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Be kind.

3008 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  MarlandS
My friend Ed who is 82, had me and a group of scouts over to his house last night to show us an old shotgun before we went out skeet shooting. He asked me to try to find out any information about it I could. I am looking for a book (since he isn't computer savy), or a website for me to print him off some info. First, sorry, I know nothing about guns. Second, I did look through this site to try to see if someone else asked about the same thing with only minimal success. So I tried not to ask a question that has been asked about a hundred times.
Apologizing in advance.

Here is what I know: Ed's Grandfather bought the gun sometime in the 1890's, or perhaps earlier. The only markings we could see on the gun was "S H Co", engraved on both sides near the triggers. The gun is a double barrel side by side 12 gauge. There are two hammers that are controled by two triggers, one in front of the other. (See I told you I didn't know much about guns.) The stock is wood, sorry don't know what kind, and has crosshatches cut into it. The last time it was fired was in the 1980's.

What I am looking for is information about SH Co, and is there any way to more accuratly date the gun?
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Quite possible that S H Co was Shapleigh Hardware Company of St. Louis. A large wholesale/retail business operating around 1900. If Ed's shotgun was made for them, the actual manufacturer was probably Crescent Arms, Norwich, Ct. or one of many Belgian companies. Can you describe how the breech opens (I'm assuming it is a breech-loading gun, not a muzzle loader) and are there any marks visible when the action is open or on the bottom of the barrel when the forestock is removed? Even if this isn't a Shapleigh gun, it is still most likely a basic utility shotgun that has much more value as a piece of family history than as a firearm.
AHNH: Thank you so much for your response. Is there anyplace I can find out more of the history of either the gun or the companies?
The breech opens (I hope I understand your terms..) by a lever on the left side (as you are holding it to shoot it.) You press down the lever and it opens so you can load it. I looked as closely as I could inside where you load it and could not find any markings. But I am going over to his house in the next day or so and will look again. What am I looking for?
Ed would never part with it. He has written up all the hunting stories for his kids and grandkids to read and printed them off in a little booklet. (You know, the older you get, the better shot you used to be.. :D ) He has several other guns: single shot .22, a .306 hunting rifle, and a 50 caliber something or other, but this is the gun he is most proud of. It is a gun that will stay in the family for a very long time, I am sure.
Again, thank you for your kind help.
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Does it look like this W. Richards pictured here?
Ed's Friend,
Look for just about anything. Crowns, initials, numbers, symbols. Note if they are in boxes, circles, ovals. One I suspect you might find is ELG* in an oval - the mark of the Leige, Belgium, proof house. It would be on the part of the barrels where the shells go in, possibly covered by the wooden forestock. For information on the companies I mentioned, you should be able to find something by doing a google search for "shapleigh-hardware" and "crescent-firearms".
MarlandS and AHNH:
Sorry for the delay, but it took me a couple of days to get back to Ed's house.
MarlandS: It is similar but not the same as the gun on the website you posted. The lever that opens the breech is more straight. And the hammers aren't quite as curvy either.
AHNA: You were right! There are markings on the inside when you open the breech. On one side is the number 2548 and a sideways letter before that. The letter looks to us to be a "G" but could be a "C". I don't think so because there is a line coming up from the bottom of the curve, but not a cross line line in the letter "G" here. On the other side is a mark, but we cannot tell what it is supposed to be. To me, it looks like a skeleton key. We did not take off the forestock to look for markings, but the same number "2548" is stamped between the barrels on the underside just ahead of the forestock. Again, thanks for all your help. Ed was very excited just to have a name of the company where it came from to put with the "S H Co". I took photos of it but cannot figure out how to attach them here. I will try emailing them to one of you if you have an email address here.
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I went out and read about posting images. ("Duh, read the instructions"). If either of you want to see the photos, you will have to send me your email address in a private message.

I was able to upload my pictues to the "album" area above. I hope this is enough to get some information as to the history of the gun.
The plates extending back on the stock appear identical ... um=4512057
Yes, the plate does appear to be the same size and shape as the shotgun you linked me to. So, I guess that means the gun was probably manufactured in Belguim and imported by the SH Co, who put their "stamp" on it and sold it. Anyplace you know I can get information about shotgun manufacturing in Belguim in the 1890's?

As a side note, I spoke with Ed yesterday, and he is very excited for the information I have been able to give him because of you and All Hat. Thank you so much.
three names to look for Anciens Etablissments Pieper , Simonis, Janssen & Dumoulin were Belgium gun makers from 1884 to 1905. , and Neumann Freres who was located in Liege Belgium circa 1863 - 1924

find a pic of these and we might find a match
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