Some historical context concerning the Brown Bess musket

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

Brokennock

75 Cal.
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
5,581
Reaction score
6,026
Location
North Central Connecticut
you will find plenty of period beards.
Ridiculously off topic...
But, curious how you define "plenty."
The vast majority of paintings from the 18th century (dates would be before 1800) I've seen show boarders men.

I recall reading somewhere of men returning from the frontier saying they took pride in an ability to maintaining proper grooming standards even when exploring the frontier.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2021
Messages
205
Reaction score
211
Location
Hilton Head, SC
I have to get out more! I want to get to Old Williamsburg, Fort Ticonderoga, and Gettysburg. I have never been to Old Williamsburg so number one for me on my list. Missed that family trip because I was a jerky late teen. Which would have been mid 1970s. From what I heard the old rifle shop was in operation back then. Damn I’ve always been a tinker loved Daniel Boone, Flintlocks and had I witnessed that shop in operation who knows I may have got involved with the hobby and sport 40 years ago. On a positive note which may not be positive I’d have a greater collection LOL. Question! Are they still finding the balls and minis they were in 70s every time they worked the fields. I still have my small collection of ball, mini ball, mini on ball at my fathers house. My mom saved all our memorabilia. You had a nice trip. I still remember eating at a country restaurant where you sat with another family and the wonderful food that was delicious that was near Amish Town.
If you’re heading to Ticonderoga, stop in Saratoga Springs and visit the Military Museum. Racks of Bess’s on display and I was told they had many in the basement. The Saratoga Battlefield is in that general area and is worthy of a visit also. One of the older Black Powder clubs , The Old Saratoga Muzzleloaders club has a great website. Check it out, maybe you can enjoy one of the shoots while visiting.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
1,804
I have to ask what it was like when you were living in the 18th century.
It was great, lots of wine and card playing with my friends, or shooting pool, Please read Dr. Winstanley Briggs doctoral dissertation regarding life in French Colonial Illinois.

 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
1,804
1657741485052.png
 
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
14,738
Reaction score
9,165
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
Dave,

I'm sure you can appreciate this along with perhaps a good number of other forum members.

GOOD GRIEF, it's hard to even imagine the number of Artificers in the Tower workforce needed to keep 50,000 arms from rusting away using period cleaning materials and not doing anything else. I imagine every one of those 50,000 arms would have required at least a good cleaning/oiling every month, if not more often considering most had no surface finish on the barrels and locks. Frankly, I don't see how that was possible.

Further, I know British Ordnance intended to repair all arms in storage to what nowadays we would call "serviceable" condition when the arms were returned to them that were worn to worn out by the Regiments and other units. That would have been a heck of a job for any of our modern day Arsenals even considering we have interchangeable parts, huge cleaning tanks, pretty much automated preparation for refinish, etc.

I've come across a couple of references to the Tower sending Artificers/Armorers along with the parts and tools to North America and with Regiments fighting on the Continent. Now, almost no civilians "in the (commercial) trade" would have volunteered for that unless they were running from debtors' prison or maybe the law, itself. I can't document it, but I guess that at least some to many of the Artificers sent overseas were from the work force of the Tower or Dublin Castle. Can you imagine slaving away for very long hours and little money and THEN your Supervisor taps you on the shoulder and said, "I've got a special job for you......!"

Gus
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
1,804
Your example is an exception. An old man would be excused for having a beard, which was more the byproduct of old age. Unsteady hands and failing eyesight would make shaving difficult.

Beards simply were not the norm in late 1700s America.
That is true.. except if you were old or German or French or living in a region other than the one you are in... I am interested in the 1700's in Illinois and surrounds.

You say tomatoes I say tomahtoes, to many other things to worry about than to be counting stitches.

1657796749598.png


Nice mustache!
 
Last edited:

sturmkatze

32 Cal.
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
301
Reaction score
360
It was great, lots of wine and card playing with my friends, or shooting pool, Please read Dr. Winstanley Briggs doctoral dissertation regarding life in French Colonial Illinois.

It must have been nice to be rich and not have to work
 

TFoley

62 Cal.
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
5,811
Reaction score
3,156
Your example is an exception. An old man would be excused for having a beard, which was more the byproduct of old age. Unsteady hands and failing eyesight would make shaving difficult.

Beards simply were not the norm in late 1700s America.
1657829432480.png



The example above is a portrait of a Frenchman from around 1830 or so.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
1,804
The example is a Frenchman from around 1830 or so.
Second picture is by Chardin, died in 1779, drawing on book is Pilippe Renault director of Mines in colonial Illinois so before 1749 when he returned to France.

There are no absolutes when it comes to this stuff, there are always exceptions
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 19, 2021
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
1,636
Location
Far Away Downs Queensland Australia.
That painting is from 1830, and not from the colonial period.

Any longhunters who grew beards while on trek would have shaved as soon as practical upon returning to civilization.

"Would have shaved" Thats only a assumption.

Speaking from experience, Shaving in the field either on exercise or combat operations isnt a simple time effective or practical task; thats why many modern day Armies arent that insistent on it nowadays.

Now lets try and imagine how difficult it was 200 plus years ago for the Soldier or Civilian out there in the bush, particularly without any of the shaving paraphernalia we take for granted today.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
2,113
Reaction score
1,132
Regarding the 1728/1730 Brown Bess Lock.

The pan was larger than the succeeding 1742 lock, assuming the excess steel in the pan was salvaged to make the pan bridle on the later model.

Did the locks dated in the 1730’s towards the upgraded 42 lock include the larger pan with a bridle? Or was it the same as the 1742 pan with bridle (reduced in size from the 1728/30)
 
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
14,738
Reaction score
9,165
There may be cultural or governmental structural factors at work to help explain the slow but steady evolution in the case of 18th - early 19th c British arms. I am most familiar with naval cutlasses. The British naval cutlass patterns show a slow but steady evolution of (sometimes minor) details with a clear lineage from the mid 1700s to the 1900. Sort of like Mercedes in automobiles from the 1950s to the 2000s, each new pattern or model can be looked upon as a minor adjustment or improvement on the previous one. US patterns on the other hand show radical changes in thinking/design over the span of 1770s to 1917 with no trace that one model owed anything to the previous one in line.

Since I used to collect Cutlasses, I just can't resist. US patterns first followed British then French, then "sort of British" with the M1917. So, yeah we bounced around a bit. Grin.
 

Latest posts

Top