Berks County Longrifles & Gunmakers 1750-1900 -limited

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  • Item Category: Books, Paper & Magazines
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Mar 27, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

Berks County Longrifles & Gunmakers 1750-1900 by Patrick Hornberger-limited edition -54 of 250 & wonderful condition...

Photographic catalog of an exhibit of longrifles, gunmaking tools and accoutrements by the Historical Society of Berks County. Hardcover, 114 pages, 11" X 8-1/2". Over 175 full-color photographs document this exhibit of longrifles, gun making tools and accoutrements in the Historical Society of Berks County. This important exhibit includes many rifles and artifacts that have never been publicly displayed before. The full range of gun making styles is covered, from the earliest Germanic style Reading rifles to heavily carved Womelsdorf rifles and the folk art rifles of Kurtztown. The complete collection on display and included in this publication includes 52 rifles and two pistols, as well as accoutrements and gun making tools. Review: "Home of the earliest known signed and dated American rifle, Berks County, Pennsylvania, is also home to the Historical Society of Berks County in Reading. This past fall the Historical Society presented an exhibition of the development of Berks County’s firearms industry. The exhibit included 54 rifles and two pistols, accoutrements and gun making tools. The artifacts for this exhibit were gathered from collections throughout America, and many of them have not been seen by the general public until now. For those of you, like me, who could not make the trip to Reading to see the exhibit in person, the Historical Society also produced a great book showing these important firearms and artifacts of the gunmaking trade in Berks County.

This book contains over 175 full-color photos showing the beauty and craftsmanship of the gunmakers’ art. But more than that, the author has written a concise history of the gunmaking trade in Berks County, from the establishment of iron foundries in the early 18th century, of great importance to the later gun barrel-making trade, to the settlement of Berks County by immigrants who provided the skills needed to create the Pennsylvania rifle. The author divides the county into five major centers of gun making, and each one is a section of this book: The Early Reading Gunsmiths, The Blue Mountain Gunsmiths, The Tulpehocken Gunsmiths, The Oley Valley Gunsmiths, and Below the Schuylkill Gunsmiths. Berks County arguably displayed more variety of gun making styles than any other county in Pennsylvania.

Those of you familiar with Pennsylvania rifles will recognize many of the names of the gunsmiths included in this book. John Shreit was one of the earliest gunsmiths in Reading and his signed and dated (1761) rifle is the one mentioned in the first sentence of this review. Other gunmakers from Reading include George Schreyer, Wolfgang Haga, Stoffill Smith and William Shener. The Blue Mountain gunsmiths include Adam Angstadt, Joseph Angstadt, Peter Angstadt, Johannes Neff, Jacob George, Carl Gorg, Stophill Long, Jacob Angstadt, Gideon Angstadt and Simon Miller. Gunmakers in Tulpehocken are John Bonewitz, Andrew Figthorn, Leonard Reedy, Anthony Fricker and John Palm. Oley Valley gunsmiths include Anthony Lee, Henry Mauger, Michael Aldenderfer, Christian Derr and John Derr. The gunsmiths from below the Schuylkill are John Shof and Samuel Pannabecker. The latest firearms from Berks County shown in this book are in a section entitled “Reading Redux.” These three guns (circa 1860 and 1870) were made by Nelson Delaney and Louis Royet.

All students of the American longrifle will want a copy of this book. It is beautifully illustrated and well written. The author, Patrick Hornberger, is a native of Berks County and the author of several nonfiction books on early American history. He is the past publisher and editor of Antique Collecting magazine, and a member of the Kentucky Rifle Association and the Pennsylvania Antique Gun Collectors Association."