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Antique Military Firearms
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This is an antique very good plus condition Parker Brothers VH Grade, 12 Gauge hammerless, side-by-side shotgun with 30” barrels from 1896. 


This particular shotgun was ordered by the Wyeth Hardware & Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri on December 18, 1899, and it was shipped from the factory on December 26, 1899.  This shotgun comes with a Parker Brothers Historical Letter, and it notes that the shotgun’s information is found in the original Parker Brothers Order Book No. 48 and confirms that it was a VH hammerless in 12 Gauge with 30-inch Vulcan Steel Barrels.  The requested chokes are not noted in the Parker Historical Letter, but both barrels measure approximately .692” at the muzzle, which equates to full choke for both barrels.  The specifications of the stock are a capped pistol grip and has a length of pull of 14”, drop at the heel of 2 7/8”, drop at the comb of 1 7/8”, and it weighs 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  The original sales price in 1899 was $50.00.  The historical letter notes that the shotgun was returned on July 13, 1900 by Wyeth Hardware for restocking and then returned, all for no charge.


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, which used Vulcan Steel Barrels. 

The stock on this shotgun is American Black Walnut, and the stock still exhibits beautiful grain with minor dings and scratches, but no cracks or chips are noted with the exception of a very small chip at the toe of the stock where it abuts the butt plate.  The wrist and pistol grip have very nice original checkering that remains crisp.  The bottom of the stock has the standard, unengraved silver plate.    The original Parker hunting dog black butt plate is present and the stamping and checkering on the back remain clearly visible.  Both original butt plate screws are present.   The pistol grip cap is the original Parker checkered panel with plain, single-slot screw. 


Both the Left Trigger and Right Trigger are present, and both retain traces of their original blued finish.  Both Triggers still release crisply. 


The receiver exhibits the standard Vulcan grade hand engraving on both sides, along the outer edge of the bolsters, and around the tang and trigger plate and guard.  Both sides exhibit a clean pewter patina.  The right side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with a Pointer.  Both sides of the Receiver have the “PARKER BROS” engraving.  The Receiver Tang also exhibits a pewter patina with traces of the original color case-hardened finish towards the receiver, and the “SAFE” engraving is still crisply engraved.   The serrated Safety is present and operates smoothly.  The Top Lever operates smoothly and exhibits a pewter patina.  The bottom plate is also engraved around the edges, and the three receiver screws have not been turned. 


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” grade stamp on other side with the serial number stamp “93657.”  The water table still retains considerable original color case-hardened finish with a small area of old pitting on the serial number side of the table.  The breech face is very clean and exhibits a few small areas of old pitting on the right face. 


The Guard Bow exhibits a pewter patina and engraved around the edge.  The Trigger Plate exhibits a pewter patina and is also engraved around the edge, and it also has the serial number “93657” engraved on the rearmost portion. 


The original Vulcan Steel barrel set is in antique very good condition and measures 30” long and it has 2 7/8” chambers.  Both barrels still retain 90% of the slightly fading 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 a “2” stamp, indicating it was a size 2 frame.  The bottom of the mount also has a “4” stamp, indicating the barrel assembly weighs 4 pounds 0 ounces.  There is also a serif “K” and italic “f” stamp.    The left side of the barrel mount has the matching serial number “93657.”  There is a patent date on the bottom of the left barrel along with an area of old pitting.  The rear of the lug has the matching partial serial number “657,” which was found on guns circa 1890 to 1910.  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. There are no dents noted on either barrel.  As noted previously, both barrels gauge at full choke. 


This shotgun has its original and matching Splinter Forend.  The Forend Iron exhibits the majority of its original color case-hardened finish, and it has the matching serial number “93657.”  The Black Walnut is in fine condition with no cracks or chips noted and it retains its slightly flattened checkering.  The Forend Lock exhibits a pewter patina and has the patent stamp “PATD.MAR.26.1878.”  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 is a beautiful example of one of Parker Brothers’ most popular bird guns from 1899.