American Gun Makers by Arcadi Gluckman

Have you ever picked up an old musket and saw the maker’s name stamped on the barrel and wondered who the heck “Joseph Finch” was? Perhaps your family passed down a rifle for generations. Nobody knows anything about it but a last name is legible, along with a date. It reads “JOST 75”. How on Earth would you decipher that? What if I told you there was a book borne out of meticulous research of all manner of public and private records that could tell you the answers to these questions? Arcadi Gluckman and L.D. Satterlee compiled such a unique resource titled “American Gun Makers” published by Stackpole Books. These men, aided by countless others, combed through as many documents from as many sources as they could even if it meant documenting a last name and a single year of production, as is the case of JOST, known only by that name, he produced muskets for the Committee of Safety from 1775 to 1776 in the White Plains Township. Joseph Finch produced firearms in New York City until 1828.

This is the type of virtually impossible-to-find data contained in the pages of this book. The collector of American firearms will be forever wondering just exactly who made their gun unless they can easily reach for the bookshelf and look it up. Though many entries are quite scant on data, their mere inclusion is a fantastic boon for those who otherwise have none at all. Some entries are naturally more fleshed-out when they have more information. Larger gun companies are given quite detailed histories as well.

Even if you never intend to own a single American muzzleloading rifle you can still get some use out of this book as it does contain information and some contemporary companies of the 1950s printing of the revised edition, ultimately this is a great reference for a very obscure and under-documented subject.

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