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,.. i have detailed it since the photos the oil brought out the black paint traces. time to buy a nice 1873?
May 2, 2009
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.
WACA Life Member--- NRA Life Member---- Cody Firearms member since 1991 Researching the Winchester 1873's
Email: [email protected]
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.
P.S. I enjoy a good 1875 Tool they’re sort of scarce and you don’t see them all the time.
July 31, 2005
I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder
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..
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.
See 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.
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.
This 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.Top 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.
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.
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.
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?
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. The 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. The 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.
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?