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 Post subject: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:27 am 
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I have custody of this family heirloom A. H. Fox Sterlingworth and I have some questions. If you click on the link you can see my complete write-up together with more photos.

#1 - the forearm is marked Model 1911 but the serial goes to 1910 according to the references I have. Could Fox have replaced the forearm when they replaced a burst barrel? Is this likely the reason?

#2 - why did Fox ommit the "I" in the "STERLNGWORTH FLUID STEEL" mark on the barrel? Was this the standard mark or is it the result of damaged tooling?

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"We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend." Robert Louis Stevenson

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Last edited by Hobie on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:50 am 
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The Sterlingworth came out in March of 1910, But was called the Model 1911, the first 3000 guns were marked "The Sterlingworth Co" on the frame. The barrels were marked "Made By the Sterlingworth Co, Wayne Junc. Pa. USA". In the fall of 1910 A H Fox started putting his name on the Sterlingworth.. Your gun is a "Pin Gun" and likely made in the fall of 1910.. The missing is likely in the die striking.. I cnt get the site to come up, after waiting an eternity, just an orange screen.. Bushrod


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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:27 pm 
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Ah, I see. My blog is a bit photo heavy and/or the host may have been experiencing heavy demand. Here's the photo...

Image

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Hobie

"We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend." Robert Louis Stevenson

Shooting with Hobie


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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 3:16 am 
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Hobie, I own a "pin" Sterlingworth myself, that looks exactly like your gun. I really think mine is serial numbered 53xxx, too, and I'll go home and look and see if mine is missing that "I".

It's difficult to imagine a time when a factory would take an blown up barrel and dismount the bad barrel and use the good barrel in making up a new barrel set. You'd think that even way back then, the Fox factory would just fit on a brand new set of barrels already made up, rather than mess with the labor involved in fixing the old set.

As I've said, my gun looks exactly like yours in all respects. Notice how good the rib is matted. And, the stock has a fluted comb, and a really nice multi diamond checkering pattern, and the pistol grib is capped. Get this, mine has the original butt plate, and it's plain as day, no markings, and it has indexed brass screws. I've never seen an original gun with brass screws holding on the buttplate, but they look like they were put on back in 1910/1911. The varnish on my gun was very bad, falling off in a lot of places, and scratched up, so I very gently scraped all of the old varnish off and lightly refinished the stock with Tru-Oil, and fitted a recoil pad to the old curved end stock and made sure the old butt plate would also fit right back on. I wanted the extra length more than anything else.

Something else. My Sterlingworth pin gun is so tight, so well fitted, that when you shut it just right you can actually hear it go "riiiiinnnggg". My barrels are perfect, except for the same place you talk about, where somebody grasped the barrels. My lever is still a little to the right, still has just about all of the case color, faded, but still there, on the action, and protected parts have quite a bit of vivid color left. Even though mine has that extra drop to the stock, I can shoot the thunder out of mine anyway.

I've owned several Sterlingworths, and still own another one, from 1929. There's no comparing the quality between the early "pin" gun, when Ansley was still there, and the last dying gasp before Savage took over from the Goodshanks. Every large and tiny part of the early gun is obviously better made, fitted, polished, and finished than the late 20's gun. And, after Savage took over, quality didn't go up at all.

Our Sterlingworths only cost 25 dollars. It has to be the best bargain in a brand new double ever offered. But, of course, the men who bought our guns brand new might well have earned less than 25 dollars a month. But, probably not. Poor men didn't buy many Foxes or Parkers or L.C. Smiths anyway. They probably paid about half of twenty five dollars to buy a Belgian made clunker, or 18 dollars for the field grade Ithaca if they were really in the chips. I'm glad you know something about who bought yours new. I'll never know who bought mine.


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 Post subject: Re: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:43 am 
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SuperXOne wrote:
I'm glad you know something about who bought yours new. I'll never know who bought mine.

I often wonder about the life of 588XX, especially the first 30 years or so...

Image

Dad acquired it in the mid-60's and restocked it with a straight grip of more modern dimensions using a nice piece French Walnut he'd been saving for just the right project. He gave it to me for Christmas 1968.

There's a mess of inflation calculators online, and it's interesting to learn that that which cost $25 in 1911 would still only be around $525-545 in today's dollars.

Oh, yeah - none of the i's have fallen off this "pin gun" (yet). :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:41 pm 
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My "pin" gun is actually in the low 54,xxx range, and my "I" is intact.

But, there is a trace of a "phantom" half circle in front of the extractors, on the bottom of the barrel flats, kind of like on Hobie's gun, except his has two circles. What the **** are those for? :lol:


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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 9:43 am 
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Hello Forum,

First time poster. You have touched a chord very dear to my heart; A.H. Fox shotguns. I was doing a search on Fox guns, particularly "hinge-pin" guns, of which I have a fairly scarce bird. I own Sterlingworth, serial number 61412. Very late (shipped April 30, 1913) for a pin gun but the advantage is it has ejectors. Ejectors are rare enough on a Sterlingworth, even rarer on a pin gun. I saw where someone on this forum stated that 2 % of "hinge" guns were ejectored which I find curious. At the time Michael McIntosh wrote his book on A.H. Fox guns he had only heard of 2 hinge pin guns with ejectors, 61412 and another whose owner couldn't produce evidence of it's existance. My question is "does anybody out there have a for sure and for certain "hinge gun" with ejectors? My gun is a Standard shipped on consignment (which makes the ejector option curious) and is 30" F & F (too tight and tighter). It patterns 80% and 82-83% but more about that in a moment. As SuperXOne stated about his Sterlingworth, mine is as tight as the day it left the factory. Truly the greatest value of all time in a double gun.

I have two other A.H. Foxes worth mentioning (own 5). The next one is the little sister to the Sterlingworth. It is a 1918 production XE 20 gauge. Rather scarce as it has 26" tubes choked IC & IM, full pistol grip, splinter, twin triggers, single Lyman front bead, 5 lbs., 12 oz's. A wand.

The other scarce Fox is the Sterlingworths big brother. It is a pre Bo-Whoop Model HE with 32" tubes, 2 3/4" chambers, FPG, splinter. What I like about it being a 2 3/4" gun is that noone has "messed with it" since Burt and his boys. Being an early HE means that there is every possibility that Burt may have done the boring. It patterns 90% & 91+%. I joke with my friends on the occasions I take them both waterfowling that the Sterlingworth is my 50 yard gun and the HE is my pushing 70 yard gun. Anyway, my $0.02


Last edited by Jeff Smith on Sun May 20, 2007 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 8:05 pm 
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Some questions. Were the hinge pin guns Chromox? I doubt there was really a "Sterlingworth Fluid Compressed Steel". Or was there?

And, I read somewhere in a Sporting Clays magazine that the "Bo Whup" of "lost on an Arkansas gravel road" legend has recently came to light. All they said was that some lady they were interviewing was excited about "Bo Whup" being found recently, and not another word. I've always imagined some poor Arkie family with an old double barrel in the closet that grandpa found one day on the road back in the 20's. Have you heard anything about that?

My hinge pin gun has a slot in the hinge. Weren't they pressed in? Isn't that just for looks? Or can you turn it? Would be so nice if you could turn it, to tighten up an old gun, if it ever needed it.

By the way, I have Askins the Elder's 1929 book Modern Shotguns and Loads, and he has quite a bit in there about the Fox gun company, Winchester Super X short shot string loads, and he talks about going to the Fox factory and working with Becker. If your gun's an HE, who else besides Burt would they have had bore it? He was famous even in his day, and Askins tells about how tought it was for Burt to get all those Foxes to shoot those super tight patterns. If it were mine, I'd convince myself that Burt Becker himself did the barrels. ( If it was an Ithaca, or course it would have to be Uncle Bob himself, too. Ever see those Uncle Bob bores our barrels ads?)

These things just ooze history, legend, class, and a time long gone. They had all the ingredients togather in the right place, at the right time, in the right country, to make the finest field grade double guns that ever will be made. It was getting tougher for them all in the late 20's, although the party didn't end until they bombed Pearl Harbor, and they had to kick L.C. Smith and Ithaca out the door just before the Korean War.


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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 11:49 pm 
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I also have an HE grade Fox, it has 3" chambers, Chromox barrels and modest amount of engraving. ser# 27xxx.

The gun is heavy but well balanced. When you open the action the first thing you notice is the beefy chambers. The wall thickness is .246 at the chambers.

Regards:
Rod


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 Post subject: re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 10:46 am 
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SuperXone,

I'll have to drag out the Sterlingworth "hinge" gun to see what steel it has. Originally, all Fox guns were graded guns A, AE, B, BE, C, CE etc. They were I think 99% made with Krupp steel. I'm not sure what steel early Sterlingworths were made with but eventually the frames were made with Chromox. The barrels on my 1918 XE 20 gauge are Chromox. Chromox frames seem to caseharden and wear a bit different than the early guns.

Also a quick bit of trivia, The XE grade was referred to as the "Trap grade" and is the last of the lettered grades to appear, sic.; A, B, C, D, E, but X????? The guns are charecturized by having longer forearms than the other grades, for trapshooting??? I have posted a scanner image of the forearms off of my XE and HE. Even though one gun weighs 5 lbs., 12 oz. and the other over 10 lbs, the forearms are very similar in size.

Image

Also, although the Super's were given a grade designation "HE", they are in fact a model. The frames are larger than standard 12's. Finish was usually barely above Sterlingworth status though a few graded guns, up to I believe XE were made.

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ??? pin s
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:09 pm 
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No one said anything about the slot in the pin! What is the slot for? Is it pressed on? What is the purpose? Does anyone know??
Later,
Clay


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 Post subject: Re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:01 am 
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I would also like to know more about the design.

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Hobie

"We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend." Robert Louis Stevenson

Shooting with Hobie


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 Post subject: Re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:40 am 
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Sterlingworth -- When Ansley H. Fox, was forced to add a lower priced gun to his line of graded Ansley H. Fox guns, in 1910, he didn't want to detract from the A.H. Fox Gun Co. name, so they dummied up "The Sterlingworth Company." The first year’s guns, beginning with serial number 50,000, were marked as being "Made By The Sterlingworth Company, Philadelphia, U.S.A." Actually the first few hundred were marked "Wayne Junction" instead of Philadelphia. They even produced a separate The Sterlingworth Gun Co. catalogue for 1910. These guns were built under the same patents as the graded Ansley H. Fox guns. The main moneysaving features were an American Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) stock as opposed to the more costly European thin shell walnut (Juglans regia) stocks on the graded guns, and the "Sterlingworth Fluid Steel" barrels instead of Krupp Fluid Steel barrels. Workmanship on these early Sterlingworths was generally excellent, better than graded guns from the 1920's and 30's. The early "The Sterlingworth Company" guns had a rounded front for the side panel of the frames. According to my list of observed specimens that was changed to the same pointed profile as the graded guns by #51,301.

In 1911 this field grade gun was added to the A.H. Fox Gun Co. catalogue as the Model 1911. "Model 1911" is stamped in the forearm iron. (A very few graded guns made about this time are stamped Model 1910) The lowest Model 1911 serial number I've recorded is #53,140. All of these early Sterlingworths had a recessed hinge-pin head like Parkers, or Ansley's earlier guns made in Baltimore and the Philadelphia Arms Company A.H. Fox gun. The highest "pin gun" Sterlingworth serial number I've recorded is # 62,244. After that Sterlingworth hinge-pins are dressed smooth like the graded guns. When the small-bores (16- and 20-gauge) were added to the Ansley H. Fox line they were briefly referred to in some flyers as the Model 1912, but I've never seen one so stamped. Graded 20-gauge guns have serial numbers beginning with 200,000 and 20-gauge Sterlingworths 250,000. Graded 16-gauge guns have serial numbers beginning with 300,000 and 16-gauge Sterlingworths 350,000.

Most of the Philadelphia produced S-worths had the word "Sterlingworth" roll stamped on each side of the frame. After production moved to Utica, Savage started using a "Fox-Sterlingworth" roll stamp.

When the Sterlingworth came out in 1910 it had a price of $25. The price stayed at $25 thru 1916, then climbed quickly to $55 by 1919. A.H. Fox Gun Co. reduced the price to $48 in 1922 and again to $36.50 in 1926. Workmanship of course declined.
Parker Bros. introduced their Trojan Grade at $27.50 in 1912. The Trojan’s price climbed like the Sterlingworth to $55. Parker Bros. kept the price and the quality of the Trojan high and sold about 33000 total. Fox began cutting the price of the Sterlingworth and sold well over 100000.

Savage kept the $36.50 price until June 1932 when they upped it to $39.50. On February 10, 1936, they upped the price again to $42.85 (the digits 2 and 8 are transposed in McIntosh's book). On February 1, 1938, Savage tried a price cut and dropped it to $35. February 1, 1939, they upped the price to $44.75. January 2, 1940, up again to $48.50. January 2, 1941, up to $52.65 and June 16 up again to $56.50. January 2, 1942, up again to $64.95.

For $40 Graded or $30 Sterlingworth (last prices I've seen quoted) you can get a factory letter on most any Ansley H. Fox shotgun (Philadelphia or Utica) from Mr. John T. Callahan, 53 Old Quarry Road, Westfield, MA 01085. The information exists on the factory work-order cards, probably 85+% of which still exist. Send him the complete serial number and a check, and he can do the rest. That would tell you the specifications of the gun when it left the factory.

The Sterlingworth Co. guns normally started life with a Baker J-Spring style forearm fastening.

Image

Image

They apparently had some trouble with these as you will often find these guns fitted with the later J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent No. 1,029,374 style forearm fastening which was used on the extractor Model 1911 Sterlingworths. My March 1910 vintage The Sterlingworth Co. gun is and has the Fox Proof stamp on the barrel flat! They used a third style fastening, the F.T. Russell Patent No. 1,029,229 on the ejector guns, and eventually went to using the Russell style on all Sterlingworths extractor and ejector. These two styles are shown in the last picture here, middle and bottom -- http://www.foxcollectors.com/id%20locations.htm


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 Post subject: Re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:32 pm 
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I bought one you described as a 1910 at an auction. Not knowing what I bought until I research this forum. My serial number is 51342 and it has been reblued. I like to send and get factory specs on it. Is this still possible? The only downside is a custom H on one side of the stock. Could this have been done at the factory?

I need to apaligize because the serial number is 51428. I'm trying to download pics but new to this forum and stubeling in the dark. The barrel is 28 inches.


Last edited by Asnobatt on Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A. H. Fox Sterlingworth - 1910 or 1911 & other ???
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:28 pm 
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The only way to know for sure would be to order a letter on your gun from the Savage historian. For $45 Graded or $35 Sterlingworth (March 2015 prices) you can get a factory letter on most any Ansley H. Fox shotgun (Philadelphia or Utica) from

John T. Callahan
Arms Historian
P.O. Box 82
Southampton, MA 01073.

The information exists on the factory work-order cards, probably 85+% of which still exist. Send him the complete serial number and a check, and he can do the rest. That would tell you the specifications of the gun when it left the factory.

Quote:
The only downside is a custom H on one side of the stock. Could this have been done at the factory?


Very unlikely on a "made for stock" gun like The Sterlingworth Co. guns.

We'd love to see some pictures. Is your gun a 28-inch or 30-inch barrel gun? What style forearm fastening does it have?




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