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Model 1766 Musket with "US" Markings

ca. 1763-1768
Origin: Europe, France, Saint-Étienne
OA: about 60 1/4" Barrel: about 44 3/4" x .72 caliber
Iron, steel and walnut
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1935-203
Regulation iron-mounted musket of the "1766" type, with a rounded barrel secured by three bands, the upper two of which are retained in place by springs. Regulation hardware, a top mounted bayonet lug and a flat faced-lock with double-throated cock.
Label:Unlike the British, who made trifling improvements to their martial firearms, France constantly revamped theirs in order to make them lighter and more functional. By the time of the Revolution, the latest firearms series of 1777 had made the previous series' of 1763, 1766, and 1773-1774 obsolete. Those slightly outdated arms, many of which had received upgrades, were sent over in quantities surpassing 100,000, becoming the principal firearms of the Continental Army. These French designs were so popular that an American version was the first arm made in 1794 at the newly established national arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts.

This example bears a deeply struck "US" on the lockplate and the barrel, denoting ownership by the Continental Army. As a Model 1766 infantry musket, it is lighter in construction than the Model 1763 which preceded it. The initials "IP" and "IN" struck into the right side of the buttstock are likely for Joseph Perkins and John Nicholson, armorers known to have cleaned and repaired arms for the United States in the decades following the Revolutionary War.
Mark(s):Lockplate engraved "Manufre Royale de St. Etienne" below pan, with a large "US" stamped into its tail. Barrel struck with the same "US" mark in addition to others. Sideplate flat marked with an "x" over a "V" and the left side of the buttstock is struck with a "Crowned fleur-de-lis" flanked by the initials "S E" and "B K." Right side of the buttstock marked with the American armourer's initials "IP" for Joseph Perkins and "IN" for John Nicholson.