COLLECTION: Mechanical Arts & Arms

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Rifle

ca. 1820-1830
Origin: America, North Carolina, Salem
Overall length: 61 3/4" Barrel: 46 1/4" x .40 caliber Lockplate: 4 13/13" x 7/8"
Wood, iron, steel, brass, copper, and silver
Museum Purchase, Mitchell Arms and Military Accoutrements Fund and The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Fund
Acc. No. 2018-259,A
Classic North Carolina rifle of the Salem school, made by a member of the Vogler family of gunsmiths. Fully stocked in curly maple, a pair of incised lines trace the edges of the comb of the buttstock and "5" and "WK" are crudely carved below the cheekpiece. At the bottom of its plain wooden rammer is an iron or steel socket and worm.

Its octagonal barrel is secured by a single screw through a long breech tang, plus a number of pins, and three silver-headed wedges. The barrel also mounts an iron rear sight and a brass and silver front sight, both of which are dovetailed in place. A pinned, sheet copper noseband was added to the forend, to the rear of its cast brass nosecap, during its working life as a repair.

Likely a product of Ketland & Co. of Philadelphia and London, it's decoratively filed and engraved lock remains in its original flint configuration, and is worked by adjustable double set triggers. One sidenail has an engraved head while the other is plain.

Cast brass mounts include a faceted triggerguard of the "double hook" or "double spur" type, a plain buttplate and nosecap, three octagonal rammer pipes, and a matching tail pipe. It's pair of lobed sideplates may also be cast and are lightly engraved.

Sheet brass mounts include an engraved four-part hinged patchbox, topped by an openwork "eagle on globe" motif. A football shaped silver oval is inlayed into the lid of the patchbox, which is flanked by openwork side pieces. An engraved solid toeplate is secured by three nails.

Sheet silver mounts include an engraved eight-pointed star above the cheekpiece, a plain wristplate, a vent-pick hole under the buttstock and three domed faux barrel-key heads along the forestock.
Label:Philip Christoph Vogler established a gunsmithing dynasty in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina, in 1787. Created during a pivotal time in their history, this unsigned rifle was made by either Christopher, John or Timothy Vogler. Though more restrained than other Vogler firearms, it is mounted with a fine engraved brass and silver patchbox surmounted by an “eagle on globe” and a silver eight-pointed star above the cheek-rest. It survives in untouched condition with its all-original flintlock mechanism, its original rammer and its leather “cow’s knee” foul weather cover, making it a truly superb example of the Southern rifle maker’s art.