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#442997 - 04/29/16 09:05 AM Interesting James Beattie and Sons
Dan S. W. Online   content
Sidelock

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 401
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I have never seen a hammer gun with the firing pins attached to the hammers. Anyone know what that is called? Is that a reliable mechanism?

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=555280880

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#443008 - 04/29/16 10:10 AM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Joe Wood Online   content
Sidelock
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Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 3465
Loc: Texas
The gun was made around 1870 or perhaps several years earlier before Stanton's 1867 patent of a rebounding hammer. At that time one of the main difficulties was getting the firing pin to retract before opening. Sometimes they would become stuck in the primer, other times they protruded enough through the breech face to prevent the gun opening and could easily be broken as it was opened. For a time even after the rebounding lock was invented there seems to have been a distrust of spring loaded firing pins (strikers) doing their job of retraction. And some felt spring loaded strikers softened the blow necessary to reliably ignite a primer. So, numerous ideas were tried to mechanically force the strikers back. Your subject gun is a good example and worked well enough though rather ungainly in appearance. I have an early Greener that has a teat on the hammer's breast (no wisecracks here) that engages the firing pin and retracts it upon being put in half cock position. Same principle.

Footnote: the concept of mechanical retraction seems to have it origin with a patent by Gastinne of Paris in 1862. Various similar English patents were issued in the years following. Lancaster's in 1865 (most similar to your subject gun) and Greener's in 1868, among several others.

The James Beattie & Son:



The W. W. Greener:



Edited by Joe Wood (04/29/16 10:45 AM)
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#443009 - 04/29/16 10:15 AM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
SKB Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 4267
Loc: Colorado
I had a shotgun of very similar design regarding the pin retracting system. The gun I owned came from NZ and was pretty rough overall. As Joe said, just one of the many designs of the period.
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#443013 - 04/29/16 10:56 AM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Dan S. W. Online   content
Sidelock

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 401
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Thanks guys. Interesting information. I am surprised guns like the Beattie weren't retrofitted at some point in the past with more contemporary spring loaded pins sort of akin to some of the pinfire to centerfire conversions that happened on a number of guns. Maybe that is an indicator that the somewhat unsightly mechanism worked reasonably well as is.

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#443034 - 04/29/16 01:35 PM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Dan S. W. Online   content
Sidelock

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 401
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I am no expert, but those look like 1855-1868 London proof marks.


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#443044 - 04/29/16 03:44 PM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Joe Wood Online   content
Sidelock
**

Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 3465
Loc: Texas
The proof marks for the London rules of 1855 to 1868 are so similar to those of the rules of 1868 to 1875 I cannot tell the difference. Perhaps someone more informed will chirp in and provide some clue to the difference.
_________________________
It ain't whether you hit a bird that matters, it's the fun you have even if you don't.

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#443045 - 04/29/16 03:50 PM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
susjwp Offline
Sidelock

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 408
I think Joseph's Guns (Texas) has an Alfred Lancaster hammer that looks very similar. An interesting transitory period in design. The one I saw was, I thought, a bit pricey but it was a beautiful piece of workmanship.

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#443115 - 04/30/16 11:46 AM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Joe Wood Online   content
Sidelock
**

Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 3465
Loc: Texas
Here is a picture of the London proof rules of1855-1868 and 1868-1875. What is the difference to help in determining which the gun carries?

_________________________
It ain't whether you hit a bird that matters, it's the fun you have even if you don't.

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#443129 - 04/30/16 05:37 PM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
trw999 Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 579
Loc: Essex/Herts Borders, UK
For interest this is what IGC has on James Beattie:

Name James Beattie
Other Names J & H Beattie; James Beattie & Son; J Beattie & Co
Address1 43 Upper Marylebone Street
Address2 52 Upper Marylebone Street
Address3 52 Upper Marylebone Street and 205 Regent Street
Address4 205 and 223 Regent Street
Address5 205 Regent Street
Address6 104 Queen Victoria Street
City/Town London
Country United Kingdom
Trade Gun & percussion cap maker
Dates 1832-1894

Notes

James Beattie was born in 1793 in Chilton, Buckinghamshire. In 1832 he was recorded as a gun maker and percussion cap maker at 43 Upper Marylebone Street. In 1836 he bought the business of Collinson Hall and moved to his premises at 52 Upper Marylebone Street. In 1841 he opened an additional shop at 223 Regent Street. In 1842 he married Sarah Ann (b.1819 in Marylebone). In 1846 the 52 Upper Marylebone Street shop closed and another was opened at 205 Regent Street.

James advertised his business in Bell's Life in London: "Gun and Pistol Repository, 205 Regent Street, next door to the Cosmorama, Gentlemen proceeding to India and the Colonies are invited to inspect the stock of Double and Single Barrel Guns (a variety with extra rifle barrels to fit the same stock) the shooting of which have been regulated with the greatest care". In 1847 James and his brother Henry formed a partnership, J & H Beattie, and traded from both 223 and 205 Regent Street. The partnership lasted only about 18 months, Henry left, retired or died in 1848, and the firm's name reverted to James Beattie trading at 205 Regent Street only. The 1851 census records James living at 205 Regent Street with his wife and three daughters. The 1861 census records James as a 68 year old gun maker at 205 Regent Street with Sarah Ann, another daughter and a son, James Frederick (b.1860).

In 1864 the firm was reportedly re-named James Beattie & Son but James Frederick was only 3 years old. As James and Sarah Ann had married in 1842 and the first of their daughters was born in 1847, it is possible that they had a son in about 1843 and he would have been 21 in 1864. The 1871 census records James and Sarah Ann and five daughters, James Frederick was not recorded. James described himself as a gun maker employing 3 men.

James died in March 1877 aged 83 years. Presumably, the business was sold. Its name was changed in 1879 to James Beattie & Co and it moved to 104 Queen Victoria Street. W A Jackson took over the Regent Street premises. Sarah Ann and three daughters were recorded in the 1881 census living at 10 St Margaret's Terrace, Hampstead. The 1891 census records her, a daughter and grand daughter and James Frederick, a bank clerk, living at 70 Tierney Road Streatham. The firm traded in Queen Victoria Street as wholesalers and contractors for military arms, they closed in 1894.

Tim

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#443133 - 04/30/16 05:59 PM Re: Interesting James Beattie and Sons [Re: Dan S. W.]
Dan S. W. Online   content
Sidelock

Registered: 08/17/13
Posts: 401
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Thanks Tim - based on the above history and the proof marks, the gun would seemingly be 1864-75. Presumably on the earlier end of the spectrum based on the patents referenced in Joe's post such as the Lancaster.

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