This is a fine condition Parker Brothers VH Grade, 12 Gauge hammerless, side-by-side shotgun from 1901. This shotgun comes with a Parker Brothers historical letter indicating this shotgun was ordered by the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis, Missouri on November 2, 1901, and was shipped from the factory on December 13, 1901. This information was found in the original Parker Brothers Order Book number 55 and was correctly listed as a VH hammerless in 12 Gauge with Vulcan Steel barrels of 28 inches and a pistol grip stock configuration.
Charles Parker began as an industrial manufacturer of numerous durable goods, including hardware, lamps, spectacles, steam engines, presses, tooling and even railroad wheels in Meriden, Connecticut beginning in 1828, under the name Meriden Machine Company. Charles Parker created numerous companies over the years, including the Meriden Curtain Fixture Company, Parker & Whipple Company, which manufactured clocks, and, later, Parker Brothers, manufacturing fine shotguns.
Once the Civil War began, Parker, like many other New England manufacturers, capitalized on the need for firearms and, joined by Gamaliel F. Snow and machinist James. S. Brooks, created the Parker, Snow, Brooks & Company in 1860.
On September 28, 1863, Parker, Snow, Brooks & Company received a US contract for the production of 15,000 Model 1861 pattern rifle muskets for $19.00 each. Interestingly, most of the components for Parker, Snow’s contract were manufactured under subcontract by other makers. Parker, Snow delivered the 15,000 contracted-for rifles in 1863 and 1864.
In January 1865, the company’s name was changed to the Meriden Manufacturing Company and, under this name, the company produced 5,000 Triplett & Scott magazine firearms for the state of Kentucky. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, employee William H. Miller developed a cartridge system
and the company altered approximately 5,000 Parker, Snow Model 1861 pattern rifles using this system, known as the Miller Alteration. During the Civil War, Miller designed and manufactured the prototype of what would become the first Parker Brothers shotgun. Charles Parker made the decision to produce these shotguns after the war and created Parker Brothers in 1868.
As noted, this is a “VH” Grade Parker Shotgun, also known as the “Vulcan Grade” and which used the Vulcan Steel Barrels. The Parker Brothers VH was the workhorse of Parker Shotguns in the early 20th Century. The Vulcan Grade Parkers began production in 1899 and were produced until Parker Brothers was taken over by Remington. VH Shotguns were manufactured in 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 gauge, and this particular shotgun is in 12 gauge. Parker Brothers manufactured 78,677 shotguns with Vulcan Steel barrels.
The stock on this shotgun is beautiful American Black Walnut with nice grain. There are scattered minor dings and scratches, but the condition is excellent and there are no cracks noted. The wrist and pistol grip have very nice original checkering that remains crisp. The original Butt Plate is in very good condition and is the type that shows the forward portion of the dog’s body and the two front legs. The butt plate exhibits wear but there are no cracks or chips noted. The pistol grip cap is the original and early type with a checkered panel. The cap exhibits wear but there are no cracks or chips noted. The bottom of the butt has the original German silver shield that was never engraved.
Both the Left Hand Trigger and Right Hand Trigger are present and both retain considerable blued finish. Both Triggers still release crisply.
The receiver exhibits a pewter patina generally and has generous original color case-hardened finish on the water table and in the protected areas on the sides. The right side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving. The Bolsters are also engraved around the edge. The left side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving. The Receiver Tang also exhibits a pewter patina, and the “SAFE” engraving is still sharp. The serrated Safety is present and operates smoothly. The Top Lever also operates smoothly and retains generous color case-hardened finish.
The Water Table has the patent information stamps, “PAT’D JAN.18.AUG.16.1887. / MAY 7-OCT.8.1889,” on one side and the “V” Vulcan stamp and the serial number “106496” stamp.
The Guard Bow exhibits a pewter and plum patina and is engraved around the edge. The Trigger Plate also exhibits a pewter patina and has the serial number “106496” engraved on the rearmost portion. The plate also has border engraving.
The original barrel set is in fine condition and measures 28” long and it has 2 7/8” chambers. Both barrels retain 95% of their original blued finish. The original rib is present and is marked, “PARKER BROS. MAKERS. MERIDEN, CONN. VULCAN STEEL.” The original brass sighting post is present on the front of the rib. The bottom of the barrel mount has the “Kf” inspection stamp, a “+” stamp, and the “3 15” stamp, indicating the barrel assembly weighs 3 pounds 15 ounces. The bottom of the mount also has a “2” stamp indicating it is 12 gauge. The side of the barrel mount has the matching serial number “106496.” The Extractor is present and works smoothly. Barrel lockup is as tight as the day this shotgun was manufactured. The bores of both barrels are very clean with a mirror finish. The right barrel measures 0.716” at the muzzle, which corresponds to a modified choke and the left barrel measures 0.683” at the muzzle, which corresponds to an full choke.
This shotgun has its original and matching Splinter Forend. The Forend Iron exhibits generous original color case-hardened finish and it has the matching serial number “106496.” The American Black Walnut is in fine condition with no cracks or chips noted. The Forend Lock exhibits a pewter patina and has the patent stamp “PATD.MAR.26.1878.” The forend nose iron also exhibits a pewter patina. The attaching iron spring is still strong, and it secures tightly to the barrel.
This shotgun functions perfectly and would still be a fine bird gun today in its popular 12-gauge configuration.