im ,~ta-t ions and incid ental dangers of hulk gunpowder made the single-s'hnl, arm the safest andmost e,fficient one to use, \1\1'; th the. air gUll a;11 assortmen t of pri ncjp 1 es has been a vailable, the specific designs of w h ich w ere optional. They are:

Single pressure charge, single shot.

Si ng le pre's s ure cha rge, m U [ ti ple shot (Vi.:'1 th h u 11 et ~: ll~t_ga ,'1.111 r.') ., £\1 ul ti p le 1) r ess u re charg e, si I] g l.e shot.

Multiple pressure charge, multiple shot.

One material advantage which the air guu therefore possessed over the firearm was the fact that the former adapted itself to rapid fire and repeating mechanisms more readily than did any of the firearms 0'£ the pre-cartridge era. The repeating flint-lock was VCF)" much the. exception; while in, the air' gun of the: 19th and earlier centuries the. repeating arm was the rule and the single shot: pneumatic gun, in which one shot depleted the reservoir, was, according to presently available data almost unknown,

An interesti ng i 1111 s trati on of the problem of design ing repeat i'ng' mecha nisms fur the f i nt lock: as against ai r guns. of the period is t be case which Thi erbach, q uoting Dolleczek, recites of Girardoni (288:" appcn dix, p, .24),~ who origin.aUy

,}'·i 11-1'"'·· '1'·· eatinz ·'·'11·1·,·, .,''','-.- tc ~l-, fm'···'t [', ""k;'- While Id'I~I···I-":I,··tr·:t'"·,· ·I··~ appuer 11,5 relle,l nag mecnarusm 10 It.. ie tun oc ,.'~ 1 e .. .emonst a Ing [lIS

pres Ul11.C d i m P rovemen t, the 111 agazi ne of the gu n ea.'u.g ht fi re ~ exploded, find took off its in vcnto r' s 1 cf t hand. '\\1 hen he recovered ~ G j ra rdoni took that portion n{ his weapon which handled the ball and applied it to at) air gun+ This formed the basis for the Austrian repeating ail" rifle, model 1780~ which will be. discussed later.

ji' ..... l '1 1 £ l' th t 1 ci"ffi':- l-t.' t ~ d '"

. I ~ .' '",. .... .".. .... " _' - .. ', ( . . .' ': i',·' ." T' .' I ..•. ~ - ,- I'" .. , •. ~ ". :.' " Ii' _ .' . .' - ~,," ,'I • " ,

'_ asn-ov er anc OU ,lng "ere. ae 1.\0 n13Jor ' ... 1, I en J'e..,.n overcome m . esrgn-

.2R J\ITT~\\"'A r:l( J{E r?T..:]~r.IC MT__-SE1:"M Pl;BL]CA.T10~S IN HI~·n)l{){' ~ 1

ing a safe flint lock repeater. ~'n matter hnw careful the fitting there was always the danger of the flash from the chamber communicating with the powder magaaine, or the powder channel which led to it, and prematurely igniting the entire amount of the bulk powder in that container. The. same tb'lng has been known to happen during the percussion revolver e ra ~ as many modern users 0-1 Co] t and Remington cap revol vers can te stiiy . 0 ne of the early patents gran ted to Lea vett (1. 5 1) call s for cutting the fo rwar d s u ria ce of the c ham be red cylinder at a11 angle to serve as a flash deflector", Flash-overs obviously did not occur in the repeating air gun .

.. t\ very practical advantage which file air gun possessed over the firearm (considering the use of the older explosives, not the modern non-fouling compounds) is the fact that fhe air gun needs almost no cleaning, while the firearm requires cleaning after every use or it suffers a rapid deterioration. The only fouling which can affect the air gun is that which results from handling, or IrOI'n the possible condensation or moisture in the bore due to the r.nnling effect of the suddenly released air from a reservoir. Lead fouling in the. bore 111,ay cover such moisture and allow corrosion, and, admi ttedly, the leading itself is conducive to a. certain inaccuracy in shooting. However, the gTeat problem of chemical fould.illg which normally results from the use of gunpow-der" is eliminated entirely, Because of an absence of. fouling" the usc of rifling in an air gun presents less or a problem than it does ]11 a fireal~nl; It is interesting to note that air guns, even very old ones, almost invariably are found with well-nigh perfect hores.

I{, in a m uZ7;'1e~ loading rifle 'has a very serious tla:n.ger involved, due to residual sparks in the. coked-up chamber which could), and too often did, ignite the .succeeding charge. .Modern muzzle-loaders would do well to keep thi s in mind r The ai r gun ~ na tural 1 y, had a rna teri al ad van tag e in t hi S Ina tte r in that only the ball needed to be handled, instead of also powder which had to be bong ht, transpo rted, a . .nd m eas 11 red, co ns ta n tl y in an a tm nsp h r. re 0 r d ange r T The propellant for the air gun" th e air, was every1~T here present and untax ed. The problem of getting saltpeter, the primary ingredient of gunpowder. was a very real one, and in instances the control of this commodity became a government monopoly,

:In the air gun the principle of breech-loading also has been the rule rather than the exception as in the firearm, The seal of the breech and the strength' of the structural parts was of less importance in the air gun; One type of breech, found only on air guns:t actually uses the Hexing OT the wooden forestock as the hinge, and all that holds the barrel and receiver together is the strength of the. light, flexible forestock itself, In many other cases the: barrel is really separate -F rani 'the receiver, a j ux taposition of the air port in the receiver and the breech end of the barrel heing the only union present.

From the standpoint of efficiency it is acknowledged that the pressure of the air in the reservoir of a true pneumatic ann is progressively lowered by succeed i ng shots, but j n on r ex perim en ts we have f01:1 nd that, fo r exampl e, the strength between the first and tenth shots is practically the same. The pre-

'u"O·'[· "JI::'F'" Ji;. i1ib (: ~' f'...:;:,

... ' . ,o~.!I" .; ,n'<. U!G "II, ....



sumcd drop in efficiency is really negligible. ,By comparison, in the ease of ,gun~ powder the strength rof several batches mav vary from dav to dav due either

, J _ J ~

t di f t" '" , 1 .. I . l~' " . .'

. - .•..• -,," "', :.1 ,.. •. ~ ", .", ," "" 1Ijj1' i- ", - ,"' -. . - '.II!"..' I' " •. I . - 1-' ,--. . ...... - ", 'il.~. ," .

. 0 modi ca 10n~" In. C0l11.POslt1on or atmosp le;11C ,1UnUC It)" In instances con-

siderably. "C p to the time of the invention of corned powder, 11 rst men ironed in 142() ('l 20-, p. 154), and for q uite some time thereafter, it was customary to mix the ingredients at the time of firing in an attempt to be sure of complete incorporation and to avoid the .sf:p~,ra6(nll of the' t.:ornl)unents while traveling,

F . 'I I 'J f~] r'- ~ . 1-" ')" t

0-"·- '-""'-"'-'"r''' '.' ." !I. .• _ r., _" ,, , -- ~~:.], -" -.- "~ --. ". , , " ,

,.'f a century anc a, nar t ter ea .. ter serpentine, 0]' 111lX,f'(,-Jngrc( lent 1'0\\:( er.

contin u ed in use, With the prod uction of powde rs o ( rather standard s t re ngths ~ this pro b 1'(;.111 0 f va ri a. 6 on was r [hi nimi zed, bu t t hie exi s tence of p(nntd er tes tie r s of rather recent manufacture indicates that the problem still remained at that time,

~l"h- e'-~h is t , ., sibilitv th at tt .. ,"- --.-, - ~ '~ t .. - , ... '~, 0···.· ,_-: d . .r 'I· t(:r ' ..

- . r 'e , .L,~ a POSSI.11 1 'J ,- i\[1.€: air gun "lay nave been use as,d. Hl06Utl In

shooting .Hying game before' the coexistent flint-lock 'because of the fact that t he ,a~ r gu n does not have t he' d:~ stu r hi n g flash in ,t he' pOl nand the' s lowness of 'ignition" which would make the shootili.g of funning' or :flying' g;,ulli,e with a. pneumatic vi;~ea,pnn a practical t:hing" While its effects can he minimized by deli berate practice" the d istu r[)i11.g flash in the pan is. q uitc conducive to Hinch ~ ing, a habit difficult to correct when once established,

From a military standpoint the smoke n:f firing was a decided disadvantage because it 'revealed the position of the shooter and, 1 n the case '0-£ VI)Uf. Y firing as \V HS lo r i 11er~'y considered excellent tacti c S'; the smoke 0'] iscu red th e- v~ si on snffici entl V' to make suceessi v e shots ine ffecti vc e 'H is torv re vea Is 'i nsta nces in

d ~

'w'hie'll bat Hell eld s we re S'O befogged '\V 1'~: h SI uokc t 1: ~,at it was necessa ry to cease

He t iv i ty un ti 1 the wind (:0« ld c lea r the smoke a way, ,0 r else thange tro op positions. This was one of the reasons Franklin gave for suggesting the adoption 0:[ the, long

I - 'J' f~ " . ,~ th' .. "~'.'. '.' ( 8? .., 12." t-'l" '. ., - ~ d ,.', 'to tl: ~ ..' , ' ..~ + d ' -- , 1" ' .' tt . t "1

}O\\ . -0 1. "~ a ~ III J . _"".;,.).- rem _H S stan point . .. 1€ ~H r gun '"' as 1 ear y S1, tareo

and, in one recorded case at lenst, was used as a sniper's rifle.

Another elain1ed. advantage (,),[ the air gun lay in the amount of ammunition which could be carried. The sportsman ur solclier g()j:ng into the field could carry sufficient compressed air in the, reservoir of his gun for possibly forty shots (the latter diminished in powcr ) and could, if he wished, carry extra rr:~!r.f·voirs<, In certain cases there would he a questionable advantage because of the weight of the reservoir, which would be greater than the weight of the powder needed for a similar number of shots. In the Austrian military rifle with the removable butt reservoir it would he considerably more,

\ A- · k .' 1 ~ h I ~ ~A ~ ~ I' _. f '"

Ar ".,- str .,.,.," ,. ,'0: ",: :"·'r·'··· .=,;;.,1,- '"1' , .. -- -." [ .". ,". -,".' ·'1'"' "'1"'" .~l·.· ~."I!" ,"J

, n.., .l1·SL ian mar , sman e<I, w11 _' t le ni r rl ie went into batt c carry In,g

twen t..y - lou r fi lled flask reservoi 1".8 <.79), each of wh i(,~ 11 he ld a poten tia 1 of ul )'\VU rt Is of t w en t v sh ots. It is 'Sa id t hat :H the rese rvoi rs ca fried we re not s u fficient,


rep laceme n ts were a va i la b 1 e f rom w agon S which b rou g ht up th e rear. ;0 I' hi. S l mp Ii cs

an empl acem e nt si rni la r to t 11a t u sed by a. m od e 1"1.1 n iac 1 d ne gl1 11 n e r, wi th sinli Lar e.ffecti.vene~~~ \I\rith norrnal (~quiprnent~ therefore, tl1e soldier YfaS prepared to

d· e .' ~. - '" t, 1 - . --i-,'i80' h .. '.- , .. t, ", .. '. 'j" ... ~,!. ;i:, -~ 1 50' t· ;1,00······ . , ~ F!"";I-' I'~, , .. , .

ed,ver a, ,e"c.lS!l. "-t- .... S,OtS a - a r( ,ary]ng irOlU, ~.... (J 4" ..... pace...:. 1. H~ tllrans

t hat one- corps () f 500 '1 1 It?tl ; such as, Inen t] 01'1 ed in ,t'he i"rhorn ton rept)rt ~ (:o'U ~d

1I .. '1,~-,,-- '2,··tO·',O··,·oo···,'· h""'~ ,,.,,,tl~ _ J fi lid ' .. , I~~" .. , t- T'l~" . ,. "f' fi··~··· ,'" 'i]~~ ..

(1,e.I,1 v er ..... ~_ .' s, 0 I.....: \V 11 n01,1na· ,el ff) Ulpnle'l1 - ~ __ ' lC rate 0. : r C 01 .' le

Girardoui ( .. Austrian) ri He was twentv shots p .. er minute, according to F eldhaus ..

. ~ -' "'-1

Further, one reservoir could last for at least a minute, and the twenty-four,

allowing 'for replacement time, would keep the soldier' busy with his gun for at least a half hLn .. ir. On the 1>30 sis 0-1 1.11 e corps of sex) HH~n, there was a potential fire power of 10~OOO shots per minute, or 300~OOO shots in ,3., half hour, at which time replacement reservoirs ,YO u ld be need ed, Thi S j in vi cw 0 ( the rna t erial wei ghts involved and the then existing rates of fire" is absolutely fantastic, Tt rus 'no wonder that Xapoleon 'Ordered the death of any" and all Austrians caught with air gun:s~

T c ]... ld 1 ,', '[ '. I' " 'I f '13' '1 3 '. i. C-

,: l. ..flt'!,. ,_UUJS ciaun that a corps consisted 0' ,,' J, 111'en ts true, tdCSC ,~lgures are

less than hali of what would appear to have been possible,

It must not be forgotten that these weapons did not heat up due to rapid fire, In. fact, the more rapi clly d:i schargerl, the cooler' a pneurna tic gun is, du e to the chilling cff~ct 0"£ air or gas when suddenly released from confinement under pteSs,UFe"

The elisa d v an hl ge S .:_if the ai r g·ll n are (1 f a. very f u ndamen tal na tu re, "P rimary is the co 1 d, hard matter of cost. The construed on of the wea pO'n required practi ca 1] y eve ry elern en t pre sen t in a firea rm p l11 S th c ad eli tion of certain parts, The first of these was the reservoir for the cornpr essed air. Thi ~ necessitated the forming and welding of' an air-tight container which had to be fitted with a screw joint, In addition to the reservoir a valve assembly was required, This consi sted of a th read to screw on to the gun, a t h rea d to sc rew on to the. reserv oi r j a thread to hold the valve housing, and a valve seat. The latter had to be fitted with sufficient precision to permit th~ retention of air under a pressure of sao pounds or more per square inch. In our experiments we used 750 pounds, gaug,e

, ". '. ~, . 1 f:· . rl - 11 '. , ... " ... '1 f" -- -- -- . tar k'"

,111eaStlf'C( j 01. (.ar)On (I.lOX'lue : ,rOUl a an, ,. ~

o U 1" ex peri enee in ai r g 11 n S (Fe servoi r type s) has been that the' fitting of ·t he

Til e fi tt.i ng' of th e '11 orn va.Iv'e 'to the C1ll) =S ha peel seat req ui red a, preci $1011 of workmanship far above that needed in fitting firearm parts. Even after these 'extra. operations were completed, there: remained the- business of making a pump for charging' the reservoir. This amrntnted to' ,at task at least equa 1 to that required to make a barrel, plus the additional requ-irenlent that the internal surface or bore be 'fitted with sufficient precision to allow a steel piston to make a 8.111) fit within it, the pU1Up chamber, It also required the cutting of at least one more thread.

F . . .. ts " " ·,t ' ,;... "t' -' .-~' - 1 .. t · '1 ~ ~ . ..'.," " tl' . ~ ~ .. . , 1 , ., . . ,~ . ,. ,1' .. ' 1' .. - .-' ,- -1' "·f· , -

or 18 mos 1)r ac icai utuization ie a11 gun arso req Ul1 ec a oreecn 0, SOUle

kind, involving other operations. l\t the very" least, it 111ay be said that the air gun required twice the time needed to produce a firearm of' similar quality and

'1 hi Tl '. I ~ 1 '1 A_' ' 'l' h 1

r ... ' ... . 'I'" ,'.' _---', . ",'_.. ,: '.": ':"'1'" ,,' '. '. '.' ' .. ': "j . ,,- ,< '.""'.',' ,,' 1'1 ~ . -', -:0;' '. 1 .'(''-:

\\ or cmans up . , ie air guns upon, \,. uc 1 tne -" ustrians apparent y put suer lOpe-

were even tun 11 y a 1 iandon ed because of the 5 ta tie of dis repai r into \-\'111'c11. they had fallen. 'The teehni qu es o[ 1112. nu facture are c laimed 'to have been kept. secret (:79)" , nd ., few ." ." " .ret locatio .. ':.'~': tr, ~'I -d ,~:. the ,'" : 1-- :I '.':' ·· .... ialties to : "r,-an . a .C\\ men ~ 1, n secret ioca Ions, \\ ere . a 1_1 e. In" ""e neeo eo s pecia _ '. ies .. .0 P _ 0

duce tl iese arms, I ( nOL bei n,g a matter of (:011101.00. knowledge ,. and. therefore

b ~ .. ... d 1 t d 1 it -" the A - ~

St1 J eel. to pnvate .f&Xperl1nen tat) on, .' eve opmen '}I' anc _' e,xp.oJ •. a.t:I,QD,; IL "I e ,_'"1.,1] strian

mili tary ai r gtt n, at 1 east, fell by the wayside ~ a] though form s of :i t did. survive for a tim e as sporting arms,



valve to its seat req u i res a degree of vV'O r kman ship and mechani cal skin nut to he found in the average gunsmith of today, As an experiment, an old air gun was given to a skilled mechanic of our acquaintance whose skill, incidentally, is sufficien t to permit hint to construct his own precisi Oil measuring instruments. He succeeded in putting the gun into excellent operating' order but never did develop his val ve to the point where it would hold pressure for more than a clay ~

... ~ n air gun in good co nd i ti 0 1.1 and P rope r 1 y fi ttc d shou ld ho.ld p ressu res indefinitely, and one record is in existence uf an air gun v~ r hich had been put away for sixteen years between discharges. Our friendly collaborator, F'~ CoO Bcwsey, tV no q uotes the above; had set aside such a weapon for several years, d uring w~ hich time he was in military service! Thi s gun has been discharged but once since Mr. Bewsey's return and has been retired, in an attempt to beat the six te en yea r record ( 20 ) .

Aside from the actual maintenance of the, valve, there is a considerable problem involved in the pri rnary f tting, as, for .1 nsta nce, the relatively simple operation of properly aligning the stock or ball reservoir 'with the rest of the arm, This might appear to be a minor matte r until the components get out of adj ustment. The amoun t of prot rusion of the valve stern itself is a Ina tter rell uiring fine fi tt.i ng, as i s that of tll e st riker rod w hi ch open s the va lve. The safety' f eatu re 0 n an ai r gun~ con S1 sti 11 g princ ipa By of a me chan ical tri p rend ering the. strik er inup e ra ti ve, is an add i tiona 1 i tern of

From the number of air guns which have been available to us which are finely fitted and eased, in some instances accompanied by complete sets of spare \vorking parts, we have rather come to the conclusion that the air gun, in one part or its Iife at least, was at novelty used hy propl e 0-( wealth \V]-10 had sufficient funds to go in for the unusual. One set carne. equipped with three extra valves, valve stem Sf and springs, '.\1 hat poacher cou ld afford such an arm?

Another disadvantage of the air gun was the physical work required to charge it. The pUUIP accompanying a Bri ti sh air ri f e (129) is marked : ~.~ sao S TT{ O'KES T() FIT ... L EAC'H GLO,BE \\lI'TH .LA._IR~~' Even:1 single charging, accounting for a day's shooting of twenty or more shots, obviously required a great amount of effort. While this would not be an important consideration to a man with servants who could perform such a task, it would certainly be an exhausting matter to a sportsman unless done a day or so previous to a hunt.

An additional iten1 of a negative nature is the element of danger involved in having air u nde r compres sion. T here are seve ral instances of air gun reservoirs having exploded, and one sp ecirnen by B ouillet in the H ar ri so n Coll ection has a piece of metal, approximately two inches long and a half inch wide, welded on the reservoir, apparently (is a repair.

One in cid ent w hich is often reci ted regardi ng the great dange rs accompanyi ng the air gUll is the occurrence that happened to a Mr. Tyssen of Donyland Park, Essex (20). It appears that the gentleman had a servant pUfnp1ng air into a reservoir when suddenly the reservoir and pump parted cornpany and the Iorrner,

.32 i\.fIL\VAel{bE PC"BL.IC l\..[USElJ ~I l'U HLICA1'lONS TYT :HISTORY : 1.

passing upward through the trees, cut off considerable branches. Misquotations have COD'1.e to our a tt ention ,greatly enlarging upon thi S occu rrence \v hi ch, while not specific, givf: the impression that there was a s·jgna] disaster at Donyland Park, even possibly the explosion of an air gun, which reports could 'be gunmake rs' propaganda to di scredi t the arm.

For unknown reason the ball-reservoir has been considered less safe than the btl t t ~ re s e rvoi r ty p e. \~l e have had s ume s pe cula ti on \v i t h Mr ,. n ew s f":y as to the causes 01 the reported and evident explosions, and have considered the possibility of oil having" worked into the reservoirs and causing a diesel-type explosion under the heavy compression of air present therein, \':'/'e have avoided potential trouble lr0111 this source by using compressed carbon dioxide.

E. 1\1. Reilly (200j p~ 1.1) adds to this some interesting comments in his sales brochure, which is dated 1850~ Referring to machine l)unlpS, he says, "The pUluping machine, when turned very rapidly, often produces singular effects w hi c h. C ann 01 a ri &e f rom f ric tion alone" Ilia ve se ell. the meta 1 red 1] ce.d. to nea r ly a b1 ue (~O lou r smoki ng wi th the h ea t ~ 1.11 e horn pa rt of the val v e pa rched l1.P.1 and ha-ve often been inclined to credit the. saying of the \VOrk111en that the air takes fire,"

As au example of the element of cost ser ving to keep the :11 r gun fron1 ever having become an arm of the average person, we lTIUSt consider the wheel lock. In, its early days the only ad vantage that seems to have existed in a flint-lock was the ma tter of co s t. A S far as c ertai n ty of i gni tion wa s con ce rned, the wh ee 1 lock wa s s t1 perio r to th c f in t. T hi s ha s be en co rro [10 rca te d by cxperimen t S v: i th both. ] gn i tion systerns.

A 11"1 i nor iii sadv an t.age of the ai r gun is the [act 1 ha t the reservni r ~ u sed ei th er as a ban or as a butt, 111USt have been unpleasant to handle in cold weather, This was obviated to some extent by covet'ing the stock with leather or cloth, and in some cases making a stocking-cap arrangement over the IJal1 reservoir.

T he ear I y wo rker S 111 us t have. had a con sid er able f ear of rcse rvoi rs. exploding, as is -i n die a ted by t hei r exam ple s having be en almost in varia bl y made or c.oppe: r . La ter they 'V'r~ ere mad e of b ronz e ~ and In st o f iron o t steel. Whi le the softer 111 etal does not have the tensile strength of i ron or s teel, it does have the ad vantage of opening- when it gives vvay and does not fracture or splinter like a grenade.

An ai r reservoi r which has been filled to its critical pressure in a cool room will, of course, increase its pressure and possibly explode when brought out into the warm sunshine. \¥C have wondered, in this connection .. what the fatigue el ern-en t '\'1/ 0 uld be uncle r th e constan t ;s 11 ock '\V av e sind 11 red by th e pe:r ~ od :j r: op e ni ng and sudden closing of the valve against pressure, but conversation with diesel eng-ineers has assured us that under normal use the fatigue element would 'not be present,

Distribution of air guns is limited by another factor somewhat related to previous remarks, The skill required to maintain the valve and certain other parts of an air gun would make it an impractical weapon for use at any distance fn1111 the gun Hlak:'ing centr-rs. For this reason its use, for instance, as a frontier

\V01"FF, AIR (; U NoS


,'\'C'aI)011" woukl he largely out oJ the question. l)s€ under such conditions would require considemble technical ahility on the part of' the' shooter, The outstanding exc-eption appears to he the employment of the air g'l[n I'll the' T .ewis and (]ark Expedi tion prev i ouslv tu entioned,

,_, T'

,.,~ 1 t shoots with marvelous force~;~ says I .eona .. rdo da V iuci (5,5 t p. 816), discussing his presumed blow gun. This nllght 'be an unexpected remark to COUle from SO learned a ~,TH~n who was familiar with the bombards or his day" with the h01V S a 11 t~l c. ro s $'l:~(f ws t 1: ien in use and ~ as a s tu den t of a rm ~ t f ami H ar with the traditions of such things as Archimedes" steam gun and other engines of the ancients, Indeed" it rnay be assumed that it took quite ~cn'~thing to surpr:lse da Vinci,

The effects of the blow gun invariably produce a gas.p of amazement when the \iVea])Ortl is. demonstrared before: a grOUI)~ After a casual acknowledgment of what a hlow gun is, the thud of the proj ecti le on the target produces what da Vinci called a marvel, This is particularly true if. the. obser vets are Iarniliar with the ballistics of firearms, realize the enormous pressure produced by burning gunpowder, and know the meaning of impact,

'This weapon has for so long a time been associated with primitive cultures that it CtUU,e as a distinct shock to find that our early speculations regarding the possi b~ ~ ex istence of E.tll0p~,all blow ,gun~ as fore-runners 0'[ ai r guns were verified, not by deduction, but by the existence of actual specimens and medieval illustrations, all of which will be later presented.

The blow gun is (t very simple device. It consists or a. tube through which, by the shooter's breath, a small projectile is discharged. The tube :tTU1Y h~ constructed. in several ways and the projectiles may vary from simple darts or clay balls to elaborately fabricated pieces which in instances remind (J1H.~ of badminton shuttlecocks"

Primitive hlow ,guns a re lorrml widely dispersed throughout the world (Fig., 13) and may be independent 'inventions in most places, although one could argue. that point at length, They are noticeably absent in the boreal regions._ R' a~: her lit-a. r at hand are those of the Cherokee In dian s n r sou th -easte •. 11. United States" It is also found, along the headwaters and tributaries of the Amazon and

O ,_ .. f S' '1 A" '. 1'1' '. d I 1\"" '1" J

.... ,' I '~'-' . ·I!h·~'jii'·. }t!-., ,.- - ," ,',"1. 1'1 " - _", ..... [ .. ~'. OIl;, .... "_, l- 'J.-:- ' .... - ,- l~----' " ,",'/", I·. ["!!!I I ~ ~,"I !I"," II ' " ...

r 1DO(0 I, f\' ers 0 to, out 1 "nlel lea, as \\ r: as 111 an arounu 1 texic o, ano

the nati ves of' B orneo and adj acen it areas, In man y p laces th e b low gu n ~ either because of degeneration or lack. of development, is considered merely a. toy for children, While at first g]ance the various examples Ircm their several so u rces ,r,l o uld a ppea r to be a'1 lTIO s tid en tical, the re ate d i 'ff erenc es ill st ru ctu re

l tcchni f f' hi 1 11 '. di "1" l' d i 1" · I l' .. . ~

',.":., ' ... ~-[- .. ":" ".--- .~ ..... ,.'. " .. ' "_'-' ."....:__. 1 . _'. ':,' . ,",' ,'1 . - ., ..... ..: ,'" . - ,-1' .. ' ~ .. -,' . ". ""~l .-,-~"

ant technique 0 , lnanu,acture" ic 1 CUll c In reate (" ecir ,e~ 111(, I" H U~1 I ty 1 n n!]g HL

Three basic methods appear to have been used to produce the primitive blow gu n : one, that of d ri lling out a shaft; another, the en largi ng of a soft 0 r h 01] O\;V


'Fig, 13,

B] ow' Gun Dis tri bu do 11..

America: 1. Iroquois,

2. Cherokee an d 1\.[ uskho gea n tribe S I .i~ lv[ exi co an dee n tr al l\ III erica,

4. Amazon and Orinoco rivers tribe-5- 3. East I ndies and Siam,

6. J apan,

Africa: 7. Madagascar.

Europe: 8" Medieval and Renaissance Europe.

9. GetlnallY. 18th century.

10. Erig laml, c. 1876.

Asia :

,J: _. _

t f . . ] '1 I h + d 1 +, h b ·1'1 .'

Cell er 0' a cane or S11111 ar growt 1; anc t iru, sputtmg a c : osen ,1 et, cutting a

primary groove in it and then, after rcuni ting the halves) enlarging the pilot hole, to the desir ed cali bet.

According to William Henry Furness (86~ p~ 113), the best blow guns of the Borneo head. hunters are made of a hard, close-grained, reddish wood, which is not only exceedingly straight but has veryr few knots. ,,/\_ staff of wood about eight feet IOl1g is dressed to a uniform diameter of about three and one-half inches. This staff is inse rted into a ho le in the p latio rrn floor of the house and one operator guides the d rill \v hi 1 e an othe.r doe s the: actual d ril ling. .l\ 51 end cr iron rod, with a roughened, flattened. bit, is worked up and down, gradually producing the desired bore in the billet .. The rough boring takes about eight or nine hours" Furne~,~ does 'Hot give more details about this primary operation, 110r does he clea r ly sta te w hether a turn -d r i IHng techniq ue is empl oy ed 0 r ·\V hether a straight, reciprocating motion alone is used" out in either case, it can be visualized as similar to' drilling a well, It appears that the grain of the wood prevents the drill from devia.ting from center! an almost unbelievable matter to anybody who ever tried to drill a concentric hole in a long piece of stock',

Cantin uing \v] th the repo rt, an abrasi vel s 11 ext app l ied to a ra ttan lap" an d th e bore enlarged to the d esi r eel cal ibe r ~ '~I t j s thus polish ed unti 1. it shine s alma st


0, ••

as. brilliantly as a gun-barrel," Subsequently the outside is dressed to the desi red size,

"Some of the more hi ghly finished blow-pipes are furnished with at sigh t " ~ ~ mad c 0:E a. cowrie, shell im hooded in ,gutta-'perc,ha. near the muzzle '. ~ 4 others have an i ron sight, near the muzz le ~ bound on with rattan,"

I. H.. N r Evans (76, p. 191) states inure briefly that the, Bornean blow gun consists of a. cylindrical tube of hard wood, the rnuezle end of which is fitted with

a- ~'Fr9i'''''''11 '\111'0' '0' den ".,ig"l*' q, lJO" ' " ':, ,- d': " ... itl " £]I.jl.' n ", " 1 lade bel '~''I:'.'' 'u~11.1' ch J" ~ ~PjI~'(1 tif'!.

.t, ,!;:!\u I« , 'y "1,, SJI: l !j" «,I, ., ve: :an. ''VJ'.1 a Ha.iI:. s[~e'~l.r .l~(,~,,' " e ,U'!Il1!l' H·.Ill. "":'" ,;,,;.~" V

, .

serve as a guide tn the dart, but can also be used as a weapon,

H e also mentions the short dart with poisoned tip and conical head of pith which fits the bore of the tube. H In discharging the dart from the blow-pipe the ,ve'apon is not hekl like a. gun as lui,gbt he expected" but is, gripped with both hands

'1 II 11· 1 11- 1 " '1' ~ d' "Ji TtL." .. ' .. I II 'be bs 1

c ose to t ' e rnou tn- prece~, t re KUtaC. cies ,)~Hng upward ~ ','I.I1,S grip \V:I I, , • :' O""~ erven

in most of the illustrati ons of p ri m hi ves shooti ng t heir blow guns,

Dr, Ralp"ll Linton (157) discusses the blow guns of the Tanala, a hill tribe of Madagascar, and, identifies their weapons as being,',',' either a form of cane or a,

'." ... ,.:1

species of palm. In both cases a. short rod is heated red-hot and passed t' the

material, in the case of cane to burn out the joints, in the' case of palm 'to actually produce ,a. hole, The cane guns are rarely 'Over thrco-q uarters inch. ill 'diamete r and are ten to twelve feet long. The wooden (palm) tubes are thicker and shorter, hut never over one and one-quarter inches in diameter, K 0 mouthpieces

l' + .... A b . .. h . de ri ] L_l" .' f' h

are a,p'pJJ]'w,.!,l1 t on, occasi on rawr i' ~. e rings, mao if! lOy LIlTR\Vlng on sections 0., t. e

skin from a cow's tail, are slipped on, while wet and, serve as reinforcements where needed.

Splinters of bamboo, ten to eleven inches long" fletched by wrapping on a vegetable floss, serve as ammunition. Poison is indicated but ,appe-ars to be more " ',' , '" I til -, -1- - " 'J

I "I', 'I'" I, :", I:' -

magl.c.a, " .,a.n ac, ua ..

The b low gun was an i mportant weapon in ancient times ~ It was rarely crnp loyed in open ba ttl e, but was effective in the defense of villages and "for snipi n g from am bush. It iss ti 11 ,i 11, cons tan t use for hunting lem u rs a 11 d ot 11 er si11n.11 game j' and few house holds are w ith ou t OI'H~' i

Lewis V,,, Cummings (,52, not e ,20) gives detailed information regarding the construction, of a blow gun by Sou th American Indians on. a. tributary of the Orinoco River, He claims that the South i~ merican Indians, while not the only ones to use the blow gun, have brought it to the greatest point of developrnent, He says that in their' hands it is, the best weapon the "\~{Jr'ld has. ever known for small and medium-s] zed game (Fig'~ 14)_

Thi s type of blow gun is mad e f rom the stem of a thin ~ \V al i ed species of pa In1.!1 the pithy core of whic h is pushed out with a hard wood rod, preparatory to sizing the bore. As in the previously mentioned Bornean to. be, the smoothing and

'-: " ,1'''1' h'- "'" ...... d - '" ' ·,~t'h·i I ~ 'l~" "",'1""- laos

po, IS. ' . .log IS . one \\11. '_ a.urdSl~ e ',r;;;""

Bob Becker (.'. '14·') ~ in bis :i nterestinv article on Cherokee Indian blow ~.fuus ..

, ... (~ :-: "

states that 'these weapons are made of cane and that in ,~~une \~aY' the Indians

'1' ... 1. . ~ b'~' - 'i'. I" . , . it ,,'1'- ..... :' ' ... : nt .. , '." ,','I,.. . "'I, '~" i', 'I .', .. "I ,',!Ii'" :, ~'I'l ,~~'~i.-,·~.~ 'itI,~, "',

J,a" e !i ]It:e:rl ,(JI1, we, !,O D U rn ou t .. U:~ J OU1,~, rn tne ma I_'e na so Iii, la~ neu :l er ~)w ern ~ S~l ~ nump,

'fU')r rot ~,g h edge can be seen i 'nl the barrels. Tb e people who usc t hesc a rms J! i ve

'l~ he ,P'ti 1111 i;,t, iIV(~ 'R:I< l w (i:u n,

'I'be J iva fo-ty pe blow gu n ~n 5ho06 ng 'po ~'i rion. I 1 ~ ser t : qui"· er, darts, cotton, and CU'U;CW"., ~.r:he quiver is a section of cane' fiUe,d with ~, ']oo,s" '\'Ii;;"O'\',[i'n i_D:U!1 (:):i g ra S·:; in t o w 11 i c h dar t s flU ay he al iliJlp ed, The' dar 1 ~ ~~pp,e:t'l' to be sec t ~O'~l~' Oil cane dipped into a ~\l!"rcr'1;:v'ni::Hh ~,)(lison. Previous H) shooting' at ~no'nk:crs~ '~h(~ tip end of a dart ~:~ 1?,arUy 'cut throug~.lI. by- means of the piran ha j;nv \~Ir1 !~'ch ha.~~'g's :frO!1.1 the c·arlt"'Yi,n,.~ b,cl~, of the q uiver, "!rhe cotton :Ile'tch~ug fOI~ the ,d~ll~'t is carr ied

in 1'~",(" kn'ith~"!(~' :1),~i.L· -

( K egs, 202924~, 4,2,69'88)

T vVO' t u.bc s a, fie th u ~ p:rt! pared j' 0 ne 'N) S,] i.d e wi th i n t] te ,~) t I ~ er _[ 0 r S t n~' tJ'~lg tJ i, .~ r] icy are held together with agutn and" being- dou bled. In wall 'd:t ickness, are quite

A.f 1·· '}' 'u'" 1 l' , I' ; t -I' -

...... .. ~ , • ~ j' -J •. !.II -~, - _. - , a, ~ : J "'", ' •• - - ,- " ,- ~ .. - .. ' ~ : ""-. '., ~ - ~ =.. . . ,. l .... - . OIl . • 1"". . ( 'L' ti I",· -iii . -.. '-.

stt ong,.",; 1t~, r Jf.l.rl,gul5' the outer .' .iametet to. t le'. uesn C( size, a moutup I,C(.C IS

ad (l~f] and the weanon ·i ~ finished This tV'1Je is approximate lv n 1rH\ -f'{~{ Lt in ] en 0'1 l"

.", ,.'.~~_,':' 11 ""',, . (',j".' ... , ! ..... ··to I~'" L_ '~- . -, ~ _'a_, ~ .1.'., 1=.J' . 'r! .:I _. , .• - n j ~

In addition to ;1 very light dart for small birds and animal s" a hea vj er one is used for huntinp, This is weakened by scc~ring a ;gn)l~rv(~ ,rt nHJl1Jd it, about an inch f rnm t he tip" and ·i s then dipped. i n poison, Upon sr !~'i, k l. Ug" and penet I'at iug the vicri m, t he weakened J P(~1 S(, m 1 (~d t i.,:p breaks off ~ stay s in t he '\Vf un d and ~ \,~"; ith 1: n a Iew minutes, cause's d 'i(lth~ The penetration is seldom more 1,1 au an i~ Ic'h.1 nstead uf' fie'tell; ng,. a ';\',·ild of tree cotton is ,,','ou,nd around the' dart to sea the bore during discharge, and also to gi ve the dart balance in H~ght~ ~.: J~'xp<.~'ll']e~:J, '~».' a sharp puff "",£: the brcat ~'I'Ii the dart iIiiI11' ,n"~ with '1i::'~1] wI')l"'ising velocit v and accuraev ,!

vlE . ,,_ ~~ _ .... , ..: .. ·.l~ I, ~ I~~" '-" ~I~.; i ~ L~d~" ~ ~l •. ' ~!L W . '''\Jllij. e- . ,. ". ",,' ,... 1',;; ~ .. ~Il ii:. .. .. i[.. "." ir/ •

w OL,F F ~ AIR ·GlJ N S

on. a reservation in. Xorth Carolina and employ a native growth for them, finishing them 'to a little more than nine feet i r~ length

The Cherokee dart is made of a. straight" thin shaft of wood about twenty-one il1(hcs in length" fletche.d with t 11 istledown which is tied to the shaft in a slightly spiral fashion until about a quarter of its length is covered, The tip is sharpened to a point and a combination of penetration and impact shoe k serves to disa ble the game \V Fl 'i el :I! is hunted, ,S{~ td rrels, rah hits, dov es, 1)3. rtridges and oth er sm a 1 ~ game a re regular ly taken by th i 5 m ean a .. ,

jonathan Daniels (54) adds to this 'by illustrating a Cherokee blow gun team, 11 oting til at ,'~. ~ .' expe rts hit a target at 90 feet." The s j z e of the ta rget is not note 0.

\-\T, :J.I. St.irli tlg (223, pp. 80-85) j in his report on the j ivaro Indians of the upper Amazon l<.ive·r, gives so complete a. description of the native blow gun and its usc that his intorma ti on ] rear s rrperi 1 ion here, Du ri n g his in vestigation of the Jiva'l'o~ Stirling noted that the 'blo,\V' gun, now the most striking and characteristic weapon of these people, is never mentioned by the 16th century writers. This is of special interest when we observe that later writers have been, par~ ticularly impressed by its occurrence and never fail to speak of it, which fact led to uti investigation of early records in other regions nf South America in an attem p t to r1 i scnv er f rom whi ch d i rec tion thi s wea pon reac h ed the J iv a ro, The only instrument at all comparable that is mentioned in the i 6th century is the pea-shooter Of' pellet gun of ~fexico anJ, Central A merica .. The' earliest: reference to the- true 'blow gun is found in the: '\\fritings of Saabedm, who in 1620 described the blow gun with. poisoned darts in use among' certai 11 of the eastern Indian tribes" As fat as ,Sti rl i n.g I S a ware no one has suggested the post-Columbian introduction of the blow gun Into the South American region, It seems to him probable that the use of the blow gun and ·its equipment was brought into South America by southeastern ... Aslatics, possibly from the Philippines, who were carried. across the Pacific in one or more of the .n1any Spanish galleons that follo\ved this, route in the '11 nf'lil century ~ These individuals" escaping into a. fa.1:niIia.r jungle environment that supplied all the. necessary materials, could, easily ha ve used their know ledge, "to man ufacture tilt S com P Ii cated but most useful weapon, It \VOu 1 d .appear I(i nite ce rtain that the J i va ros di d not have the blow gun until the 17th century.

The blow gun is Blade as follows : lA. suitable chonta palm is cut down and allowed to. dry in tile sun for about a week, "The thorns arc then removed from t:h e outsid C: o:i the trunk' and. it i s spli t: in halt F rom 1. h est' pieces two strips, each, about three inches in width, are split off and cut to the desired 'length for the. weapon, These strips are subsequently tapered, One side of each is made nat whi le the other is roun ded 1 n ,S uch a fashion. that w hen t,\VO flat sides are placed together the strips form a cylinder, which tapers from about one and on e- f 0 11 rt 11 inches in d iam cter at on e en. d to t h re e- quarters of an inc h at the other end.

A sI11aU" straight groove is scratched down the- fun length of each strip in the cen ter o r 'the flat sid C w he reupon bv m eans of a .sha rp-·. tooth t his g ... reeve is

, .. ."' ,! ,1'1 -e _"" ., ' •• - .• ",:11 _I., ., • - •• -"!II '';;' '" " ". ..". " . _, ., .' _'f! • - '0, _.:.'-" ~

38 r..11 I t.w A tr K EE P l" HI .. ~ C 1\1. U S,I~, U II P'l.::' BI.] CA 1'1' 0 'N SIN 1·1 I STORY : 1

enlarged on each strip until the t \VO are slightly less in diameter than the intended bore of the blow gun. They are then placed face to face with a straight, cylindrical rod of chonta wood sandwiched between, in the middle, and are tied together with bark stri ps, T he bore is then 1 apped and. polished \N ,j th ah ras i yes. in, a manner

. '

quite similar to that previousl y discussed ~ After the bore has. 'been enlarged and

poli sl ied, t 11 e tO'1 ich i 11 g su rf aces are prepared with a native g'l ue and are then, placed togeth er, The outside of the hio\v gun i So then \V'Fd!. Pl)led w ~ r II !i. t r ~ jl's, of bark and smeared with glue, i\ bone mouthpiece is fitted over the heavy end of the tub e, an d two teeth illlt:J ed ded in a groove al iou t a foot f rorn th e mou t h pi ece ~ serving as sights. The author is not very clear on this point.

The length of a blow gun varies more or less. It may be said that there are t\VU types ; the short, which is approximately ten feet in length, and a longer type '\V hi c h may extend to fi jteeu f eet ~ The longer the 'W eel pon the grea ter its ra Ilge an d aocu rae y. The ] ong hlo"\v gtl ns arc genera ~ ly used 'i n bunting larger g,a me ~ such

~ '- '1' .. 11· '1' , ,""" .... k .' . .,' ... ~l '1! , _. - bi , 11·' ,1L.~ 1'. •. st ," 11.' .. '1 tre ..

as wuc plg~J mom ej SJ ana ,~arge rrus \\ men t 0'0.0". In rug I rees,

Th e dart s are. n1ad e f rom the rnidri b s of the leaves of i h e i VOTY 1111 t palm, These strips arc cut into the proper length, which is measured from the base of th e paln 1 of the h81. nd to II ~ e c roo k ,,~f the elbow, Th e s tri ps a. re t hen oS 1) lit into sticks of the proper size and :s ha ved to a po ~ nr at 0 ne end ~ the s tern of the da rt havi ng a diameter equal to that of a common match. Poison is necessary to make tbe da rt (~.ff'ective, except w hen' .5H ial 11 hi rd s. A f'i rcu lar cut is made arou n rl the dart a h ou t an inc 11 fr 0111 the poi nt so t 113. t t hi s secti on \v i 11 brea k off in the wound, This Is particularly necessar .. y when shooting monkeys, as a 111011ke. y always will attempt to pluck the dart out immediately 11])01'1 'he; ng hit. The blow gun is never used in warfare, The J ivaros say that it was given them for the pu of obtaining ,ga:n,'lC',. To use it: agai ust man would bring bad luck.

H' , 'I I S" iI'· ('"] ~.. ;. ] '. ~ ~ I k '\ f . fAsi (07'"

,,311) 1(, ~. te r,11 ng .]:' ,a<~ wi 11 ~ :111, ,.1:IS controversi al )001·.·.: .v .en out 0,' ,J ,: .SUl . ,;7.' J ~

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re errmg 'o ' ]C Arawa rs, sa,ys) . ,I ey uroug ,It t,le r o\\r-gun 111.0 . lC' eastern

United States and lent it to the Iroquois. This peculiar weapon is also a, valnabte c 1 u e in t facing th e se people back to. their point of departur e in t II t 01d ':V' orl d. Beginning in the Bay of Bengal the blowgun was known and used by peoples in Siam, Malaya, the Straits of. Malacca, M elanesia, Colombia, Peru, the L\111aZOn basin, the ... Antilles and the eastern 'United States."

While Glad\\~in'~s work has been subjected to a considerable amount of critici Sin" hi s s u ggestion j S '''''10 rt h y of consi deration.

III his interesting discussion ol blow guns from Oaxaca, Mexico, S. I .. inne (156) cans attention to the former wide-spread use of the weapon there, It

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appears I rom tne oata presented tna. pc c guns were ormer y very impor ant.

~ ~ 11 octez uma is sai d to ' ha ve been an ex pe r t b 1 owgu n shot and ~ p TO ba b Iy assuming that Charles V shared his interest in. the art, he had a dozen of beai 'I tif iii 'Ii 'I, lv dec ora ~ ed snec ~ men S"· c'en't '''"0 the ern nero r - j!,. I:"{' C .i"'O'1l ti Hi ues b 'v s t' ~'g-"'-

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...... ,"':, ..... 'tl- . " ... , ~ ... that t·,]- ::1' .' ... "' ···l··lt '] .. ,. 'I. b· '" '"'.' 'r '·1 .... ~'i .(1; .. '-. ,[ .. - . i

ges"', . :1e O:P1DlOIl .. , a, If: tHOVI. gun mIg 1 et;,n Illvente( ally, ... eve~open

i ude,renden tly in more' than one p:~a.c'e.,

The, manufacturing technique of Lui s Sanchez, who ~ '. ~, ~ is probably the last b~n,:vgun maker or the city 0] OaxiH.:a/~' is curious. Sanchez employs a variant of the J iva ro method jl :i n solar 3. s he, cuts . a 'fi nished groove i.11'¢Q the surface of each hal i and then glues 'the halves together, forrlll ing the tube i The g-rooves" when thus placed next to each, other, form the perfect bore. ,,~: If t hey do not fit together exactly, the weapon is ,good-for_-nothlng~ J ~ Sanchez has been making his gun sin wh at app [".0 xi mates cali hers .38 and .,44 ~ While 'J ig'llt darts a, re 'user ul "for discouraging n i,gb t -,S i nging' cats and dogs, as well as over-lu st~l roosters, pellets are the usual ammunition, With these Sanchez, after a test shot, hit a nail at: a dista nee uf 15 rn. He late r disp lay ed simi la r accu racy at a greater range. To be taken, rabbits must be struck just behind the ears, either being killed or stunned thereby, Sancllez considered it a gnod achievement to accomplish this at a range of 30 m.

One is inclined; upon investigation, to wonder not only as do Stirling and Linne, regarding the' origin of the blow gun in South America, but further, precisely '\V here the weapo 11 originated in the :fi rst place. T hi s :i s particular 1 y the ease w hen we consi d er the a rm in E 1U rope. 111 u strati v e of it s usc: ~ 11 ere' in m ed i eva] times, 8" painting in a. 1 5th century manuscript, nrig'i'l1IaJ'I J f rom F"~~ll:l1d~rs and at. present :i n 'the- 'N ew York 11or,gam Library ( .1.76 );) which was copied from a. l-lth century' Italian work that treated on rural economy, includes not. only a boar speal'" a cranequiu eros sbow , and. incidental 'fislling equipment, but: also a rather well-defined blow gun (Fig, 15)" No particular mention is made of the a rms,

That the blow gu 11 en j oy~d. reasona b 1 y 'W ide use ill R~] rope at, a later date also is in dica ted by Cellini ~ S rema rks p revi 0 usl Y' noted" and, the cas ual men tion of it by I .. cona rdo da Vinci (,55 J p~ 793)! wh 0 called it an ai r gun, 1. n the tat te r' s N ate books i he d isc us ses ~'~ 'Of proportion" and, as a P ro j ect tr l he exp e ri Ill-en ted with when convenient, says:

If See if there: are a. number of small stones of different sizes whether the hea viest goes farthest when one th rows it J then try alone with the same i nst rument and. Iorce, and see whether it travels a. gre-ater or less distance alone than when accompanied. .t\nd w hether also if the sto» es are al ~ of the same form and '\veight" U lee the ball oj an air f)'un (' Italics are mine}, and are til 1'"'OVf~n by the same force in, the same time they travel the: same distance, ;,'

1""1-'~ -' - -, , - ,,--,~ 1-_ ,. c- -[. ;,;, -'t-- -'Q_ -." -- --- ,- ·'1] ~~ f --- t F·" - st 't,] -, -"'--, , -, 'to, ~- - '---d' -- -- II

us pa.ra.grap.L1. I, ll( 1 ca ,C..... twO pOSSJ,) 'c ac.1 _ S .. , ,_,Irs _:~ _ - ,le tll r rc n _ "Ul __ ' gcncra,~,

use 0.[ t.he insl rmueut with a reasonable standard oi caliber can be :presLm.led,) otherwise S0111'C other comparati ve would have been employed, Second, 'the remark H,. ~ ~ if the s tones a r e " " " li ke the balls" i 11 dica ties tl e use of c] ay pro j ectiles ~ possi bly of the variety suggested by the molds which Maley ka il lust rates."

F urthe r, cia \r in cl in. tere s ted himse H wi th the rela ti vel y simp le p reduction of a barrel for an "air gun," apparently trying to circumvent the laborious process

£ f ld ~ 1 " '. - - I I d · '1 hi f 11

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o orge~w e. . lng ~111(_ 1. e;(ill11ng an J ron tube, e . .escrrnes .. 15 ploc.ess as ,,0_ ows

(5,5 s p, 81.6) ::



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The Blow Gun in Medieval Europ e.

From manuscript 232 of the Pierpont M organ Library. Courtesy of Bel le da Costa C;reene, Director,

(Neg, 195929)


"To make an airgun which shoots with maroelous force you should proceed as. follows ::-Stretch a steel wire the "l{!j,d,th. of a fi'I.·{}C'f' on a wire-drawing machine by 1.11 eans of a W india ss ; then tempe r i t ~ and b eat a tau nd abou tit two P lares lof fi·nt cOPPr!'t' which you stretch on the wire-drawing machine, Then half to half solder them together with silver, unnd thick coppr.r '2i..rire about it and then smooth it with a hammer ~ hut fi. rst solder it. And do this t hree or jour tint-as in the same wa y. And make it (the airgun) noo braccia long and make it so that it can shoot a tI (H'" t of' a third oj a brae $.71 0 wh ic 11 is of sf ee L" (.1 ttl Ii cs are mine.)

An analysis of these directions reveals additional items of interest, The air gun shoots with "marvelous (ol~ce~" When one considers the reactions 011 the part of observers \V110 arc unacquainted with the ~"'~~'lpon~. this statement is quite true, as was discussed previously,

Although it is not definite, the caliber of the copper barrel is suggested~ Inasmuch as fingers may v,ary due to peculiarities n.£ gro wt 11~. heredity, or occupation " this dJim,ensin111 i~, not constant, l=]oVt"ever,~ it is not unreasonable' to suggest sou iet hi ng in. the vicinity of about .70 inc h. Wh i Ie th i sis Jarg'er than. the ca I j her that OUt· experiments have i nd icated as n lOS [ desi rabl e, it is not out of 1 i ne for da Vinci's time because he could 'have been influenced by the firearm calibers of hi"} day. Through the succeeding centuries the calibers of guns have b,een progress i vcly red uced to tl, ~ pcrint where th e an tiq uated dimensions appear unreasona hle.

"Thick copper wire" is to be wound around the tube, presumably sHU on its mandril, and is. beaten and smoothed with a. hammer, after soldering. "Three Of' four" layers of such wrapping would produce a strong tube and protect the copper .1 in er fro In, damage, , ndeed, some cov er-ng is essential i I' asm uch as 'the 0 I"'lgi na I t ul Je Ct UI'~ d be V(~ ry eas i [y de n ted and bent.

The braccio is a variable Italian dimension, its modifications depending upon both time and s peci fie place of u se+ T ran s la ted into th c Eng Ii sh s y stem j' the braccio ranges Irorn eighteen to thirty-nine inches. ·[~sing the minimum dirnension, da Vinci's blow gun was thirty-six inches. 111 length and could have been; l1sing the maximum, seventy- eight inches long, [\lacC'urdy (55~ 11 .. 7'76) ~tl·gge·sts a dimension or nearly two Eng'l is']. Ieet, thus lnaking the tube about f011r feet: long,

The dart 0 f s teel is noted as being a thi rd of a brace i 0 in length. A ga; n ~ u si ng the variable dimension, it would he anywhere iron} six to thirteen inches lO11.g,~ln.dt according to Macf.urdy, eight inches in length, Unfortunately, its weight and thickness are not recorded, I ncrcased ,veight:; while J i rniti n~r the range and increasing the trajectory or the dart, would add the needed force or punch which da Vinci considered marvelous, \:,r e have 'found that heavier Pi! 0 jecti les do appea t"' to proceed. 'w\'-ith greater Iorce, and have an ilHpact much more severe than light darts of wood or split cane, There is- however, a limit to 'the weight which can be successfully employed, \:V·e 'have found that bessemer steel rods, one-sixteenth inch in diameter and six inches [ong, g'round to a point and affixed into a cork o 1"~ :=;i U rilar 111(1 terial 0 fat ri 'fie les s than bo re d j il11.1 ete r 11 travel wi th can s idera bl e accuracy and almost invariably pierce the target at: right angle to the surface,


42 .!\lJl~\VA,vK,EE ,l?C"J:iLIC !\'lUSEU~( ,Pl"_BLl.CATJO!\S l.N HISTORY: 1

indicating a sat isf actory balance and no tendency to key-hole or tilt end oyer end. Glass marbles, and short darts made of conU11011 nails and corks, have also been tried with satisfactory results. We have not, however, attempted to usc the blow gun in serious hunting",

Maleyka (163" p. 9) notes than in the 18th century blow guns of iron were made in Gern1anYj and states that at that time they could have found usc for hunting small birds. Illustrated' are iron tubes with lengths ranging up to 160 em, (about 63 inches) iron) the National Historical 11useU1l1 of Dresden, Gern1any. These are accompanied lly pi ricer-shaped bullet 11101ds for producing clay 'bullets of about 13 mm, (about .50 caliber) ~ and also leather sacks for the bullets. The presence of the sacks indicates that the balls were dried, probably baked, and were akin to marbles. Conical or shell-shaped mouthpieces are affixed to the tubes, 3. feature common to 11105t blow gun~L No analysis of the tube is included; so it is a matter of conjecture how they were constructed. Either a.

1 ength wi se 0 r a spi ral w e 1 d could have be en enlp loye d), in ke epi n g v: i t 11 the two accep ted m eth 0 d s or forging ba rrels, It is i rnpro ba b 1 e tho. t da \T i nci' S method of pronuci,ng a tube "vas used. There is 110 evidence of it other than his description. Iron being stronger, the wire-wrapping technique would have been unnecessary, except 'for the nee d of a rcamin g ope fa t i on after forrnin g . ='J 0 balli s tic data are included. Also., no mention is made, nor do the illustrations indicate whether the molds have sprue holes such as ate needed when pouring bullets. For clay hans , a mold need not have such holes. It could be simply a half-to-half pair of mold faces which would press the ball out of a lump of clay. The production of such

a mold, while by no means an irnpossibili ty, would req uire techniques differing from those employed in the normal making of a C:Oll11110n bullet 11101dj precision 111,et110ds being needed and a product of radically different appea-rance resulting, 'The alternative would be the production of a normal mold with subsequent plugging of the sprue hole. The rna tter is sHU in doubt,

Reports of the ranges for primitive blow guns are interesting+ Becker (14) states that the maxim urn range he has been a ble to attain is 118 feet, and notes that there would h~ no 'killing pO\~ter in t.he missile at that range. This would be particularly true in his case inasmuch as no poison is used on the Cherokee dart.

Stirling (.223t P+ 83) states that, although the range varies in proportion to the length of the weapon, it migh t be said that the maximum effective range of an average blo\v gun is about 45 yards. This is the only reference which identifies a relationship between the length of the tube and its range, He sugge5t~ nothing regarding 'the accuracy of these weapons,

Becker (14) claims that one of the Cherokee Indians shot his gun at a small target five by two and one-half inches and hit it mid-center with no effort at all a t a r.1 j' S L:1.11C e of forty f eet, He 5 ugges ts that practically all of the s hooti ng by these people is done at a range: varying between forty and fifty feet.

Furness (86, p. 177) ~ referring to the Borneo head hunters, says that, to test their skill in marksmanship with the blow gun; a potato of ahou t an inch and a half in diameter was fas toned on a pole and iron']: a di stance of fifty paces th c nat ives

\","U"I 1'1' ~~' All.) Gil" I xs

" . ," ~,. ' ~}i ,"'·n . ~ 'U .ir.;~ ir.


stuck into it: six darts out nl~ ten, He adds the note that for small birds the natives seldom use darts ~ wb ic h cause some trou h le to make ,j littl e pel 'lets of clay are' equally effective. Poisoned darts reserved for monkeys and larger game The natives insist that with a properly prepared dart they can kill even the formidable rhinoceros, For such large game the point err the dart is weighted with a little triangular head of bamboo nr of tin, which carries more poison and thereafter becomes detached in the \11l011Ud.

("" .... , ., )"._ (' "'" 2' , 3- 2: 3:')' -'l' -' '-t' _ 1-1" t t:l-" ,'Ii 1 ti - - -, 1 ,-: t, '.." 1"~ " ," - d' 't "- " ~,- i)" d '0' ·11 ... ummmgs .. J '. J P~'_"-_"" ~,a, es l ra _' I. ,H:_' lUU In,g c a r .can _.:e: used 0 )['111,0 '.. "'-~

birds or monkeys irom the tallest rarest trees, which often are oyer two hundred [eet in height, Both he (5,2~ 1),. ,32.3) and Stirlin,g (223~ p,. 8.5) note the: weakening .of the dart by cutting a ,geoov,e around it about an, inch iron] the tip so that the poisoned portion nlay remain in the wound, Undoubtedly the use of poison inc reases the effecti ve ra nge,

J., B,., Scrivener (2']2) adds to these reports on and notes hi~

-~, '.~. ~ .~., the j 'l" "t~ .. ' ," , 't -' ,], It' .. "1 A 'Kl--, -', " ' S,,, 'k-_;; '- -" " -, '- ,f: -, Cam

expfn.:,e,. m ' ~e mves Iga[]on ne connuctec ~ ,1\ ',iunpa,r .. 3. ,al 111~~U' rrom

eron's Hichland s ",,1 "'l 'l-"'II ~.,,' '\IJ~ t· the ma rksman T- 'he target was ''!'1, bit 0-' f d.oa'l board

~~ .. v· , , ,~ ,~_,'. '_:. ',: ",', ~"~l ~:\J. u,}ij". " .. , c."/~ ,~,'~' '" ,u,':, , '. : W 'HI! "l,,. ': ,_~:" ::~, ~~, 1r_':-'(',.~ ~ _" 'I, ,~. , ' . ,~," .. 1,.III't ~1V.~ ~ ':_,

from the lid of a box, On this was marked a two-inch "bull." The Sakai was s tati oned fifty teet a \<vay an d was to ld tha t he wo uld be given ten cents for every hi t on the target! and twen ty ccn ts fo r eV'ery bull. T he shoot was to he li 111 i ted to tell ro U 11 ci S \,,' 1 t h ~ 1 n P oi soned da rts, The reco rd was as f 0 llows :

1 ~17'i inches tr0I11 the- bull: 2-Dull, to. one sidc ; 3-4 inches Iron, bull ; 4----=1 inch from bull: 5-Bll],]1~, center; 6-----4 inches from bull ; 7-}iJ inch from bun; 8--1\-'T issed the target ; 9~1 inch from bun: 1 (J-. ~ y& inches Irom bull.

The shoot cost Scrivener, in equivalent English currency, two shiIJin~rs~ 6,.8 pence ($1,.10 Eastern currency). FIe notes re mcmhering' that the darts penetrated the target sufficiently to make it difficult to pull them out without -in j uring them,

It hi, unfortunate that da Vinci did not go into the matter farther, as \VC would then have contemporary data for renaissance Europe as \\~('111, The fact ~llat he did not suggti-S,t.,-; the possibility that the weapon was su.fficient~y (:0111.U10n to need no more mention than information on the manufacture of a superior tube,

In addition to recognizing the possibility that the blow gun was common m Europe ten turies ago, we cannot eliminate the possihi lity ~ n fhl s connect ion r,,[ the use (ll poison there. Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey (184, p 13) identifies the, white hellbore, which in his day (190,3) was known in. part of the country' districts of Spain as the "crossbowman's plant," and suggests the possibility of its USt~ to poison. a, crossbow bolt in foreign countries, i.e., places other' than England. He specifically 'identifies a sporting crossbow (184~ 1) .. 145) such as was 1.1 sed in rSpa,j' n for k 'i 1 I i n g deer with a po i soned bo It.,

)vI aleyka (163 ~ p. 9) c la ims that ,[ 1.1 the, l Sth cen t II ry iron blow guns were produced in Germany, and, developing the subject no further, appears to infer tha t thi s was the en d of the s to ry in Europe. Such is far from, the case, as witn ess

44 .\1 IL'\\"",:\l~KEE P1;Bl.I'(" M: USElr ~I PCBI .. ICATI0NS I:-"~ lIISTOR.Y : .1

Fig'. 1.6.



several advertisements which were published in the British periodical ~ T .and and Water, in 1867" ann sent to us hy Mr. F. C. Rr:\VSf)' (Fig. 16)_

R. Lang, in one of the ads, begs to call attention to his recent improvements, and c red 1 ts a cele bra ted t ra vel er, ~I L W a terton ~ \\~ it h va 111.a h 1 e 11 in ts r ret i n g' the \veapon as used by the Macoushie Indians"

VV. J ackson claims similar quali ties for his i ll.l,P roved art ic 1 ~ and d efin j tely di sclai 1111.S ,any connection yv i th any othe r rna kef S ~ w ho s e prod llC ts a re a bvi all S ly inferior.

Both makers are very elaborate in the descriptions or their products and make extravagan t claims about po\ver and accuracy ~ both of which depend entirely upon the shooter r~gard le-ss of t 11 e high qua~il y and perfection of the ell. uipment,

.i.\ t the present writing it is not known for how long a time the B ritish blow tu he 5 we re l) roduced ~ "".1:,' he y 11!. P p~a r to h~ ra t h ~ r sea rce at pre sent ~ p ro ba b ly because of a ;,O'\,V survival potential (Fig. 17) +

F· 1- tg. I.

European B 10 "tv Guns,

I J pper : 'Crook ha ndle, British"

1{ iddle: Conical mouthpiece, British.

Lower-: Cartridge blow gun... .1\ striker in the r ear section discharges a cartridge in the breech. of the front por'tiun. Ori.gin not determ in erl.

eN eg. 203266; middle, N unn. N o. :N-l0861)

T1uring the period of 18.7{}-1910j there appears to have been used in Germany a rather short blow gun which shot what looks 1ike pointed badminton shuttlecocks, This type was illustrated, hy Wilhelm Dusch (39) and 111S American S ucce ssors in In an y cartoons that even to this day are current ..

M T'.. Charles House (130) gives an account of his use o f the hlnw gll tl for hunting, and brings the reports of the active use of such weapons IIp to date .. During his stay in a European camp in the late war, Mr. House employed a blow gun for gatheril.),g hares to augment the Iood supply and also to satisfy the existing'


desi re for' fresh meat, His equipment consisted of a 1'8 -inch -bore brass tube and \VO 0 den. darts, The latter were made of small dowels and were tipped with empty .22 caliber cartridge cases 'to which triangular f'ragnlel1.ts. 0'1 hack SR\'V' blades Vt.rere solde red I'

The ha res "\,~ ere u sua lly hunted shortly before nightfall and w ere taken in a

, h 11. .,. b · d 1 h h - .1.

ravine w aere tile maximum range was a oout Sixty yards, a tong .• most or tile

shooting wa s done well within that range. 0 fie eveuillg' eight animals were taken, most 0'£ the shooting being either across or down into the gully, Relative to maximttm range, Mr. House claims about one hundred yards at an elevation of approximately 350 j! at which distance it is not unusual to hit a target the siae of a C0111n1.on door.

Our personal expe rience wi th blow guns ha 8 not been as satisfacto ry as migh t

b· d ~ l U· fi f . 1 '1' f I lumi d .'. d ,.

"~ ,-." ,-'~ '~'I ,._ ,I ,. - "_.-._ .' "--'y . .'~. "_ II ".:', -- - ......... " '," ,- .:: ~,.-. -', 'I' ';']' . ": .. _ ""._ . .- .. ", ,_~., ' ... ~ .... "

e oesirecr. . ve root lengt 1.$ 0 . seam .ess a ununum con .. uit an sixty gram

darts of steel and. m) r ~ the maxim um r an,ge attained has bee n 178 feet

t 3~' o· e A t - "'-I"_~ . d bt d] be i " . . - d -. h - .. . ti .

. ' ','" .' "i'..' .... . ~ . '1" . . .. .,'. '.~', .' .• " : . , . ", .. I ". ','.' ". .... . • ~ " ."

a ~..' e tev all on. 11"" un OU 1 .... e .) can '. e improve \VI t. P rae .[ ce ..

The darts were prepared fr0111 be SS~In~r stee 1 rod s, 7516 in.c:l1. in diam eter and six and one-half inches long, to which were affixed compressed paper heads, die-formed, Weights varied as much as' t\VO and three plus or minus 60 grains, Da rt cali bet was +. 600, and the p ro j: ectiles fitted a bit loosely wi thin the .620

'l~· '.- fro l;', lJ ore 1i..11 oes.

"Then blown agai nst wo ad .0 r similar ma terial, die. dart s p enet ra ted we 11 and were often very difficul t to withd raw, A Jury -rigged test :i ndi ca ted that a we igh t of forty pounds was needed to withdraw a typical dart frnrn a ply\von~ hoard.

\rJh' ··'1 :"'r .'. 'l ' .. it en 'd'" . C-. " .. ' to::. hur tii . .. r··tl1·· ·1··1·0······ . '. d' .. n '" th ;A.. r;;::.a,·p,o· r s· .'

'V 1 e 1t~ e. 1.:1 ve no engage. In 1:JerlOU ........ In ung ~'1.1 .now .g,,1.1113:, . .' \.,;. ." ~ ..... 1.

have been tried. aga:]n~t squirrels" the projectiles' bein.g clay balls, No animals were struck, but they voiced their di spleasure at being di stur bed and ultima tely left the vicinity. Ranges in these instances. averaged 4$ feet, It 'is interesting to note that game to become aware of blow gun projectiles very' readily, 'in spi te of the tradi tional silen ce of the missi le,

Th M··.'·· f" .. h Be ll 'G":-" .

. .. <,. . ..... .... . ". ..... . ... . I"·

,: e ... > . ystery 0, t ·'e _ ~.o~s · ... · .. I·un

From the standpoint of its essentials, the bellows gun is logically the ,earliest· form '0'£ mechanical air gun, although extant specimens available to us are relatively recent


The bellows gun. is found in one inherent form w hich is highly developed a11Ld~

in··.its general appearance, is reminiscent of' the wheel lock, It has a hollowed-out buttstock in which the bellows and its accompanying mechanism are hou sed. The gun is operated by forcing the bellows open against the pressure of one. or' two Vvsprings, this being' accomplished by means of a removable crank that is applied

to '.' .. .'.' . ., .... ·d·· st .'Id:, .' .... : ..... '11·' .. +~... .'~. zh t side of th Q sto ck jKli;O!!o1l; t". the but t· ·'1 '1 ' t-··

. -0 a s.qpJate s.u .. , norma y on ili,Jlle f1!.g._ ~I' . .l. -.. ~.:''I;r U"'~ .. '-'. !.!Ii. .1. P 3..1 e.

The bellows thereafter is held open by a sear mechanism and is discharged by a

~:';!'OL' FlW' -"":IT'n' G' "'i' '" N C"

~¥ .',! . .' 1l.JL.1 j! zi ,A I ,-,. :·'_1 u'

- - .. - ." - -

',.'-, I

.. - - -

._ .. ~ ..

- . - . - '_'.. - - _."

- - - - -

•• n. " .~ ." ••• , __ ~. ~ ~. _. _~ •

' .. - .- -.- - .. "-. ,'-. - .. -. ,'-. ,"_ .. -.

- - - - -

.. -

... :- : .... : ..... :-'_

' .. :: ::"-.:' - -:.-:-:-.,. . ' ..

....... .... -, ', _' .

• • •• ••. •• ",:-,. J

," . .

, .. -

- - - - - -

I '':=: :._- ...:.~=: -._ ':: '.~ ',-" .:=:

. __ - _' _-_ - _. - :_ ..

D u- ;I!), r: _;II; ,

~I : "" fil, ~I ~:.Ji, ,


set trigger ·that: taps a 'release bar, The air, compressed '_)y tb'.,e sudden closin.g 01: the 'be1110";s, W1.t]1t 111UCh. the same effect as a. popped 'oog'" forces the projectile out through tll e barrel

T be resemblance between 'lbeUfW~V s guns and "~ hef'] locks i s remarkable. ] t i:s characterized by fing,ef'-ioo]p'ed. trigger guards, heavy and squarish cheek rests, \vasp- waisted ba fJ'e] s ~ 0 rnam ental fi xed. sig] 1 ts, tang peep s ig hts ~ double set triggers, full forestocks, and heavy butts,

. The essentials of the mechanisms are, in principle, also remarkably similar to those Ot the wheel locks and embody almost identical features, Similar to .the wheel lock, the bellow S gun is prepared for di scharge by means of a crank, Such a crank is to 'be seen ill the Nunnemaeher Collection (17,4:, pl. 10) where it had in 'till€; past been wrongly identified, It is not referred b) in Met:schl'.s, text, but has be-at catalog d as an accessory to a wbeellock~ Experience hag :p:roV'et1i. that ,8,

substantlal leverase Is needed ... ..n.. ,f""o ... ick a:-' bellows g,:U'I1i1 leverase whic .. i'ri; ,;;;: '",,---,-.II,~:~

~1~.!Ui,_""!I, "'\"," ~,~.... lillI 1111""" ..... ""'". UJ!I.... 'l.-.. _ .... _._ 'I'T :.,:1 ':II , ..... _""-,, 0..0""" '!if1" !l;..J/,1I, ,I~ :aQ1P'~.Y.

furni shed by this specimen. 111 addition to this, the identifi,caf;Qn is, satisfaetorily provell. on. several points, It: is different in, type and. does not ,agree w'ith, a.~Y' wheel lock: spanners known .. , It is unnecessarily large, Recap'] zed "iy'he:e'], I oe k keys 'or spanners are, rC~I,t:ivt:~y small in81sm.t1}Clru. as 3" lesser s,trai,n is present in spanning a wheel ]oc~k:' than in, cucldng ,31 1ben.o~., s, The bOX,=e11d, apert u re ts oversise, \'liu:el ~(),cllt: axles are r,a! ther small, w hereas those on beUow~ gU'IlS are r-ecogrd za,bIDy' large,

48 rvtIL \VA.UKEE runr.rc ]VI USE'UY PVJ3.LICAT IONS ] ~ I:BSTORY : 1

Fu rther, this pi ece is a comforta ble crank to ~ s e on a bellow s gun, being ClU111S y on. a. wheel lock+ J udgment rna y be additionallv influenced by the fact that this

- ~ -

appendage fits a bellows gun J also an item in. the original N unnemacher bequest"

the gun by J 0 s, )1 on d .( N 547). Gran tin g the accuracy 0'£ thi S anal ysi s, the s pcci = men in question is one of two bellows gup cranks of this type k110\~,l1l. The C. S. Ca rtri dge Company f 0 rme r 1 y ha d the oth er (.2.31, pl. 29 ,. no. 387)"

The box-end crank fits over a square male shaft which connects with the bellows levers ,. l\ partial revolution is needed to cock the mechani sm, a motion reminiscent of the wheel lock, The internal details vary somewhat, although they are: al \vays enclosed within skeleton iron housings, the latter being constructed of iron hands riveted" welded, or brazed into units, The bellows is pulled open, in the single=s,pring' tJP~, this bc.·;ng· done by \vindin.g- a chain partly around the axle shaft which protrudes on the right side near the toe of the butt This chain is composed of units which are essentially the same as the fusee links associated with early clock mechanisms, and, according to present students (1.68, p. 56) is an in yen tion of the vear 1 523, The Iu s€ e- typ e Iink is also a ssocia tied with Vl heel

~ ~ .

. leeks, 0 n the d ouble-spring type of be llows gu 11,. in. w hi ch the 3,XJ.e shaft p rotrttde s

midwav between th· e heel .... nd toe of the Ill-Itt th -e halve ". of- the bellows are forced

_''r"'i=~~v·l.· .. ,·'''·'''~(...·,., ... i~.',," al., _~yl .... 1!J,. .. ,': .. ".1, j. _[".: _~·_ .. :o;l··~~I:· .,_!, .. :'-"],u .... 1r.~:J .. ,", .r .... I

apart, in one case by recognized fusee links" and in the other by a cam arrangement f -~v hich j inc; dentally, is pro vided with roller bearings. These earns are in reality partial fusee links ..

Th e sea r m ec hani snl whi ch ho ids the axle shaft in open po si tion 1& s true turall y the same as that which holds a wheel lock spanned, In the latter the. position is maintained 'by a dug which engagts an opening in the side of the wheel, In the bellows . gun n- simila r service is perfo rmed by a dog which engages a notch in the' side. of the sh aft It sh ou Id be noted in thi s co 1111 ecti on that :i 11 the crossbow j' and later in the wheel Iock, the sear was required to hold 'a, much greater mechanical force in check than the trigger alone could comfortably release, and for this reason a. secondary sear was enlplnyed .. it similar force must be. held in check in th e bellow s gun" and a similar mecha ni sm is neces sary . M an y 0'£ the la ter spring ~ and-piston guns have the problem solved by the employment of mechanisms sirnliar to that us ed in cross l) ow s, whee 1 Iocks, and b 1;:110 \71{ S guns.

Fernand Thevin (22.7~ p. 147) illustrated and described an unusual bellows gu.n \v hi ch, as i de f rom the p revi 0 usl y noted cha racteri stic s" po S sessed a variant in the cocki ng' rnechani sm that came even closer 'to the wheel lock. The cocking stud" -i nstead of being in. the butt of the gun ,. was 1-0 ca ted at the recei ver -( as in a wheel lock) and", by means of a longitudinal bar, drew a pivoted lever that forced

the I· .~;1 .. ,T"_ ··'1· i ·TI·I" 1·T··· that ','Y'_ emnloved I .. · tt ~i·· rr /]1.-'- -'., ·'·:r stud ._r·.

11e )e.lllO\:V S open... 1.e.U e., er _ a w as elnploye JlO r U 1 ru n g t le p nma m J S .. U \i\ as

located al ong the right side of the ba rre I} simi lar to that on a ~ ~ Cookson u type of glll1~ but on the opposite' side. This lever ~ normally held locked. by a spring stud, was lifted. and pivoted to t-he rear in an 111)per arc, thereby can sing the longitudinal ba r to m-ove forwa rd, draw ing 'v i th . itt he lever (at the butt end}, ca uS'~11g :it to descri be a forward and downwa rd atc and, in revolving the axle upon '\i\,·hi ch -i t rode, expanding the- b ellow s in the 1,;1 su at wa y .

1.:1'-0' L" I'~ r~ \ "Ii R_' (~ U' N- ~ 'n ' ,I, " r .'1 A.l ',', ,j ,'~"J'


This pi ece, in the di spositi on of its parts J is the nea re st approach to the wheel lock yet foun <I.;; Thea 1.1 thor, acknow ledgi ng as he does that its ornaments are \VOrl1,. states that the 'barrel is. mar ked with the name of Wenzel S patzirer and is dated 1791.. v'l ith all d ue re spect to Th evin, it is acknow lc dgc d that for the' pU.1))oses of the present study it 'would have been preferable to personally examine the specimen ill order to verify the date; inasmuch as Spatzirer has been identified under other dates" Gardner (87, p. 203) lists him, as an arqueshttsier of' Vienna, lGGO.; while Stockel (224" p., 289) calls him a Viennese but does 'not date him, indicating' thereby that he may be included in the reasonably antiquated series of makers regarding whom information 'is rare.

, The set trigger ~ another feature nni versally Iound on bellows guns, is, according to Hoopes (125~ p. 38) ,I fairly common on heavy" fine crossbows of late. manufacture" and on wheel locks. These triggers consist of a, great nlany individual members and exist in highly developed forms, their antiquity being' suggested bv thei r cornp J exi tv ~ There. was a g-rad ual increa se in iu tri cacv tin to the end of

~ ~ J ~

th e 1,7 th century, alt er w bleb tim e sim pier J esign S were perf ected. The set t rigge r s

, = •

found in the bellows guns are of the complex type suggestive of the wheel lock.

The connection between the set trigger and the sear in the butt is made either by means of a driving rod. or by a pivoted link. These mechanisms are als 0 associated \V1 th c: rossbow s "V here a si mi 1 a r dis ta nee ex! sts between trigger and sear.

B ellow S guns are uni ver sa 11y h re ech load er s, whi c h suggests the use 0 f a dart that cannot be- satisfactorily loaded from the muzzle, Ball projectiles seem unlikel Y j i na smur h a s lIlUC h barrel resis tance \\1011 I d be requi ired 10 hold them in place, and the force generated by the bellows does not appear to be sufficient to overcome any material resistance of such ,3, nature Also, 'based upon experience, it is Ielt as a personal opinion that a ,]ight~r projectile would serve better 'than a rela ti v ely heavy ba 11. This :i s qui te remini sc en t of th€ blow gu.n ~

The breech mechanism is unique, invariably found on the bellows gun as well as occasionally o-n other air guns, and encountered nowhere else. The makers of air guns do not have to control heavy chamber pressures as do gunmakers who produce firearms, a frequently forgotten fact which permits considerable latitude of desigrt Illustrative of this is the bellows gun that has the breech opened for loading by tilting upward, TIle front end of the barrel is pinned to the 'muzzle end of the full-length forestock, and the hin,g'e upon which the barrel tilts is, surprisingly enough, nothing more than the ,t1e..xing of the wooden forestock,

T"'h·' · . 'I d f ~ f '. 11 1 ~ -1 b 1 '

" ,.1 S 1 S a practical an ' usc in pu rpo se tor a f u 1 S tock, f H:': ., arret is normally

h ~ ld inc] osed, lock ed 'po si tion by a ]ug J the re being a variety uf designs for thi s

. mechanism, The: breech closure consists of the juxtaposition of the rear- or breech end of the barrel a nd the f ron t end. of' a. rube attached to the bellow s. Thi s breech" a known variant oi which i S found in the Hall ri fie (115') is pecu liar to the air gun. Presumably it is first found on the bellows gun, and specimens exist using' this system in connection with the piston-spring gun", the air ,gnu wi th the ptM11 p in the butt, and the pneuma H c gun 'w~i th the reservoir in the btl tt.

,50 ~1! FT~ '\V,A UK H::R F U'13LIC ~I, USE U)l ,V'UiLIC'ATJONS EN H'ISTOR.Y : 1.

The barrel is one of the most 'j ute res {iug components of the bellows gun, It is invariably wasp-waisted (smaller externally at the middle than at the ends) and octagonal Jin form, being very similar to that used on the wheel lnck. Many ,or the barrels have dove-tailed slugs present which fill corresponding' slots for original pin fasteners, While unlined barrels are found, the rule appears to be in favor of' brass. liners; which in instances n~duce' the caliber considerably, In th e case o.f the gllU by' J osep h ,)I'ond (1.74" p, 79') ~ the barrel is plugged a t each end h:y an iron '\V,US her retaining a wooden liner ~ \;Vh.i 1 e wood is an unheard-of material in a. norma I gu n barre 1,~ it is perfectly practical :1 n this case as neither fire nor high p:tessure are. involved, In cases where the barrel is original; and not a. re-used piece, the external form conforms to the bellows type and a brass liner is a ls 0 Iound, as in the in S ranee s o i altered 0 r re- u sed barrels, .. As rega rd s the dating of any of the bellows guns which have been examined, the barrels have been of little value inas mnc h as too hig'll a per~f11 rage of the specimens eneonn tered ha ve re-used barrels.

The apparent cost of a bellows gun is not consis tent with its perfo rmance as "vie have experienced it One of these was repai red and returned in what appeared to be ve ry c 10 se to its origina 1 condition ( 252). 'The effici ency of the piece after reconditioning did not equal that of the later Quackenbush spring-piston dart guns" ()f which latter little can be said. in favor of either power or accuracy. As a result ow' the experiments we can see no reason for the very fine 5igl~ting eqnipment

P resen t-' o [I he 1 I ows g., run s - n o .··r- 'f· - or t heir 0·.·· b. v, 'io usl v exnens ive c ·OJ1 structi ~11 ~ nd

,-"" 1... ,Ij. .. _ _ o'n ~ ,~t' ~- - . ,,-, . , ~J:. .. , .. ""J .... - - - -- . o.?. ,!Ii'"" . "VL - "- -- -

omamentation. Very fine kn ife s'i,ghts are usually provided, mounted on dovetai 1 bases, :Rear sigh ts are of '( h e open variety wi til highly ornamental fmials, and a re si mil arl y" moun ted" A ve ry fine V -no tch was p rovided, and. some of the pieces. have elevation ad j ustrnen t s.

With one exception; all the bellows guns examined are provided with ad j ustu ble peqJ s.~ghts fi tted to the wri sts di rectly behind the tangs It is interesting' in this connection to note that a. wheel lock 01 German origin, now in the Ntmnemacher collection (:17'4 t P'" 96) _, is provided with a peep sight mounting base of iden tical type at the, wrist, \\111 i 1 e we r eel pe rsuaded ~ as was previously mentioned, that darts :30 re the 100 rrect projeeti les, in our experience the da rt, no matter wi th how 111 uch force d ri vcn lis not a :n11 s si le that j ustif es thi s fin e si ghti n g "

The re is no in dication that th esc guns were ever used for anything 1110 re than indoor target practice and social shooting by people of' means who had the: - rhe ..... e· withal necec'c""-r' to p··a . '£"0 -, "'1, elabo t - - rm· T-cc,W, is is '1)0· :rnc - .. ut b the fact

'\i\i',,_-,!;¥,'J:'._! necessary I.,':Y ,~ r u11 ~ ··.··.Ta,!,e a,:. ,,:,", ,1 _-< _ .. ' -.' OU:, .y rne ._'_,

that bellows guns are 'found. in highly decorated form, in one case with a hundred or more inlays, again reminis-cent of elaborately' ornamented wheel locks,

Spec imcns of bellows guns are found with names on the. barrie Is ~ presumably the makers' ~ In view of the previous comments regarding the unoriginallty of ba rrels ! it is eu ri ou s to note that these :nan1 cs, wi th the excepti on of \\7 enz el Spatzi rer, a re not associated w i th g11 nmaking " ] t a I)p~,ar s that the: prod ucti on. of these: pi eces was a craft by itself i,

The marked specimens of bellows guns indicate a definitely limited area of



prod ucti 011} Vl hitch is incl uded wi thin and immediately west of the t.riang le form ed by Munich, Prague, and Vienna, Where 'th,e name of the maker only is found, it cannot be located in any source presently available to us, Among the marked specimens t\VO dated pieces occur. One is the Wenzel Spatzirer of Vienna gun previously mentioned, dated 179l. The other is one found listed and illustrated in the Scott & O'Shaughnessy catalog (.211, No, 57,. item 19) where the following data '!"II re given , "Wheelo ck , Rl;'H- e Co nve T' ted "'0' A ir Gun L- engt 1-1 44" ' ; 11"CC h ~IS Fin i e

,,",~"~,"~ .. - ,· . .lIi..1f~4~ Ii 'V~ ~~i····, . ," ,I _-._ .•.. It,._".cur ':".1., II 1l..:L:-.>. - -I ~,_.,.,._. \;...;r. .: 1I! ~,,'.

specimen, hut as there .are no working parts, it has no value except for -ornamentation, Marked iJ aha Schas i'n Burqhau, 1807/ Evidently the time 'when. it was converted into an ai r gun. H This 'is the 11 sual suggestion gi ven by com pi 1 e rs in the past+

The "Schaz" gun has recently come to light and is at present in the Frank Horner Collection (Madison, Wis.) ~ An examination reveals that the previously noted inscription is present on a. side plate un the cheek rest+ The barrel marking had apparently been overlooked entirely by the compiler "vito prepared tile catalog in which the original reference is encountered, This mark, which should be accepted as the maker' s, rather than that of Schaz, is: ~ 'Fran Zelner

in S~·',"""~-'h. n T' h ere Is .' 1-", " -: ',- ,ii:' - '",' ',~ '''',' 1:: with tei t ',; d''- F' Z,:,'--,""" ',t .:,.+ l~'i

. .... UI,LZ '. "~ ..._ rs a, ,':)0 an arlTIOrer s ·mar [ \~1 1 a ,en .an . . no. qUl!Le H .. t(e

that shown in Stockel, but similar. r t 'i s possible that the maker "vas Franz Xavier Zellner. The barrel is Iined with a brass tube with a bit of the old, original ri'fling showi ng at the edges of the tube. The mechanism is mi ssing, but it was the

~ 1 ·

smg ,e-sp ri ng type.

The following names 'have been found 011 bellows gUl1S~

}l I N 'rz. CI-:i RI S T I.LA.::J

The specimen examined is a. double-spring gun, except [or the placement of the, cocking stud" ,\tistallt::r _

PT{AGUE~, BOHE:ll]A In :its external appearance, it resem b les tile piece by

1 "7'"'U' CT..:rE'~·~'R" E'-=IT'E'R 10- L"ii A' '~DRE

::\.. .• ' . _rJ.. '1 1,\ '... .. ,. . ij , .... " '.. ~~ill. ~ ... ,J..;'" _ .. ;; ... "


Laking (148) describes a ,gun by this maker, although incompletely, It is que stiona b le 'Vv het he r th e gun has one 0 r t\VO springs,


A single-spring gun 'by this maker has been examined, I t is rather plain.

MAR]'N'~E"R'" (1\J 'l~T )'

'." . '(J:-, ,il~ or \'V ..

. A, piece by this maker has been described suffici.ently (243) to indicate that it is a bellows O''Ll'D 01 SOL1f1e varietv. Details are vaeue.

~ ~ ~


The example at hand is a single-spring gun (Fig. 19). It is accompanied by one o] the Yfry rare cranks.

~[]:t w i\l~· 'h':' ~~ K rtrn c: 'ill I.~SE LT M PlY R¥. J C,:.\'T.TO~~ IN nI~'TORY , 1

Slngle -spring H ell O\v-S Gu 11... B: Y Jos+ ~~I ond. I nsert: era nk, (Nezs. 2ill'4$49" 2'04550;: ~1llnn~ )J[o. N'S4?)

The exanlple at hand j S a. d.ouble-spring gun (Fig~ .20), The barrel. 1S inlaid wi th si lv e r an (], 'Ilea. rs the nam e "An ton M u lacz. ~, Al S 0, ·0 n the left; the barrel 13 stamped ~!'l\fCT."L\.CZ,~·' The receiver is engraved "Heinrich Mulncz." A . .1:ll.L(lCZ has been listed as '\vo1rking" wi th Pi rkn, rnaldng breech loaders (224)

P.ELI-.J, AN1~02\1

] '[ ""'.l ? A- r ... S- ~I""R 11 A

__ .. ~ \! I:' " .'. 'I...~.~ I .'. JI...L~

the stud protrudes near the toe of the butt, it actuates two the on 1 y example of this mechanism thus Iar fou·rnld. quite pla m n. and rescm bl es the 'piece bv .\ V i statler .( p. c .. ·1.7]5.~ rntlu r 'r.ltr:~!y for SUT'VW"f'1ng specrmens ..

s p I~ing.$., 'T h is is F~., tc r nall v the arm is .53) . Pen is dated

"[,r('t' '0

. ' ],0· ~".

n - : -;:'1'· ,._ .... '. _..... n. '1"1 . T" r· t r n '.' A' 'J .,...... '\.( ... -1 ...•.

zou 1,1. e-sprmg ne· .o~s \ Tun, .Dy .: ntcn ,I;\' tuacz ..

(. l;. ~ 2"04· ~5' 'N N' .... ··1-' O' d 11 0) .I." egs. : •.• ',,;, 1 ; 1.UHn .. 1 o . .1,; ·



BU~RrH \U~ ?

, . ~.J. i.~~, ~

T hi s name a pp ear s on a 51 de 1) la te on th.e chee k rest of the "Zelner ~ , gun, which see.

SP.l\'-rZ,IRER, ,,",TENZEr_,

\rIEN~'"""j~" I\USTR,··1 {\'

. l...aI . 1. '\ _ :'\ ~ ..:. .... .. :_.', '.IIi.'

This maker is quoted by Thevin (227) ~ The specimen that is illustrated has the ~~(~OOk~011~.P form of outside cocking lever.

The specimen examined is of the double-spring variety, It is the most elaborately ornamented example so far located.

\\rIS'~T i\I I ER> 'n_,"' X,

~ ... ~_. .L~D • ,J! , ~ ,',~ '. I r to .L'.


I\'rUN1C~II, G·El{ iV11\X'Y

A single-spring bellows gun by this maker has been made available to us 'by Mr. M, Reichenherger (1.99). A folding crank is present, one member of which is marked ~~109 ;~j the other, f'110.'; The discharge trigger consists of a small button only,


ZE~ r ,NTV'R" F'RA" NT

- -,,;I' n~ •• ~,~ ':t. ........ '.

S AI ZB'l"'R(~ AT "'S-TRI A

.... .J.~_., • .}' .. ~._: .:» ., ..... ..:r, .:_' LMr:', I'_,.J,"'_

The barre-l of this piece, otherwise known as the ;'l Schaz" gun, hears the name of Zelner. The mark that is present indicates that the maker is Frane Xavier Zellner, The arm is presently in the Horner Collection,

Th e fact tha t no a ppte cia hle data ha ve been a. vat lah l. e re ga rd in g the makers \V hose narn es a pp ea r on these guns has b ten a 111 a tte r 0 f so me \YO]I derrn en. t ~ because the fine craftsmanship exhibited show's the work Or masters who must have developed a. skill in the production of numerous specimens. These men apparently formed another craft and did not go in for the making of firearms .. \\' e note that one air gun maker, Johann Oberlander of N uretnberg .. is listed as having been a crossbow maker and an an air gun maker, born 1640~ died 1 i14 (224; p. 230). Stephan of London; an armorer of the end of the 18th century, whose name occurs on a wheel lock a!05 well as on an air gu.n~ the latter preserved in. the Musee d' Artillerie of Paris .. is also listed (~8; p. 598). I'll anothe r reference he is 1 i s te d as Step hea n (224; I' T 293) an d .j s th e. re rla te d c. 1800, "vi th one spec] 111 en exa III i n ed,

T he pro hlem of dati ng' the be] low s gu n as a 111 echa n i S111 is a pee 111 i a r one.

Extant pieces are, without much question, quite accurately placed somewhere around the end of the eighteenth and the beginning 'Of the nineteenth centuries. The revival of the romantic InOVr111ent" of tile period caused the reproduction of many older objects of art, and app€aJ~S to have included the bellows gun, even though in a. restricted area. This could mean a limit of production knowledge but not necessarily a limit in ultimate use .. There is no argument in general with the dating of the SpeC]111enS that have been examined, but it is felt that with the pee ulia r \v hee 1. ] or k cha racte r i sti C~ ex hi hi ted an d th ~ (011'] P 1 exi t y of th ~ III ~c hani SIn, \v hi ch, \\' hi le it varies i 11 the seve ra 1 pi eces examin ed, s ti 11 fo Ilow sad e fin i te

~' .... II .;:l1"1!"

parte 1'"1i,~ the be ~ lows g't1.11 is in reality an old C1" device than remaining examp Ie s

ind .' ..a 'TIA 1 . -, ." nlex ._- ech , .. 1.11" .~. ~ ., , ,"~,1, ",." tl hort .,.. f +~- ..

1 neu ca 1,,\;;,. ~.... 1,1. V e sc C0111p. ex a mec arnsm uev ~:LOp wiu un u , e ~,.;~O,~ spa.,Qe 0 I",UTI e

,",., , 'fill...· "'~'" ·t· ~~; r... ,o··-··~··- .".," " ,'. 1 " . b .]. ··'It···· A and ~" ~ id ,'. I ],·,~14dc.· .", '1'"'' .. ,-.' t·,~ ,", '1'·

Ul "~ :tICLl me ,~p ecunens ia vie oeen . .oC81. ~l~,! an 11;.0 rl.fl· 1 uc IU{~"\3!'. 'so l11(_U;lY an ,~,q ue

features and such a h'ighly perfected expression ()[ art, :S!f;e111S unreaaonable. This is particularly erue when one bears in mind the 'fact· that h it;ibly effi' ient air

. ', .. ' ~', '." - 'k' "A'- ,.'" .' t '1;1 ,j!. ,.,', ,. "1"1' . the d '.', '-.' 1'·',·' I'" . ,t o"f~ ,if'!' ·,·, .... '1., , .. I':' ", ··,;i'iiffi···· " ,",~.ii:I! rt d . " .. "' .. ~.

guns WC1'"e ,·11v\\'11 a: !!J., Il,nnC~Vv,.ly , ,. c .. eveiopmem suen all .nl,,-, lCl!;;.11,', ' evice

.. '·'11 '., 'Ii..., .... ~ .. , '·i ·"l·-, - ~ ,. '. '\iIl,'·l .... k- ,.,.-, . . nless t·,1 .. ' '1 . '~t". . ,'. - .. - ... ,.,. ··t· " ., '1''-·'-'.' 'I

\'\, ten UCILl .. er ,IUtN''::=l(l.n15l11S,. Jere mown, umess me II)eIIO~~,5 gun represem s ,(1 ora

example IOi( Ihn ,at~te[lI:lJf to g'o back to a. romanrie or gloJd en a,ge '?

The s \elllbJg' oo,n~r,ad~lctj:i~):,n bejt\\:~,ee~~, the: :~a;t,e, date found, Oll1 llJ'~lo\-~s 1,'lJ.)lUS. and the :a:ppta\r,oo:t~y 'eI'rl,,Y :li1atJJ:~,re' ,of 'tlhe mechanism is, one 0'£ the :1-lLli06:t disltu,rbill,g' of o'~ the :;l,i r ,gUj;Jj problems, }\5 l1uil~ been p:re;'viot1sJy not, d, knnl\~ ledge exists of "the invention of air guns at an early date, 'but this i:nfo:rma;t'i,fHl, says no,tb,ing' as to ,ty]Je--,\t\'.~ J I ether '( h elf be pneumatic, spring-piston, or' bellows gU:I1,S,~ S'tr,angely enough, the ,~Jdel1c:e: 'f'ba;t: most supports the belief' t'ba,t: the hu,t:er' is n'n early mechanism i s nel'~ tive in character. ] t ~ s aeknow ledged tha.'t many ,0£' the air gun types. that were produced in England o:d,ginated 011 tl~e Continent. Illustrative are the products of Staudenmayer and Kolbe" two Continental makers who

I, ( ','" ·.','tll.·d~ ;i;. ..... Enala 1;1 .. , I,j th "1" "._. ·,d: ,··· .. ,...Jii Continer .. al-tvnc air ::,~"'.'fl!, ~-',' d marked

enu g~, 3.1 e Jl L1~ ~ "=I ilg ~anc II ane . er e ,P ro uceo von nnentat I ,,.7 Y C ~u r gu.n,~ an,. -' ma r. ce ..

h L;I S- d iI' 'j' d"" . ..'i 'b' 'ilk" " t t

t ,em .. ,OHu,O;t", :.::·tlu~lellr,nayler was apparently, as in i tcated I:y n~Sp,l"10(ll'UC>S.~ 01,

A t '.' ... '-m:.c-::- I ~ "'h' "1 1 j , ]. .. f ... ·S· "[. l

1-II~f '1. "'-1' 1"':'-·",' --1.-- : -"fIi ".1-", -',' I'; - "',. I·~I- .. ·· .':-" · .. ·:·1· I"~,·. I_~., . :' •. !I!l'" "'"1 .. ,: 1 . .IIi~l·-···· _·-"'I' . _

,'"' _,ltS,r,utu OI1\gn11", ".n,.oc,~ on t·e other jauu, appears eo nave COIne . t01111 .. 1l1. J'

G (8';"')

! e;r.nlB,ny 1· •. ,' •. r.

T ransitional Spring, Guns

It is t h u ~ s,1gn Ii fi,lcant that, while h~,~o. of the major E(;I'l''>OPC:1Ul 'ty))'e.s have tbu~s Inigl~ated f"ro~~,1 the COlldUten'~.!1 there is no record orf: a be:I,[lu'\y,S !ilUI b.,in,g' pl~iodlu)ced~ in ,Eng Ilanel. I't is Hk:c'\Y'isc Sigilli i fiCil'ot tbaf 1tlitf! Freneh ~~l)d ~',ngll]:s,h e~lc,yclopedl,as, o~ the eilJ,r~y 11 ilnef~ti!llth 'Ct!fl;t,tl:1:",,r make no :lre:Ff: renee ,to th is nloc'i:1l311J i, :111 a,'~t:hl();~h, other nl'f)eS OOU1J~I.Ql11 v a lable are i]]ustra'ted"

~Jll ~ -

An unidentified Iorm of ,~Pl' ing gun. appears to bridge the ;gal' bet\VC(!11 bellows guns and the '~",pe to follow later, Construceion, along with lack .of' data, has lied 'to its arbitrary placement in this portion of the developmental serl res" Later i:nvesrtig,I:'D,On, :11Ut)' 'we'll indicate au alteration iu position '.'

One lexlillpi:e~, unmarked (F:ig';; 21.~ upper) ~ is inCQll1p[,e:t,C!:, 'but 'bas certain outstanding charaeteristics, 'T1he barrel :~s, OJ£, tlu~; t \iM:ist-.a;r·n'~ I nd fn:fl1l, akill to the :P:rimaf,Y' ,iNj,e;\v' 'Yo,r,k City gaU.1fry gun.~, ,A, brass e:y:~~'nder:~1 pli'iesulttab~'y tf~e: h,ot~;s}~ng' for ,a s,prh~g tUldJ, p'1lnng,er' 'uni,I, serves as \vr.iis!c, a possib~e ,a~r!!;ti'ci' of ,tlhte, form eneo t'l'iIil!i t:B~d'l ~'iliilil t·:'L.;ii!Ii; IQ •....• 11't~I,i:""'ll.'t""'I{i;l~U~h series

____ b~ "'" "" _ 1101 ~JI;_I10..~ '"",,, .. ' ~,~.!i, Jil", ""IlG ...... AllIC'.lt~ I!J _ ~. .. _ '\,,;; ~

'The t~'tl~'t.t. :is of: \\\r"~d.. .. ho·.'~'I~N~I-' nut tor the h~ 11 ~jn': g'. 0.·' ,C' I?;ft~tli@, 'me ~ t;1!;t'"'I~mrt"l" ~,m'i C •• "~ re'·· =

. _ . U ,II. _ _ _ _ . 'V'4'. ,~ .II u ~. ",<,-, . . . __ 'Y'~/Ql. " "I: ;;;!i!Y'\U_ _ ", ..... illio,oJ!"'C_JlA ~ ,,. . ~

.e:u11 ,iiOP'Ii"";o:'iI-'\i"j;:]"'8i',rj;"j;-]; ~ '~'iFiI, ... 1I'''E·'.t''<§~\Oo, t-;Ik!l9i'. j'!Inn··· 'Q:~d" 'e"f"iiI'b',I;Q "!Ii ~*lII'IIlr'ol"jI"l!i!'Oil"ii f'~ro- ',"m'~ _ e(~ a··'·r·'iluJ'i'n~'l'l: ;jf"lil"WII~II~"I;!Orti"]

IJ_._JJJ ~~~~·tllJl'I.ljtll~;!IIr.:1Vlil;~, tW~~.I~:_I~~III~0.i ,[J.CL" ~~'.I~.IJ I· -: @.J_. ~: ~,_,L'1!im ,'C~I~!·I:)fI~111l II··.· l_;_ !Ili,_,:._~1 .·.I·IlI~r·_ ,~I !IJ.~Jj,UJljIL:W,{:.'.lL,



Fig; 21,. Transitional Spring Guns,

Upper! 1; nmar ked. The s p e cim e n has, be e n rebui 1 tat 1 east on c e wi til evidcnc e S 0 f 0 rigina 1 be Bow 8 ~ typ e mecha nism,

Lower : v1/ eisbrocl, This is a transitional example bridging the gap between bellows guns and gallery types".

(Negs. 20326'1'; N~U1l1ni Nos, N2616, N 546)

has been made. f\ cocking stud of the bellows type is present near the butt plate.

T::- . 111.&IJ'r-·e :' r~ however indicati -- -n : :.: . 'r+ ...,.,']:. '.. ..' 1 ,- ~~':' .... ··1'" ,e-'I ent of _.. ro .... kine - lever

~'. a Ii;:,:t W~, er, inruca ions 0 tne one ume P acem .. _'.' a ...... ~.J, g y..:;.

within the under surface, behind the trigger ~

B tl b '11 d II ] h 1 Wh

. I ...., r '"' :. ". ,.' . -.... ' .. _ r " - ... . . . .' .. -. ..... " .. ' '. '1' ' .• ,' '. '." .'. ..... .......-', - .. - .

Ole. ·0\\ S - type an _'. ga €'t} = ty pe e, en1.en ts are . ere s u~ geste.c' +. '.' '. 0< pro-

d uced this h y bri d is unknown but" based upon survi ving evidence, the s pecimen is ten ta tively j nd entified as a tra 115i ti unal exanl.J? lei;

The 'pi e~e by Vv" eisbrod (F ig~, 21." lower) j an unlisted maker ~ has several leatures qui te suggesti ve. of the bellows gun, but has the appearance of the same age as sur-vi ving hellow s exam pl~ S" S( irnew he re around. -the oeg]J.ll1in_g of the 19t'h century, The expected flip-up barrel is present, as is a cocking stud, recessed, but midway along the right side. of the butt stock. The piston. 'cylinder is within the wrist, as in the previous unnamed example, but is concealed within the wood, It nlay he exposed upon the removal of .an 'inset wooden plate which blends so well wi t 11 fh e. su rface as to he almos t i nvi si hi e.

130th examples were in a] 1. prnha b~ lity employed wru th darts, and ve ry lilre~y had limited capabilities. Fine sights are present as well as peep sight bases. The unmarked specimen has a heavy ~ wasp-waisted, octagonal barrel; that. by Weisbrod has a. heavy, straight-sided. octagonal barrel with a 'brass liner. :Bofh have cheek r-ests. The 'l .. leisbrod piece 'has basket checkering : the unnamed one has inlays o-f bone, along with a ramrod channel and brass thimbles. Thev ate

r. IJ

apparently of German origin,

It is hoped that additional specimens (If data wil] some day become available to bring mo re: light upon this phase 0:£ the air gun story ~




Am '.. G'" '11 G' .

, _ _ erlcan '·"3 .ery ....... ··Ul1.S

The period represented by tl1 e Am erican gallery guns is a curious -i nter tude which appears to have begun shortly before the Civil War and thereafter survived actively for about one post-war decade While .the picture a.ppears to. be reasonably clear in ,generaJ.; actually it is full of unanswered questions regarding origin, descent, and manufacture of an arms type w hich is unique in structure and use ..

It appears that, in the days of limited transportation, sh.u(]ting was a sport generally denied tile dwellers of large cities. Travel facilities were not such that the city folk: had ready access to the country and its accompanying sports. With the interest in rifle shooting' corning to the attention of urban residents as a result of the Civil "r a.r~ there developed a realization of. the potentialities of rifles, and also a desire to em ulate the heroes of the war. Obviou sly J' the. noi S~,~ s'I]101<e j and incidental dangers of firearms made them unsuited for use in densely popu~ lated areas, Further, the ownership of a gun other than a pistol was not a part of eve ryda y Ii f e th ere. A Infra I.1JS of satisfyin.g th i ~ desi re and the S(;' conrli tion S \111 as found in: the American gallery guns, which, as the name indicates, were apparen tl y owned hy cone es s i 0 nai re s and b~n era. 11 Y used in indoo r ranges,

These curious and generally unappreciated. arms, while occurring in a definite variety of de5igns~ ha ve ccrtai n characteristi cs in common. Thrl.akers, j udging by names, were of Germanic extraction. The guns are highly stylized, using con-

, 1 E ., 1 \11 d bl 1 ., '. '.

_', '[' . i ~ ",'-: .... ,.' -'-~' .•. : ... 11.· .. ,: .~'. "1 " .: '" '-'I "_ ,.. .. -. -,'",:",_ 1"-"'--"1';" -I - .. ,.- ": _,-i\'I ' .... -: .• -

tmcnta .uropean essentia S. 1· , are . OU :,C "0 ute spring piston ,gl1n~ tlSl.llg

leather bushings. All are breechloaders and, with one exception, were designed to use d.arts. All have smooth bores, Specific types are identified with specific localities,

. Five clearly delineated types of American gallery guns have been identified, They have been unclassified in the past, but because of their apparent origins are here caned the Primary Xew York City, Secondary Ne~1' York City, Upstate ,~~ ew York, St. Louis, and New England. types. The fi rst two are, as the names indicate, essentially products of New York City, The Upstate N ew 'York type was produced, i udgi ng' by available specimens, in 'Geneva and Rochester, N ~ Y, The St. Louis type '\,V3iS made in a variety of places, mostly within the Obio River Basin, westward to' St. Louis, where production appears to have been qui te cone en t rated. The 1\1 ew Eng Ian d type, of whi ch t\VO va ri eti e s are- known to date, was produced in Boston. and New Bedford, Mass .. A series or questionable tvnes and makers is also at hand, That makers will be identified. in other

.... 1""'

.locati ens at t a f u ture date .i s expected. 'T he P res en t listi ng' is the result of the

investigations of' over a decade, but obviously no claim is made that it is complete ..

P - rt rt _ '-.- '.~ th' 'i\..... "'C'·1··· '1 " 1 p._i. ',. ,. 'I'" 'NJ' - -Y""'· . k ,~, ._~ -t~ -. ~ ' .. 1;':.- ," d

10 a ypes 001., e.: rvew r~ng ,anc ann .. [ll,nal) ,_._ ,e1;V' .r or·' varreties ar f: rnunc

in Europe. The balance appear to be American designs using European principles, and later examples of. such. mechanism as, for example, the trigger guard lever and the crank, 0"£ European manufacture, are found.

'1,""i"FL'1m 'Iflr' .t. T'D ....... '"1i~-N~ ·V~ ~I_ \ILII Jl. j.1 ,n,j1 ,II(, ~- II ~,.. ... ".1 iI"j!


'PR" I'MAD'y' NEJW" - 'YO' 'R'K' C'ITY' 'TY'PE

,.:",1 ,~>,:._n,·' ',D_<:', ~',,; rr _-<,--,,~ ,I '" .....

This type is known on 'both side'S of the Atlantic Ocean. It is characterized by a d etacha ble crank whic 11 I s ins e rtcd into an apertu re in the right s ide of the

, ,.' . , . ~ . ", ... :_ .. "';0'. t··.'·· . c,~·· -",1;,_ -. ;,,',t"l' "., S'-'""'" +;. ··c - .. ' : -.* E 'I,_ """'1'1 .. ' .'"',, 1·' "" ... ~. " 'p" "0,·+£1;,..;11

receiver oper ~_lng a ra.CK w 1 "UU., .c..:pt"CJl][n~11.s. UlI - .... uropean Ofl,glll na ve a , 1~.~""'~L.

1 'I, c:.-- ,A,.·,~·. '~~"II:_' 'I :1' ,,"" ',': "A"" . ';;"""""""1" ··-r . .-, ': ,11 ", """ ':l~, ""'CI'I'11~ 111:~'" ,'h, , , "'1 "'1.""-1','. ~". nosed

cover oy v er u ie 0]) e~,],ng ,jl ... "'1;.mer~"",a:n E;X,Mnp Jj es In., a. rum, JJJ) nave ~ e op en]ug exp ... , seo.

European pieces ,j'i,. ,... ... ". ,.,- .'-:: -,"I ]-};O'J'A the breech ~. -i'~' -, , ...... for 'I~'''l'·dl ,", 'F' ,,- the .r.1'j·i' mestic

111-_, . '. , . ,!WJ,.l!:" ~,~IIL:,~ ""xa.mJ, ,","..... "_!!;.,r IJJ Ill. !I;,..'II;",.",,-" es !J.l.p 111,'" '!!.,;!' I, _,"i."II'g.", I"n,g .. , _ "n . ,10,. ~~ -..],~ '..... lliC

variety f ie barrels twist aside,

Additional characteristics of the Primary New York 'City type which have been examined are as follows, Octagon barrel with square muzsle. Si'gh:ts ,: usually screw adj ustable elevating rear sight;: otherwise dovetail-based fixed ~li.g'll t (~r he: la tter is. on a pi stol.) A II ha ve fin e fix ed front si gh ts, The barrel twis t~ one-quarter turn to the ':rigbt for ]olding'., Because 01 the ~~,1rrmiU,g holt upuin w'~li.CJl

58 1:1 IL \V At_; KE E PUBI~] C l1 USE ['" M PU BLI CA T ro N'S I,N :r"IISTOR¥ : 1

F· '74 Jg. i.J ~

Gallery Pistols,

"l pper : Lurch, Crank type.

Lower: Lindner patent type 'with butt 1 ever, (Neg, 2032(9)

Prirn3;.f)T 'l\~ ew York City Type 'Gallery GU[1S.

U PP er' ;, U nm ar ked. ?\f iddle : Fjsher.

L ower : M ock,

( ~\f eg, ,2032/'{~i; upper; ,N unn, No,. ~ 3,721 )

the barrel rides, the forestoek is unusual 'nv' in U '" It is screwed. to the barrel and


has SC!,,(!i\\Y' plates on both sides. (The pistol is pinned.] Perch-belly stocks are ,th,e

rule, with cheek pieces present on Most specimens, ,M u tt plates are either modi tied. military or riA.,e style, R eceivers have top and bottom tangs with rear-extending side tongues. A cast receiver with removableleit plate is characteristic, as is, the looped trigger guard, also cast, (The pistol 'has a. spur guard.) With one exception, s.tra,igbt p!]11J. t:rigge~rs w,~tb rear-affixed .ad.jtu$,tin,g screws are T'ou.lli[t

The trigger .m~c'h~u].isul, is very characteristic of 1'11'i:8 type of gal Ie ry' ,gun~, The 'trigger, pivoting to the rear ~ eleva tes the front member 0:£' an 'i. L"'" ]in·k.l. tiU:ing' the upper member to tbe rear ~ 'tJH~ reby freeing the rear extension of a front-pivoted .sear block. The block is thereupon forced downward and out of the rack notch t where it had. been resting ~ till. s being accomplished WJY the forward thrust '~;f the 5p ri :ng .. te n ~'] oned rae k h~l r, The '1 den tical. mechanical princi p Ie is i llus tra ted in a. cross bow (l,f: Germanic or1:g:~u in the N unnemacher Collection (N 4(6) 'i

]:n. sp~te of: the fact.: that the i'01IDs of the p()w'·er s'i)ri.ngs; vary ~ the: crossbow, the ,g,aJhe.~ty, gun, and also. the wheel lock have a common problem, that of re·t~lning the propulsive force of a powerful sprhlg' in cheek 'by ,3, sear mechantsm .. Inasmuch as a normal gun .. sear and notch would not 110]d 'this force and release it instantaneously upon demand, intermediate blockades must be employed which, once. released, tumble promptly and permit the pent-up power to ,ope'tate. In the case o-j the wheel lock a dog enters a depression within the side of the. wheel itself and~ once released, slides out freely, In the ease of tW~H~ crossbows referred 10 above, a 11(1 the ga11e:ry gt1:n, of this, typcJ the clements of' the release are not only' identical in principle but also in essential d,esig 1. A set tri.gger 'is enlp~loyed in the cross bow' mechanism, the thrust of which 'tilts an "~L"~ bar ~ The motion 0:£ this ,Ullk frees a sear bar, centrally pivoted in this case, the front part of which is the rlp.upnn. ~ creed down ward and 0 ut of engagement with the tilting '~:l ut, that member which holds the string in drawn position .. this motion being the result: of the ·f 0 rward tilting strain 011 the nut Whi le the de s 19n -0 I the parts is d i:IT eren l' t an almost identical mechanical aeti Oil ~ rotated. 90 degre,es., is present in t ht. wheel lock,

The following Primary ,N.e,,, York City type names and. data have heen col-

'I t- d t'l h '~- ,i t ,t t~ d - - - . . .. f-" - - . ..

", f,~' I ",.:.' _ ., " _ ~. 'ar-:-' iF.1 . [ .' -. .",.J ",. (" . _". t. ," I'.' ' ... :. .. . . "'. ~ ,'I' . "l' - "1" '"} .. I" ,"

. !ec .. 6. , I tr(~ug~ U1..teD exammauon, correspon enee, or re erence ..

'B' A"'-' y .. , 'E' R'l< J.'O·· 'H" 1 N·

:C·. =. ; -'" i!! ,.' .: . ! .......

NE: ..... w ""O-·R·. f)'" 'kT Y·',··· \'\ I . ..JI.;\., ,!",. . .. ,

An example by this maker is known (1.7]) ~ First listed 'in l869 ... 70 as "Bayer, Joh'n, air gun maker ; d~uts.· and targets ; 1 ti Prince" ·h~. 164 De .. , la\'D,cey" ;;;, Listed as .r, i gt1:ns;-' II i.n ~ 871-·72;: ,:, M,ilcllinis!t.~'" in I g\72~73 .. , No ent,fY'

in, 1.874~. (230 . .>

F-I'''S''': :'" H· . ,t-R·'l! IGc~.

. . ..... " ... " "- ".

1!..TE· "1'1 r ·,:rO·· .' ·R'K' 'N::': y' ....

[1:"" " v\' .I.: .' _. . J . ",_ rI! .' I!!J

!S·····,-·· .. ,-·1 - ..... ·Ik·.· ""3:'3;-:;; -:,···'.'t""'~,.:,t ·(···?,O·I.ri11'), Sald t ~""" "j ,.~ t··'····,,····-··-·· A":"'" addi

eena lIlUl111:.Jer .'\' repor 'c,j. I ~11·t'.7" ',- iU.1 ro nave a set . r~J~Ig'ler,;;.I1 ~. .l~

ti011 at piece marked with' thIs maker' s name has been examined (161 ') ..


. -.:, ...., V\i ..

N·-·E,· W······ Y· ·O;--R· .. ·K---- 'T\J' Y"':"''''

.:.'.. '-.'. . ..... -" ., J.~,~ .~

1- 8)~2-" '1 'N" 0 en trv ""'i"'i~" D'" 'a~ -" .] Lu rch

_'V~ ~Uibl't -._. .. , I. ~.,j 1'-_IJL-. _- :'!11(,. .11. -.'] .•

l863··~64; "Lurch, David, spring arid air guns '& pistols, 142 Grand. "j 1864,..!6:5 ~ t,( I .urch, David, ,glUtfl" 1-4.2 [Grand ~ (h ~ rCif u:st'~~ ') -e ~,

·~,.s6~; -flo~ ,~! Lurch, David, SHJith" 14.2' Grand (h reiused) '. ~l!

1.866,"/67'" "Lurch, Da vid, gunsmit h J 1 . .5:7 (_;r~1.n rl, ~~

t,8157 -68 _ ,~,t. .urch, David spring and ai r guns 15,7 Grand," 1 ,868,-69, 'illo!~ irch, David, gUllS!, 15 7 Grand, u

],M9=,,70,~ "Lf .. RClI, Dr\ VID~ spring and air guns, pistols &e.'j 1,57 Grand .. :)j 1. RiO.r.71" . i L urch, J )t\vid I Alan uf, of spring (~11d. air gUl1 S" mechanical targets, spri ~~gs" darts &:c,.~, .1 57 Grand."

] 87] -72' ~'~J .ureh, D~.v](l~ gtlns,! 157 G'ra.nd. ~",

] 8i'2'~,i9'",.

'1 sg6-87 : ~ ~ L i.1: rch, Da vi rl, 8fn rti ng gds, 189~J~94~ N'n ell,tl'"y fO'r Da,vid Lurch,

1899~]900~ X 0- entry for lJ.avid Lur-ch,

(2,30) '.

Both Lurches David and joseph {whom S~N~) are variously listed in other publications ,uf arn .s makers ,~.S g~uit:,~ril!1~ths of New York !Ci'ty~ ·1;869=75~ t8i :2(8),

... - . ;i'

1 ~7····· 'C' ~"'I~ - . 'j ,'1 n

,,~_. Jl(t,n_rc.

NE"-1:."\,.r Y -O·j-··R.·K··. 'l\J ~]"

J" .' 't_ . . _', - _ ~ 1."'1, ..l..

xisw Y()RK~ 1\" v

1.855 ea 56) No entry for ~1:ocl~'" 1860-61~, No entry for lvI ock, 1864~ $." N 0 entry Ior 1\1: ock,

1865-66" ~ ~ 111.0 c 'k" ~ August, surg, insts, ~ h. r. ,8,5 S ul li V,;U1, .. ~;

l 866-6.7' ~ ,(,~ liock, August, surgical ill str mkr, h.r, ,8$ ,Su,1 H"r;~l'n ,! ~'~ 186:7 -i6S.~ ~ "');[,o<,:'lc ~ ,,j.~ ugust, machinist :11 .r. .85 SUU.l vall ~ ~I

1,868-69~ X'o entry for Mock ..

1.86970: ~~1\1(1Ck: ,AUgL1Sti~ toolmkr., h . .,11"'. 85 Sullivan."

1810-,71, ":f1ock .. Aug's, lVra(:hinist~ ,5;9 Lewis, '11",1",., 85 Sullivan,"

"187' -> "1; '7·2-: .... 'no an- trv for l\,if ......... 'L

, :='.' ._. '-j' :.;U i{".', .I!. 'J'. " .... "'.- J.llJ.~ ...

ti ~i·.:- -'2·'- ",'~: ~.u·o e' 1i]"rr- - "V' 'f:~:o- Ir' 1\.Ji'oc-c .. - k- ,

I O. _ I- ~l'J J. '\:J '. '. JI I~' 'J' ',. . ~\':.l" .' . ~

] 874 ... ,75.t ," ~'I oek, A,ug\u~:t;, gtlDS;" 89 Thompson, ,',1 ~ .877 -,i8~ ~'1VI ock, ""~ ugnst, g't jnmkr, 2~ 1 ~ S ]) 1\ 1:n 1",. t,


]'8' ~-9 8"0 ,j:,; '~i k ;\ - - -- - -' . _. 2 11 'Ii'S ... ~"

, .. ·.1 .. J ..••. ~ ~.- OC'. '_~ r: .ngust, guns4'l ,<.!l _[ ··llf1:fl;g·,.-

a 881-82~ 'No entry 'f'(H;o [\f[ock:,

1882 -83, N 0 entry for 11: ock, ( 2 30~ )

~C-~H.·'~ .. 'tA"··IL' T':Z·-T'E,·R··: 'T 1\,T<L.~\,.\1 1.!.O,T}I\"':'" N·· "'i,

~ . - ,,-Y.1 . .,~ ~_' . ...i;.~ l'i r~ ':", 1.. "," .a- JI1:\,. " ·.~~i "_ I!I 1.,

One specimen b~' this maker has been reported (217' ) ~

N"~~:'~l' 'y:: ·0·.·.' . 'IJ 'K·~. '~'" 'V:"~ .

__ ." .:'\.,,"IiI;~'I!J ~

One specimen with don b le set triggers h:;15 been reported (23?' ".1 ri A u example 10£ this rna.'kel~~s work was seen in 1947~ ,at the ,l,IU,\~ankee meeting of the Wisconsin Gun Collectors Assn., owner unidentified. Smith is also listed as a producer of the Secondarv N ew YO'f\: Citv '[FIH;;; r

l ~ ~ J_

SE'O"'CO':< N:-' D····A···, R·· .. ·Y···· '.>' 'N"C'~VT "V';'O" ····R· -K-~- C'~I' T~I =y...... -TV":' p' E"

........ _: ' =>'_'" , D W ,.I. ' '.:" .J,I" ' ,=~, ~

F";'.'··" .']1"':: _: ,!lg~ cL'U..

This a.l:~pellrs to be a hyb l"id f;o·r!n.~ retai ning' S011.1:e eharaeteri sties of t be preceding type and having. added at least one feature 0,( the St. Louis ~,tu·'i~ty,., Its place in tbe rH,-O,gr'f~s.s ion s eries is, 11a turally , s till a matter of speeulati on, S u bseq uent research may determine a chronologi cal 0 rder (If 'the various types; indeed it may show that they are, as is suspected at present, not developments according to time, hut truly area f,or111S+

S]JrU:~ la 'f' t,()1 the ~t., Lou] S, ty pe~ the Secondary K,e\v Y ork Ci ty vari ety' ~ s eq,u']ppe;c1 with a trru,gg'e'r guard lever for cocking, The barrel, however, :Wi:ll ':its, '~'Y.t:'''~~~,.,.



around b reeeh j octagonal exterior j and squared. muezle characterist ics j' is "the same ,as :in the Primary form Side tongues are 'preSE.illl t on the recei vel" '" 1\. fixed. front sight 'with. a, dovetail base, and a dovetailed, adj ustable fear sight are found .. There is ,3, decided drop in the barrel, the bore O()·t being in a continuous, direct line with 'the exi.'t of the piston a .. nd cylinder,. The lock :jiI;g:rees W"l th that of the St Lows 'type .. ,

In thls grou.p the following names are found.


BA'L' 'T' ']",\iITO'IR:lu -M-"D",

, .'.' _ . ~ ";WJ. r ,.J.!;,~! ... '_. ~.'

One example 'bas. been made: available, 'i\lh,etbef' t'he specimen ~~a,s, made: in, Baltimore 'bu I ·ie'lhiig'·· ' .. , or' made for him bv at N'elv Y ork maker I, is, 'not known

.I' , .• ' . '"' ~

at pre sent

~I._.. ,~ .. ' - ~~~. : .. -~


xsw YORK~ )T, Y.

One example by this maker has been. reported (23,5) '"

N' iew y"'" '0-' 1) if}'"' N:' Y"'"

, L~¥ ,I, .lI."'lJt'"\., ,.... ,j ~ ~ ,.

NE'I"~j y'~ 0' ·····R' .. ···K:· N-'ce y

. -f '~{ . .:. .: .: . . .... jl .:....!i! I, r!i

A fi~t '1 '" , 'k' '. ,- "~:I·: .. eh ~ . ;I~ 'd"'l:liJ'IR'S"II~'''''G- 9 .... S' C- ·-F.I'E-· :P;:jf' AN" 'N' - ~.ifAK

_ yfllS_O :IS'D.'OW 1. ~T'n]c::, .I,S maTHe, -Vl1 .....•..... ~ .... ,1:,' I~ ...... : .. ' , JYJ., .. 7'l.., , "_ L¥'JL .'. ,,-'

-- ,

ER-.' .. -:-'S·': C-':IN" ' 0-'" :i!'~' ]',,, ,'~ •. l' :- ,'. :1" . 'k' ,·._'1 "'G' S:-·:T-E'l·'N···· '''E~'R'' "', '" obabh ,t-,h,···· .-' .... ,- ',,_:_\- ._,._"'. ::

. _'" .'. c .'_ >'.' ,~, ,lS, ~I- so 1l1311" .,eu, .I~. _,. -.!, _' _ _,_:::_~, pro~, '.' y I .. ' ,e 't,Qt1,ceSs];,on,=

alre or Oi~'iher'" This i~s an, example of a :makef' 'p,:r'OdtlCin,g' a 'type ,,,'hi(:'h. is rather . fo,r1e]:gn tOI the place o~: manufacture, (4\3., )

, I .

The specimen of this maker in the Nunnemacher Collection (N3722) is general Iy credi ted to f' 1 06 East Housto 11 S t ~ ",' Reexamination shows that the piece is marked "Iohn Zuendorff New York" not only on the rear or the

,- .

~fli nde r but also in almost oh literated letters ncar the breech of the barrel,

The barrel is :&160 marked '~1~5'~'t below, the number normally being covered L'-y,:e the fore ~"RC- 'II", No 'HI ou ston nor 'E' J~ ~+ Hou ston Street 1'· ~ 'to", be to-:'ii tn 1..4 in

IU;" l~.....l_ '-- lU',VI. \.;.,~Il!rV·_. K!1l [1-', '.... , , U. Iil dPUP,ll. ,l.lLIV. ,r, -~"1i311lr '_ '_ ',_: ~ Lv, ~ iJ ¥'¥ _ . ~ '_ _ :\.r it ,- ,,-~ .. llL ;~ I.

'h' '.'''' 'Y-'_" k C"" D' '.,. (", '·'1 N'" I ch

:-~. c' 'II" ., [- •...• -'I ----;-:r ,'f-'-" ·mo',_.' , •••••• ~ 'J -,' '1'" '., 1 •. '. -ii','. l' -::'~I r·~.·.··--::·.-::··.,. ~'l~'-··-:,··:- ,'l~

t ' e ,'e~v ' 0,[ ,,_I,t) -.lrectory 0 the flerl,()C~_~ '0 tow 11 nor p, aee suer as

T_ji, ,j,,' -- i"f' .... t iI: ... -.f-. "--"" '":. N"" ,-, "\.:r' ~'l'" ·S:-,,-· '~'. Tl'" ---'. "'k-'"'- . -, , .... ~ '-b"""'l-'~' --1' 'd_

Jr1.0US .. on or ~s. J: OU8,,011, IS In ,,_ew .I 01,,_' ..:.::,t2,Le" ne marking ,, ieve ..

to ,-" .. '.' .... ,,' nber 111'6-: .r,.--- E,"'- H~ . II . ,to ··I···J'.~. sh -. ··:··:t·-··',_··,-,- , .... ,1'1 .... ~, .... ,. "1--' ""-,,. ---.' ,. "-,, .. b- ':.

I 0 mean nnmt er )I, 'U-. Jl..r01D_ to nus nn s _00. -I,ng g,a,,1 er ,Y , 0([ gun rmm er

106····· d" by" E H' - Tl . -E" H- - '1-'" t 'I' Of' '.'

I ' ,'. .:. ': .".: .,,;;oj! .' .. - -, -' .- .,.' ~ .. , 1l .,- .. "~'" T ,',' ,,".. "", ":. -. :" - .. - : .. ~ ·c·

_ ... ,.' Oly,ne.. ~::' ~~oustou,~ -, 1,ere IS n.o . ~ _ ouatoi 1. IS: e( ,a,s ,an OVt, neT '.. a

,gaUeI)f' (,2~30)~, bttt one sueh person, is noted as, being i D, the popcorn business,

- .

H 1 '1 11 b ~~, '1:~'"''

re eou u nave .' een . a, . concesseonaire 0(' a SUJ,ppu,ef 01: coacessson apperatus,

F]"'L" ,', :Ii" - ~I ~ ..,:111·' h =11 .E' !Ii', d '" 11 C- I;" ''']'' 1i,~;1'

~: UJ~ s gun. is c re(l:ru ted as am, item used m t 1,- e l[I,rault norts;, u'r~rI,g t ne ··.·1'f'U., ~,~, a r.

"i~,~ 01', 'ii 'llil' !.r' .i;;" "jl"l1i' G'U' ,..;:' ~, ."~~'. ~,Jr ,l ,J ... ":"".Il,JLA. ..t~ ,~


F'··, 2~'

, lIJ,g.,'-/.,



l ." I

6.' .. ::i '~r IL'I:'I!'" ,'i; l' "P1'lT 'PE r-o TJ J rc 't'iI 'II' ~ :-< E U'"'I;·lf r-t: ur, "ii'C'A-' 'f'r 0 N S 'IT NT HIS' T'O' ny' • 1

-t lV . - '1i'''" .... '''''1 L' r~ t1~. 1·4: L~'~.· .L'r L ~ >I I ... y1 buD -1. _ = ' .~., !-',' . .tL " ~., .' '.1,\" I!! ,

Here we have a _ merging of the New Y or k City and N ew Eng land types, The principal characteristic. is the han d =ope rated revolving cylinder + ./\ revel ving ai r gU,t) ] s not S urp ri sing in thi s locali ty \v h ich a lso saw the fir s t use of the revolving 'rifle ,in America, 'One maker 'Of rcvo~ving air-guns, ,C~ Bunge, is also c redi ted w ith tnalking piU=lock re vol ving ri fles-p ro bah l:y of th e M 1 Il er type (.208) ,. ~ril1er;s arnl was patented' on J nne 11" 1829, and thereafter enjoyed considerable popularity in the 'region of its origin, although made 'by several manufacturers

(104, p. 510) ,. The cylinder of the spring gun nlay be long for darts or short for balls, or it [nay be a combination 0:£ a cylinder that turns and a stationary

.~. .- ¥ ~

portion that acts as a magazine to' replenish the revolving cylinder (38) ~ In

this type the barrel attaches to the receiver with a pin, wedge, and bottom strap combination, a design Vel)' similar to that employed '011 the 'Colt: open-top revolver. The trigger mec hani sm is identical to the Primary N ew York: City ty pe. The. si de lever res em bles that used on the )J e\-v' England pieces, T \VO makers have

t 1 '] f 1'1

. ' "',' ·":"'1 - .,... .. ' .. , .' . ·1···· ". - .• ,', . . ~, •

oeen encnunterer up tn t le present, as (1 0\\; .....


GE~~ . lSI r"E"'",,\ T A 'N'~ y ..

_ .. .;Ii;.·..!JL:..·v .... ~; ..... ii' _!to

Thi S maker Vv"HS 1i sted (51) 1 n 1862' 63 as a model builder ~ in 1870 as 3" machinist, in 1879 as a gluls:~,ni[h; and ,j n. 1.894 as a machinist and gunsmith, He made side-lever uruns with 12~ or 13-shot revolving cvlinders On

h '. J

_ Au gu st 31" l 869 ~ he seen red a patent for a ~ ~ R cvo lying Spring T oy -Gun, ,_,

The patent shows a 12-shot double cylinder with a stationary cylinder to the rear j which is to feed. into the revolving O11.e~ The latter is one caliber long" The patent shows a. desi.gll 'for ;;1 55-shot gun, .Air guns having these features are known. Bunge is also reported as 'having made pill-lock revolving rifles (20..8) .

\:'iJE'-'R' .'TE'R· c

Iv. ,I "".'. ~'1I;l ,".. ',~ .... _ r- ~,

RO· ····C· 'H· ']E,;··S···T· E"R.· N· .. "'\.r

• - . :. '. ' ....... '., ., = J .' .. ~T. ' •

.I~,U example of this maker's work is known that has a 12~shot cylinder. The gun is stocked in oak (81) ~


Fie '2" St L .. ~ '-1"~ - G illerv ·G·-·"

l~" .' ';r'~ , ." IOU'1;",; ype .9. ~er~ . un,

This variety is cocked by p ulling down an d back on the trigger guard which

'forms the end of a 1 ever norma 1ty concealed in a groove in the under s u rface of the butt stock, Barrels with crowned muzzles are' octagonal and tip up at the breech for loading. The pi vot for this pnrpose is a Iew inches ahead of the breech, under the .barrel, Release latches occur in d1L variety of designs, Forestocks are of


Fig, 30.. S t, 1.01-'1 i'i, . 1."'yp e··· ·'aUery G·uns,.

U'pp'cr' : .. '~:tt1l1a;r,kcd~ :~[i(ldle:, ~. :tc&u.,

Lower: . 'nmarked (JoLnston.l' Great Western I. 7UU \·V,· :rk'" '; ) '.

()lleg. 20,~21,3)

Fig., 31., St, Louis Type. .. Gallery Guns, Upper: Gartner.

l\,[ Iddl e: B,] ic ke ns do e rf e r ~

I .o wer : L tnt: cl,



brass in 1110St cases .. The wooden butt stocks are usually fastened to the ends of the cylinders by wood StfCWS,~ although tJlley are sometimes reinforced by top or side straps, The trig.ger and trigger-release mechanism are usually fitted into a slotted lug' below the cylinder, at the rear, Certain examples of this type of g,allery gUll 8110"\" a decided downward tilt of the barrel below the axial line of the cylinder and the corresponding line at the top.

The cocking lever is mechanically the same as the goat's-foot lever employed i 11: cross bows, It draw s back the pis ton rod again s ~ 'YO 1 U tc springs, the rod mean-

hil inz fh h . 11 '~...:'Ii - d' b'll ~I~ T"~ hl 'k'

wru e passing r iroug a vertica __ .y placed, pertorated sear ·,JLOClK.' file :,. ,OC· is

forced downward hy a top-placed leaf spring and engages a depression in the upper surface: of the 'piston rod. The sear block is then held in _ downward position by the trigger, which enters a notch near the- bottom of the rear surface or the: block, Drawing the trigger to the rear disengages it from its notch with slight

. effort, The block is then forced upward out of the depression ill the piston rod by the f orward thrust (spring impelled) of the la tter ~ An ad j usting screw is U suall y p res en t on the trigger and may create tile impression that a sing Ie set trigger is present Sights vary,

The list of makers of the St. Lotus type gallery guns is very satisfying both from, the point oi view of numbers and distribution" Presently known makers are the following:

B \NDLEI~ J-- C,"IIN'''-C,'''IN'rINATI 0·- HlO· .

. J:'. ,.[ . _" .. ,. , ~. , _. _ ..

. .

'''BR-l. Very odd Atllerican air rifle with center air chamber and 231.'1 ,,25

cal octagonal barrel, which tips dO'\vn to load. The handle of the lever is the trigger guard .. This is signed. by the maker, J. Bandle, 260 Main Street,

C· v , -,' t" O""hl·'"·"" ·(13:"9:"'):

1 nClnnal'] ),'.. . Q ' , •



A specimen has been reported with a ring on the trigger guard" similar to' the Blickensdoerfer, It is engraved "Scharf & Son" (161).


A specimen that. has been examined has a ring on the front of the trigger guard, Serial numbers 28 and 66 ha ve been examined, Thi s maker is. listed in the 1864 directory (68) as JOHANN BLICKENSDOERP'ERJ, gunsmith~

In. the 1865 City Directory the following advertisement is found:

~~JOHN BLIC,KENSD10RFER 1\[ an u faeturer of .

Gun,s~ Rifles, Pi stols & Ai T Guns .

No.7 South 'Third Street Bet, Market '& \!\T alnut

S· T" LO"',Ui iIS ~I'O,-':

, 'iii' • . . '.... •.•• ~ + .. Ii ... !t. ! !l} ..... ". . i

Repairing done with neatness and dispatch, and at the shortest notice."

~ , :

\\!OllfF, ,A.llR, GUNS


In 18()9 the 'listi]]g appea:rs as Blickensdorfer & Schilling. Blickensdorfer is not Us teet in ]. 875.. See S chi lling ~

BL']CKE,NSUOIRF,E,R & SCHILLIl\~'G See Blickensdoerfer 'and also Schilling,


.. i . __ ',~ ~

S'T LO" 'IUI-S'" M' 0"'"

':. ':." '. . "'.,'-- .. '. ,~.'-:' ~ ,,' . .- ,".'

(68; 1864, 71 j 73, 75 .. ) 011e specimen has been repc. rted mar ked number 3,;; no details." 'The. name on this piece is "G. C, Breght" (~36) '. Brecht is reported as havIn.g operated a machine shop making butcher's machines. Another specimen is 'reported as marked "G. V. Breght" (161) ..


ST' LO' ''-'U'lJi''S'' M" 0'"

'. . ... ..1;:, ,!;,.,~, '.'

,A specimen agreeing with the type is known (161.) + )[0 listing 'has 'been f ound in di rectori e s,

r: ·\R} TN" 'L~R" J

ul . I ". ~.'~ ,',

A specimen ag teeing '" ith the type has been examined.


C· '8, <i rex 'G' ['0'-' I'LL

. : [ I _ ..;__ '.,'. e- :!I .;:_.' ,

One specimen with serial number 8 has. been reported (114).


A specimen agreeing wi t h the type is known (161.) ~

~ , ,~, -0

S'T~ LO'UIS, M •.. ,~

J'O'T'_l'N' 'STO' N J H

'..1.",]_ .......' ···.1,,..,~ ~

P'i'IT' T' 'S:B'U[R~···G'H· ~P"'A"'"

" , ", .. :" " '.' .... " .. :, '-:Ii ~ "",-,', ..

This was probably a dealer only. The same gun illustrated in the following Ca.tBJOg is also in a catalog of P';; Powell, which sec, It may have 'been a s tandard cu t. $U ppli ed by the maker ~ An advertis tin en it (1,36, fron It cove r ) claims :: t 'Guns s Ri fles, Revel vers, Ammunition, and S porti llg Goods l' Man ufactured and for Sale Wholesale and Retail by J. Hi J ohnston, at the, Gre-at Western Gun vVorks, ~ 0-.. 1,79 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, P,a, ~~'

The ca talog ViI~ hich bears the above includes (136, P·. 17) an illus bra tion of a ,g'aUery gun of the prope r type, with the f ollowing notes ;'


For F'"JI':l"f!:" P 'i .. , -Nics Shooting Galleries Saloons ·&'·c Best q,.·to1':a: 11'ty·,·~ spring

":' , a."" - ' -- ........ " ,,["".'Ii.."':, " 'IL,.. --, :ai., U'"",,~""" 1" .. Lt,., ,~". ',;'I,~,,_:

air gun with one dozen darts and paper targets ,. ~ i ', • ,~ ' '. $35,.00

Extra .lnaru.n sp rings 1 per pal r '.. , , . ~ + ,. ~ ,. .. , '. • • • '. .. ,. • ~ + ~ ~ • Of , + ~ , ,. ,


'r." ""

Extra darts, per dozen

'.' • !to iI .. '. 'Ii .. • .. ill I! If! '. .' .' • !Ii .. .' '.. • iii '.' 'Ii ti • .. .' Ii iii • 'Ii 'Ii fI! '.' ;1

2 00, '"

,~ _" ~ ill

1- "'1 f llowi ti · 1 '1' l' '1 ',:

ne 0, rO\v],ng tesnrnorna s are a so rnci u c (~I('~"

"I 'S: t 1-- ;ilil' ~ .. - r 10- " F" ebr 'II '~'~j 'I-,!;: ''2 '1 U 7-" 3' :

.,;. .: ~- Ii'( t: I ," .' ":lI " •. ' : ., 1~,i~ICIL'.~:'!i" ,II,) ;- ,,0,.

~ r ~

~[r" J '" I-I. J ohnston-«

Si r : The air gun. is all 0 .. K~ It 'has hall pai d for itsell, - including express an I o ther Cl'l- araes It did that in " ten davs ]'f',' I' had charg ;t:i;j!'J' oQ,~ much for

u; I; '_~I I.: J'I>~ ~,-"".I. . ! t ' , :b ~~... . '- II:" I I I jl,iO,li.. .r . .~.,' ·.ll~'j' ~ ~ II I I'~' a _ ~~.IJ, :', .:,- ~l, ~f;;)' , I,lL ~ ~, ll.v·,

Sl:10oti:ng' as most 01 them do" it would have done a great d:ecd more, I am givi:ng' i:OUF' shots for five' cents, if t ]13.1' ain' t low I miss m y gLH~'~S,


J ~ R, Barnum" (1.36~, back cover} ,.

J,~ 1-1., Jo:hnston-'

D ea it S ~ t' ~ The gun ~ were received t ~] 1 i'n g~(j'Jod order. The . boys tested th ern inn ~ 11] OS t every manner, and th ey p renounced them first-clas s s hoote rs, The . air ,gun is far superior to any that has ,Y'~~ been produced in this town. ,A sample : it was shot at ,70 feer, J times ; Ol10t! it struck 14,. then 15,~ and the third time it hit the target ,(1 irect in 'the eye, This was cal led, '\"Iery good, shoot:ing fU:I,~ 70 feet, aue. I presume you will caU it: the same.

Truly yours"

J A'--"'- D,~;,.,..".1I ... ·'Il!" '11 ~'6-, p- ,~t), ... ),

, I~ ' .. 'Ii' " . .IJ",---,~ \ ~~ .. 'I II~'··.' U~ ,," !ii'

ST' t 0-- "U' IS "11;1['0-

I. ...:.~. _ .' '. :. . ~ '. ~I .l1r' m .: '!I

I It the 1.864 directo ry ( 68) Ed ward i\,. Linzcl i.~~, listed :(is a gunmaker, 63 'VV,aln ut, Also listed, under ~'" Guns '& Pistols" and ",~ iGnns:nli th, :j"

] 865 ::: Same as above, only IUGUn.Slill.ith .. ' ;

1869: I .inzel, "E~ A,;p' guns and pistols, 822 N'~, 5'£h"

~\f 01 lisfing' as gunsmith iiI"] 187'1,; 1 813';!i 187'51 directories, Five Si)~~:ru~n,e!ns have 10 een recorded, one h~vhlg herein examined (3 5 ~ ] 61 ) "

SC""T]L' LING"Ii FT' nr ] RIC'K

_,' i '., ~"1 J_{ ~,_) ~ ,', ...•. 'K

P''--I'O' '\'\1~_;'~"'LL U &- 'SIO"-N"

, I ' .. ,'. '! ~ ~. :~~ ,co,~ .. ~ r 1':'_' \'. '. I,~ ..

C-'-I l\. ~ 'C' I' 'N' .l\._ .... A '1-' ... 'iI7' 0" :(HIO' .:-

. '.': - f) '.' le·.1""';o,,~ , ,i" I. I I _ .


1\ catalog (189J :p,. 5) dated 187,5 lists a gun of the St. Louis type, but there ,is no proof 'that Powell was a maker, Probably he was a. dealer OJ:d)'~ The illustration is the S3111e as in the catalog of' J., H',. ]ohnsto11~ which ,see,

ScldUing is ~ist,~d. ·~1~S worldng for Blickensdoerfer in m ,sfiS (68)., The name is given as Bliekensdorfee .&;. Schilling in ] 869. One specimen :90 marked,

, . ,- "-1 - '-- ... 'I '1?4 "',~, "k .. "··· r: ".~' f "(8'- :-3-:-:·.)" T"I, " , '6",.. '",': 'f'-: ,t ']'" ted ,~.: ·l'g ..... tc; I,' (I-t F"---~l'" ",'~c;ll,

IU lin 'lei er, . ,_ ~ l~ __ no'W n .Lle rIn ~s ,~,10 ],S-,~\Jl 1.11 .' .. 1",", ,. J'U,. tee el. JCLl(

SchiUing is listed as a gun smi th, r, 25,29~ Columbus, and Charles F, S(~1 ill-

,'1 '. -, '. ' ,·t-·I- "1' 1 - ·1' 'I' ,.~ -,,,," - "'f ']-"" ·S-·· 3-" .,ll

mg ar ,1'e, 0 C ar nrcas o ,~ ~') - ro.


'CT:-- oj I":' '~ :\,:"

o " ~ ..... ,,' '\1. ,. I!

C 1\, "'liD' E '\'-:"" 'N- J [ _ .t1i~·1_ '" ,~, 'j I' ~ I '.

1869=73+ w: J J T l\:\([ S TEI N; ,309 Federal St., Gun and Pistol Manufacturer (The address henceforth j! emams constant) ~

1874=,~l .. , '\I"l. L r ,;01 A,nrr STE] N &, \VII ~ I "" ,"~,'~[ Jr ".~ 'G'u:n and Pistol )fIall'l1-


tac urers,

l' '9: 0" 2 I(\:'C wn J \ ".,r S-~' l"" 'L"'I' N J &1' '1::l, (",:", J d [, ~ 1r'~' '.... G"

"':!_'ui).j'Y'.".;.J,I,...,:\'i '~'" 'Ji..::'i, r., ','I" Hros, ," "',1111.. ",r" an .. ouis !,~.)~ "Jun-


19'0"6' ] '1 ,1':"'J] I ea A" M' S .... 'T'E---.']1\'" T &" B ("\\" II - .' E-: &;1' C"h' ~

"~C .. _J.,~~', '"" ':,!,.'., ;'_.' ,',,-' . .1''- ..,r' .. ;::-; sros .. "',:,!'nl., "" r., I 0'111$ _"" Oi~-'l,larJ,e~,

FI .. ), Sporting 'Gnodsm

191,5,-17 ~ wr I JLI,', M ,S1~EIK C(J. (Louis .I~.~ Chas,. :H" ~ [& 1=1 erman C. 'Engel ) ~ ~ porti ng Ci oods,

I 91. 7 -40" \~V'I[., I I ~ l\'~: S,T E.IX ~ C()., (Chas, ] I ~ & -Ierman C;" Enger)I", Sporting' Goods ..

~ 940=;tiate._ '\,rILLI~~A:1 S TRIK" C[O,., (Herman C, Engel) ,. porting Goods,

. ..... :)r [.'

,", '"..,= ,

..-"':::;';';,.0 , , f' ~'"~-""""""""""'-4

.s-: -


~ .,£!

Fig. 32. N ew Ellgla.ncl Type G,alle'ry Gun,

The hlll'ln,edia;t.eI,\l" apparent charaeteri stic of this 1:, pe is the one-piece sporting

S' vle ' tock, ,A lever on the ri:ght side ,s,'\-rr:in,gs in all Up pt; r 11' rearward arc and, '!", y

mean's ui it link ~ dra W"S back the piston rod, A washer at the '.' nd of the rod is engaged by a stud, scr,~in,g' as a sear, which is fastened 'to. a long leaf spring, The spring is tensed upward and forces the: sear lug' in ths t: dj,rec,tion, int:o, an, opening in the continuation of the pi ston C;y tinder" ,', ' si tl!tpI_e trig,ger bears downward upon the rear lex tension of the 'feat spri n,g ~ pul [lug th ea r downwa rd, thereby disengaging it from the washer 'The rod and piston may then move forward in the usual manner. This release matches in simplicity the one used later bv O~Jackenbn .. h.

•• 1 ,~

!Of the three examples presently known, two are by the ·5a111'e maker. In addition to the above, all are characr .. i:z[e,d hy cylinders of small diameter which

serve as the: l~ol~sln,g' for' the entire mechanism except the trigger t The cylinders are bedded in the stocks. Trigge'r guards are equipped with modified iOOPS'li

The two makers who have been identified to cia te are the following:

EOORR-S'i S~ (SamuelP) NE'VV ,BEDF'O:RD; :MAS,S.

One specimen examined has a barrel which 'ti,ps u~p at 'dl breech, as in the

S,··-:·'t Loui ,I!j tvoe

I-_'_'. ~11! ~. ·v.'I!!4~~ I ri·,IJ.-~t

'T'O:NKS, J~ B'OS:T'O:N~, 'MASS ..

Two examples by this maker have been. examined, T.hey 'have: a unique breech, The ba:rr~~, turns ,pa'r:tly in, a counter-clockwise d irection and :is then pulled fo,tlA1Urd .. , It: tilts in, a loose fashion w,i:thin, a ring! on, the, forward end 01 the ,eyJh~:clet f(it' I.oading'~ A, s,i~~nilat' one ']8 kn'O'WD, (]6l) i!

U- ---N,v'!IN- '0'" ··:1.Vl1IIiII.1i' 0--'-"'"01 Q' U-'E- isr 'IO'-"'N'A-' B"Ln M" 'AUE- D'SC-'

'I ft.Jl.i .. ' W J!."II" n,L' ", ..... - '. ' .. _ _11_l_ ,--' ~~:,j_n r ' :' __ ~~ I'A,-'


Tl-'-_'" ,-, - . ~- .• " d 1-· .. :~ :'--. - nkn Ii' ". P' b . ,- .,..~11_ ('1' 2' "4" · '2"0-?,)'

1 llg,ger guar_ ever; un, D'''n_ re\A;ll .'. ,." .... ~ r»

Louis type ~

NEW' -Y··'O·'···RK -1\ ..... -Y''''

'. •..... I . . . .

- ' ...... '.:' '. ' '. " - '" .... :: . t .. "" •

S . B' .. -"I -, Ii .. D'" enk s'-~!. _ ee _ ··as, er ~ - en.', .".',L.

DIC'I{, Fcf R-

.. --~ .. ..

BU'FF."A:'LO'-:-:· N-j' ,~[J"

.' 1_ ,_1;1:., : ·····.·,'1 u.: ~ .~ ,r.

C ru de ai r gu n, 'w~ith detachable goats-foot 'lever, Pro bably an inventor's model, Formerly Jn the Horner 'Collection ..

GEMMER, J~, P' ..

A~' .....a.. .... A d "'11 (','.36" .• , ')-'.: I ~

_ _ rr g-'~' t1n,s :rep· ... - _O,I:U,:U. ~ no-- etails _

, ~

KU"G["ER", A~, .._

Air guns; reported no details (208;) ..

LJND',NE,R" 'Ell' NE,\¥ y'!ORK" N", Y'~,

The U'~ S. patent i'O'F' ~i1 A]R -GUN/" dated Dec! m 6" ] 862:~ (155 :) illastra tes the usual tip .. down 'barrel of 'the St. Louis type" It. 'has 3, cocking lever which fi t s into the fron t s trap section 9£ the grip (F ig ~ 24 j lower),

L- ·'I'N'J'-n,-·· NTE;j'R':' &.,. 1\60. ··.LO··

I . ,_ .._ '," all'J,.. ... ' r

Air pis to 1 S repcrted, no details (,232:) '.

NEvV YOR,K, N. 'Y,

L'lUrN·····S'M' ,A.N:·'·l\ F· - S·"'T' r JO······U'I-I,'5< M'O····.··

'_ . :...__. I· _. , '. .~ __ ,' ,',"_ J 'I! I I ,iii .i l;ll!' .••• , -. I!-,__ j " ,-", _,- ~

,Air' :gUl1S reported, '0,0 details, One specimen is dated :1.865, but no additional data bav . come to 'l'i,gh:t ('1,38),~ The St'L Louis Direetory (68).[" has, the £01- lo,ving listed under "'~"GUN S'l-fITFI S ;~~

1864., Lunsmann j' F 11iiJ1IZ;j' Gunsmith, 1. S.3 s. 2'n.d~ 1865., Lnnsmann, Francis, Gtmsmith JI 1 03 s, 2nd,~ 1869~, L'tln.smQ'nn':p'1 Francis, 'G'UilS1lllith 'i 41.0' s, 2'nd~ No :Usltin~f' in 18~1'~" l87'3" lS?'S; rlirtcton,es:.,


..... - . _.



.. , ....•......... N ,~' A,

'N' 'E,,\XT Y' '0" RK N "\7"

,f "f'l{ ". "" '..... ~i. "

One catalog' reference is known for this maker (234 ),. It is possibly a confusion \~~th A~ Mock s Prima-ry N ew York City type, which see,;

. - .

MUNC'K"" 'C' H-

' .. ,', .' t ". ~ ~ ~

" ;tT_AS··.·····HIN·····GT·Q··.·_:N'· C " R., 0.· .,1-110 ..... 1

IV '_'' ' , . . ~ ,j .

Thi k ~ · d d' "1 C""3?) H" ib d ''lX}' hi

,,18 maker 1.8 mentioned, no detai s ..•. ~'..i. ~ e IS ascribed to Washington

D~ C." but the peculiarity of the listing suggests the Ohio locale.


Maker' mentioned, no detail s (23.2) ~


,SY]v.lS" J~ G~ hTEW' YORK" :N. y~

One- specimen reported, 'no detai ls -( 1 ~4) '. The address 011 the specimen:

1114 C" "'1L.."'Jlth'· ""'iII-:t:"Y'I S· .: t N y .. :., indicates beyo nd do' n" bt that thi <::' 1"'(:, the' "S urn" ,;:/" of

~-l' , ~lu - : ~.l.:L, ,". : 'it., Iii' " ill, -,. .. ; ,' . .-~,". c.::-: : f_ .. ~" .. : .. .LJl.'. ~ : - ' .. : ,0..1 ilk·! ~ ~I ,~.' Ft...~:'IJ :.j. ",1

B,L,UN'T &, SYIvl'S"


LO' C'ATIO"N' 'UN"'K"NO" ,j\TN

.i_:'. '.:.' I. I,,···· '."'V.

It is questionable whether this is a maker or au owner, The reported specimen (161) is said to have double barrels, Apparently both were discharged

• 'J 1 T"'h 1·:1' '. d · b d b ~ de of d ~ ·

simu tancous y" ie cy Inner rs c escri eo as c Eln.g rna ue ot wouru . Iron wire.

While we do not know definitely whether the bU.9,elspltnner=type air gun, as it is known in Germany, developed in America and then went to Europe, or v~ r hether it developed in E urope and came to America, the IOT111e r . seems to be the case, The migration ap'p~ar s to have occurred somewhere in the l870~s., Recent cata-

Fig, 33,

En ropean Trig.g"er"" guard .... lever Spri ng G U118.,

Up per : U'nmar k:e,dl~ -

M iddl 0'-"" 'II' WTl'l' h!F_ e : .... .rlg~,lUli '.:~ ,', '.

Lower : O',w'lgi.u,aI.,

( N eg ~ 2o.3-2:i'5) .

Fig i 34" E urop ean C ran k Sp itlt\g' It:rlUlj,S., Upper: Rutte ..

h1.i(I"elle: Car! Frie 'tr~ch~ Lower : J.\.[ar, & :.a.ntler +

( 'N e'~,. 2032'70)

logs and articles. (98) indicae that this type of' rt~tl is, or was mtil very r . 'c:nU,\ ' en ',~ ,,' nt on the oonti nent, 'mJia rt icula rlv h]L German: l .. ' 'Il( ~.' ~ \V it zerl and ~ B,( nh crank

I [J !i!l

and : ri,I'~er-gua:rd lever varieties are illustrated I l~·lgs,. 3,3; .3-4). Barrels appear,

i 11. a. U case s ~ known j' to be the H lti ng kind.

The migration is curious. While spring guns were known in Europe, they a.pp car to have reached a remarka ble 0( evelopmen t here, iller eafter goir ,g ove f'-

411:., .) 1 1i" d' l ... 11 . 'IL .,

seas,ln, me (.It er ranu, pn "1l.111;~a, ric preSSlllre, guns were nevesopec to their very

high" t degree in Europe a' d ,. hen can e to his co u nt-f), ~ where they,: xi, t primari' I,Y as small-bore '\V~1.:pO'mI,S~ }\u, article hy Harri S():i ~ (,_ 07') is sugges h~( 1. as .,~ U]}-

plemen tary reading, .


Henry 'iarcJlS QuacJ<e'l111 ush was born in Herkimer, ~ m Y "j on April ,27"

1847 (1',s,., V\,':ithOll't pay and ill order to learn ih, trade, he started working for dl C I 'Clllhl,gtnn i\1'"lHS COo" in Ilion, across th l\~ I ihawk River f1l"001' er kin er The story is told that" when on e of the Remi n.gto ns retu rued from a trip to 'Europe, he was surprised to see potted plants i11 011f of the ,\;v1l1.dOViS 0·£ the fac-

tory. Goiaa,g into the building to 'AIl1!d out nmre about this strange lni~'tt~r, the 0",'1 ~rJi scovered young "' Ienry Q'uac1k.enhu,,,:·h op: rating a machine, and noted

th at the mac '1~-1'" ne "I:J1J!'a~ tu rrm :'r~lg': " O"l~II'" 'R, .bout ''_'i¥"l~'c,''''e' ~ 1") '[,'1"''''11 productio rtf1 ,~I ~ ~~O.I']'·,9.C' ti '0. i FJ ...

.. [, ~,_ _" ~ ,I !l~,,' I,·." "'Ii .(, ,.~ , , ' . "",!!J" (._' , ' IL II" .. . . u.. , '\"." ;,_, ,'l " , , 'Ii ~ ~ .! '!Io.!f!.". !!o..", _ " .. , __ '

- '. ·

7- 3--,

, .-

indicated it had been capable of doing in the past. When asked about the attachments which had speeded up his machine, Henry admitted that he had made then'] from .scrap material on his D\Vn time. In the best Horatio .i\lger tradition,

, ,

Quackenbush was promoted to. the tool rOU111 and, to the payroll,

He is first officially noticed as a witness to. the patents of '\l ~ H. EUic~H,~ nU1U=' hers 47,707 and 50,232, granted on May 16 and October 3, 1865 .. respectively ( 69 ). On Octo her 22, 1.86i; Qll.ackenbush (, I YO) patented the now famili at extension lander and with the YflOney secured from its sale bought tools to go into business for himself, This he did in 1872;

In the Sc:ientifilc American (210) he advertised the sale of an air pistol, patent no. 115,638~ June 6, 1.871 (191) ..... The design of that pistol. which was cocked by pt-[shin,g in the ba rre I ~ was ba si can y the same as that o f the No. l ~J uac kenbush air gun", \V hich was to pro,ve the 1110St popular item in the line,

Q:u,acken.busb~ with 'his No. 1 air gun (197)" had an effective substitute for the expensive hand-made g,all~l)· gun which had been produced during" the previous decade. Inasmuch as his, weapon had only fifteen pa.rts as aga~nst the twenty-seven in a. typical Xew Y ork gallery gun; and weighed only three-eighths as much, there was little question a bout successful competition, in place of the expected rolled and, soldered cylinder, measuring approximately 1 ~~ to 1 ~~ inches, there was substi tuted 111 the new arm a forged frame with the cy linder bored out to' only :Y4 inch in. diameter, ]]1 place of the hand-fitted, leather-covered piston, a steel piston was used, precision machined to make a slip fit within the cylinder, Another improvement was the substitution of a machine-wound coiled spring, rectangular in cross section, for the two forged "volute .springs,. Gallery ,guns were equipped with either 'detachable crank, trigger guard lever, or side lever for cocking : '~2uaC'kenbush substituted the barrel itself for this PLU])Ose. In place or the various loading mechanisms needed" such as tvv'lsting', turning, or tilting, also positioning, and locking, there was substituted a simple 111'iHcd slot which carne into open position when the barrel was pushed in for cocking'.

The result of thesesimplifications and jrnprovernents in design was the production of a gun that, while at least as effective: as the hand-made gallery gun, could "be nU1R,S produced at a fraction of the cost. In the 1873 catalog of the Great Western Gun Works (13G, p~ 17) there ·is found isted a gallery gun retailing at thirty-five dollars, 'Other contender's Ior the shooting ga11ery trade in the same catalog were guns employing ca,p and shot, at thi rty-six rlollars and the French Flobert saloon rifle at fifteen dollars, The Q'ua.ckenbttsh appeared On the mar ket at ten dnl In r s and "W' as so 1 d at varyi ng p ri ces ~ even as lei w as $4 ~,3 5 in 1902

(213). Under this onslaught the gal1t'ty air gun gradually dropped. in price and has not, been found advertised after 1879;,

Fran] that til'Ile on Ouackenbush rapidly assumed the leading position In the air gun field in America, However even access to factory records dues not

~ . ~ .

make the pictuTe too clear ~ A geutlernen.!s. agreement of-ten preceded tht! actual

transfer of a patent, and _gU[]S invented and sold 'hy others than Qua-cl-e rbush are found in the producti 0 n r ecord s of the 'a ner's plant.

Fig'. 35. Quack'en bush and. other Pistols, Top row, left to righ t ;

.1 st, The patent for this gun was issued May 2'1 ~ 1872 (118) to Ha vihll1d and Gnnn, The patent calls for a push-down cornpression of the wrist spring. The production examples have a butt ring for pullmg' the spring' d.owll'\va.rd..

2,i1id~ This is lrasically the Nov. Ii" 1874 (192) patent, reissued March i~ 18i'6 (], 93), both assigned 'to Pope hut: prnhably produced l~'y Qua.cken bU5JL

3.rd,. T he top of the lacquered barrel of this pis tal is marked "Pa t. March 6" 1877. ,~ 'T h is. is on e of th c Qll ack c nbus h, patten ts (196) cove ri ng a p ush -in barrel which compresses the piston spring. U pon discharge the piston and -hreech :m,Cnr€ forward. Basjcally this eX91111ple is similar "to the original patents of June 6, lB71 (191) and! J une 6; 1876 (1 (7) j although the latter actually served as the La se fa t the N Q. 1 air gun.

Bott01H row, left to right:

l s t. The patents for this. pistol were issued to Augustus Bedford (16) and G eor ge A,. \V alke r {23 3,) j t h ey b ei ng v ad ants of a me c hanism in, wh ich th e 'barrel an d. cy lin d e r were' pus 11 e d back. to co ck, The reupon the lmlF.rel was r etur ned, to a fo rwar d p osi tion aft er w hn c h the pi s ton could act, T he bot t .. action breech is. a Walker feature which has carried over in to. modern forestock-pump varieties. Thi.s example does not have the harrel-pltmger design, hut ]nstead has £lJ. separately acting plunger.

2rJJd.: "Champion" air pistol, paten ted by I ver Johnson and ~:h:lJ.rtin. Bye (135 L The barrel is unlocked at the breech and, can then be tilted' to form a ~ 'T r ,,' ~ s ervi ng as a grip for pu is hi ng hack the p 1.0 n ger, A dart extractor fo:r t1 se On fhe tar ge t ae cornpa nies th e Sf) e C Im e 11..

(N 20'3' '''-'2''9)

•... eg~ s; .. ,,j, ,"J

O ... h ,. ti ~ h P - B h 1"':[ .' I , d n.e ot these as socra Ions was 'VI t r .r ope 01 '. _ Q S ton wr 0 sold a, pi stol patente ..

by Quac.ll::enbush (192; 193)" and possibly manufactured by the latter (F ig, 3,5). Thi s pistol. was improved upon by one paten ted by G. A., \ '/' alke r (233) of B oston, probably an. associate of Pope f s. The Walker patent al so appears basic to the hoi t -acti ng breech fo-u nd on most U10 de rn Iorestock-pump gtms, Pope was a bi cycle manufacturer of SQ1ne. renown, He :18 shown sea ted. 011 one of his . high wheeled bicycles, sounding a hunting' horn, on a photograph now in the Quacjk.;o enbnsh archives ~ Pope' s enterprise in Boston, which manufactnred the Eureka pistol, was taken over', probably t1,POU Pope's death, by Augustus Bedford, who

\jj' ~JLI"I' .ilIR' f(" -U' • "":"i.:.:

Try l· ,,-1 " J ,~Li.. .. I~:t. 1.:- l~ ~


advertises hil\li},SeJf. on an undated business card as tbe maker om' Bedford's Eureka, ail' pistol, Bedford fina!Uy' retumed (or ,v'ent:) to work io:n"' Q'uacll(e~~1'b1USih and

.. '1"]" "i'l, k te hi 'I

asssgnc« 'tIC patent nac ,,: te ~ns empeoyer.

I·' ig,. 3{i.,~ QUltu~ke:nilnl!~h ,a:n d lflaJ'vUand. & 'G,ttnn Sp(f,i:ng G'UtIS .. ,

Ist. H aviland and G'UllIl. This IS a break-down 'type with. the s.:pring ,3"Q,d

p'~S'tO:ll, :in, line '\vUh the barrel,

2~,ld. :H:avnaud and Gunn, COUl.b:i,EI.a;tinu, 3Jr ,;'lmil~ .22 rim l~r ~ 81101" number S~ ,3rd. S:i:nl,]'Ia:r to the previous. Shop number 20.

4th" s.m'milar'~ the above, Remington presentation,

!'~ll" IQJUac~en bush No, cS,. Comb:li:n.a'tion air and ,.,22 ca.rt~~'jd,g'e'.

(~'eg" 203i3\~IO) ~.

"Haviland '& Gann, Ilion, N", Y. i\. pri 1 1,8,~ l871'~' exists, with the shop number 5 (Flg~. 36).

'The Ha viland & Gunn firm evi dently engaged in manufacture 'to some ex'tent, also producing the "Hurricane Air Rifle' which 'V'QS made under the pat-



1\f.ILViiA,L rc F(F'; PllHT. tc 'f\,n)SEl_'~~f Pl~ULTCA,TJONS IN' 1-3::ISTORY : !

ent of _L4..&'1 Pettengill ('185). Thi s ri He was characterized by having the COInpression cylinder in the wrist of the gun instead of ahead of the trigger, resulting· in a material improvement in the balance of the gun .. On March 9, 1886; George Peck Gunn (111)' combined the drop-barrel cocking mechanism with the. noted cylinder in the wrist or' the gun .:

Some 'Of these pieces were produced by Haviland & Gunn in Il1ion~ N,. y'+;r bef ate the patent "r;rV as _bought by Q uackenhu sh, It ,j 8. pro ba b le that the li sti 11 g of Qiuackenhu.s'h as a gunmaker of Herkimer and Ilion has come about through the finding of Haviland & Gunn examples marked '~~]JiOn.~H which were taken to be of Quackenbush manufacture. Four SpCCiL11ens. of this variety are presently known, three with the serial numbers 5, 20, ,', and one without a number. It is interesting ~ incid en tall y,~ to note t ha t the Gunn paten it ha s a ill €chani sm, g,earedl to the forv~,-ard end of the cocking lever, that feeds balls fn.!ul a 1.11agaz:ine,. When Quackenbl1s}: purchased the, patent and thereafter improved on it. (l94), 'this plun ger m echanism was con. verted to serve as a cartrid ge ej ector. B nth, the

. . .

Ha vi milo & Gunn and Q uacken bush version So. we re d es.igned as dual-purpo se

weapons to shoot ,.22 cartridges 'by having the head of the' piston strike a filing pin placed in the air- vent of the cylinder, a feature abandoned by' Quackenbus.h in some of the later examples of this model.



When Quackenbush improved on the H aviland & Gunn rifle ~ his patent cov" h f s: .. """'1 1. ' ~,1 ,_ • I" 1 1 .. 1 h h- ld ered anot aer 'eature ot interest, -'. '{US was a cocking mx so nngeo t iat, S (?U,'.'.:

- -

the gun slip with the barrel in cocked position" the link would fly outward thereby

1', , ... ,,' .. - t·1', ~;'iQ"'- . <f· ,'" 1~",_ the ..c.',)i""-: h-' tw .. · -. t,11. ... , link r-....i the frame

essenlng . H:': uauger 0 c:rllsnlng . .1t: .Ill ngel s jie ween I ne urn ann ,e .rame .

. As far a s 'is known, ,thi s featu re ,11 ever app,eare d on any production 1110 de 1. These guns were produced by ;Quackenbush until 1907:. and the last serial number assigned was 318j!~ Production 'had 1,884~


In 1890 the trade was inform ed of the erectio n of a n ew factory, con sisting

of a, tour-story brick building, 47 x 113 feet, The building "vas a modern 'One. and contained an au tomat ic spri nkli ng system and an elevate r ~ It appea rs, 1 nci den'tally j t ha 1: (:2 uacken lb U sh spen t at con si «era 1) le amnun t of t i me .r 111. an effo rt to make th e e] evator level off ,vi th the several fl 00 rs .

. Quackenbush produced eight major models of shoulder gt1.flS" seven of which were variations of the number one model, the nne with the push-in barrel. These w ere' known at s rncde ls 1, 2, 3, 4 ~ 7, 9, and lO (' Fi g. 37). lVT ode I n umb er 5 was th e combined air gun and .22 rifle developed bv Haviland and Gunn ... Air gun num-

Ji ... ,_

ber ,7 was a sheet-metal product, really a lIB gun" developed by Paul Qu.ackel1~ bush to.lneet the competition of Daisy, I(ing', and others, By this time technical improvements had placed the Hi }l~ Ouackenbush Co" ]11 very 11111Ch the same

. .

position in which they hart years before, placed the makers of hand-made zallerv

.. ". '... b ..

gu,US,. T h € ad r gun busi ness of' the corn pany gradually d imin i she'd un ti 1 at tho e tim e

of' Im{enry 1\1. Qua~k,enbu5h's death on .September 8; 1933, app~rently no new pieces were being made : e:;xisting stock was still hein,_g sold. It was not so much that the company could not compete with the makers of' tin plate guns, as the fact

.F:ig e. 3/.,. IQ uackenhu s h and P' oreign SP'1r.i.~l.g 'Gu us,

Ist, European CO.P.Y· 0:( 'Qua(',k'fUbu' 1 by' C·oh-.iie:r"

2u~li 'Q'u:~d,er~ bus Ii ,!"~ T ,"'~gl~tnllwg"~ (pts ron cap mis sing ) .. JrcL Qu.acket~busll. No, 1.~

4th .. (Ju,ac'kicubu~b. 'K 0, 2~

5th. Q~ulckenbush:N o. 7 ..

(Neg. 203.331)

thal tl~ e 'p11~1l] [: was a· modern Cl.IF1J.d complete on e. 6E't up 'to do g·e:11l.;f!Jal] machi ne

'~i I ~ k. wi r-··· dnl i, TI 'J- ] '~

-" ...... ': __ I 4",~. ," ,=iiI ; _ "rI .... !l •.. - .!:IW .-- ," 'II t-~" '. f _~ . _._ (To .. ~.- ._.~. . ," ",", - ,._ ._. ., r.;;;, 'Il"', - ti • '"'1 I . -.!" ,"_. --,

wor c, ~cr·(,!'\\ mac une won 'I; W 1. re tormm . .b ~ an. P <L.tlI11,g.. .uc 1. esult '\PI;, as t ,~a.t. omer

... d ..... ~ - _ -'-~".- - --.J'. ·It -.' ~ d ····1~ .-._. ·;I'· .... ~'j ·t·1' . ···~,=·~ .. :t·j· C~".· jJ! """" T-"~ ." .. , ~-.~-,.,. "~I'''i' -" .,., ..

,pro uets can U~ a ong ani ·80 .)~O~ J~.u ~ ~ te p;.I!A1.n S 'Cia J..1M h Y . .. ue con D.pall) tn u s .U·~=

~ ~'. .:' -.~. ..'~ "- ·1...· :". - . . '.". - . '. , .. :- 't- "- - _ . -.~ ~ . . "1 -., . - -, ~'Iii':~ l'~ ,.- " - ~ - -' r -. -, - -.. iii .. 'f- the ~ ,~-'~ ~.~. '.. . , .i-

mained In ousmess, opel3..1_I,11;g a modern P .. ant, nu 1,2 l~g In uc [it 0 I .. ae eq u [pnl'en~

which had originally been bu ilt for air guns and ~ althoug h there was n n ,Jp.~i re to go back ill to the air gUfl bu s iness, the family ],0(' ks bac k wi th pleasure upon the ear ly days,

r\ s~ de f rom [be production models noted, ~Jtma.c;ken bush, who ~ppe~u~;S, to have been the' first user uf t.le wound spiral spring; \\"'8$ also intere s ted. iin the rubber

'b" .~-- ~, ..... ' '~.', bstin ·t· Io _. th c.· tal , .. ~.~:~ - 1 Tl·:··· ~'~'ii ". '.~L . ~~-;II ~ .. tlu h'-I' '~., 1"~ - ',.~ ... ::0::-

ann as a snusu u e tor .,LI'e .. met ar sprlng~ .:11.5 l{~Jea was useo m 1 ie .... tg 1[(11111

air gtm patented on Ju[}'~' 22" 1884 (195;'.. Of these, ~l5,4 were produced in the paten t yea r . Production figure s fo leo; the fOU.O\'ling year are not a vaila b1.el! but the m od el wa s apparentl y a band oned as a fail U rc ,.



If the readerhas :10'£ yet become aware of the tact this is as ,,'::d a place as any to call attention to the lead which air gun makers had over :g unsmiths. N' t 00' Y are the advances in lock mechanics, breech-loading .' eehniques, metallurgy, and appreciation ,of 'pI" ..•... sure evident, but the radically new process 0- using folded metal was also adlop'~' d by air gun makers as early as the 1890',8 .. \~l11Hle it may come as a shock to fir, _ ;al-.L1:1S 1111;;'0 ufacturers and the 'military; ai r' gun makers have been no less than fif'ty years ahead in production techniqu s, With the improvement in alloys and manufacturing tech:n.o1ogy, firearms call now be made almost as simply, although not as cheaply as BB gUl1S~

In an issue 01 the Sporting Goods. Gazette (219) ~ dated 1889" there was advertised: an even more primitive type o,r- weapon than the tinplate, This was the: "Challenge air. rifl.e'~ ~ il -Iere T]~U)rSe11 &: Cassady j' Chicago -'I ] It", gave ,a. glow',] ng ace - unt ol thei r wea - 011 in the following words,

.' -

'r.rU··L'I'(·'~'~ A··.lo G.:. LI 'r;;..fC i"Io '.' . .£ II: J .. ,&:\.. " .. ",,;'!!.:;J;

.... '9· /,1

"EVERY W'IDE-AWAKE BOY ill the country win want a Challenge air _·iJ'_- It '~"'j ',th:- ~, ... test thine nit 'S/-,' -1,·1 D':',-' rable Stronz l It "', .. th :'_-- ·,."1 y.,' rlue. - . lJ.~e lli es, Ik Ing oU,; _' llm.p. e . '.' u:lta_, e ~_ ~ rong, ,- .lS~· e on.y al r

'"£I d lid N hi '. .. '1 d f 1-· 'I 'h '

n ne mar e solid, ,:, 0,.' luges or J om ts to get ioose an, ", out 0, ~ une ~ "I ,,: e. air

chamber and barrel are of' mandril drawn brass, Shoots BE shot, 1 00 shots for

P· $'1 0" O' -H '.' ~ M' . - k · 11 ~ P'

one cent, , rlC'e-.~-, ..'. ' ~-ere it :i!.S~.>la;e .no mlstat\i€: ;'

'0 An archway loaded. with sparrows: nests, and litter is shown al so and is ti tied ~ '~'The Eni,H sh Sparrow in M adem Architecture, We furnish you the Remedy, Per dozen, to dealers only, $9,OO+~~

The i llustra ti on accompan ying the above. show s an arm somewha t simi lar to th ,a HCll''''''a --0' -:. 'Ii -- ri fle H - ith '"" ..... 1 ~d fram Jf:;. '110' ~ e1i" 1- .... t 1'1" - g.- ...... __j "]j's .. - the rw- .... -!:tl'OiO-

rie ':.'I-l,-_-g'-'~J!,r:Hl~:t-- wnn 6i'L.J',l .. tram .... , .""",~!L."Vi .L~,1'u ,1.ll.,oJ rib ru;;:; .i.r "l.~,- \.A:;-b".,

T'l- .~ lI ... tt: -, ,:__ . ~. i',-" _-;' - 1-' d '- b - th - - ,\/il', , kh .:- ",' A:" R·'-·:·fl-·· ',' C' rrtr ,;- '" -P'i'" i'-'" -. th 1\ iii,:' ·~·l-~'-~-

:rue lid, er w,as ~a __ e _ y ~ e ..LV ..v..ar_ ~ ,am '_' lLr __ 1 e '. omp an.y , yrnou, uJ 1\'1:..1.C, l1!.,gan:p

and is claimed t h 'r-' b .... - f: - '-'1 '.' .e tlu n:'-" + "

am .. IS ciarme- . 0 rav e. __ een ,a orerurmer or tne ,alsy.

TheChicago air rifle (Fig,; '38) is at simple hinged 'board" cut into the approximate shape of a rifle, having a long wire staple attached which, when the arm was "broken.' forced a spring back to a. catch, meanwhile drawing back and, holding a piston rod, Upon release, the rod was propelled forward, ejecting a BB pellet out through a folded brass 'barrel 'The. gun is identified (5) as ~, ." '.' ~ prob-

. 'b~ r th h 'd" t h tir - . ".-- -.' -- - - . ,., .... 'k--- t td t,. F·:·· . nk 1 .. ch '11 '

a,lL.y- e naruest-snoo Jng sprrng all gun ever marxe __ -e_.. ., ra c y~ so. a eu,ogy,

w hich is dat ed 1946~ com pletel y disregards all spring ,guns, both thos e prior to the Chicago and thos e from that date to 1946~

-W·' .r ' -F" M rkham (:166") h t t d th C--"h~ + "fJ··· hr be - zred ited

.... : 1'- '-. II .' "- '::, ",- -, --·r ,,' '1:':-' ,"-" - . "-'- ':" - 1 " ,". ,.-.; -r" - ." '-.' ", '-,'".' ," .'. ': ..

"~ '.. ' ,ilf_ - __ , '" .0 pa en-e _- ,e '. ~cago alr 1[1. e, as. een ere 1 e ,

'w- ~'t'11 111,"'" less t- '11- an- - ~:~ ;!;!.V'- en p"a- ten ts ' '1, .. ,;;;;,]- ~t/I '1"lg' to ~p h n:g . gUtl- ~ C" ub ~ Ar1 ue n 'i1-1y. a s en" Q~:

.··.lLfU_.J ~,.J! lIl. .. ~lZ:Il ._' J_" •. ~,~.._ ''''', (.. 'l'1i...-., ~ ...... 1 \"". <"-I.'~ :. " ~.' .I.A. -:""1 .. ". ' i:!!il ~. in~·"J."l. ~ .. IL .. ," C '," l....kJI

of' BB guns, including the Globe (221)} the Matchless, an assortment of Colum ... bias (7; 8; 9) .. the Qu.ackenbush No, 7, and numerous other varieties appeared, To list them all would be an impossibility at present, Since 1900 the' BB gun has appeared in an almost infinite assortment.

A, uniq ue example of a true: air gun is included here", it being also a tinplate type, It is, marked USt. Louis Air Rifle Co., and is believed to be the first model :B enj arnin. ,A bicycle punlp that is wor ked on a rod, trom bone fashion, pumps air through a brass ttl be to' the :re servoi r in the wrist. The, trigger is a clamp on a rubber tube, like that 011 a househ old syringe, and allows the 'P ressu re to escape for discharge when pulled free.

Tinplates offer a. challenge to collectors inasmuch as the fie]d, is open and a n ever ending search .can be promised, Boys have a 1 ways been noto rio usly care= less with their 'toys; and their BB guns have, as a result, a questionable survival,

E:' P- • A-' In-' ad R---::-:' k

-- -I .. - , ',' -', __ . . - --. .' . .-:, '.' '. ,- -, __ . -' . , " ",' ,- 1 - ---:- , . . \. . .' - . -' -- " - .,: " ,'.-' " -'. . " - '.., . -

, .. uropean . '. neumanc . - r,ms, - lntr uct10ry . :~:em'ar .$

The development of the complicated series of European pneumatic arms is 'founded 1.1 porn t '","0 basic ideas, both of w hich progre ssed un til, bv a f us i on or the

- , _ ...

best. of their' several principles, the ultimate in air guns was produced, In order to

present the progre s si 011. '\-vi th as little coni usion as possi ble, the story will he:

divided arbitrarily intoa number of sections .. Admittedly, present opinions, 'based· upon. availahle specimens and other data, lnay be altered in the future if conflict-

ing evi dence corn es to li gh t. .

One la rg-e ,gro up of p:neUl11a tics, tha t wi th bu tt rese rvoi rs~, nl1ay be the re suit of the w 0 rk of 1iari 11 of Lisieux, w ho se gun is claimed to have been so de sign ed L (see p. ] 3)., Regardless of ancestry, the series progressed on the continent until it migrated to England, where a fusion with other types occurred,

Another series appears to stem from the investigations 'Of Otto von Guericke, the famous l1r'layor of Magdeburg (see PP+ 15-16). It took t,YO forms, both of which also migrated to England where the desirable elements were incorporated with the presumed posterity of Marin, and a peculiarly English weapon was produced. One variety of the von Guericke g'roup was provided with a g]obe 0·1' ball reservoir ~ the other had a cvlindrical reservoir around the- barrel.

- ....

The subject of the European pneumatics will not be treated exhaustively 'here, inasmuch as certain of them are known to us only through the older records. Inasmuch as an external examination will indicate the internal mechanism and, because it is not always possible at a given moment to more than, casually examine a spec 1 'Ill en ~ the poi: n t ·.of view of a col] ecto r 1V i 1] be rn a i n tai ned i. n the cla ssi fi, ca tory and d escripti ve sy stern s.

Butt-Reservoir Air' GWls - Continenta]


. .

The Ott tside-lock airgun is a uni que device in 1110re wa ys than one, I t is the

only type of air gun regarding which no conte~-npora:ry references were ever made in Europe-c-at least nune ha s been fuu nd, In fact, the only reference to this type) aside from a iragnlentaty one in French, of apparently recent date, is the one which is incJude.d ]11 i\,ppendix. 11 ([L 143) ~ the origin, of which is J;'lpan.,

While there is no pronf, it is presently suspected that the air gun that was so hopefully bousht to destrov Cromwell was of the outside-lock varietv, Reference

, .1 h r' ,,..

is made to the seven shots with "one charging with wynde.' The Kunitomo

manuscript (r~ferTed to above}, which described one a century and a half later" does riot give the outside-lock gun credit for more than two shots with one filling, hut fortunately does not leave a single question about its being an or,igfn.a.1 out.sidelock. The Kunitomo gun was formerly the property of :\oir,. Robert Kimbrough ( 141 ), w ho purch a sed th e arm in Japan. Wha t appears to be the original. ai r gun

Iroru which K·unitorno copied his has also come to light. It was made, according to the mark on the receiver; by Scheiffel of Grave; Nether lands, This ties in with the statement that a Dutchman brought an air gun [.0 Kunitomo, alfhough the specific type of' '\veapon was at that time no longer current, The fact that the gun br-ought to Japan was already old' at that time Ola.y accoul1:t for the limited e fficiency a ttri buteo to it. "rh at is :n at clea r liy sta ted inK uni tomo' s note s is whether the gun \,~~a.s left with him. Inasmuch as it did not c~1ll11e to this country



fr0111 Japan, it is likely that the example was taken hack: to Europe after Knnitomo made his copy. That one i~ a C{~py of the: 'Other is not seriously questioned, . i nasm uch ~-'LS the t\VU a re a 11:][1U8 t identical [0 eac h ot l 1 er and de fi n i tel v n at sin 1 ilar

. - ~

to any other outside-locks, Admittedly ~ Scheiffel may have made more examples

according to a pattern, but in that case the end result would be the same: The Kunitomo piece was made in imitation 'Of either the presently known Scheiffel .gun or its twi n.

We have no P to of that there is an y connection between 1\.:[ a ri n 's gun and the outside-locks, lrut the area of production as presently deterrnined would tend to. substantiate .st1ch an hypothesis .. While 1110st of the pieces examined or otherwise encountered are unmarked, there is a sufficient number of name-marked SPCC]~ mens k110\Vn to suggest a defini te area of production, This area, as outlined on the


~ LlSiEU X



i1-';'. 3'0 .Y~ 1.g. . .. ")',.

Distr-ibution of ,0 utsidc-Iock Air Guns",

accompanying map (Fig. 39) ~ is strictly continental and substantiates also the theory that the, 01;;11 si de-locks we re the first d eye l opm en t of wha t In te r lllay have become a transitional type ; and finally ,f\Iitl10111t doubt the highly developed Aus-


rran gun +

-Along with the mechanical f . .t.evelopluent there occurred also a migration southward, the details of which are developed subsequently. The outside-lock mechalliS111 never migrated to En,glal1cE" although its apparent descendants did, at a later

'JIi,"1!'l"'If'- ~:!l~ ~""" 'r 1 lot t:il'~' 'fi'U~'L_'ij C,' n'!If U~ ~1!i;"'U'"'i,,'I" ''jf)'lj'~'E''if'l''C' '&,Tl 0'1' N"-I ~l ]-~"i" H~ ]i'S:T" -O-~,Y---: .' ],-,

!~_ L! ,,!rlll ~~,~ .lr,;,£~! .£.".: D .JJ.-. I ~~, '._ i:)1~ . ,I £;...1 . ...II" ~ ..JrJ,L . ,".~ I I ."" 01 • .iL)II, ., ,,",_. ~ ,I.'\; n', ~l

date, T lis fact substantiates our opinion regarding age inasmuch as known later ~ dated tvnes did, ,~ 'to Eng: ,',lt1.nd~

,J ,l~ lo.l·~ '.

By vIray of interpolation we present a thought that future study may substantiate'. The remarkable similarity between outside-lock guns and fire lighters (:Fi.g~ 40) may mean more than coincidence', particularly in view 0] form and technique

Fig~ 40," Outside-lock Air Pistol, Fire Llghter~ (N,eg,',203347)


-of' eonstruction. A,,s.,ilde from this, we feel tha,t there is a, distinct pOis;ibUity that, fJJi:nt:- lock fi re lighters, ]nst~ad oi' b~i:ng' the children of :flin,t-iock gt1.ns~ are the parents;

One example of a flint-lock pistol, incompletely described (1.87 ~ p~ ,44" item 14) appears to 'be simi ~Rrly OOt~S tructed, Its origin, Q ddly enough, is claimed to 'be I ta Hall, The paucity' of inionna ti on regarding the specimen rai ses many q ues tions, particularly the poss.ibiHt~ C'I a .southward migration of the outside ... lock form,

In these eases one: of the most obvious: features ~s t'he e'xterna1.1.y-,E:]:Ullg ,t:lr1ig'g:e:r,., Other Jock: incidentals n~a)1 'be' fin, the Ott ter side of the plate" i:n fact, very freIqtlellt':I:y~ particularly ,in 'the several forms of basic flint-leeks, are ; 'but externallybung 'tri,ggers are decidedly limited, Thierbach (2,2R.~ 'n g ~ 164 ) calls such 'pieces

Lieg -ec" I' OIf"!i.,.,S (L';;'.c '''' er schla es: )

, ~"_ ,"_', ", -"-l,,h'!' " ' .. ~ _ol I •• _1 " ~ I~OII~ ~~I.yI ~ '11 .

" - Relative, t-o the matter of na,rl1e,s" a condition exists in the outside ... lock story which is identical to that noted hi the discussion on bellows guns, The names f~vt1.nd. on the speeimens are' 'not listed as those of ,gumna\kf:fs in .any of' thoe:

] .. ] h b b '1-1 " 11t' A' .' tl ,~,t: "1 'b 11

sources W :11,('.1 we iave oeen a " e ro consu ,.,.,: s in tne case or tne _~e)_, O\¥s, ,gtmS,}

h k £ - id I k ~- r- b'h 1" ," ,

.. .._. . .. _,., "i=!ii -iii I ~L""" ••••• -', ,,- ,'-. ,",'" 'II' ~ '--. - •. -." .-.--. [-[ .- .

t e makers O'_ outside-toe cs were apparently a era ty t __ emse ves and were not

regll~a:r ,gun~!nitbs,;

' '._. ~'.
S!rlking AlcUon, JS't'r~it:"M '* .cIOc.lIi:; Ot'her B',~ar t.\~,trnaa: Fl-,,..nt U~'f'~"d
Name p~~l,nt 'loca;t~QB ~o~"tion, , By'~,pa8'8' SJajl€'t})j' ~n r.,~~~,'Ve,T ~ re\Ce~v:u' Bore' Cou~'ct~~~
, " ..• ".~ I!~ .. .:.... .. -.~,~ .... "I :__'".~,
Al]!Qv~ Rigbt ''d ]:n:te:r.:~m;l v Striker ,g:a1-e ~(l[ne. J' 1 ldl'ale' SJ.llootb N'tlF):~H~ml~~:lru,~r
Si' e _,€S' ~I~nae:
All~ - ' R'~'@~h1t: s,i[~f:: 11!~t'~T,n~'1 Y~s' Striker g3Jt.e;: N(l([],e- }I~9J.~e: :rvra:l~; St,1{ a\~ght. H ~,'F'F,; ~wm
.. ; ,lHD't'~ _' ._--:..:l "8"
f:i 111]1
S h "'ff' ] A,bDrve, R:i,ght: ~dde., Imtp.l"ndi.'~ ,:r'es, S "k ,gaJle ~€me: lr[~lle lrfaJe S tl1 H "
. It !eIir-e', ~;t,[,l rer I _nliO~)" , . ~:r]'·'U;on.
Ktlui:tom,Q; Abo~~ Rlg'h.t ,dAle ]ll!:bulll;;t't Y'~s, S ·'k ~'O:Ut! lt~',·,_,~ ~ 1 ll.a'~e Snn)nth H' .
o!!i ~ trtker gate "':If''rt~OT1
, .- ..' J .. "'_ ,i:! ,;e .1 IJ ••• ~ ~_ - ~~ -~~-
Ilanull,er- -
Alxn"e' 'Ril,~d' s~de Internal Y' striker }fI~,e F"eJl:Ja:le Snllootl lIar r Ison
_ c~ None
_, ',' ~" I ,. .., ~,' '" T,. 'l_ :'.': i11
Pivoted ~
Extenlrll Snloo~l~ H ,~ 0
Scl1iae1k:r Above ,Both sides, YC$' block on :None Mal,c Mal!> - '_'. _ .. _.-1' _._" t"'I
(br,i(lg'e) i,_"~ ,_,,,,arrlJson
striker ~
Ilammcr- >
&t ·1 II-!
,A,hove Bodl lIidies .cr,m,i, ''No, None ~t6k:e.(r 1-tale :Ma:Le S~!lootl1 'N'tn\fi~~her !tid
• I .• (bridge)
blockade I~
Hammer- 12]
. ~
Bi • .dOW :Rig:h:c side Ex ter,n:a[, "~l' es None striker ttl 'I lV[:a~c Snlootb :N uanemaeher 1rJ"j'
J!=,~' aaie
----~ - I -
Fot" ward-
u,HU1;" Below :R]Ql~t ;:dJtb~ r '~ 'y~,~ Nune :IJl)[:ked l.f,a'lle Y,amis SI[100t~, Harrison
Below Itight side Exrerual No 'r;f'ogjIe None Male Maile S'tnoo.t[, H~J:ri~on .
Above Right side ] nternal No, N None '~J:-l ~ Female Smooth Harrison
' ~on'e
- - ... - ,a,e
Frey Below Right .' 'I Ex ternal Ye~ < None None Male $* Snloo'th Stich
.II III ..
t,.;.l" ~
*** Polygrcove
Schenk Above Right ~iJde. Internal No, N:one' None Male ** Stich
ri'Hi:ng .' Stit"ik!E::f::= Uii~ jn~!!'l'tn~d]!i.\ te 1\'liiQ'Jnbe;l" be l,w ~ii::l:. ! ~hai~f.II[!er'~ I' ,a.ud f~~]"~~l",';dl'l:.M pln, *!: Di~$e_m. bly- i:s itrt'pos,siblie. v.~'l}t.ho. :_.tQt, {lli:m~ln\g Ip~cbncn.,

*rM~ AU. pt~rts e.x,~ep't: ll~ITJmer 2fe ltl~rna.,~ ~Y' :ff~ng'~

00 ~,

The ,('.1~$~;'l'ion Ufr' the outside-lock air guns I)lr·e·setrIi:S a, problem unique in 'the field of a,,'I"'J):lS, ~ "here are so manv details which can rcadilv serve as bases .

J ~

for classification that the prohlern a.ppe.ars; at f rst bl'li~'I~ '[0 'lb. v 'lry smllupl,f!.. ~he

complexity 0'£ 'the de ails, however, makes it (]iffi.(~lJlt to do. more than describe the possibilities and leave the matter 0:[ a fixed system of cla ~~i:fication for 8Q]U.e day in the futu re when a Ia rg@:r series becomes availal .1· ~ The comp exity also ind icates that the weapon was In its tornlati ve uncrystal n ~ zed pe r iod '.

One of the most (J~ rvi ous features is the location OT the c< intact point between hammer and. striker, it he: ng either above or below 'the striker pi vot. Also there is the possibility .of an open or a closed bottom to. the receiver: In addition ttl these features, one notes that the locks may be ei ther 011 the tight side or partly on both, Sa:f ety' rea t 1'1 res ~~ nd l nechani C~ 1 by = pass e s xnay also be' pre s ent, The detai 1 s are tabulated on the aceompanyi ]1lg' cha rt,

From this it woekl appear that, \~rhi]{~· there a1~C obvious g'r'O'I1]l)i:,lfJ~gs '~n certain features, t'll. fea.tur~~ th mselves are 'not ~d ~d~, consistent '~n the series, One wnuld expect ,t: aat, :i llrtSlll Hell as the str ~kin,g point falls into a, pattern ~ the action location would follo \~rr'-Vt!'h.i ch it d;( )eS not I 111 the case of t hi .. t1\ik~ If' ~nr:a.ti;on j

P'i:g, 4]" Leeks, Essential Types.~ (N·~.g~ 203:343)

\'" ro·· .].. F'F j!o·.l 'R' .r::, '("] N- S

_'"'P ..J. , ... -:l;, _ e, ...._ _. ..._,_


me re is a semb lance of order, Tho se w hie h have the str j' ~{J~ r poi n t a hove fall into t\VO groups ,: internal striker, similar to a box-lock: and external striker, held by a bridge. All the examples which have the' striker point below have external strikers, pivoting on screws, Half-cock notches approach" tile rule, Conf usi on is aged n evident in the 1113 tier of th e by-pass t in 'which either 11 one i s present or el se one of two types. is used. LT ni f 0 rmity is present in this rna tte r only in the cases of the specimens that have striker points above and are open-bottomed, and in the cases that have striker points b elow, The re is no uniformity in the matter of other safeties (Fig. 41).

Th e 0 u estion of sa Ietv uf outsid e-lnc k ,g' .• 11 ']]E:; is a mont one. W ere one to say

,~, ,_ ...

that the presence of a half-cock constitutes safety l' then nine of the thirteen observed specimens are safe. IIo1\'ever, there enters the matter of the. striker that can he 1110Ved forward without the action of the hammer. l,\ desirnbl,e position of the hammer and striker .is one ill which the hammer is at half-cock {presumably sale) and, the striker at the same time so blocked hy the hammer that it cannot move forward and OP€l1 the reservoir. Such a position is not possible in the specimens that have side-swinging gate'S OtT lifting bars on the strikers .. While, on th e oth er hand, such is possible in case S 0'1 III eshi ng hammer and stri ker blocks, it ":i s not eli lways present

Fig. 42. Ol1tslde=lcH;k Air G'ltU1S.

Ist, Unmarked. 211 d. LT nmarked, 3n1 + Seh eiff el, ~th. KU11itOlll0,

( 1\' eg, 2(3344)

Perhans one should 'be tolerant o£' these examples, :ljeal;ziug ... · that thev were

Irr~ [1'1' .' IJ

e1~fOlv.iD,g and, mstead of being 'clearly' 'r!, type ,of' air ,gun with. definite detailed

characteri sties J' were 'a, mechanical item in a condi tion 0'£' developmen tal ft.ux,t .

Ou t side-lock air guns j the'lrefo re J' are nothing more than 'that J' the de tai ls of mechan ism including' pnt.enti a ~] y almost any com binatioa,

Gen.eraUy an outsi de-lock. gun consists of's, butt, iaj, receiver, and a barrel, In 'the observed series of thirteen specimens (Figs, ,40, 42:, 4J, 44); oinly one receiver has ;3, female thread for 'the attachment of 'the butt, all others l~a:vil\g male threads, 'The receiver threads which form a unl0111 with the barrel are 'i'~l all but two case s male, ( T wo are not determin ed due 'to, construction.)

1 n the Db served se r.i es, "f0111'" specimens have lea ther-covered butts. Possi bly more did in, the past bnr, o,~d, and dry' ],E3',lbef' 'beillg' a f'ria,lo~e: materia], it. could break oft' with, time, The butts V8,ry' in size, sl~la,:p!e; material and technique '0'£ conatruction, V ;lFves are no' i,n good order :~ 11 the spec:imens. at 11U:nd, but appear to he invariably made ,of leather, either loog and conical or else rounded and rather g~obular" It is, hoped 'that the valve structure and the housing for it utlay ill time, when a larger series uf specimens is available for study, become the definite basis of 0\ system of dating. While we presently favor the long, conical valve as the oldest, we are not prepared to arrange the Y,aryin,g degrees of shape change into a. positive (:111ir,ono],ogy.,


Fig .. 44. Outside-lock Air Guns". 1 s t.. Schaet tel' +.

2nd. Unmarked,

3rd. Frey (from the Stich Co llection) , 4th. Schenk (from the Stich Collection).

( Neg, 203346)

Receivers vary in material and construction. They may he made in any manner desired as long as there is a tube 'pre~ent for the passage of air} and also a means of attachment for the, lock. One receiver in the series is cast of lead inside a brass shell : others are built up of iron or brass plates ,; some hollow, SOITle filled-

on e with a resin, .

Barrels ate. often second-hand, Some have plugged hold-down slots, some have ramrod thimbles, manv are lined with brass .. all but 't\V'O are smooth bores"

~ . . .

one. is wood-covered, and one was originally, according to' the Kunitomo manu-

script; leather-covered. The longest, barrel is 3-774 inches ; the shortest, 29,%

· h . h f'· b 34 '. h S· hi. ll'

mcnes, wi th an average o a "ou~'· rncr es, " 19' ts are generauy nonexistent,

although several barrels arc optimistically fitted with very fine sets,

Wi th the n urn ber of 0 u tsid e-lo ck ai r guns th a t has C0111e to 0 ur a tten ti 011 during the la s t f ew 'yea rs,,' we 'have alte red ou r previous OP'] n i on teg'~lrding the g rea t rari ty of the type, but a re not in a po~ i ti on a. t pl~ sen t to suggest the. n tun be r that may sHU survive,

The £ollu\ving nameshave either been found 0'[1 outside-lock guns or have been

. ~ "" hem as mak

so associated with them as to suggest t em as ma ke rs,




'C, ',N',V -_" "Ii,.~ 'II' L,'!Ii;t;' ~,-;rr 9 K' .. ~ u.C' m'. r-t: ~.~:~ __ 'iii, " "','" "j' ~ .~'F;; lI\"·ji ]'U] nr, l'.r~'~":'i"'t'~,1i<'" ~,~!- "', N :El' W'S:' '~l"O, 'I"O''\.:"' ::: '1-

()!Oi .. or\[ . .!I" 'f"'l .li':I;.,'U .. .IL!-L JI.-,. ,iIi),.I6; ~I • ,.~ I. '!(,.. ~~ ,i!\tJ., "'-- .:D ,'!L;.~~li..Ii. J1.'II..!' Ji.'j; r,;~ ,~, = _ _ _, _ ,~ . .11, • .,


An example by this maker has been found described and was reported to us by Ii, a rry \V',(! ndrus (239)" No ~ ate. is ass i;gn ed '.

H )"R-T' "'X f 'IC" ~H"

,;iI~~, ':'::,:, ",'o;'r I "'._" ,_""

""~ deseendan t of ~ family 'U lQ t had been active as gtl.nnlaker S ]0 rover' t h ree ilttnd red. y,ea,rs (,141).. He is the au du)C[' oi the J ~l1Pa nese '~ex. .[11]1 outSi~ de-lock air guns in. Appendix 1:] ( ,age 1.43,) ~ He Q,PI>e3:rS, to be the maker of the Japanese product th-at is indicated as a, ;~py of 'one l)y Seheiffel (Fig, 42) ~



.!L " I .' "'I. ~ . _ ~ ", ,;" I' "!.

RJ'!..'S'-'-'C·'if:1 "I H'I'

:\. ~l~:')"' . ,Ji:. I ; liJI'!!I I ~ ~,

This name occurs on an outside-lock gun, engraved Ion the top of the il.'OI1 receive 1" (1 ') a.

SC'H'Af:"fTE,R" »:

For a product by this maker ~e F"~g'~ -44\,.,

ROS"......-rr)rK' G-' E-"'" R "',/Ii A N ,\.,"' 'I' ,:' .• ;- i-'~,"~, I,; ,I •. ~: --' -: ... :~ . .al,t'1Io, 1· ~.~"

'5·. C~H__:_ , ~ 'li"l:?F'~' ~~!"'L

~ . ', .. ;I. ,l ~;,t,.l ~_~III

S-,c" -']-.JE-""'N·Ji·'111" G'.'

I . :-!,' . ,1-' . I ", I J;~'!ll '. ~' ~ -




Distr ibution of. T'ransitiunal Air Gu.r1$.

It i is pro ba b le that co 11 ecto rs will 1110St readi 1 Y' recogni z e th is typ e from the simple s tat erne nt often encoun tered 1 n catalogs: , .. Com bincd f int and ai r gun. "1 The error is und erstanda ble inasm nch as til e l( )i('ks employed a re ei th er t ru e and compl ete flint ~ locks or \V heel locks '. In ternal addi ti~ns and ,3.1 tera tions, not vi sihl e externall Y 1t renrle r the .nn rmal-a ppearing ignition unnecessary, but pe rmi t the lock to activate the valve in the concealed butt reservoir. The reservoir is more or less cvlindrical and is carcfullv fitted within a. normal wooden butt stock.

,~' - ..-.

It appears that the stock tnay either be hnllnwed out to receive the reservoir,

OJ' be split and fitted over it. Normallv the pU1Up is attached. to the reservoir



through a trap door in, the butt plate.

There have been available for examination onlv two examples of the transitional variety 0:[ air gun" a flint-lock by' M ouchin of Ro:tt~rdawn (Fi,g~ 40) and a wheel lock by ,"\r entzlav of Ehrenbreitstein In agreement 'N i th the Mouchin piece, according to descri ptions 0 r illus trati ons, are gLU151 by Bosla r of DanT1S tad t an d Kuhlmann of Breslau, Qllesti~na'blie hi the s(;rie~ is an itern by Haas of );'eustadt+ ] tis claimed C 41) that the Latter has a butt- reservoi r w hi c h unscrews and ~ when '~n ~LD. e gu n ~ i s covered by two hol ]o'V\~ed -nut half ~8 tocks ; in othe r words, a modi .. fication of the same basic type as found on the outside-locks as well as on the


i:a.ter Austrian variety, The position of this piece in 'the serf s ls not determined at this time, the concealment of the reservoir being the only reason for mentioning it here .. ,

In the Moucltin specimen the lock principle is identical with the bottomstriking outside-lock, :~n spite of the concealment, The valve structure cannot be. determin ed due to the fact that t hie wood of the stock has shrunk to the point where the removal of the reservoir would seriously injure the specimen, if not ruin it entirely, This is one c~ the m" Vr~' instances in ,\"hiJ,ch ill, bas, been impossible to sa ti.sfacto:r:i]y ,a'na~,yLc ,3, specimen.

The. example by ";V{*~ntzl:a'V' is diff'el~,ent both in appearance :& 'd operation, :a11.d 1 ads one to wonder about- the oth .. er examples that have been mentioned but noe described in detail, In this case a sliding butt-ott in the butt plate allows a trap .. door to spring' 0] en, A punlpl can du~:n be;'· '''f,\t d _ n., The pa tch box on the right

1"!',~ ;o'Jj '(·"1 umm -1.... The wheel serv e 'S '''''0 di scha . 'If'''D'A the weap 'on' '0' '1);O, .... "lti'·'ng. I '-W]'" th ;jfJJ sort

~ 0. ':._ 1 .'_' _,L ~[ J~ Ni , IQ~. ·.~'j'l , ,.I ... _ -», - ~ r _.' 11.) . u :b. .. ,. ._ J- .... ~r~ ., [-1-,· . w I~., _ .. ",' 'j .~ ~.Ll ~ _ '~"" "> ! _ ,-, 'R,"'V 1 1,_

O'~ 'Ca:111'I.l1'jn,g motion, The cock serves :no purpose, ,Jo'U ile-set triggers are presen ,.,

Iii. the preceding case of the outside-locks and also the .. Austrian types that will follow ~ there is onl y one valve in each rese rvoi r .' In w hat we have arbi t rari 1 y elassi fi,edl as a transi tional 0," true concealed air gun _~ tw' 'I valves are present, One is for the passage and internal retention of 'the air as ,00t i,s pumped into the contamer, The . ther is the exit valve actuated 'b}, the lock .. Th'e input valvo :I: exposed when the trapdoor in the butt plate is opened. ][111 this type only, o'f. all the varieties of butt-reservoir air guns, are two valves needed,

T'be lock on, th e' l\,r.ouc~h'~n pi ce is. a true flint ... ,1oc:kj!' altered by certain ad.ditiuns .. , '\, ' tat might 'lead. a casual observer to think that tl e specimen is trulr~ a combinatinu 'flint and air gun, aside fro rn the external appearance 0'£ the lock, is the lli resence of a touch hole at the p'r'Oper place next to the pan, 'The opening is however, only a simulated one and -does not penetrate to the bore. The gun is a normal muzzle loader and is accompanied by at ramrod, The same can be' said 01: the Wentslav example,

The question arises whether this type of arm is responsible 'fO'rJ~,e occasionally encountered rumors 'about noiseless and smokeless powders in the old days" To the uninitiat «l this type: of gun could conceivably be loaded with a powder that answered such ,8, description, ~VbU,e, there is, a sound ,of discharge, by com-

.. arisen with that ,e:ng:~l1d.elred hy ,g'tmnpo'\vrler it does not exist,

The f:ollo'\v:ing' makers have been found as actual Of' possible producers of transition :a,i r guns,

BOSLAR~, (Bosler)


_ ., ... !I'I!!"!!_ ol.. ~ . , ,~ ,_ _ I ._I •

A· 11 .t l' . J.'L • - ,- d Q' .' s: . H ~

, num oer ot rel,ef'en.cEis, "COU.ll s make r are at band, '_,_uotrng rrom - - - .otmann

(]'1Ij!)1 '~B,-'·~,'·i~I,·,'·: I ·'·'·i'-'-'Ji'·-' - ~'.,,!. ,,,""-"'-,", ','" .+,: ' '.-. :"'ri-' ·'"l.J "'~1,~11_".~'1-:-' .':,' '. ,_.1'

, ,~,.- _ ~Sll,tJ!!,~g, , 0", n a .:!Lew more specimens OJ], 0 lI!, WJlJJ]Ju guns, oneoQ!

these from, about 17:2'5; \vi:th flintlock Jock, This kind is s:i__gned, 1b~f the {amolU-s

,G···-' . '",' . - ,~."', td "', -- , .- -"', ::11.. p' 1 B-" .', I' T"it , ' dt 'c-' :lL· - ,---. '. t·'h- _. ,,~,ttL.,

._ e.'mlan '\11" _ ~U11,-S1111 t~l '~,.,.. ,!, .: '08 ar, U'"', ~ W.l)10 was _ .. "'(; gunsml,_,L ~

0,1 the Landgrave Ludwig V I.I I (l,r Hesse, the latte r nwning eighteen di1te:reflt

" d d' , .. L t h 'j d '·'ld '00 b k ..J 1-'~

\V111i .. -guus an "\l!!,lrlh,!1. them ,S 100[10,g' deer, wu boar roebuck, ;a:nu 8:1113. It game,

at Urea. t d1:S tance, as 1 tis proved . and -written in the special litera ture ~ ", Stockel (2,24) lists Bosler (Bossler) ~ J ... Philipp, Darmstadt, born 1731"

~,iIi ~\1'i 17·:'9·" ;3:· 'T- -:':h', . ','. '-' '-:-'" be ····0" '. '1" c '.. 'k t ' : .. ,-, . .-~'. ',' ,- '11i 'B·'-:"'I<].'I ",' :- '.~ .',.-:--. .' I :":' .- '. "".' , . ....1

u~,\"u ""." _ ere ,may -~ C 1'1 usion netween severar nosmrs as, IS suggesteo

by the dH,fif'e~rel1.ceg in dates, Q t~,o!ting' from, Ffott1]kes, ( 80) j' "~'7"J, 5~Conr~'lbi~:le,d

A r, :Jli!.. F- :1i~· tlc '-'k'" F - " .. ii".,.. 'P··'· _"". '.l .(. r=»; - ',.," l\lr,~'.1IAI -.-/t: X""1, '11]''''11.· ,,-";m'-- .,- ,,- ".) ..

rl..lf 0:;. ,Jlln,~.~oc \ ,.- 0'\\\, ,l'fe\{!' " ut::rmafl, J.:V\.ll.,1,(~,~~ e o.l ,', " . ·tu, VCD!l.u,ry .. 1,

with I bra ~£l 'f~'" . ""t· ,: ". de - ' ''':. te .. 1 . ~'~'i"":h hr ." .. ..,.--,-"- .. ,- d .::., ,-.,,",. T' -.' ba ,--,--, ;11 ,"-""H'· ""d"

AIl.:, ,Ii!. ~~::_ ,n,rm.t ;ure . _ecora ,o.J, 'V,I!Ll, 1 '"' ,uu!~men.~ ..... eer , CIl-C.. . ,Ie 1:a:r,feJJo,. ,rl ,le,.

~ I ~ '11. ~ t",..._~ DOSLE'R A OA'R' ISTADT 1 ~ h

'\V~.'t1. ,e~glllt ,g,rooves.~, is lua:f~a.[l '.{" - <!~_I:,' ',I,. ;-_ e~ _" ~~; , - ,. "T,le a'lr ,c~~a:m~

ber is in the butt~ the pta .. te of which 'has a nozzle 'for attaching an air :PtU\l'P,~ The two actions have separate t'rigrers, that for the flintlock having a safety

h 1),1 3'·S··' C '~h 47 H

catc .' J:ja,rre ".,; in..~a~ ibre, ,::'. ,: ...

HA" A-' S· - r


. ,:: .-',.,)~ _:[!I!

It''''E''-'U' "S~··"TA· DT'I' 'G:"E~n;MiA' "r-y',:,·-'

.1:,\ . .... '. '''"-_ _ . ,.... ,,~]j - n - , ' , " .. ,~

Stockel (224) dates this maker .as circa 1750~ The only other reference to dab! :is the following (41). "Al'R G'U:N,t German, 18th Century, Octagonal barrel ~'itlt brass sight. It is decorated at the breech :(U1.G at the muzzle with inlaid scroll work and is marked I. H'A,SS IN'" ).TE'U'STA,DT,., Falsified lock plate, with cock ,a'nd lock. The compressed air reservoir is itt the stock, ,vllicb is, unscrewed to receive tJ~].,e. charge ,of a~r';: it is, concealed by' lVi4'() half-stoeks hollowed out ,of: wood \V'bic1l are assembled one on the: other by' the bu:"t plate and 'by a brass ring underneath the, trigger guard, The stock is decorated '\v.ith scroll \""'0 rk t, carved in the style ,o.f' Louis XV and tile furniture, 'bands, 'trigge~r ,guard~, screw plate bu;tt platee, etc, are of sculp-

- d' ill" L" L 4- e A ,. 'i ~:!i

ture i orass, Length- '-"}'~ menes,"


B'R' E':S'LA' U·' G~ E·,,:'R,:·MIA,·'···N·JY·,':,'

!'.:, ,_'., .. , .... .1 .... ',,"",.: .. , -", " " ....

Fe'ldhat~s (.19) lists the, fo,]lo" air guns in the possession of' the ,B,tr]in Arsena! "Kuhlmann 'Q .. 't. 'B,,~C''Iau,_ Ist. ha'dil~ ~f··~ the l' '()£Jh_ C·· enturv, caliber

. ~'._ wJlIf. ~ .. ~ _~~oll!! . [ I l~ ~J.~_ ._~, _ r. .- . ~lL ,,(.JI t all III • - _. • r:v ji ~ :~II~.

8- !17 B id . 'h he Z h h 't· ".,,~ '1"1'

, • ..f !nnl~ " '. ,. ···e:~n .. : es t: ese the ,.i.,'@'llg, aus ,1.·~·a:S ,aw,so two a;rr pistots, C.a~lle:r$

'9 mm and :to mm., the latter from Kuhlmann, in Breslau, 1,760.. ~, Dr,

, .

Hoopes (126) noted a splendid ~~rrnan flint-lock hunting gun, by Kuhlmann.

The cock h '''-. d ·tlo ... " , •••• -.-.:.:.,- •• :., •• "'.', •• '-'. ,C 1 '- .... he. ·:"·'d·':'·· of the ] ". k :-"1-'-" - .'. There ~ ~, .'. "1' ..

ne COCf!lj, .3., _W 0< sprIngs,; .one on eac_,_ 81 ,.:e: 0 ~" e . OC~~, p~ate. _'.' ,ere wa,s .a. 'so

an ~ nelita,tor sh.o,ving how rnan.y shots relrn8i]']1 i, n tlrrue reservoir.. Th:i s gu.n ,vas on t'he antique market, in. Germany in 19.30~ 'bu:f: :i,Ui p:re'Sfll t \\:f'he:r,'ltlts =-,fie" t't'!i"'kn'" nwn

i~l.._, , )l1!"~_,.'IV ~~


'it1()T TCH' J'~'~ 1.\1 ..... ~.' L .... ~. '" ~,'~'

1"10" 'T""l"' E:"'}:l n A ]\ Ji NT E""'~' "'1-'" -H-:__: E FJL' i\."'\ ~ DI ,S'~

~'- . r 1,., ~\"~ : ~~ 1'",.. ....". '.d ,"\.. ~..r\ ~ , '. r ,"

. ~ has been discovered regarding this. maker aside fr0111 the gun marked with his name (Fig+ 46) '.


Aside from the existing specimen and one reference, nothing' is known about the maker. (The pump j s with the arm.) Stockel (2'24) Iists ~ ''V\r entzlau (see

\~ 7 : El "', ,', C' 1~~'1 1 .... 2· "5" '1 ~ · ... 0: '.'. '\' entzlav) -1. arenbreitstein and Coblenz, c .. '.""----fl:. ' 15,,'"

A'U",S"",T' 'RIA·'::.N:' B"'UT': I"'iiiI""_·R'-·.E,=;S·.·""EI·:R·,V· ... ··O··· ··'··IR: A:IR' G,···'-"-U',N·· S:,

. ',,' .. ..' " ""." ','," Ii.. . -.' .' .' ," •. , , .. , '.".,',,'.

Here we have the ultimate in the -develcpment u~f the butt-reservoir air .gun or conti nental vari ety . It, along w i t h the addi tion 0 i: the' p\ u st ri an Gi ra rdon i magazine, migrated to England where Staudenmayer produced an identical type, The production ceased on the continent and the British product was incorporated with other continental forms, also imports, until a distinctly English varietv was developed.

Fig. 47" Distribution of Austrian Butt-reservoir Air 'Guns~


~!.: ... l

r'jlg., 48. ,A-ru,st:F~rua,n Butt-reservoir J\i:v.' :I:'I'St015.; U pper left: Girarden],

L"'ppe:r 'dght: Oesterleins.

Lower :I"e'ft:, Fruwieth,

Lower :r~ght:: Unmarked variant '1!ir"dth br,8,S;S ft'lll1Ldl('; and reservoir, (N,eg. ,20,],3-40 ~ UPIH;r ,d~'ht~ NU:n,I~ll" No" Nl to';~f)~ )


Fig. 50" Austrian Butt-reservoir Air G,UDS.

Ist. Lowcntz shotgrrn,

2nd;, Lowen tz rifle with magazine, 3 rd. S ta ud e 11 mayer riff e, La 11 do II.. 4th. Muller ~ifle~ Bern,

(Ne,g'. 2.03341; 3rd. NUl1n. No+ NSSll)

The ... .<\ us trian type ai r gun ~ in its final form, COli1 sis ted of two u ni ts ; the buttreservoir and the union of 'fore-stock" .barrel, and lock, This is true not only of tl: e long fU"11:1S but also of pistols" a distinct variety 0'[ the latter havin.g been examined, Regardless of makers, the basic pattern 'Vilas adhered to and, even.

tho " 11 . b ~ ~. t 'I disti 1 '. hI' . F'-

ough there may be minor variants, tile type IS distinct y recogrnza .'. ,e~ .I,·'Oir

this reason, as well as the {act that the products are .historically dated, this type is considered the ultimate in continental butt-reservoir air guns.

The series presented includes one exam plle from Switzerland that differs. in some respects from the balance 01 the specimens, It therefore "Tin be separately mentioned when the {liscussion touches on the differing points,

I.. tho ,... ... f th ". 1 ."." .'. ... , .: ·:1' the ,~,: .: +.:: ., ," of i- ~~ . ~: ~- ," -. ,:" ~".. ~1' ," t.

n tr c case 0 _ ne oug arm S j' '''' 1 ~ ] 1 e excep non oi tne hJ wi S S piece, w 11Cl1.

has a shaped butt, the' presently considered type is uniformly equipped. with

. .

conical butts of" iron, lap-welded lengthwise, with inset ('Onve:x end cap~ 'instead

of butt plates .. The reservoirs are additionally riveted, although the external

... ",,". '.'..... '.... '.. b '1',"· th fact '11", ter .. " ~ ~ , :. ~', . ,. , ' . d ' ble t " '1" ,. if .. "

appeara~ce ma.y ne re ne act, rn ernai exammanon :lI.S ac visa .. ·· e 0 \ err Y

construction techniques, Indications of brazing- appear on all the specimens and it is possible that brass was spotted where .ne'eded to close up minute holes that

11 £ .. h ld .. d 4 'I T't d ' . d ... f 1 ~

were tett atter tt e W'€_' l.11g an - riveting .. ·, 11.'e en' .. caps give no inrhcationsot ')flrt,g

riveted, btl tare inset and have the ends of the cones peened over and welded, Judging "hy the: rough exterior surfaces on the reservoirs and also the fact that