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Winchester 1874 44WCF tool
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October 25, 2022 - 11:31 pm
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 From a box lot,  an very early  Model 1875   44WCF   tool. has  the decapping pin  marked  44WCF, traces of  black paint, made in 1874? no patent  date and  has  machined cut outs  for  Berdan depriming,      but  no rim cut  for cartridge.        the pin hole  has been plugged  and  staked  at  top- but not  thru..? i  read  where  early on Winchester made  these for Berdan primed  but  when their patent was approved, they  made for  Winchester Primers only. no more Berdan , in 1875,..20221024_17133717637.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17134517636.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17144217635.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17145617634.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17150617632.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17153417630.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17270117640.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17273017639.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17273617638.jpgImage Enlarger  i have  detailed it since the photos  the oil brought out  the black paint  traces. time  to buy a nice 1873?

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October 26, 2022 - 12:03 am
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Ralph,

I think I can see  gold paint in some pits on the lower casting below the caliber stamp. Most of those 1875 tools were painted gold.

Bob

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Cody Firearms member since 1991
Researching the Winchester 1873's

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October 26, 2022 - 12:30 am
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I agree with Bob, I see traces of gold paint. Often the patent address on the top handle is very faint. Show us a pic of the top handle and I can probably point out where the patent markings are. Almost looks like the berdan chisel has been ground down / removed. I’ve seen several like this, not sure if this was done period or modern. To me it looks like its been cut for the cartridge rim to sit on it.

I’d have to research it more but I believe Winchester still sold and/or their competition sold 44 wcf with berdan primers. Or simply a reloader could use berdan primers to re-prime cases with.  

I’m not certain but my current theory is that tools with the caliber stamped on the right side are later tools and the left hand stamped tools earlier. But I don’t have much concrete evidence to back up that assumption. It could be argued either way. I;ve also seen them stamped on the bottom handle flat area in front of the die chamber. 

Sincerely,

Maverick

P.S. I enjoy a good 1875 Tool they’re sort of scarce and you don’t see them all the time.

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October 26, 2022 - 3:11 pm
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Two 1875 tools from my collection.  The large frame .45-75 tool only has traces of gold paint.  The .44 WCF tool still has quite a bit of paint.  These are fun to collect and make a nice display item with rifles.  Getting the de-capping pin is a bonus, as they are usually missing.

IMG_4171.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_4172.JPGImage Enlarger

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I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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October 27, 2022 - 7:52 pm
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the “reloader ” collector  site  replied  has an extensive page on  the 1875 mold- his  response  that  this was  early  production, had  both cartridges,  but Winchester’s patent  for  primers  was  posted  October 1874. was for the  loading tool ,designated for 44wcf cartridge ,only.. my handle  has no  marks  at all, the sit also said  there were other colors  red and black, like Ideal tools.  Ever wonder why  they picked gold paint in the  first place?-   the large tools have a true rim cut  to seat  the cartridgec in  expending less energy holding  the cartridge and tool. The  it’s  they use up  parts before the casting pattern changes. to solid..

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October 28, 2022 - 4:48 am
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Again I’d have to see it in person or very high resolution clear photos of the top of the handle to determine if it lightly formed, worn off or never stamped at all. I almost wonder if the relief patent date was in the actual casting process of the upper handle and not stamped. Unlike the caliber stamp markings. Bob has an most unique and un-finished 1874 Tool that is missing the studs, and the patent address is on it with no caliber mark. I’ve never seen an 1875 Tool without the patent address / markings. However even oh so faint that they are / maybe.

PatentDateStudy.jpgImage EnlargerSee in this comparison. Top Tool with faint markings but all present. 2nd Tool lot of gold paint with faint markings, barely visible. If you look closely you can see OCT. Bottom pic is of the 2nd Tool enhanced to show where the markings are at.

SmallFrame-CutBerdan.jpgImage EnlargerAs I mentioned previously yours is not the first tool I’ve seen with the berdan chisel removed. Whether this is done factory or not, I don’t know for certain. But find it an odd occurrence for sure. 

I’ve seen “1874” Tools in both either a black or gold paint. I never seen “1875” Tools In Black Paint, and neither of the 1874 or 1875 tools in Red Paint. I’ve seen plenty of 1875 Tools where the paint was worn off and the cast iron metal has a dark blackish patina to them. I’ve seen where the gold paint will have a “Red Hue” to it and tools that have a red oxid layer of rust on them. I’ve also seen 1875 Tools that have a layer of greenish oxidation on them as well. 

LargeFrame-YellowRedGreen.JPGImage EnlargerThis tool has all three. Original gold-yellow paint, yellow paint turned redish, and green oxidation on the Tool. And alot of metal without paint finish. I can’t find a good photo showing black oxidation but seen plenty of it as well.SmallFrame-Yellow-RedOxid.jpgImage EnlargerTop handle here has area of red oxide mixed with the gold paint.

Why Gold Paint? Good color as any I suppose. On more than one occasion I’ve seen where someone has Re-Painted a tool and passed it off as original paint. I’ve seen a 45-60 Tool that had the spoon part of the handle painted black, but is merely newer black paint on top of the original gold paint.

LargeFrame-Yellow-BlackPaintOverYellow.jpgImage EnlargerIf look closely you can see specs of the original gold paint under the newer black paint on the handle.

FakePaint2.jpgImage EnlargerA example of a completely repainted tool that sold at auction, listed as original. 

The problem with the “it’s they use up part before the casting pattern changes to solid” is that they were all made “Solid” to begin with. Your not thinking about the details of the manufacturing process. They rough cast all the upper and lower handles and elevators as solid pieces. Then had to cut, fit, and polish the various parts to produce the final product. This was after there parts supplier, Malleable Iron Fittings Co. supplied them with these rough castings. They had to then be milled / cut the lower handle die cavity, cut / milled the lower handle groove for using the berdan chisel, the groove for the top handle for the head of the cartridge, then cut / thread the berdan de-capper into the upper handle. They had to mill / cut and fit the elevator into the handles. Then cut the hole for and place the pivot pins into the handles. I believe they rough assembled them before a final polish and paint them. Likely the caliber was stamped after the final polish but before applying the paint, and possibly before final assembly. Obviously there could have been variations on which part of the manufacturing process happened in what particular order. Various stages of the process having to do with various outside suppliers and inside contractors (contractors working within the confines of the factory or what most people call today sub-contractors) and factory employees making a final product. No different than any manufacturer today.

Also another point to consider is that I’ve never seen the larger frame / larger caliber 1875 Tools that didn’t have a berdan chisel on them. The 50 Winchester Express and 45-60 came out in 1879, and I’ve yet to see any of those calibers without a berdan chisel. Or any other large calibers without the berdan chisel. So to say tools with or without berdan chisels came before or after one another is a over reach in my opinion. It can’t be proven as fact, at least as of yet, until some sort of factory documentation could be found, to prove one way or the other. 

1875-tool-CalMark.jpgImage EnlargerHere is an interesting caliber mark. It shows that the caliber marking was placed prior to assembly, as a portion of the lower handle obstructs the caliber marking.

 

All that said above, I enjoy, and think highly of what Kurt is doing with his website. But on certain specific points, I have differences in opinion from him, some of which are mentioned above. 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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October 28, 2022 - 3:51 pm
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i’m adding  photos  of  the  top  where the  patent date   is on solid  type  2?  1874 44WCF  loading tools. and  handle   tops  where i’ve seen a photo  of  paatent date marked  there as well.  the  lettering  is added onto the  sand pattern,  before closing both halves of  the  green sand box,   created a depression in the casting, as opposed  to being part of  the pattern and leaving raised lettering.. it’s a raw sand cast surface.    The  gold paint   may have been  to avoid  conflict with Ideal tools  , “stand out on  the shelf. ”  The patent  date  is about Winchester’s primer patent being approved, not  the tool,itself..that  this tool was patented for use of  Winchester  primers.  No longer  wanting  both  types of  primers, as they wern’t making Berdan primers..   as  they get be confused, having  needing two types of primers, for one  44 WCF cartridge..-eliminate military ammunition? 20221028_11264517750.jpgImage Enlarger20221028_11265417748.jpgImage Enlarger20221028_11303817752.jpgImage Enlarger

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October 28, 2022 - 4:02 pm
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there’s  a Capitol “C” ,marked  obverse of  the caliber.  in  many   manufacturing  that indicated “condemned”  i suggest  the several deep cuts   across the face  where the caliber mark  is  was  a factory  issue.20221028_11532717754.jpgImage Enlarger20221028_11532917753.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17153417630-1.jpgImage Enlarger

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October 29, 2022 - 4:06 am
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Just to clarify the 1874 Tool and the 1875 Tool are completely different patterned tools. Similar in form and function, but completely separate from one another. And they per say don’t exactly correlate with one another on how they were manufactured. 1875-1874Tools.jpgImage EnlargerThe 1874 Tool is the “Original Reloader” The 1875 Tool is the “Improved Reloader”. The 1874 Tool is thought to have only been produced for a short time, but no one knows exactly for sure. The tool you are showing is a 1875 Tool, and commonly known as the Small Frame tool. In general the small frames are for the pistol calibers, and the large frames were for rifle calibers.

The  gold paint   may have been  to avoid  conflict with Ideal tools  , “stand out on  the shelf. ” 

This theory is highly flawed. As the Ideal Tool company didn’t exist and start making Tools until 1884-1885. Well after the 1874 & 1875 Tools ceased being produced. In fact John Barlow used to work for Winchester and had a hand in the making / designing of the 1882 Tool, before he left Winchester and started Ideal. 

The patent  date  is about Winchester’s primer patent being approved, not  the tool,itself.

This is also incorrect. 1874ToolPatent.jpgImage EnlargerThe patent date is exactly the date of / for / regarding to the patent of the tool itself. See the patent drawing and its date of Oct. 20, 1874. Also note on the catalog page of the 1875 Tool was “Improved” October 1875. All the 1875 Tools are marked with the 1874 Tool patent date. Also as well as the 1882 Tool. 

No longer  wanting  both  types of  primers, as they wern’t making Berdan primers..   as  they get be confused, having  needing two types of primers, for one  44 WCF cartridge..-eliminate military ammunition?

According to whom? And When exactly? As far as I’m aware Winchester made Berdan Primers throughout its entirety. I’m pretty sure you can still get Berdan primers today. Winchester wasn’t the only company making brass and primers either.

The photo of the top of the handle is blury and hard to make out. That said it appears to be well worn and possibly have rust pits on it, and probably impossible to tell where the patent markings where originally. I’ve never seen patent dates on the tops of or inside the spoon handles. 

Ralph Fitzwater said
there’s  a Capitol “C” ,marked  obverse of  the caliber.  in  many   manufacturing  that indicated “condemned”  i suggest  the several deep cuts   across the face  where the caliber mark  is  was  a factory  issue.20221028_11532717754.jpgImage Enlarger20221028_11532917753.jpgImage Enlarger20221024_17153417630-1.jpgImage Enlarger

  

I’m not sure that is a C and not just another damaged mark. If it was marked “Condemened”, why was it ever made into a finished tool then? And not thrown in the scrap pile with all the other condemned parts. How do you know if those deep cuts aren’t from +/-140 years of use, abuse, and wear?

Sincerely,

Maverick

P.S. The top handle of your tool appears to have assembly number 115. TopHandle-Assembly115.jpgImage EnlargerIs it also marked anywhere else? Possibly under the die chamber lifter / elevator?

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