This is a fine condition Parker Brothers PH Grade, 12 Gauge hammerless, side-by-side shotgun from 1914. This particular shotgun was ordered by the Simmons Hardware Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 2, 1914, and it was shipped from the factory on July 25, 1914. This shotgun’s information is found in the original Parker Brothers Order Book No. 91 and confirms that it was a PH hammerless in 12 Gauge with 28-inch Damascus Twist Barrels. The original sales price in 1914 was $48.75.
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.
The stock on this shotgun is beautiful American Black Walnut with very nice grain. There are only a very few minor dings and scratches, but no cracks or chips are noted. The wrist and pistol grip have very nice original checkering that remains nicely delineated with one area of compression on the left side. The original Parker Butt Plate is present and is in fine condition with both original screws present. The pistol grip cap is the Original “Parker Brothers” cap with “MERIDEN CONN.” address that remains in excellent condition along with the original, engraved cap screw. 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 and plum patina generally and has generous original color case-hardened finish on the water table and in the protected areas. The right side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving and scroll work around the screw holes. The Bolsters are also engraved around the edge with scroll engraving on the bolsters themselves. The left side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving and scrollwork. The Receiver Tang also exhibits a pewter patina with considerable original color case-hardened finish towards the receiver, and the “SAFE” engraving is still crisply. 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/ PAT’D.AUG.15.1905,” on one side and the faceted border with serif “PH” grade stamp, the serial number “151765” stamp and a serif “P” stamp.
The Guard Bow exhibits a generally pewter patina and is engraved around the edge with scrollwork in the middle. The Trigger Plate exhibits a pewter patina and has the serial number “151765” engraved on the rearmost portion with its engraved screw. The plate also has border engraving and scroll work in the middle and around the edges with their original, unturned, engraved screws.
The original barrel set is in very good condition and measures 28” long and it has 2 7/8” chambers. Both barrels retain 95% of their original twist Damascus browned 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 oval “J.G.” inspection stamp, a serif “T” stamp, and the “4 1” stamp, indicating the barrel assembly weighs 4 pounds 1 ounce. The bottom of the mount also has a “2” stamp indicating it is for a size 2 frame. The side of the barrel mount has the matching serial number “151765.” 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 has a cylinder choke, and the left barrel has a modified choke. The barrels have slight dings in spots with one minor crease on the left barrel about 2 1/2'” from the muzzle but none of these will affect the firing of the shotgun. The preponderance of wear is on the right side of the right barrel, which exhibits a worn pewter patina for about 6 inches towards the muzzle.
This shotgun has its original and matching Splinter Forend. The Forend Iron exhibits the vast majority of its original color case-hardened finish, and it has the matching serial number “151765.” 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. This shotgun also comes with the Parker Brothers historical letter.