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Silas Allen Flintlock
( Article orginally published December 1963 )
Silas Allen, Massachusetts gunsmith, was born in Boston in 1775. In 1796 he opened a gunshop in Shrewsbury where his father was also a gunsmith. Here he made flintlock rifles, flintlock Kentucky-type rifles, and did general gunsmithing. He operated his shop from 1796 to 1843. He died in 1850. According to John Curtis, curator of architecture at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Silas Allen probably made more rifles than any other New England maker.
A recent and important addition to the Gun Museum at Old Sturbridge Village is the Silas Allen flintlock rifle pictured. It is now on exhibit there, along with two other products of Allen-a target rifle, and a fowling piece.
Mr. Curtis describes the flintlock as a full-stocked 58 calibre rifle with octagonal barrel 38 1/4 inches long. It is cherry-stocked with a brass end car, flat key escutcheons, all brass furniture and no patch box (being somewhat unusual in this respect). The stock is carried out in design to that of a fowler with pineapple fowler trigger guard, fowler buttplate, and round bottom buttplate. Engraved mounts are typical New England professional engraving of the rosette and small leaf type. All furniture seems to be original; the lock is an original flintlock and shows no evidence of having been converted to percussion and then reconverted. The engraving is sharp and clear.Note: The Gun Museum at Old Sturbridge Village contains, among 250 pieces, a Dutch match-lock from Pilgrim days, French muskets used in the Revolution, dueling pistols, ladies' pistols, cane guns, boot pistols, Pennsylvania rifles.