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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, this is probably a little bit of a strange observation and question on my part, but here goes...

We are doing some work on my old house this summer. It was built in 1826. This is an old brick house with substantially all of the original woodwork, doors, hardware, etc. As I was disassembling two of the old locks to oil them up, it dawned on me that they showed some similiarity to some of the old gun lock hardware from the early part of the 19th century that I had seen in photos.

So my question to you folks is whether there was a cross-over of knowledge between regular locksmiths and gun lock manufacturers?

Here's some pics of lock number 1:



and lock number 2:




Thanks!

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I found a fellow in Alabama who has been making one-of-a-kind key replacements for the house locks that take keys like the one at the top. The lock like the one on top is quite large and so the keys are HUGE...about 6 inches long!
Kim
 

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Hi Kim;

Early on, when guns were in their infancy, the old muzzleloaders as you probably know had what was called "locks", instead of "actions". The big boss, landowner or King, would (for obvious reasons) entrust only a very few people with making firearm locks because as we all know, governments don't want the masses to be able to acquire these firearms. Now, back to the old days.

Although the king of the realm would entrust only locksmiths to make the mechanisms for his firearms it should be noted that a locksmith would be the only man in the area with the knowledge, skill and tools to create such complex mechanisms. Hence the name "lock" for the gun at the time. All of the old systems such as the Matchlock, the Wheellock, the Flintlock and the Percussion lock were all built and maintained by the locksmith of the realm. Later on, the locksmith's job broadened out somewhat when he was told by the king to train more people to do the work. He trained what we know today as the "Armorer." And so it goes.

Bud


Okay, this is probably a little bit of a strange observation and question on my part, but here goes...

We are doing some work on my old house this summer. It was built in 1826. This is an old brick house with substantially all of the original woodwork, doors, hardware, etc. As I was disassembling two of the old locks to oil them up, it dawned on me that they showed some similiarity to some of the old gun lock hardware from the early part of the 19th century that I had seen in photos.

So my question to you folks is whether there was a cross-over of knowledge between regular locksmiths and gun lock manufacturers?

Here's some pics of lock number 1:



and lock number 2:




Thanks!

Kim
 

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I don't know anything about old locks, but I'm envious of the fact that you live in a house built in 1826.
 

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1820s were sure an interesting time for the United States.


The Flintlock was of course still the primary means of Firearm's ignition, with Percussion being some ways in the future yet.

The phrase "Out West", meant the vicinity of the Ohio River.

Manufacturing was still way behind where people wanted it to be, and enormous imports were needed to fill the demands for all sorts of things, or for most everything ( like, say Passage 'Locks' ).

Incoming Merchant Ships and their Goods from abroad, were a major source of excitement, and, Newspapers always had Pages devoted to what Ships were due in where, and, some overview of their Cargos.

Those too far inland to attend or experience this directly, were informed by Advertisements by local Retailers, about goods now in.


Opium was a 'Cash Crop' for small Farms or private Gardens, and was encouraged by the Federal government.

The National Beverage was Hard Cider, and, home-made Beers were a ubiquity also, all sorts, ( Spruce Beers, Ginger Beers, Root Beers, German and European and English Beers, on and on ) and published recipes and How-To's were very popular for people to try new making ones they had not tried before.

In many ways, things were Peaceful, there was plenty, and, people generally were prospering...but, many things were still sort of feeling their way along, or not really very developed yet.

I think we had more Working Wind Mills than Holland then, Wind Mills grinding Grains, Rip-Sawing Timber, Pumping Irrigation Water, running Forges or other tasks...Water Power was also very common, anywhere a year round Stream was present...Steam was not really developed enough yet to be more than a novelty or for Pumping Mines.


Somewhere lost in Storage, I have a Book titled "Maclure's Opinions' printed in New Harmony Indiana in 1826 ( New Harmony was way "out" west then! Lol...) and much of this sort of thing is discussed by the Author, along with his criticism about 'education', forms of Government generally, and, the lack of indigenous Manufacturing which was occasioning so much Importation of things, which, for the most part, we could have been making ourselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your responses!
Living in this house is so interesting!
Studying all the interior and exterior doors, they are all grooved into each other and then 2 pegs added at each joint.
Eyeballing the wooden structure (from the basement) of the stairs that descend into the basement as well studying the wood in the ceiling area in the basement that holds the limestone slabs in front of the fireplace on the first floors (can't think of the name of those at this moment), the timbers are tongue and grooved and then large wooden pegs driven into the wood to lock it altogether. Still doing there job after 180 years or so.
The farmhouse was built by a veteran of the War of 1812 and received a land grant of 500 and some acres. There he married, had 5-6 kids, built his house and earned a good living until he passed in 1855. He is buried up the street in the small family plot.

Sorry for the lateness in my reply but I've been quite busy working on the house for the last 2 days. One of the door locks which I posted at the beginning of this thread (the second one) is giving me fits. It looks like a simple lock but I am having problems with its mechanism working reliably. If I can't repair it by mid-week, I may send it out to be fixed to the guy in Alabama.

It's funny how stuff pops out from nowhere at the oddest times such as the relationship between locks/doorlocks and firearms!

Kim
 

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Found this on the web about the company; " In 1820 J Carpenter patented the operating principle of this type of lock in England, and at that time licensed other firms to produce, what we know today as "Carpenter" locks." Also found where they call them rim locks.
 

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Thanks for your responses!
Living in this house is so interesting!
Studying all the interior and exterior doors, they are all grooved into each other and then 2 pegs added at each joint.
Eyeballing the wooden structure (from the basement) of the stairs that descend into the basement as well studying the wood in the ceiling area in the basement that holds the limestone slabs in front of the fireplace on the first floors (can't think of the name of those at this moment), the timbers are tongue and grooved and then large wooden pegs driven into the wood to lock it altogether. Still doing there job after 180 years or so.
The farmhouse was built by a veteran of the War of 1812 and received a land grant of 500 and some acres. There he married, had 5-6 kids, built his house and earned a good living until he passed in 1855. He is buried up the street in the small family plot.

Sorry for the lateness in my reply but I've been quite busy working on the house for the last 2 days. One of the door locks which I posted at the beginning of this thread (the second one) is giving me fits. It looks like a simple lock but I am having problems with its mechanism working reliably. If I can't repair it by mid-week, I may send it out to be fixed to the guy in Alabama.

It's funny how stuff pops out from nowhere at the oddest times such as the relationship between locks/doorlocks and firearms!

Kim
Sounds wonderful!

Not wanting to compromise your privacy, but, a few images of some cool House details, would be fun to see!


Indeed, I'd expect a House from that era to be what was called 'Timber Frame', Large primary Timbers, joined together with various large Mortise and Tenon Joints, pinned with Locust or other 'pegs'. Doors also tended to be 'pegged' at their corner's deep ( and usually 'blind' ) Mortise and Tenon Joints.


Do you have the correct Keys for these Locks?


Anyway, if the Alabama fellow does not work out, I can make just about any Parts, or repair or re-fit old Passage Locks. I have a small Forge and I know the drill. So, keep me in mind if you like. as a back up.

Sometimes the Bolt has worn into the Frame somewhat, sometimes other parts have worn, The Cast Brass parts sometimes have wallowed, Key Galleys can get bent, etc., to where things can hang up or not be smooth anymore.
 

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Thank Bob, I didn't know that. As a matter of fact, now that you mentioned it, it makes good sense.

Thanks a lot for the education. I really appreciate it when I can learn something new.

Bud


In the early days of this country, I believe both disciplines crossed over into the other field.

Bob Wright
 

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I'd expect a House from that era to be what was called 'Timber Frame'.
Oye,

I think you're correct. The Underground Railroad house that I renovated in Granville, Ohio was built in 1850, and it was a mixture of timber framing for the main structure combined with balloon framing for the walls. The exterior studs were 2x4 (full sized) by 22 feet long fir. They went from the foundation to the roof, and you couldn't drive a nail in one without drilling a pilot hole.

One of the interesting things about these old houses was the variety of things you could find hidden in the walls and ceilings. I got a 1851 Navy Colt out of a wall in a bedroom that was in reasonable shape, and an EverReady flashlight out of the floor during a bathroom remodel. Replaced the batteries and it worked fine. The old batteries were dated 1930. In case you're wondering, I gave the Colt to a now-deceased friend who had done me a few favors - besides, he collected them and I was into different areas.

Buck
 

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Kinda depends on how 'early'.


By the 1820s, most Manufacturing was structured in a way where a Central Assembly facility ( whether rural or urban ) would make finished products, from Parts produced by local or regional Artisans who 'worked at home'.

This was 'piece work' of course, and, a Guy might contract to make and deliver so many hundred specific Parts a-Month, where, once a Month or whatever, he would deliver them to the Central Facility, someone would check the Parts for spec, and, pay him.

These enterprises were often the Part Time Occupations of Farmers and their Families. Usually this work would be done after Dark by Candle or Whale Oil Light.


Smaller production items, more often, the Artisan who's name was on it, would make everything, or, he and his hirelings and family would.

Blacksmiths or more often, people who while not Blacksmiths as such, but, who has some Smithing skills, would contract to make and deliver, so-many of such-and-such a Wrought Iron or Steel or Cast Brass Part, and or would eventually learn enough overall, to become the Central Assembly final fitting final assembly and distribution station, where, then, usually, the product would have their Name on it.


I would expect that Gunsmiths were fully occupied in their own specialties.

Even as Locksmiths likely were, in theirs.

General Blackmiths, likewise, in theirs.


If either had large enough production runs, then, the parts they would use, would have tended to come form individuals or families in the area or region, jobbing out Piece Work in agreements for producing those Parts for the specialized Trades.

Factories as we imagine them today, did not exist or were very rare and were not how things were done then...ie: Everything made In House, and by wage-hour Employees.

That was to start evolving over the 1830s and 1840s and 1850s, and, generally, Americans did not want to work that way, which was a big part of why various Lobbies pushed for increased immigration - to get lots of less independent people in who would need 'work' and who would fill these ( not working at Home, and, all too often, depressing ) monotonous Jobs.

But, Americans in those days, did not want 'jobs' and or had no use for them...Americans preferred Occupations, independence, Piece Work...Working at Home...families and or families and friends, working together.

Which I will venture to guess, was how these old Passage Locks were done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks for the good information!
The brick portion of the house was built in the 1826 time frame where-as the back wood portion was added sometime around 1907 as best as I can determine. The house has a walkout basement which is within 50 feet walking distance to the spring that continues to run to this day. The basement has a large almost walk-in hearth where I assume they did the cooking in the old days. Here is a photo of the house:


There are built in cabinets on each side of the fireplaces in each room of the main house both up and down so here are photos of those with examples of one of the pegged joints:




And lastly a photo of what the original floors look like. This shot was taken in the living room, are tongue and grooved and then the use of iron square nails hammered into place.



Oyeboten: Thanks for the offer. I will let you know if I need some help on my lock project!

Thanks for looking!
Kim
 

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Oye,

I think you're correct. The Underground Railroad house that I renovated in Granville, Ohio was built in 1850, and it was a mixture of timber framing for the main structure combined with balloon framing for the walls. The exterior studs were 2x4 (full sized) by 22 feet long fir. They went from the foundation to the roof, and you couldn't drive a nail in one without drilling a pilot hole.

One of the interesting things about these old houses was the variety of things you could find hidden in the walls and ceilings. I got a 1851 Navy Colt out of a wall in a bedroom that was in reasonable shape, and an EverReady flashlight out of the floor during a bathroom remodel. Replaced the batteries and it worked fine. The old batteries were dated 1930. In case you're wondering, I gave the Colt to a now-deceased friend who had done me a few favors - besides, he collected them and I was into different areas.

Buck

How fun!

All the old Homes in San Francisco were 'Balloon Framed' it seemed - the era in which San Francisco was being built, was all about Balloon Frame ( Well, till engineers and a few others griped enough! At least about how in multi-story Homes, the Floors should be supported a little better than just with nailed on Ledgers! Lol...)


Hard to find good 20 foot plus Lumber anymore...but, I got to built two, fifty-eight foot long Walls, which were 22 feet High in the center, and 18 feet high on the ends ( Lenticular Truss Roof, so, long lazy slope, old Warehouse here in Las Vegas ) and, I used full length Sticks....and fireblock on 48 inch schedule. Did the whole thing by myself, me, and an old, weathered, Wooden, A-Frame Ladder ( eeeeesh, was wobbly up there too! )

Looked so lovely! Majestic even...( till they covered it all in 5/8ths Sheetrock...sigh...wish they could have covered in in Plexiglass...but, oh well...)
 

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Hi Kim,


What a lovely Home!

Such a nice presence in the Landscape.


Very nice Built-in Cabinet Work and Mantle also. Being Brick and all, and these amenities, someone put some serious dough into it at the time. That was an expensive Home in it's day.

At that time, all the Mouldings and Raised Panels and so on, were made by Arm Power, using Moulding Planes.

Cabinetmakers had Arms 'Like Popeye' back then.

Are the insides of the Built-In Cabinets painted also? ( They usually would have been, but, I was curious about what Wood Species the Wood Work is of ).

Floor image is not present, try again?
 

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Being into early gun locks, I have built several from scratch, and at one time into early padlocks, there was quite a lot they had in common. Precision fits, parts & springs with specific functions, each doing its thing to perform its job. I have had early padlocks that did their simple job that were as simple as early locks on match lock guns. Today, to me, the basic situation hasn't changed much, just got more complex.

The invention/development of the wheel lock, one of the earliest locks for self-firing of guns often credited to makers in Germany Nurnburg area, a source of metal artisans specializing in metal artifacts such as clocks, padlocks, both with close kinship to the wheel lock, the earliest of which date from ca first half or quarter of the 1500s.
 

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Of course back then too, every region had it's own Style for Long Arms, definitely, and a serious Student can generally tell right off, in what region of the Country a Rifle or Musket or Fowling Piece was made.

Not every single Arm maybe fit the Bill, but, generally, most did.


Gun making, and Clock making, more than anything else, was the 'Industrial Revolution' in deed and practice, far as the United States was concerned in the first half of the 19th Century.

Innovation and Tooling and Machines for making Guns and Clocks ( with Gun making over-taking Clock making far as general Technological innovation ), pretty well nurtured and mentored all other endeavors of Manufacturing.

But all that was some ways away yet, in 1826.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you....yes the cabinets are painted inside as well. I think most of the internal wood of the house is poplar. Lots of poplar around here in the old days and I suppose it was an easier wood to work with. I've been told the floors are poplar as well but then I am not a wood expert either!
If you were to walk into each room of the house, the wood plank floors will vary from about 4 - 5 inches wide in one room, the next room will be 5 - 7 inch wide planks and then go to one of the rooms up stairs as well as the entire attic and the planks are about a foot or more wide.
Someone had replaced the front stoop of the house with brickwork about 15 years ago. It began to crumble and needed replaced. During the time I was pondering what I was going to do about that repair, I was loading up some wood from the woodpile into my pickup. When I got to the bottom, I found all the original limestone slabs for the front stoop including the 6 x 5 foot top piece and they were unbroken! So I ended up tearing out the old crummy brick and put the limestone front step back into place. It looks much better now.
Kim


Hi Kim,


What a lovely Home!

Such a nice presence in the Landscape.


Very nice Built-in Cabinet Work and Mantle also. Being Brick and all, and these amenities, someone put some serious dough into it at the time. That was an expensive Home in it's day.

At that time, all the Mouldings and Raised Panels and so on, were made by Arm Power, using Moulding Planes.

Cabinetmakers had Arms 'Like Popeye' back then.

Are the insides of the Built-In Cabinets painted also? ( They usually would have been, but, I was curious about what Wood Species the Wood Work is of ).

Floor image is not present, try again?
 
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