A rare-type brass barrel set in hard English oak, this Blunderbuss Swivel Railgun carries Birmingham proof marks, and has the Tower of London symbol and the royal cypher of King George III on the lockplate. The 25 inch brass barrel flares at the muzzleto slightly more than 3 inches, and a heavy brass butt plate terminates the stock. The Tower Armory record for the period lists a reserve weapons inventory that counted "2,000 musquetoons", which counted smaller blunderbuss, dragoons, and railguns.
The weapon would have been issued to a naval vessel, and installed to hold a prominent guard position on the rail, either along the main deck or possibly even stationed overhead on a fighting platform. The firearm is secured on an original iron yoke, set into a display wood block. This is an exceptional firearm with an imposing presence and deadly function.
Launching Commemorative Oak Cased Set with Gorham Silver-Bottle Sleeve, Hatchet, and Hull Steel Wedge from Kaiser Wilhelm's Schooner Yacht METEOR of 1902
An exceptional commemorative launching set from the christening ceremony of Kaiser Frederick Wilhelm II’s Schooner Yacht METEOR, preserved in a custom rich blue velvet-lined oak box. Performed on February 25, 1902, the launching was attended by several dignitaries, including President Theodore Roosevelt and Prussian Prince Henry, the younger brother of Kaiser Wilhelm. President Roosevelt’s daughter Alice presided over the christening, smashing the Gorham-silver covered bottle of Moet & Chandon against the hull and cutting the line to drop the A. Cary Smith-designed schooner yacht into the water of Greater New York Bay with the ceremonial hatchet in this presentation box. The entire event was recorded on film by Thomas Edison, and is part of the Edison Catalog. It is said to have been the most prestigious crowd ever assembled for a launching.
The Kaiser was Queen Victoria’s grandson and had other British relatives and relationships, including membership in yacht clubs, and sponsoring international racing events. Hard in 1902 to predict the worldwide hostilities that would reach all of these political and social factions in World War I. Still when the Townsend & Downey Shipbuilding Co. of Shooter Island finished the royal yacht, several ceremonial events were planned, including a Presidential luncheon and the formal launching. Despite the pedigree and expense, METEOR proved to be a rather unspectacular racer and sold in 1909, and sold several more times until being retired in the 1940s. The luxurious yacht is well matched with this superior launching commemorative objects of Gorham silver set in the blue-velvet lined oak case, the original hatchet, covered champagne bottle and chain added to with a sample of the folded hull metal, engraved with the events details. This is a one-of-a-kind launching commemorative set of the highest quality and historic context.
Cased Oak Box Case with Blue-Velvet Lining with Silver Commemorative Plaque: "Souvenir of the Christening of the German Emperor's Yacht Meteor by Miss Alice Roosevelt February 25 1902".
Measures 18⅜ x 12½ x 5¼, contains:
15 Inch Engraved Silver Hatchet
13 Inch Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne Bottle (shattered)
with Engraved Gorham Silver Cover attached to Spooled Silver Chain
4 Inch Spike of Steel Engraved: "Basic OH Steel Manufactured by Tidewater Steel Co., Chester PA for H.I.M. Kaiser Wilhelm's Yacht METEOR February 1902"
A rare and impressive whaling gun from the earliest period of firearm innovation in the fishing industry, this English Whaling Harpoon Gun is a stout and serious instrument that revolutionized whaling. Made by George Wallis of Hull, he is recognized as the first successful maker of the swivel-mounted harpoon gun, circa 1800. The author William Scoresby indicates this period to have been 1772-1792, while other later sources credit the invention to 1800-1815.
When originally made, this Wallis gun had two flintlock hammers that worked off a single trigger, and have long ago been converted to two dual-percussion cap hammers, that would have lanyard triggers threaded out the locks to be fired simultaneously, ensuring the firing of the harpoon. With a full charge, it had an accurate range up to 40 yards. The name Wallis of Hull is on the iron barrel, amongst the heavy aged pitting, deep rust and signs of use under an old remnant of black oil paint. The left brass hammer compartment is marked “SHIP”.
Owning a deadly presence, the gun barrel is a stout 30½ inches in length with a 2½ inch diameter with a 1¾ inch bore, while the overall harpoon gun is 43¼ inches, plus the split-shaft barbed harpoon with ring for line attachment. The English Society of the Arts had paid premiums to whalemen and artisans in the 1790s and early 1800s for those showing innovation and improvement in the use of the guns and harpoons. When William Greener substantially changed the design and powder of this type of harpoon gun in 1837, the new styles became known as Greener guns. This older gun was kept in use during this period, as indicated by its conversion.
A Napoleonic-era flintlock pistol which would have been a prized possession of its owner, this firearm shows the care its owners have given it over the past 200-plus years. It is in great working condition, with the powder pan and hammer in silvered steel, while the majority of the gun is hard brass. Signed on the lock by Ketland & Co., the company was one of the most prominent and active British makers in the late 1700- early 1800s.
The barrel is marked with 18th Century London proof marks, a “P” and “V’ under crowns. The nearly-eight inch barrel is unusual in that it begins as an octagonal, hits a perpendicular reinforce band and then transitions to a smooth barrel, all original. While there is noticeable use and wear, the carving and details are crisp and well defined. A traditional wood grip is fitted with a long flourish of brass into its width, and a wood ramrod sets the muzzle load firearm to completion. A fine quality early flintlock pistol by a top maker of British guns.
This compact British propulsion unit is a full-sized vertical tandem compound steam engine that was used to power a small steam launch at the turn of the last century. It features twin mahogany lagged cylinders with 2.5 x 4.5 inch borse and a stroke of four inches.
Other interesting aspects of this engine include: lever operated Stephenson link motion, balanced crank crosshead-driven air and feed pumps, and a cast disk flywheel with baring holes.
This unit was manufactured by the engineering firm of Simpson and Denisons, Dartmouth, England about 1895. Their Kingdon's Patent maker's plate is atop the engine.
This heavy iron and painted tin hanging sign is ripe with elements from Scottish heraldry, echoing the region’s importance to the insurance company it represents. Alliance Assurance, established in 1824, succeeded to compete against the Act of 1720 which established government-issued exclusive contracts for maritime insurance to the London Assurance Company and the Royal Exchange Company. This was in concert with their life and fire policies.
Four red flags sit atop the castle, a show of traditional strength for the company’s logo. Founded by Sir Moses Montefiore and Nathan Mayer Rothschild, with partners, they held 5 million pounds sterling to secure their 50,000 shares, a tag line they used for decades. They expanded into international markets within the year, and were led by actuary Benjamin Gompertz, a noted author of famous author of statistics.
The latin motto, “Multi Societate Tutiores” closely translates to “Many Safe Fellowships”, and lions standing rampart hold the center, while the crossed keys of security are set atop a crown of fire with shields below signifying their life and marine policies. The iron bracket is top looped, and this may have well been a principle company sign at their Edinburgh office or their Bartholomew street branch in London, established well before this version of their 1880s logo.
Nicknamed, "Queen of the Hudson" for her speed and grand style, the sidewheeler MARY POWELL traveled up and down the Hudson River from 1861 to 1920.
This rub rail was originally curved to follow the curve of the vessel but in time it has flattened out. If you were to examine it closely you would see evidence of the old curvature. A back plate has been added to the piece as a support.
Very interesting small British Cannon which has a 1 3/8 inch bore. Previous owner purchased the cannon from United Kingdom where it is recorded that it was used as a signal cannon to indicate rising and falling river tide.
This heavy brass barrel cast in relief is a rather unique artifact, with artistic touches replicating a much larger cannon barrel, dated from 1563. Complete with a medallion showing a male ruler’s profile, beaded designs on the reinforces where the segments would have connected, the cascabel is completed in a floral motif. Foundry work shopws some of the cast seams, and the brushed bronze patina is attractive, if not completely accurate. A shield and coronet without a city or district identifier is seet before the touch hole, and plain handles and carriage trunions complete the cannon.
The black powder barrel is set on a carved wood truck carriage with several risers, and hard iron hardware, all set on wooden turned wheels secures at the axles with cotter pin spikes. Not sure the representational scale to the original cannon, but it appears this barrel may have seen some use, as possibly a signaling device and saluting cannon, and likely other purposes.
The cannon measures 25 inches in length with a 1⅜ inch bore centered in a 3½ inch muzzle diameter. There are six sections between the cascabel and the mouth, all with implied dual reinforces where they meet. The carriage measures 22½ x 11½ x 11½ inches, making the overall length approximately 31 inches. A quite rare and different cannon for any collection.
An unusual piece of sailing hardware, the tiller yoke in this instance is hand-forged from the shape of two Danforth-style anchors into a locking brace for a larger sailing ship's rudder control. The attached side mounted pulleys and toggled miniature blocks are brass as well.
A quality ship's figurehead carving, time has claimed this work's formal identity. We strongly feel that such a unique carving was made to decorate a specific ship, named after the man who inspired the carver. Possibly a posthumous tribute to a company's founder, a business owner, or a noted captain? Well carved, this work emboldened the bow of an coast-wise vessel, looking forward at the progress of its ship.
Our speculation over his nationality is far from conclusive. The blue collar is telling of a nautical affiliation, if he is French or Italian, as we suspect. Could he be a well-dressed British man, or even, as a colleague supposed, a bare-knuckle boxer dressed up to celebrate a recent victory? Tobacco business lord from Scotland? His moustache is nearly universal late 19th Century.
Whoever he is, and whomever carved this figurehead, it is a fine representation of man's head and upper shoulders, and would have held its position on a ship bow proudly. Today, it sits on a sleek and well-built pillar to display in a collection.
A classic three piece Cast Zinc Spelter Statues with a clock instrument, in traditional maritime roles, posed as a Sailor at the Helm, hands on the wheel; Lady Signalling Distress, a fabric in one hand and a net encumbered polearm gaft in the other hand; a Watchman with a Lifeline and Ring, looking outward to cast for survivors.
Helmsman: 25 1/8 inches high x 12 1/2 inches wide.
Distress:23 5/8 inches high x 11 1/8 inches wide.
Watchman with life ring: 22 1/8 inches high x 7 7/8 inches wide.
Clock diameter: 4 3/8 inches. Clock is missing pendulum.
Helsman and Distress have engraved placques. The Watchman with Life Line is missing a plaque.