Bighead - I believe you are thinking of the Mark Baker article that brought to light the loading block that is under discussion here. It had been part of a private collection and was on loan to an exhibit, where a friend of Mark's saw and photographed it.
And, this is the block that has been decried as a "fake" by some, and genuine by others...in the end we simply shall never know for sure, though the testing and examination I mentioned was done to the satisfaction of Mark Baker and Ted Belue, both reputable historians.
It always interests me the direction this, and other such discussions, seem to take....we get folks who are "dug in" on one position or another and will not budge, no matter the arguments brought up by others.
Heck, it is just an example of how this whole thing seems to go at times..."it is"..."No, it is NOT"...on and on. Then add in the silly efforts to be "cute", or "slap down" somebody and it really becomes no more than school yard banter. I sure wish some folk would grow up...
Anyway, the entire subject of loading blocks is one that is about guaranteed to start an argument whenever it is brought up. Knowing that, it is sometimes fun to mention it just to see who jumps to which side!!! Good for laughs..
Montour - You know, I had forgotten that "cute" remark you made..."everyone is related to someone who lived in the 18th Century"...
Yep, quite true, but meaningless in the context where you mentioned it..
You see, SOME are related to family lines whose contribution to the history of the time has lasted and is still respected to this day - just as will be the case in years to come about some folk in contemporary time.
So, "smart" as your attempt may have seemed to you, it entirely misses the point.....
That's it. I thought is was mark Baker but I wasn't sure.
Having famous ancestors is cool, but does not mean that you have any extra special ingrained ability. Everyone is judged on their own abilities......
The main reason that I participate in this endeavour is to amuse myself. Therefore I do as I want without regard to the thoughts of others. I don't request others to do as I do and require the same of others.Having grown up in the land of the Sopranos, this is the attitude most of us from Jersey have. I will ues what pleases me, and if I ever get confronted by a thread counter I will offer them my usual two bits so that they can call someone who cares what they have to say in this world.
Hurrah! I agree completely. That is how I go about it myself. And, I was born and raised in New Jersey, too. (happy to have excaped from there)
Know what you believe in. Fight for your beliefs. Never compromise away your rights.
Gentlemen, I say hats off to bud in pa, finally put this issue in its proper perspective. I totally agree with bud and rancoas, that the way I do things. Yes I study and read about things and being pc and hc correct. In the final analisis I do what I want and dont worry about what anyone else thinks.each and everyone one of you are encouraged to do things however you see fit. buds post was like a breath of fresh air in a other wise smelly situation. Like old blue eyes Frank s said I DID IT MY WAY. WITH WARMEST REGUARDS TO ALL arkansawwind
This issue is in the same league as Bowie knives and WD-40.
One of the few times in my life I don't have an opinion on the subject.
I might have to start using a loading block more often because I just bought another one on Traders' Row. Shoot sharp, Mike
I always use a 3 holers when I'm hunting and have each hole releived to fit on the end ofthe barrel, works real good but what I wanted to say is a few yrs. ago I bought an old gun and all the accuterments and there was a real old bullet, board?, made from 3 layers of thick leather stuck together with something not any kind of modern glue, still has 6 patched balls in it, kinda disintergrated now. Don't know how old but kinda neat. Never have seen another like it. Hank
How long does it take for a good idea to become common practice? If I, Joe Woods runner come up with the idea of a loading block for speed loading my rifle in 1770, how long would it take for it to be put into general use by most everyone with a rifle? Just wondering.....
Similar approach...different folks should go after their different interests that appeal to them...what I choose to do has no bearing on others. My main interest has always been trying to master all my hunting with Flintlock rifles & smoothbores, with the focus pretty much limited to the firearm and it's supplies. I did start experimenting with a couple loading blocks just last year but otherwise when I'm in the woods with a Flintlock, I'm still wearing warm, dry Thinsulate and Gore-Tex hunting clothes & boots...LOL.
Flintlock Rifles & Smoothbores
Hunt Like The Settlers
Yes the debate continues. The argument of "they could've..., so they must've" is spurious. The Inca could've had the wheel..., but they didn't, and they went from a hunter gatherer culture to irrigated agriculture, building pyramids, a highly accurate calendar, astronomy, mathematics and a written language. The standard in that case is the same..., no drawings or examples of wheels in Inca art, or in Inca books, carvings, etc. No excavated artifact wheels in tombs, either actual wheeled items or even ceramic images of wheels, so the conclusion now (for it was assumed they had to have the wheel to have civilization) is no wheels.
The problem first is when an item isn't mentioned in any records anywhere. The counter argument is that if an item was very common, it might be omitted. The continued objection- argument is that the item was "new" at some point, and as such was uncommon, so we would expect that it would be documented. Again, though, we continue to discover new sources of information, so "all" of the documentation is not "in", it's just that what we know about to this date does not mention the item..., ever.
Then you have artifact evidence..., none have been "unearthed", but the item is wood, and decays quickly. All of the examples of the artifact are found in collections, and the provenance (the story as to how they came to the collection) is suspect. A good example of the problem with wood is there is (iirc) one example of a Viking navigation tool, not an astrolabe or compass, made of wood, that has been unearthed. They thought they had some sort of tool, but until this was found, they were not certain. A copy was made and tested, and the item does work for the oceans where the Vikings operated.
Continuation of the artifact evidence would be testing of the item. One can see if the rings of the wood growth can place that piece of wood as existing in the time period. That doesn't mean the wood was actually harvested, but just that it existed. The growth rings on trees have been cataloged as a means of dating wood artifacts, and is how they have dated shipwreck recoveries of Viking, Roman, and Black Sea vessels. It's like a fingerprint. The problem though is that dates only the wood. So if you take a busted up table that was made in 1750, and make a bullet board from a piece of it in 1850, and it survives until 2012, the wood says it's 252 years old, but the artifact isn't. If the item is painted or dyed, that can be tested as well. Modern processes to produce the "original" finishes often leave modern signatures. A recent painting forgery of a lost masterpiece was perfect, right down to the wood..., except under electron microscope the chalk used in the white paint was modern, not natural..., a forgery.
So one might be able to look at the holes and the paint or dye, and see if they are correct, meaning if the surface has certain deposits from time, aka "patina", then the holes should have them too. If the holes are newer, or there are modern tool marks like somebody used a Forstner bit or something to make the holes..., if they are too precise even..., you may have found evidence that the item was made in the 19th century, or is even newer. The problem again is, if the item is an antique, made more than a century ago it may have a uniform patina, and be impossible to tell from an item a century older.
Standards for museums 150 years ago were not nearly as high as they are today, and even today the "experts" are fooled. So IF a person displaying a firearm and accessories from a famous person thought a bullet board was needed, they might have fabricated one to make the collection "complete". So by now folks might think such an item, a prop when produced, is actually an artifact. Piltdown Man was presented in 1912..., it wasn't discovered to be a mistaken combination of human skull and animal jawbone until 1953..., I have been told that within the last twenty years the Smithsonian has removed a colonial axehead from a display when the blacksmith who made it authenticated it.
Let me close with this..., if they had the ability to produce an item, and that item has clear advantages over a previous item, and that is enough to declare they actually had the item though all of the examples found so far don't show it being used...,
..., then we should all have peep sights on our reproduction rifles of the 18th century, and they should be allowed in all of our competitions.....
LDThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Loyalist Dave,
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Alota great thoughts here guys! I'm pleased to see that folks aren't gettin' too worked up over this topic. So far it seems to be mostly a friendly debate. I like conversations where everybody can share their opinions/ideas/thoughts and everyone else carfully considers what's been said before responding. Since stuff like this don't really matters when it comes to the important things in life (i.e. God, Love, Truth, etc...), it's good not to get too bent outa' shape over it.
Well, there's my two cents, and I guess I'll just bow out now.
"Return unto me, and I will return unto you," saith the Lord of hosts.
As for the origin of day horns, patch knives, and bullet boards the following is MY OPINION, but it is opinion based on over fifty years of researching the subject in depth based on the currently known and verified historical record.
Based on the existing historical record, the latter day hunting scenario as posted below was the most likely origin of bullet boards - IMO they were not purpose designed as speed loaders, but rather were a convenient way to carry a few patched balls that could be easily carried in one's pocket or even around ones neck. FWIW - The earliest well provenanced bullet board I have seen is one from a western buffalo hunters rig circa 1859. Yes Grant's book on pouches (and others) does show some boards, but his dating is not always the best so one needs to keep that in mind and cross reference as much as possible.
Again based on the historical record the dedicated patch knife is apparently a 20th Century innovation or at earliest a very late 19th century one. Earlier, so-called patch knives were not specifically used for cutting patches as is often done today, but were rather a small general purpose knife for various usages. Think in these terms - as this country became more settled and game (especially larger game) became less available, you had more townies and local farmers hunting with generally smaller bores, so there was no real need for large horns or large knives. A small day horn (or a powder flask) and a small knife were all one really needed for hunting game such as squirrel and rabbits and for that matter even deer. Both items could be easily carried in one's pocket without having the bulk of a large horn or shooting pouch, although the latter did exist as well. All three items were originally a matter of convenience for those hunters who no longer needed a full blown hunting rig.
Like so-called priming horns, patch knives were apparently so named by 20th century collectors rather than by period users.
While it is true that we all have the "right" to use what we choose, IMO there is also the "responsibility" of one to give as an accurate portrayal of history as possible based on the known and existing historical record when doing public information - Montour and others have stated if before and I will again - it all depends on the venue. Unfortunately historical. myths and untruths or half truths are constantly offered up by less then well researched books, TV, and movies or by being based on old info that has been found to be less than absolute fact after further research. When I do wear/use less than well researched gear while doing public offerings or when a neophyte asks, I am upfront and tell them the facts based on the current research. On the other hand in those public venues I have found it's easiest to wear/use what can be verified for who, when, and where.
It's this point re: the different venues, that Montour is making and as regards the "coulda had it' argument, Loyalist Dave stated it VERY well. On the other hand I also believe one must not get overly dogmatic and keep an open mind when new and verified information is discovered - which is almost daily these days.
And while yes there are a few (VERY few) so-called stitch counters/Nazis/et al, that I have encountered in the 45+ years I have actively been doing living history, I have found there is generally no need to get in their face - experience has shown it's just plain counter productive and a waste of MY energy.
On the other hand if one goes to a public event that only allows well researched gear one should not show up dressed like something out of a poorly researched movie and when told no get their nose bent out of joint - that IMO is just as bad as an obnoxious stitch counter. Both are akin to going to visit someone in their home and telling them they are living "wrong". Respect is the watchword and it goes both ways.
Again it's all about the bonafide research, the venue, and respect...use what you choose, but understand the differences in not only in whether it's a verified object or what the venue is.
re: the 1757 bullet board - I have yet to see any chemical or spectograhic testing done on the patina which is currently the best way to date such objects. Dating via the tree rings is fraught with problems: an object can be made using old would cut down in the past and thus the test would only prove the wood was old, but not necessarily the object itself. This method is common practice amongst artifakers - both the bonafide honest ones but also the scammers.
Finally - Yes there is the caveat about "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" that my history profs beat into my head lo those many years ago, but it is a caveat regarding not becoming dogmatic in one's view, and not a license to claim something is fact just because they coulda.
FWIW - My own way of keeping an open mind and dealing with less than well verified items is the item period possible - not only were the materials, but also the technology available when and where, but period possible is then heavily tempered with, was the item period probable, and that is where researching the historical record comes in - i.e. even if the item in question is period possible, if there is no absolute facts to make it probable based on the records, then using it is at best speculative.This message has been edited. Last edited by: GreyWolf,
aka Chuck Burrows
GreyWolf, I agree with you and your opinion completely, just not quite in the same emphasis. What I mean is; we can't took at an old photo such as Col. Goodnight's rifle and plunder and suggest that to be the beginning of the use of anything, such as the bullet boards. There is documentation that he bought the rifle shown in 1856 but his habit of using the bullet board could have started earlier. By the same token, we can't immediately assume that he got that pouch new at the same time he got the rifle. Likewise, can't certainly can't assume that the .45-70 empty case that was used as a powder measure was added to those accouterments when the rifle was new. To do so would be the same as assuming that Col. Goodnight looked the way his picture shows when he was young and hunting buffalo. All I'm saying is that the picture of his pouch and plunder was obviously taken much later, probably after 1876 which is after the .45-70 became commercially popular. (Yes, the .45-70 was adopted by our military in 1873 but it was not a standard chambering for the Sharps rifles until 1876.) I have admired that picture of Col. Goodnight and his rifle and pouch many times but that can only prove how the loading block and the .45-70 case as a powder measure were there "when the picture was taken." That picture could easily have been taken after Col. Goodnight's death in 1929. We also often put too much faith in paintings such as those by Miller who painted the rendezvous scenes. By "too much faith" I mean things like this; some have said the multi-stripe Hudson's Bay blankets did not exist before 1860 or so because they are not displayed in such paintings. We must remember this; we aren't seeing exactly what the artists saw, we are only seeing what the artists painted. I have seen documentation showing that the multi-stripe point blankets were ordered by Fort Vancouver in the 1820s. Of course, that evidence does not mean any of them made it to the rendezvous. Only dated ledgers can to that. Those paintings are still very good because most of them are documented and dated, and they do show things that were there at the time even if they do not show all that was there. Shoot sharp, Mike
So, if you are making a copy of the Goodnight rig, or even the Beck pouch Kindig featured back in the 1950s in Look Magazine (I think it was Look?)do you include the loading block as I did in my copy below or no?
tcaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: TCA,
TCA, Include it if you want it. We can be very sure that the only hunters or shooters who used loading blocks back in the early days were the ones who wanted to use them. By the way, you've got some good looking plunder there. Shoot sharp's the word, Mike
Thanks Mike...Tim Crosby made the Philly style horn...my point I guess, is that some well known and notable pouch sets take on a life of their own...like the Goodnight or Kindig sets...personally I dont doubt that they were both married up with their accoutrements for the sake of getting a good photo etc...but once a "set" is recognized as being that set, if you copy it you almost have to include everything including the block, perhaps perpetuating a myth for good or bad.
just my take on it, btw, the Kindig/Beck set is shown in Grants book as well, block and all.
Wow, Tim! That is a beautiful pouch!
"Return unto me, and I will return unto you," saith the Lord of hosts.
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