The Newtowne matchlock

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okawbow

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I'm getting the urge to make a matchlock. The Newtowne musket interests me. It was possibly one of the first guns made in the colonies. There are repro's for sale, and several pictures.

Does anyone know the barrel diameter and general taper? I know the barrel is round and 47 1/2" long. It is about .75 cal.

I could turn the profile on my lathe, but would like to end up close to the original.
 

Wes/Tex

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You're right...lots of pictures of both original and copy but no specific size mentioned except a .75 bore. I don't know how closely that measurement was made for there's one source from the time of the English Civil War mentioning matchlock musket being bored so they took 10 balls to the pound tight-fitting or 12 to the pound 'rowling' in. This, I believe, refers to the older and larger muskets still in service at the start of that war. More surprising to me was Monck's comment about musketeers having "twelve Carthrages....in their right-hand pockets, and twelve Bullets apiece in their pockets besides." On the other hand, Davies condemned the practice noting saying the soldier "doth shed and loose his powder...or else is cloddered and rammed together". Oh well...the mystery doth continue! :wink:
 
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Elnathan

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I'm pretty sure that the Newtowne musket has been revealed to be a fake, or at least not what it is advertised as.
 

okawbow

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Well anyway, I like the looks of the Newtowne. I might rather have a trigger, instead of a sear lever though. I'll also use walnut, as I have a nice piece that will just be big enough to work.
 

Wes/Tex

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I've never heard anything about it being a fake. It's currently part of the collection of the Smithsonian's American History Museum and they're not easily fooled. It's been examined by David Miller, Military Collections Curator at the Smithsonian and members of the National Rifle Association Museum. I don't see anyone putting one over on that crowd.
http://www.newtownemusket.com/images/eangus_images/original_10l.png
http://www.newtownemusket.com/images/eangus_images/original_1l.png
http://www.newtownemusket.com/images/eangus_images/original_4l.png
The original.
 
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Cruzatte

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Wow! How on earth do you fire the bloody thing...holding it under your arm pit? :shocked2:
 

Teleoceras

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Cruzatte:

Wow! How on earth do you fire the bloody thing...holding it under your arm pit? :shocked2:
With that stock, I'd almost think it would be held near the cheek. I can't see that one against the shoulder.

Slowmatch Forever!
Teloceras
 

okawbow

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I did a blow-up and made a dimensional drawing of the Newtowne. The butt stock should fit the shoulder just fine. On the Newtowne website, there is a link to a magazine article where the author shoots the gun.
 

Flint62Smoothie

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Elnathan said:
I'm pretty sure that the Newtowne musket has been revealed to be a fake, or at least not what it is advertised as.
Wes/Tex said:
I've never heard anything about it being a fake. It's currently part of the collection of the Smithsonian's American History Museum and they're not easily fooled
... and yet they were!

I recall talking to Leonard Day about this musket and there were at least 3 reasons why he believes that it is NOT what it is believed to be. Never mind that a former member of the arms & armor society was permanently debarred for producing fake/forged “originals” whilst using a mix of old and new parts. That was a big brooh-hah in the antiquarian/firearms world!

Recalling Mr. Day’s opinion, the barrel is of French design and origin dating 80”“100 years later, IIRC the dates.

Note that just within the last 6-months Cowan’s Auction sold what the Seller presented to be the Hannah Dustin musket from the infamous Deerfield raid of late 1690s ... and yet it was an entirely different musket type/origin/specs than the descriptions, sketches and photos that relatives of the Dustin family have in their possession. Ken Hamilton has written about this in great length on several reenactor/historical forums.

Back to this thread ... paddle butt smoothies are cool, although nothing really special ... but to me the Newtowne Matchlock is nothing but a ”˜fantasy piece’.
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Leonard Day's opinion is valuable but not definitive by any means. You mention a scandal in the arms and armor society? What scandal, who was involved, did it involve the Newtowne musket, where is it documented? If the gun is a fraud then I am sure legitimate antiquarians and collectors, particularly with organizations such as the Smithsonian likely know about the "rumors?" So what are the details, which we all should be privy too?

dave
 

okawbow

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The barrel is said to be "roughly made" and not of a quality that a French made barrel would be.
The Rifle Shop people obviously think the gun is legit. They had it apart and took detailed measurements. Was Leonard Day privy to the same inspection and information?

Remember that this gun is supposed to be from the early 1600's. there wasn't any gun making standard in the colonies at that time. Anything could have been produced by a blacksmith or partially trained gunsmith. It would not have nessicarily looked like an English or Dutch musket.
 

Elnathan

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Lock on the original is a reused piece. I notice that the repro doesn't include the extra holes.

I think it is an old wheellock plate, and some faint memory is telling me that it was ID'd as a Brescian wheellock.

Can't find the original discussion from all those years ago, but I do find an amazing number of websites linking the gun to the "beginning of the National Guard in 1636," which is its own special kind of stupid insofar as the National Guard was formed out of the state militias in 1903.
 

Wes/Tex

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Elnathan said:
I do find an amazing number of websites linking the gun to the "beginning of the National Guard in 1636," which is its own special kind of stupid insofar as the National Guard was formed out of the state militias in 1903.
Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story! :wink: :haha:
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Yep, I would say that the number of holes in the original lock plate are pretty convincing that the lock used a wheellock plate and in addition that shape looks Brecian from the 1640s-1650s so it would certainly not be from an old worn out gun when the musket was supposed to be made.

dave
 

Wes/Tex

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Flint62Smoothie said:
Back to this thread ... paddle butt smoothies are cool,
Have to agree, it certainly wasn't a new stock style, even at that time. It'd been a popular German style for at least a century and very popular during the 30 Years War for cavalry carbines.
http://www.antiqueweaponstore.com/Paddlebutt.jpg
German officer's carbine...thought to be from Suhl
http://www.antiqueweaponstore.com/HRPBC.jpg
From Essen

http://www.bolk-antiques.nl/galleries/a-very-nice-antique-17th-century-german-paddle-butt-wheellock-carbine-with-the-townmark-of-essen-on-the-barrel-in-very-good-condition-length-110cm-17-mm-caliber-price-6-950-euro-838439-en-thumb.jpg
From Essen
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=116887&stc=1
From Suhl
 
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Flint62Smoothie

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FWIW the discussion I was referring to was an email chain many years ago or so (but years after my discussion in person w/ Leonard Day) regarding whether or not the Newtowne matchlock is real or fake.

This info was taken directly from emails that I was copied on, involving more than a few well known persons in the early arms/historical archaeology field:

... suggests that the snapgun plate had been under construction, but not finished and I think he is right, because there was no hole in the plate for the serpentine or buffer.

... continue to have questions about the Newtowne Matchlock in the Smithsonian and talked to Richard Colton last night. Richard was invited to the Smithsonian, some time ago, to look over their guns and had an opportunity to handle the Newtowne Matchlock and he says it's a fake, it was made with with a French barrel circa 1770s or 80s.

While I personally don’t know Mr. Colton, there’s two early arms experts (Mr. Day the other) who question that the matchlock (due to the barrel) may not be what it appears to be.
 

dave_person

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Hi Flint62smoothy,
Thanks for that info. I know Richard Colton and am going to fire off an e-mail right away. I was asked to make a fowler similar to the Drake fowler in the Pocumtuck Valley Historical Society Museum in Deerfield, MA. I would like to see if Richard will join me to look at the gun. I will ask him about the Newtowne musket.

dave
 

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