Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid,
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
“Good” said the Baron, sitting in the hall,
“But, Iron - Cold Iron, - is master of them all.”
Additional Resources: http://www.picturetrail.com/revdocdrew
The Field Oct. 20, 1888 “A Shoot On The Moor” by Thomas de Grey Walsingham
On August 30, when I killed 1,070 grouse to my own gun in the day, I shot with four breechloaders. No 1, a gun made in 1866 by Purdey, subsequently converted from pin-fire to central principle, to which new barrels were made last year. Nos. 2 and 3, a pair of central fire breechloaders, made also by Purdey, about 1870, for which I have likewise had new barrels. No. 4, a new gun made by Purdey this year to match the two mentioned above, but with Whitworth steel instead of Damascus barrels. The guns are all 12 bore, with cylinder 30 in. barrels, not choked.
Whitworth steel barrels are not desirable for a heavy day's shooting. The explosion in them makes quite a different sound from that given off by Damascus barrels: there is more ring about it, and I can imagine that this might prove a serious annoyance to anyone who minds the noise of shooting. Moreover, the Whitworth barrels became hot much more rapidly than the Damascus, and this is a serious drawback...I am replacing them with Damascus as in all my other guns.
A Brief History of Damascus Steel
The history of pattern welded shotgun barrels starts about 125 years after Alexander the Great made it to India, where Wootz/ Bulat/ Crucible steel was first forged 200 B.C.E. Etruscan smiths had been laminating blades for 400 years, but Wootz was a vastly superior product and the surface of finished weapons showed a pattern called “watering,” “firind”, or “jawhar.”
Asadullah Wootz Blade, Persian Safavid Period courtesy of http://www.oriental-arms.com/index.php
Possibly in an attempt to reproduce these patterns, smiths layered thin sheets of iron and steel which were repeatedly folded and hammer welded, then treated with an etching agent (at first citrus juices) to enhance the contrast. By the sixth century, pattern welded sword blades had made their way to Northern Europe and by 1000 were being manufactured from Toledo, Spain in the West to Indonesia (Kris) in the Far East. From 1096-1270, Crusaders returned home from the Middle East bearing both scars and samples of “Damascus” blades.
About 1200 the first iron musket barrels were produced by folding a sheet of iron over a mandrel and hammer welding the long edge. At some point pattern welded sword methodology was applied to gun barrel methodology - twisting rods composed of thin layers of iron and steel, wrapping the rods around a mandrel, and hammer welding the edges. By the early 1600s, pattern welded gun barrels were being produced in India and Turkey, and examples exist of mid-1600s Turkish Miquelet barrels clearly showing a Four Iron Crolle pattern.
In 1634 Hungarian gunmaker Caspar Hartmann made Damascus barrels for King Gyorgy Rakoczi I and by 1650 Spanish makers produced pattern welded barrels during the reign of Philip IV. With the defeat of Kara Mustafa Pasha by Jan III Sobieski at Vienna in 1683, thousands of gun barrels were available for examination by armourers throughout Western Europe. By 1700, Liege was producing Twist barrels, and Crolle Damascus by about 1750. After Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition against the Mameluks in Egypt and Ottomans in Syria 1798-1799, production of Damascus barrels in St. Etienne and Liege was markedly expanded.
J. Jones was granted a British patent in 1806 for a method of making barrels from scelps or strips coiled around a mandrel and by 1817 Rigby of Dublin was producing Damascus barrels. “Damascus iron” was manufactured in Birmingham by Wiswould and Adams by about 1820 and Charles Lancaster supplied Purdey (and others) c.1811-1826 before establishing his own gunmaking company. The last barrel maker in London was W. Fullard, of Clerkenwell, who ceased operations in 1844. From 1845 to 1855 John Dive's mill at Birmingham produced large quantities of “figured” barrels. John Marshall's Monway Iron and Steel Works, Staffordshire was a major supplier of gun barrel iron and steel to both the Birmingham and U.S. markets. Damascus and Laminated Steel barrels from Thomas Kilby & Son, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham were used by several American makers (with both British and Lindner actions) including William and James Donn, George T. Abbey and Edwin Thomas Jr. of Chicago, and Martin F. Kennedy of St. Paul.
Pattern Welded shotgun barrels can be classified into three general categories, all starting with strips of iron and steel, but with different manufacturing methodology: Twist (thin ribbons of layered iron and steel which were NOT twisted before being wrapped around the mandril and hammer forged), Crolle Damascus in many patterns (determined by how the iron and steel were 'piled' or layered in the billet and the twisting of the rods), and Laminated Steel (a higher ratio of steel to iron mixed together and ‘puddled’ before being formed into rods.)
In England, Stub Twist (made from iron horse shoe nail stubs and chopped up coach spring steel), Plain Twist, and an early form of Laminated Steel were used for quality British gun barrels into the 1860s. Crolle Damascus was available in the late 1820s, but large scroll “English Two Stripe” was not in general use until the mid-1800s, and along with Three Iron “Oxford” and a later Laminated Steel was used c. 1850-1890s. Four Iron “Turkish” appeared after 1870, although most Best Guns used Three Iron. Lower quality English guns used Plain Twist/Skelp into the early 1900s.
William Wellington Greener in The Gun and Its Development admitted that the great majority of unfinished tubes used by both Birmingham and London makers were obtained from Liege but…“With the English maker the figure of the barrel is the last thing to be considered when determining the type most fit for the particular purpose, whereas with the foreign manufacturer it is usually the first, and often the only consideration. The English maker takes a barrel that will do best; the foreign maker the barrel that will look best.”
Leopold Bernard (1832-1867) and Rene Leclerc were barrel makers in Paris and responsible for many of the patterns seen on barrels produced in France, Liege, and Ferlach. Ernest Heuse-Lemoine (1834-1926) from Nessonvaux was a major barrel agent and maker in the Vesdre Valley and maintained representatives in London, Birmingham, and New York. He named “Boston” and "Washington” Damascus patterns (below) especially for the American market.
“Return from Vienna” by Józef Brandt. Polish army returning with Ottoman captives and arms.
Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire
Between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, direct military conflicts, the employment of European military experts and, to a lesser degree, illegal trade in weaponry ensured relatively easy dissemination of up-to-date technologies and military know-how in the Sultan’s realms. Istanbul was more than a simple recipient of foreign technologies with its Turkish and Persian artisans and blacksmiths, Armenian and Greek miners and sappers, Turkish, Bosnian, Serbian, Hungarian, Italian, German, and later French, English and Dutch foundrymen and military engineers…(all) adding to their expertise metallurgy techniques of the Islamic East...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Historical Documents - Blades
William Greener The Gun Early British Pattern Welded Barrels
W.W. Greener The Gun and Its Development
"Stonehenge" The Shot-gun and Sporting Rifle
Damascus and Arabesque I - Calligraphy & Wootz
Damascus and Arabesque II - Design & Oriental Carpets
Crolle Patterns - Terminology and Counting Scrolls
Damascus Pattern Rosetta Stones - Named Pattern Identification
Damascus Pattern Examples - Mouchete', Star/Etoile', Chain, Corche & Chine'
I would be happy to provide an opinion as to the pattern of your barrels (Damascus, Twist, or Laminated Steel) if you will send high resolution ultra close up pictures (partial sunlight works well) to firstname.lastname@example.org
For information regarding your shotgun, I would suggest posting on the DoubleGunShop Forum http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewforum.php?f=5
Damascus Production - Methodology
Damascus Production - American: Wesson & Parker
Damascus Production - Modern
Pattern Welded Metallurgy & Vintage Barrel Safety
Turn-of-the-Century Shooters and Shooting
Fred Gilbert, Rolla Heikes, W.R. Crosby, Herr, J.A.R. Elliott, Budd, Grimm &"Sparrow" Young
John Steuart Curry "The Line Storm" 1935
Thanks to the many contributors
Especially David Trevallion, Daryl Hallquist, Tom Flanigan, Richard Hoover, Raimey Ellenburg, Charles A. Herzog Sr., Bruce Day, David Noreen, Dave Miles, Robert Chambers, Dean Romig, Dave Suponski, Leighton Stallones, Ross Berck, Stephen Helsley, Paul Stevens, Chris Lien, Steve Culver, Brad Bachelder,
Ken Marburger, Greg Martin Auctions, and
Les Amis du Musee D'Armes de Liege http://www.littlegun.info
Pete Mikalajunas http://damascus-barrels.com/