Some historical context concerning the Brown Bess musket

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I was there in 2018 or 2019, had the opportunity to watch the gunsmiths case harden an old lock.

They used a large clay crucible and covered it with a mixture charcoal made of of wood, bone, fruit pits and leather. The lock parts were placed on the very bottom and set atop of a forge which they burned and fanned for at least an hour and half. I didn’t see the quenching, or tempering but the next day I was able to see the parts. He said the tempering was done by laying the parts on sheet iron and tempering until the steel turned purple and the parts had a light straw color. very nicely done.
 

Gordoncourtney

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The OLD gunsmith shop where the film was made of Wallace Gusler making a rifle is gone, though it was there from the 1960's to as late as 2007. I visited it five times between 1974 and 2006. The problem was the shop itself was only an interpretation of a gun shop and never on that site. So, CW decided to move it to where it was historically correct.

However, don't despair. In 2008 the Gunsmith Shop moved to James Geddy Sr. & son’s forge where William and David carried on the trade in the mid-18th century to right up to the AWI. About the time I was ready to visit, Corvid hit, so I'm looking forward to visiting there.

Gus
That’s a Miroku Japanese made lock. Can tell by the reinforced lock bolt, engravings and borders, frizzen spring and mainspring.

The lock with the detachable pan ended up being a reconversion of a second model Brown Bess that was done very well. Wish i had pictures of it, still waiting on them.
Hello again I wanted to show you the repro Indian Swan neck lock. With the stronger 1812 east India type Bess lock. I am really angry with myself. Getting the lock off to show you the front bolt would not come out then the end of the plate broke of. It’s cast iron

The bolt still did not come out. What is going on. Really ****** off with myself
 

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Gordoncourtney

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Hello again I wanted to show you the repro Indian Swan neck lock. With the stronger 1812 east India type Bess lock. I am really angry with myself. Getting the lock off to show you the front bolt would not come out then the end of the plate broke of. It’s cast iron

The bolt still did not come out. What is going on. Really ****** off with myself
11 Jul 2022
Full Catalogue Entry
Lot 416: A .750 PATTERN 1793 INDIAN PATTERN BROWN BESS REGULATION MUSKET,

£800 - 1200

Sold for £840


Holts London auction yesterday click on photo it sometimes goes straight to auction sight
 

Brokennock

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Can't help wondering what repro locks have to do with the historical context of the Brown Bess. What they have to do with the historical circumstances behind the design and production of the Bess during its time period.
 

Gordoncourtney

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Can't help wondering what repro locks have to do with the historical context of the Brown Bess. What they have to do with the historical circumstances behind the design and production of the Bess during its time period.
It came up earlier above, many have not have seen a genuine Bess lock. Like the stronger post 1812 east India bess lock Many might see a lock thinking it’s genuine , I thought the Indian lock was genuine In 1973 and I bought a load of rubbish. So I guess the answer to your wondering is it’s educational
 
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The German companies, especially the Grenadier companies, sported handlebar mustaches.

There is a painting of the Battle of Culloden where a Serjant has a very dark 3 day (?) growth of stubble.

A dark shadow of beard was still clean shaven.
 

JB67

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The German companies, especially the Grenadier companies, sported handlebar mustaches.

There is a painting of the Battle of Culloden where a Serjant has a very dark 3 day (?) growth of stubble.

A dark shadow of beard was still clean shaven.
The Germans were an exception and following the styles of their homeland. Seeing them was something of a curiosity to the colonists.

But a character or reenactor having a full beard is out of place.
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Another detail to consider in British arms production during the 18th century is that the Brown Bess was a perishable commodity. In an era with poor interior climate control, the musket started to decay from the moment of its production and needed frequent care to prevent rusting, beetle infestation, and wood rot. Consequently, storing large numbers of muskets for any extended period was not a trivial task, with respect to keeping them in good working condition. That was one reason ordnance stored parts and did not "set up" muskets until there was a need for the arms. Hence, you see muskets made in the late 1760s with locks dated much earlier. That fact alone retarded the development of newer designs with more radical changes. This "just in time" or "on demand" production, something we are all familiar with, was partly a result of a deep seated aversion to a permanently large "military-industrial complex" operated by the king and his ministers. That also included keeping standing armies small and expanding only in time of need. The exception was the navy but that service guarded trade, the life blood of the kingdom, and as such it was supported more. We Americans inherited our distrust of large government institutions largely from these British roots that go back at least as far as the English Civil War.

dave
 

TFoley

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In the British Army of the period we are discussing, only SNCO pioneers [field engineers of sergeant rank] and farriers on the cavalry were permitted to wear beards as a matter of course. Highland regiments were filled with non-commissioned ranks wearing full beards. Some senior officers wore beards in the post-wig period.
 
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Hi,
Another detail to consider in British arms production during the 18th century is that the Brown Bess was a perishable commodity. In an era with poor interior climate control, the musket started to decay from the moment of its production and needed frequent care to prevent rusting, beetle infestation, and wood rot. Consequently, storing large numbers of muskets for any extended period was not a trivial task, with respect to keeping them in good working condition. That was one reason ordnance stored parts and did not "set up" muskets until there was a need for the arms. Hence, you see muskets made in the late 1760s with locks dated much earlier. That fact alone retarded the development of newer designs with more radical changes. This "just in time" or "on demand" production, something we are all familiar with, was partly a result of a deep seated aversion to a permanently large "military-industrial complex" operated by the king and his ministers. That also included keeping standing armies small and expanding only in time of need. The exception was the navy but that service guarded trade, the life blood of the kingdom, and as such it was supported more. We Americans inherited our distrust of large government institutions largely from these British roots that go back at least as far as the English Civil War.

dave

Indeed. During the FIW and after Braddock got wiped out, Governor Shirley of Mass (who was then also the overall British Commander) asked British Ordnance for 50,000 muskets, which would have been barely enough to arm all the Militia actively taking part in the war at that time.

The problem with fulfilling that request was two-fold. First, that would have wiped out EVERY arm British Ordnance had in stock at that time. Second and though our ancestors didn't like it, the war in North America wasn't as important as protecting the Home Islands. So British Ordnance DID send a whopping 10,000 arms they had in stock, BUT following standard procedures, they issued out the oldest arms first. Well, that meant we got the "Dutch" Muskets left over from the War of the Austrian Succession and they were not properly "reconditioned" at the time. So, the colonists got them in very poor condition.

Gus
 
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In the British Army of the period we are discussing, only SNCO pioneers [field engineers of sergeant rank] and farriers on the cavalry were permitted to wear beards as a matter of course. Highland regiments were filled with non-commissioned ranks wearing full beards. Some senior officers wore beards in the post-wig period.

For most of the 18th century, Higher British Command considered Highlanders as "their Barbarians" and as long as they fought in the right direction, they allowed the Highlanders to do rather quite a bit out of the norm. LOL.

Gus
 

dave_person

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Indeed. During the FIW and after Braddock got wiped out, Governor Shirley of Mass (who was then also the overall British Commander) asked British Ordnance for 50,000 muskets, which would have been barely enough to arm all the Militia actively taking part in the war at that time.

The problem with fulfilling that request was two-fold. First, that would have wiped out EVERY arm British Ordnance had in stock at that time. Second and though our ancestors didn't like it, the war in North America wasn't as important as protecting the Home Islands. So British Ordnance DID send a whopping 10,000 arms they had in stock, BUT following standard procedures, they issued out the oldest arms first. Well, that meant we got the "Dutch" Muskets left over from the War of the Austrian Succession and they were not properly "reconditioned" at the time. So, the colonists got them in very poor condition.

Gus
Exactly Gus! Consider that when the light "Bobs" were reconstituted in the 1770s, many were issued pattern 1760 light infantry carbines set up in 1761 and 1762. Complaints of "bad" carbines issued to the light infantry were very common but it was the only dedicated light infantry arm available. Given the discussions in this thread, I can almost hear in my mind the debate going on about side plates for the new pattern 1769 muskets. The warrant called for the convex plate as Bailey documented but I'll bet John Hirst argued "Hey, I've got a lot of these flat side plates in stock from marine and militia muskets not set up. They work just fine and cost less." Or perhaps a contractor negotiated with ordnance to use the flat, and perfectly suitable, plates to cut his cost. Hence, the pattern 1769 had a flat side plate and not what was specified by ordnance.

dave
 
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