This is a beautiful Parker Brothers Quality T Grade, 12 Gauge, top action hammer gun, side-by-side shotgun with Stub Twist barrels from 1887. This particular shotgun was ordered by E. K. Tryon Jr. & Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 13, 1890. This shotgun was then shipped from Parker Brothers on January 23, 1890. Based on the serial number, this shotgun was actually manufactured in 1887, and was in inventory when it was ordered in early 1890.
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.
This Parker Brothers shotgun comes with an historical letter from The Parker Gun Collectors Association and identifies this shotgun by serial number, 51677, and notes that it was ordered by firearms retailer E. K. Tryon Jr. & Company of Philadelphia on January 13, 1890. This shotgun was shipped from Parker Brothers to the store on January 23, 1890. The Edward K. Tryon Company was a sporting goods retailer and wholesaler located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were in business under various Tryon names from 1811 until sometime in the mid to late 1950s. Edw. K. Tryon was the largest sporting goods retailer in the United States and possibly the world for some time. Their primary business was firearms and hunting related items but they also sold and produced a wide variety of outdoors and sports items. The details of this particular shotgun are noted in Parker Brothers Order Book Number 25 and state that this shotgun was a Quality T, Top Action Hammer Gun in 12 Gauge with Plaint Twist steel barrels measuring 30” long. The requested configurations were: pistol grip stock, length of pull is 14”, Drop at Heel 2 ¾”, and weight of 7 ½ pounds. The price for this shotgun in 1890 was $55.00.
As noted, this is a Quality “T” Grade Parker Shotgun, and is a T1 Grade with the higher priced “Stub Twist” barrels. In 1887, when this shotgun was made, Parker Brothers only manufactured 3,242 shotguns, from serial numbers 49502 to 52743.
The stock on this shotgun is beautiful American Black Walnut with nice grain. There are only a very few minor dings and scratches, but no cracks are noted. The stock is heavily worn with little original checkering remaining. The original Parker Brothers pistol grip cap is present but is worn. The butt wears a Decelerator recoil pad. The top of the wrist has the original 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 generally exhibits a pleasing plum and pewter patina throughout. The right side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving. The Bolsters are also engraved around the edge. The bottom of the receiver has the “PATD MAR 23.1875” stamp with four lines of engraving. The left side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with border engraving. The Top Lever has crisp checkering on the left side of the thumb lever and engraving on the body and still operates smoothly. Both original Hammers are present and both also exhibit a pleasing plum and pewter patina with strong checkering on the thumb portion. Both original Firing Pins are present and operate perfectly with strong springs. The trigger releases for both hammers, when in the down position, still work perfectly and prevent contact with the firing pin heads.
The Water Table has the patent information stamps, “PAT’D APR.11.1876/ “”SEP.31.1872 on one side and the serial number “51677” over the patent “PATD MAR. 16. 1875” stamp on the other side.
The Guard Bow exhibits a plum and pewter patina with edge engraving. The Trigger Plate is quite worn from use and exhibits a pewter patina with the worn serial number “51677” engraved on the rearmost portion. The plate also has border engraving.
The original barrel set is in very good condition and measures 30” long and it has 2 7/8” chambers. Both barrels retain 95% of their original browned finish over the beautiful Damascus pattern steel. There are a few areas of old pinprick pitting on the barrel but those are located mostly towards the muzzle. The original rib is present and is marked, “PARKER BROS. MAKERS. MERIDEN, CONN. STUB TWIST.” The original brass sighting post is present on the front of the rib. The bottom of the barrel mount has the oval patent stamp “PAT’D. APR 11. 1867/PATD JUNE 25.1878.” on one side and the serif “T” grade stamp along with the “3 14” stamp, indicating the barrel set weighs 3 pounds 14 ounces. “W.K.” inspection stamp, a circle serif “V” stamp and the “3 6” stamp, indicating the barrel assembly weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces. The bottom of the mount also has a “16” stamp indicating it is 16 gauge. The left side of the barrel mount has the matching serial number “51677.” The Extractor is present and works smoothly. Barrel lockup is as tight as the day this shotgun was manufactured. The bore of both barrels is very clean with a mirror finish. There are two minor defects on the barrels, one on each side with a slight 1/32” depression from something that hit on top of both barrels, but these small depressions would not affect firing and are barely noticeable.
This shotgun has its original and matching Splinter Forend. The Forend Iron retains generous traces of its original case-hardened finish and it has the matching serial number “51677.” The American Black Walnut is in very good condition with no cracks or chips noted. The Forend Lock exhibits a pewter patina has the patent stamp “PATD.MAR.26.1878.”
This shotgun functions perfectly and would still be a fine bird gun today.