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Joined: Jan 2003
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Sidelock
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What's the story about Lancaster's Infallible single trigger?

Check out this catalog on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...A:IT&ih=001

I thought this the English Lancaster. I guess not.


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Infallible Single triggers were patented by A H Worrest of Lancaster PA. On a quick look I have patents: # 829453 Aug 28, 1906; # 871550 Nov 19, 1907; # 1013254 Jan 2, 1912 & #'s 1029781 & 1029782, both June 18, 1912.
I have an H grade Lefever fitted with an Infallible SST bearing the two 1912 patent dates. This gun has two SN's stamped on it, both in the 73,xxx range, a very high number for a Lefever. It is a twist bbl'd gun but has uncapped round knob grip & the forend has neiter metal tip nor escutcheon in the "Belly". Both of these are mostly found on the DS grade, though all else is correct for an H, including cocking indicators & doll's head rib extension.
I cannot prove it but highly suspect it was a putting together of parts on hand at the Ithaca plant, cleaning up parts, or perhaps a "Lunchbox Special". I have been told that Ithaca offered Infallible triggers during this era, but have no proof of this either.


Miller/TN
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Alfred Harvey Worrest – Infallible Single Trigger – Lancaster Arms Co

From researching and studying Alfred’s patents it appears that Alfred took an interest in, and began designing his Single Trigger mechanism around 1900 to 1904. His first patent no. 829,453 was issued on Aug. 28, 1906. His application for that patent was filed on May 3, 1904. It is a complex mechanism built into an L. C. Smith shotgun. It shows that he probably had some experience working professionally as a gunsmith because he completely redesigned the L. C. Smith locks, and his trigger mechanism was built as part of the receiver and locks, and not just an added unit. This design had a problem in that it required a large amount of wood to be removed between and at the back of the locks, weakening an already heavily inletted stock head. The gun with this trigger was also probably very difficult and tricky to assemble. This design shows his concept of the switching block which was the foundation of all of his patents that followed, and was a major feature of the highly dependable and successful “Infallible” trigger. Alfred’s second patent no. 871,550 was applied for on Aug. 10, 1906, just 18 days before his previous patent was issued. That patent was issued on Nov. 19, 1907 and the design was built around a “Minier” model Ithaca Gun Co. double. This triggers design had been changed drastically from the previous one removing many of its faults and problems, and the unit was built onto the guns trigger plate. All of the elements of the “Infallible” trigger are found in this design, but it was not a self contained unit. With this refined design it appears that Alfred began planning on making it’s production a commercial venture. The 1912 edition of the History of Lancaster, Pennsylvania states that the Lancaster Arms Co. who were the manufacturers of the Infallible Single Trigger, had been established two years earlier and was owned and operated by A. H. Worrest. The business was located at 126 E. King St. and the article goes on to state that it was a “well known and prosperous enterprise, his plant is perfectly appointed throughout, and the finest and best class of work is executed”. This not only included the manufacture of the trigger units, but also all kinds of fire arms repairs, and some complete doubles appear with the Lancaster Arms Co. name, but it is unknown if these were made by them, or imported by them and their name added to them prior to their sale. The article goes on to state that Mr. A. H. Worrest “is a gentleman of large experience in this line of industry and thoroughly understands its every detail”.
Following this patent with the next two can be a bit confusing. On June 25, 1909 he applied for another patent which was issued on June 18, 1912 as no. 1,029,781. Then on July 23, 1910 he applied for his fourth patent which was issued on Jan. 2, 1912 as no. 1,013,254. Patent no. 1,013,254 covered improvements to no. 1,029,781 which had not even been issued yet. Looking back you could say that this is a case of the “chicken preceding the egg”. Both of these patents developed the trigger mechanism into a self contained unit.
On Oct. 16, 1911 Alfred applied for his last trigger patent no. 1,029,782 which was also issued on June 18, 1912 and covers additional improvements which brought it to its final form as it was produced. (the above from Larry B Schuknect's book on double gun patents)

I have seen a 1913-vintage Parker Bros. Walter King letter to a customer where he says "As to your request we have removed our infallible single trigger, and installed the double trigger system."

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Schoverling, Daly, and Gales offered Charles Daly double guns with Infallible triggers as an option on new guns. However, I doubt that they were installed in Germany, probably sent to Lancaster for installation. One early Lancaster catalog has a testimonial from a shooter in Maryland who was quite pleased with the trigger installed in his Golcher (Lindner) ten gauge hammer gun. I own a Golcher-Lindner ten gauge hammer pigeon gun with Infallible trigger that was sold by a D.C. area dealer. I assume it is the same gun. Small world. Bill Murphy

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An approx. 1911 Lancaster Arms Co. catalog shows a Daly Diamond Grade on the cover with the Infallible trigger and it notes Offices in Lancaster, Pa., 302 Broadway in NY, and Suhl in Prussia was noted as their Foreign Office. It would be my "guess" that the workers in Suhl , who could make the magnificant Diamond guns, could and should easily install the Infallible trigger in Suhl. Altering a Suhl finely finished gun in the US before it is given to the first owner makes no sense to me. Just my guess,though.

In another thought, I have had several Bakers with Infallible triggers, and they worked fine.

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Ithaca offered the Infallible trigger as an option circa 1915.

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I agree with Daryl and change my original opinion. I assume the Infallible mechanism was sent to Prussia for installation in Daly guns at the time of manufacture. I have a copy of a 12-29-13 letter from Lou Smith at Ithaca to Lancaster describing an arrangement for Ithaca to send a new gun to them for trigger installation. The customer would apparently be responsible for paying Lancaster's bill. Murphy

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The price of Infallible triggers circa 1914 was $15.00, but I don't have a Lancaster invoice of the time that does not discount that price down to $10.00. My invoices may be from dealers rather than individuals, however.

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I am not able to understand how an Infallible trigger could need more than one patent or have any improvements.

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Infallible, according to Webster's Seventh Edition, refers to accuracy and absense of error, not uniqueness, perfection of design, size, color, you name it. A design for a mechanical device that never malfunctions can be changed, cheapened, made lighter, made redder or greener, smaller or larger, and still not malfunction. It will have always been "infallible" regardless of new patents and design changes. However, your point is well taken.

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