US MODEL 1870 RIFLE AND CARBINE COMBINATION TOOL FROM THE MOLLUS MUSEUM

$50.00

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Item Code: 490-2492

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These early Indian War combination tools were made from surplus M1863 rifle tools by grinding down the sides of the swinging screwdriver to fit the smaller screws on the trapdoor breeches of the M1868s and M1870s, and repurposing the nipple wrench as a mainspring clamp. This was convenient, but made it just a little easier for the curious, but perhaps uninstructed, private to take his gun apart. This would be a key piece to display with one of the early .50 caliber trapdoors.

This comes from the recently dispersed collections of the War Library and Museum in Philadelphia. Incorporated in 1888 by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the veterans’ organization for Union officers, this was the repository for a world-class collection of artifacts housed since 1922 in a Philadelphia townhouse. The focus was on Civil War material, of course, but various items were donated over the years and this might have made its way because of its resemblance to standard Civil War gun tools or have simply been in the effects of an officer who also had postwar service.

The museum closed in 2008. Many of their holdings made their way to other museums, but others were recently sold at auction where we obtained a number of pieces with this great pedigree. The tool still has most of its original blue. A museum inventory number in black ink on a white base is on the end of the fixed blade. This could be removed, but furnishes nice evidence of the provenance.  [sr]

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