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Widow peak hammers
September 3, 2019
6:29 pm
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clarence said

jwm94 said

...he states that two different craftsman used different tools to perform the work, and on page 64 he's a bit more specific in that, "The hammers were checkered by hand by different craftsman, each using his own cutting tool."

Possible of course, but it just seems surprising that such an efficient, high-volume, company as Winchester had not developed a more cost-effective method of doing the job, such as stamping.  But the above statement is merely that, not factual evidence, such as a company record of payments to men employed to checker hammers, or a report from someone who had seen the work being done.  This checkering does not look to me as sharply cut as hand-cut checkering would be, and think, especially, of the difficulty of executing (without run-overs!) the "Ten Commandments" pattern.  

I agree with your comments about the two Schwing assertions that I mentioned.  I'm thinking that he probably believes they were cut by two different men using different cutting tools or, perhaps, they were made by two different craftsman using different tools...altogether(?).  Whatever the case might have been, he did not satisfactorily support these two assertions as I see it, but given his well deserved stature in our community, he gets a pass from me!!! Smile

Before responding to you, I checked on a few rifles that I own made by Whitney-Kennedy and Remington that have similar hammer knurling's.  The knurling on the Remington was hand cut, and the ones on the W-K's machined stamped.  A reference about the knurling's on the early W-K hammers states that they were hand cut, until the C&D range which was  between 1880 and early 1882, at which time a fine machine stamp was used.  It's my take that this fine machine stamp, made in the style of a pear like shield, gave a more uniform appearance of the knurling, except for the top back part of the hammers on my examples that show a bit of an uneven edge.

September 3, 2019
7:56 pm
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Just like a checkered stock if the checkering is stamped it will be perfect.  Hand work will always show some waves and maybe tool marks.  Pick up a checkered stock and look down the lines of the checkering, not always perfect.

September 3, 2019
10:46 pm
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jwm94 said
According to one or two Schwing references they were hand checked.

James  

Ain't no way in hell they were hand checked those hammers. Especially for many as they had to make. A lot cheaper and more accurate to have a machine do it. 

As Bert mentioned they had to be "Knurled". Considering every single piece of equipment was ran off a central belt driven shaft. I don't see it difficult at all for Winchester to use Knurling.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knurling

Sincerely,

Maverick

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September 3, 2019
11:46 pm
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jwm94 said

Whatever the case might have been, he did not satisfactorily support these two assertions as I see it, but given his well deserved stature in our community, he gets a pass from me!!!

It's all too common among gun book authors to present most of their "facts" without supporting evidence, as if they had discovered them by means of ESP.  There's no harm with that approach with information that falls into the category of well known, undisputed, "common knowledge," but that's certainly not the case here.  I doubt he simply made up this story, but instead found it reported in some other source, was told about it by some collector, etc., but however he came by it, he should have identified his source, which is easily & economically accomplished merely by writing "according to....," or words to that effect.  The fringe benefit is that the author thereby spares himself the embarrassment of being found to be in error.  So I'm not sure he deserves a pass. 

September 4, 2019
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clarence said

jwm94 said
Whatever the case might have been, he did not satisfactorily support these two assertions as I see it, but given his well deserved stature in our community, he gets a pass from me!!!

It's all too common among gun book authors to present most of their "facts" without supporting evidence, as if they had discovered them by means of ESP.  There's no harm with that approach with information that falls into the category of well known, undisputed, "common knowledge," but that's certainly not the case here.  I doubt he simply made up this story, but instead found it reported in some other source, was told about it by some collector, etc., but however he came by it, he should have identified his source, which is easily & economically accomplished merely by writing "according to....," or words to that effect.  The fringe benefit is that the author thereby spares himself the embarrassment of being found to be in error.  So I'm not sure he deserves a pass.   

Oh, I do think he deserves a pass, and you probably do, too, when you get right down to the heart of the matter, Clarence.  He is a pioneering historian and author of the first order where extensive comprehensive research and examination into slide-action Winchesters are concerned.  Besides, it was his desire to simply, "...instill in the reader an appreciation for the history of these rifles and lead to a greater understanding of their appropriate historical significance."  I do believe he has succeeded to this end and then some.  I don't know about the quality of his credentials as a researcher and historian prior to taking on such a formidable project, or what all he might have had to put on hold during this time in his life but, by the time he finished it, he had certainly become an accomplished one.  One thing is for certain, we'd both like to know more about hammer knurling's right now!!!! And that gives us something to look forward to now and tomorrow! 

Laugh

September 4, 2019
2:11 am
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jwm94 said

I don't know about the quality of his credentials as a researcher and historian prior to taking on such a formidable project, or what all he might have had to put on hold during this time in his life but, by the time he finished it, he had certainly become an accomplished one.  

Not to throw shade against Mr. Schwing, but the same could be said of Mr. R.L. Wilson. I also believe this wouldn't be the first time he's been wrong about something. But I also don't believe that there is a firearm book out there that doesn't have an error in it.

At one time there would have been documentation as too how those hammers were cut, what steel was used in them, and many more details that are probably now lost forever. Unless Cody or a scrupulous collector has these details in the form of the original factory drawings.

Its truly a shame so many such details were thrown in the trash heap.

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It would have been nice to have seen this room in its hayday, before it was scalped. 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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September 4, 2019
3:33 pm
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Maverick said

Ain't no way in hell they were hand checked those hammers. Especially for many as they had to make. A lot cheaper and more accurate to have a machine do it. 

As Bert mentioned they had to be "Knurled". Considering every single piece of equipment was ran off a central belt driven shaft. I don't see it difficult at all for Winchester to use Knurling.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knurling

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Hi Maverick,

Sorry that I did not see your post here until last night, or I would have answered it before now.

I hope your day is off to a great start!

I certainly do not doubt that you are correct about the hammer checkering being accomplished as you believe, but how do you think it was done in the beginning at Winchester?  I base my opinions/comments primarily on the fact that Sam Maxwell in his book, Lever Action Magazine Rifles, leads one to believe that the checkering on the Whitney-Kennedy rifle hammers were cut by hand until the 1880-82 era, at which time they were made by a machine.  And, therefore, I believe Winchester was probably doing the same thing at about this time.  This, and the opinions that you, Bert and others bring to the discussion.  It was Bert's question to the forum members that caused me to remember reading about this subject many years ago...which is why I posted up Schwing's notes.  Hopefully, you have enjoyed this  discussion as much as I have.

James

September 4, 2019
4:07 pm
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Maverick said

Not to throw shade against Mr. Schwing, but the same could be said of Mr. R.L. Wilson. I also believe this wouldn't be the first time he's been wrong about something. But I also don't believe that there is a firearm book out there that doesn't have an error in it.

At one time there would have been documentation as too how those hammers were cut, what steel was used in them, and many more details that are probably now lost forever. Unless Cody or a scrupulous collector has these details in the form of the original factory drawings.

Its truly a shame so many such details were thrown in the trash heap.

FactoryDwgRM.jpgImage Enlarger

It would have been nice to have seen this room in its hayday, before it was scalped. 

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Maverick,

I like the respectful way that you refer to these two men, books and errors in general terms.  The loss and/or disappearance of the records, to include, the knowledge they represented is definitely a shame.  The good part is that researchers that deal with historical subjects have a way of turning up long buried evidence.

James 

September 4, 2019
6:03 pm
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Maverick said

Not to throw shade against Mr. Schwing, but the same could be said of Mr. R.L. Wilson. 
  

BIG difference between the two!  Wilson was a firearms generalist--he was interested in a multitude of diverse subjects, so naturally, he wasn't, nor, so far as I know, did he ever pretend to be, an expert on all of them, except engraving.

September 4, 2019
6:16 pm
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jwm94 said

 

I certainly do not doubt that you are correct about the hammer checkering being accomplished as you believe, but how do you think it was done in the beginning at Winchester?  I base my opinions/comments primarily on the fact that Sam Maxwell in his book, Lever Action Magazine Rifles, leads one to believe that the checkering on the Whitney-Kennedy rifle hammers were cut by hand until the 1880-82 era, at which time they were made by a machine.  And, therefore, I believe Winchester was probably doing the same thing at about this time.
James  

James, consider Whitney's volume of production vs. that of WRA; what's practical on a small scale may be very impractical on a large scale.  Moreover, I think the technical difficulty of executing the Widow's Peak pattern argues against it EVER being done by hand; if it had been, there'd be examples of run-overs or other checkering defects. 

September 5, 2019
12:44 am
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jwm94 said

Maverick,

I like the respectful way that you refer to these two men, books and errors in general terms.  The loss and/or disappearance of the records, to include, the knowledge they represented is definitely a shame.  The good part is that researchers that deal with historical subjects have a way of turning up long buried evidence.

James   

James,

Well if you did happen find my comment disrespectful, that is understandable, and I can see how it could be perceived that way. I was / am trying to be respectful, but the broader point I had or trying to make is not all gun books and gun book authors are the same. Some written works I used to hold in high regard, I now at the very least find myself being skeptical towards them.   

I also share your enthusiasm for research and having buried evidence coming to the surface. Any man that keeps records of factory memorandums, such as yourself, is to be commended to say the least.

In my Reloading Tool research I have yet to find anythings specific towards "Knurling" regarding factory drawings, orders, notes, etc. But would add that I have found examples of the 1882 Tool with the adjustable chamber version that date possibly as early as 1884, and for certain prior to 1888. And they for certain did not hand cut its knurled piece. As I've seen way too many that look exactly the same. 

But even with all that aside, I also don't see why the hammers on all the models would have been knurled since day one, starting with the Henry Rifle. 

Sincerely,

Maverick 

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September 5, 2019
1:48 am
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I'm not sayin' ,I know more than anyone else here, but I just took 8 early, high condition  Mod. 94's out of the crack and looked at them with a decent magnifying glass, as my eyes are 71 years old , and I can only see 1 minor variation in all 8. This would lead Me to believe these have been machine applied and not done by hand

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September 5, 2019
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All I can say for sure is that if the folks who ran and worked at Winchester in the early days knew how fascinating many of us find these little details like hammer engraving or knurling and records in general they would have been amazed. I don’t have an opinion about whether the hammers were engraved or knurled but I suspect quite a bit of the work it took to build a Winchester in those days was done by hand. It was an era of fine craftsmanship and high quality work was not terribly expensive. At today’s labor costs I doubt anyone would buy a rifle if the manufacturer had to pay for all the hand work involved in the early Winchesters.

 

Mike

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September 5, 2019
6:42 am
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Here are a couple examples in close SN ranges to compare (couple pics of each with different light).  You can decide for yourselves whether they were cut by hand or not.

 

SN 10307

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SN 10363

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SN 12019

 

DSC_0362.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0382.JPGImage Enlarger

SN 85009

 

DSC_0377.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0411.JPGImage Enlarger

SN 88158

DSC_0435.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0436.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0381.JPGImage Enlarger

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September 5, 2019
4:48 pm
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Chris, thank you for the pictures.  I really didn't want to dig out my guns.  It is my opinion that your pictures show so many inconsistencies that I believe they were hand cut. 

September 5, 2019
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Clarence:  You bring up another great point about production numbers between Whitney and Winchester, which brings to my mind whether or not Winchester ever went through the hand cutting evolution at all.  

Maverick:  I'm nothing more than a fan...a student when it comes to Winchester research.  It's a hobby to me.  However, I do have a great deal of genealogical type experience, and just absolutely love the type of discussion we're having now with other forum members.

Henry:  Thank you for the time you have taken to join in on this subject.  I really appreciate it as I believe other members do as well.

Chris:  I'd like to thank you for the superb pictures in the ranges you have noted, and I agree with what Chuck said.

Chuck:  Thanks for stating your opinion.

James

September 5, 2019
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Chuck said
It is my opinion that your pictures show so many inconsistencies that I believe they were hand cut.   

But inconsistencies are also produced when parts are stamped by hand, as Louis' photos of the many variations in the lettering of Super Grade floorplates illustrated vividly.

I believe a professional engraver could settle the point conclusively by examining one of these hammers.  Anyone have a friend in that trade who'd perform such a service?  Otherwise, the speculation will never die.

September 5, 2019
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I have reread everything once again that Schwing has written about the checkering of hammers on the Model 1890s, and the following is my take:

His assertions represent a claim or statement of fact(s) that might only be proven/disproven by consulting the references he has listed in the Bibliography of his book. For the time being, I believe that it can be deduced that what he has written might well be the best evidence available to us to date on this subject.

I also believe that he has presented his view with a great deal of confidence that will, sooner or later, be supported by consulting said references. Of course, I could be wrong, but he strikes me as a very believable person. I further believe that what he has written on this issue should be considered fact, albeit through inference, and/or the absence of qualifying remarks in the text or in a more specific footnote/endnote, or whatever.

James

September 5, 2019
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If anyone has contact with Pauline Muerrle, I wonder if she might have any info. I know she engraves and also worked at Winchester so I wonder if she May have a memory of hearing or reading about this topic- just an idea

September 6, 2019
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jwm94 said

His assertions represent a claim or statement of fact(s) that might only be proven/disproven by consulting the references he has listed in the Bibliography of his book.

Correct me if I'm wrong as I don't have the book, but is this merely a list of books & articles, rather than a specifically identified reference to checkering the hammers & other similar details?  That's not the accepted way of providing historical documentation, for the obvious reason that tracking down the source of any specific assertion would require reading the entire list!  Are any of these references company work orders that might describe manufacturing methods? 

Look at the difference between this kind of general bibliography and Campbell's two books on the SS, Williamson's on the corporate history, Houze's on the 52, etc. which provide footnotes or endnotes allowing the reader to investigate further any given topic.

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