Unidentified lock plate...would like mfgr/model/date if possible

Discussion in 'Early Colonial Wars, Musketeers & Pirates' started by Larry M, Dec 18, 2018.

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  1. Dec 18, 2018 #1

    Larry M

    Larry M

    Larry M

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    Hello-

    I was metal detecting on a farm site that had not been used since 1885. The farm is located in Asheville, North Carolina on property that was initially settled in the 1700's. I dug up a lock plate 12 inches below the surface. Since I know zero about antique firearms, I was hoping someone might be able to identify the make/model of firearm this was attached to. The piece will be put on display in the town hall along with numerous other items I have recovered and an accurate label would be nice. I would appreciate any help you might be able to give. See attached photo.
    Regards,
    Larry M
     

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  2. Dec 19, 2018 #2

    Artificer

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    Hi Larry,

    You definitely have a Flintlock Lock Plate there. Because the lock plate is flat on the outside and it has the extension on the Pan that is known as a "Pan Bridle," it may date as early as the 1740's, but could well be later than that and perhaps more likely around the third quarter of the 18th century or even later. So much would depend on which country it was made in; but with the usual excavated/heavily pitted surface, it would be very difficult to say with surety as it seems no markings or engravings can be seen?

    Because Lock Plates were made of Wrought Iron in those days and hardened by case hardening, when the lock plate/s wore in the Tumbler Hole and other holes, they could not be repaired economically. So it was very common to strip the lock plate of useable parts and keep them for repair of other locks, then discard the worn out lock plate. This is probably why you found it in the condition you have.

    Hope this helps.

    Gus
     
  3. Dec 19, 2018 #3

    Stophel

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    Appears to be a French musket lock, but I'm not well enough versed on French muskets to offer a possible model/date.
     
  4. Dec 19, 2018 #4

    Artificer

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  5. Dec 19, 2018 #5

    Larry M

    Larry M

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    Gus - Thanks!! for the nugget of information about lock plates being a disposable part of sorts. Even with my limited knowledge of flintlocks, but a good education in metallurgy, I wondered how this part could take repeated hammering and not fracture. It is actually relieving to hear that a part like this would be disposed of. I am metal detecting a 2-acre farm field and all of the pats I have found are iron trash fragments that were just tossed out into the field. When I found this piece, I logged the location so can return to the spot...but there was nothing else co-located with it so it appears what you said actually happened: It was tossed into the dump. If I happen to find any other parts I will report and post pictures. Thanks again for your help.

     
  6. Dec 19, 2018 #6

    Larry M

    Larry M

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    Thanks for the input.!! The farm site is located 5 miles south of Asheville. The last farming activity was 1885 when George Vanderbilt bought the property for his estate, the Biltmore. Prior to that, the local river..French Broad River..located 1 mile west of the site was the boundary between French and English territory. It very likely could be a French piece. The farm is located on a hilltop and would be the ideal spot for a bivouac. I am going to do an extensive search of the area around the site to determine what exactly occurred here. If I locate one more parts like this I am going to call in the NC state archaeologists.

     
  7. Dec 19, 2018 #7

    Larry M

    Larry M

    Larry M

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  8. Dec 19, 2018 #8

    Artificer

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    Hi Larry,

    First of all, the link you provided to see the other relics requires a password to see the relics, so I couldn’t see them.

    Since I did some metal detecting in the 1980’s with friends, I thought you might be wondering why only the lock plate was present and no other parts with it in or near the hole the plate came from.

    With the case hardened Iron Lock Plate, it wasn’t the fact the plate would fracture as much as with enough usage, the case hardening would be worn through to the inner Soft Iron Core and thus wear the holes too large for the internal parts to align and work correctly.

    You are most welcome.

    Gus
     
  9. Dec 19, 2018 #9

    Larry M

    Larry M

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    Oops....password id gwvanderbilt


     
  10. Dec 20, 2018 #10

    Artificer

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    Very interesting. How big is the piece of saw blade, if I may ask? Also on page two, fourth row down, the item with the thumb screw looks like it may have been a quilting clamp, depending on the size.

    Gus
     
  11. Dec 20, 2018 #11

    Larry M

    Larry M

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    The blade is about 36 inches. We initially thought is was from a pit saw, but the teeth are too coarse. Further searching showed the tyrannosaurus tooth pattern matched an ice saw. Regarding the thumb screw....I guess you are referring to item 1-7. It is five inches long. I found it in the middle of an old road. None of it is threaded so most likely it broke and fell of a wagon.

     
  12. Dec 20, 2018 #12

    Artificer

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    Thank you. Yep, often where an item is found can be important to identifying it. I enjoyed looking through those pictures.

    Gus
     
  13. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:08 AM #13

    FlinterNick

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    1763, 66 and 70-74 Charleville locks didn't have an integral pan, the pans were detachable on all models 1763 and later. Earlier charleville locks did have integral pans however I believe they were faceted.
     
  14. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:12 AM #14

    FlinterNick

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    by the looks of it at first glance; the two screw holes behind the tumbler hole, integral round bottom pan and slight teat and length greater than 6 inches..... I'm inclined to say it could be a later post 1779 Brown Bess Lock. These locks would have been used on contract muskets issued after 1777. Most of those later second pattern Brown Bess muskets were issued to troops in the Southern Campaign too.

    Or.... it could possibly be a British made Ketland or Wilson trade lock.
     
  15. Jan 15, 2019 at 2:41 PM #15

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    Hey folks, there isn't a forward lock bolt hole, so it isn't a musket lock, unless that hole was filled when the lock was repurposed, to prevent there being a hole leading to the internal lock parts. The lock plate isn't rounded, so it's not a Bess lock of any sort, even if the forward lock bolt hole was filled. An imported lock, perhaps arriving with the forward lock bolt hole filled, having been first intended to be a musket lock, might be a possible answer. I wonder if it wasn't a modified Springfield lock. The hole configuration for the other holes, is pretty similar.

    LD
     
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