This early Virginia style rifle pouch was made for Mark Sperry, the Williamsburg Blacksmith. It is made of 4-5 oz vegetable tanned leather and hand stitched with waxed linen thread. The seams are all welted for strength. The shoulder strap is 1 1/2" wide and is fully adjustable with a forged iron buckle to about 61" in length. It is tooled in a diamond pattern and the flap, pouch opening and the inside pocket is bound with black deer skin that shows a pinked edge. The color is a very deep brown and has been shadowed dyed to give it that rich antiqued look.
Over 175 full-color photographs document this exhibit of longrifles, gun making tools and accoutrements in the Historical Society of Berks County. This important exhibit includes many rifles and artifacts that have never been publicly displayed before. The full range of gun making styles is covered, from the earliest Germanic style Reading rifles to heavily carved Womelsdorf rifles and the folk art rifles of Kurtztown. The complete collection on display and included in this publication includes 52 rifles and two pistols, as well as accoutrements and gun making tools.
Some of the items in the exhibit: the first signed and dated rifle made in Reading, PA-1761, examples of rifles made by each member of the Angstadt gunmaking family, 1700-1850, William Shener rife and pistol, c. 1790, 14 rifles from the Joe Kindig, Jr. collection, 1750-1830, and the only known child's rifle and fowler, c. 1790 by Wolfgang Haga.
The exhibit has been extended to February 27, 2010.
This pouch is a copy of the original pouch discussed in the December issue of Muzzle Blasts Magazine by Wallace Gusler. He notes that this pouch is extremely similar to the mid. 1700's pouch that was previously shown in the Clash of Empires exhibit. It is fairly small at 7, 1/4" square with a flap that extends a little over half way down the front. Made from 4 - 5oz., veg. tan cowhide and dyed a dark black/brown color. Unique features of the pouch include the "welted" trim on the flap edge, two interior compartments, and a covered inside "backing" button to keep the wearer from snagging their hand on the button. The dual button strap adjustment on the back allows the wearer to adjust for thicker layers of clothing. The original pouch in the article has lost its strap, but it is speculated that the original was probably 3/4" to 1" wide. It is unknown if a horn was attached to the original strap as well.
This bag has a pigskin body, with forrest green Calfskin edging. The flap is carved and tooled using a late eighteenth century version of a Hapsburg Crest. It is also lined with Lampskin. This bag has an interior pocket.
When Robert Weil started collecting images for the Contemporary Makers book in 1973 the challenge to record contemporary gun work was daunting. Gathering material was difficult and time consuming. Few makers thought that there was any value in published documentation of their work. Electronic publishing has changed all that. Having a website or having one's work available to view on the internet is becoming a necessity. In spite of all the potential to finally have a true overview of what's being produced by the artists of today, a great deal of work still remains covered up and basically unknown. Our role is to make an effort to document some portion of what’s going on today. To comment on the established makers and to uncover the unknown. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look to you our readers to make us aware of the talented makers out there. Art and Jan Riser Robert Weil and The Makers