WHAT IS A
By John Groenewold
Copyright by John
Groenewold on June
was published in Airgun Hobby magazine,
When you mention H.
M. Quackenbush or
just Quackenbush to a person not familiar with guns, the first thing
which usually comes to his/her mind are the nut crackers and nut picks
made by the H. M. Quackenbush Company. Mention those words to anyone not
familiar with them and
there is no telling what response you will get.
response might surprise you
and include: bicycle, lathe, scroll saw, darts, stair rails, extension
ladder, bathroom shelf, and many more items H. M. Quackenbush was
you mention H. M.
Quackenbush or just Quackenbush to a gun collector the first thing
which usually comes to his/her mind is the .22 caliber rim fire rifles
made by the H. M. Quackenbush Company in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When
you mention H. M. Quackenbush to an
airgun collector the first thing which usually comes to mind is the
most common air rifle the Number 1. Most people, and many experienced
collectors, are just not familiar with the man, company, or products. Ask
someone who is responsible for the
invention of the common extension ladder or two wheel bicycle (as we
know it today, wheels of equal size and centrally located pedals) and
all you will get is blank looks. In fact, the patents for these items
are in the name of Henry Marcus Quackenbush. The
companys most common product for the most of its 131 year existence
was nut picks and nut crackers.
It was this lack of
encouragement from Bronson Quackenbush, Henry Marcus Quackenbush's grandson, which convinced
me to undertake
the task of documenting everything obtainable related to Quackenbush
other collectors became aware of
my efforts they began to apply peer pressure to publish these findings. Quackenbush Guns
resulting book. It contains a chapter devoted to the man, his life,
family, business, and company, as well as a chapter on each gun,
airgun, the targets, ammo, and much more.
All that aside, the
general gun collector who is aware of the rim fire rifles is usually
not aware that there are three different rifles (including a bicycle
rifle) with numerous variations present in each. These
variations can be used to date the rifles since they were not serially
this is explained in great
detail in three chapters of Quackenbush
easy-to-read tables are included to
make the process of dating a particular gun fast and convenient.
Very few airgun
collectors, no matter how serious they may be, know how many different
airguns were produced by H. M. Quackenbush. Let
alone how many of each model, when they were produced or sold, or what
the production quantity of each was. In
fact, there were 11 air rifles, 10 air pistols, and one pistol which
utilized percussion caps as a means of propelling a bb. One chapter is
devoted to the air pistols and one chapter to each different model of
the elusive Model Number 8
is, not only illustrated, but described in great detail in the chapter
devoted to it.
last Quackenbush air
rifle made was the Model Number 10. The
last one left the factory in the late nineteen forties.
readers will be surprised to
learn that many retail stores had NEW Quackenbush airguns on their
display racks well into the nineteen fifties.
As part of their
range of products
related to the shooting sports, H. M. Quackenbush offered a selection
of targets and ammunition.
actually 8 different metal targets and of course paper targets, too. Airgun
ammunition in the form of lead air
rifle shot (BB's), felted slugs, and darts were offered in several
fact, H. M.
Quackenbush made and sold airgun slugs and darts until 1976! The
machinery for these products was sold to
the Benjamin Air Rifle Co. of St. Louis, Missouri and they made darts
Quackenbush machine untill 1993. One
chapter of the book is devoted to the identification of the targets and
one to the ammunition made by H. M. Quackenbush. Each
target is identified and production dates and quantities for each are
discussed in detail.
reader will also
learn how to identify and date the different types of ammunition.
Quackenbush was quite an ingenious inventor, engineer and businessman. In
order to produce many of his products, he
had to invent and make the machines needed to produce those products. For
example, he invented a machine to
standardize shot size.
guns, when used with his shot, to function significantly more reliably
then any of his competitors guns. His
also functioned in most other airguns of the same caliber without
also invented a machine
to make felted slugs.
invented a machine to make airgun darts. In
fact this machine was so successful that he made and sold several of
the machines to competing airgun companies (Pope, Bedford and Walker,
of the airgun darts sold by
American airgun companies until recently, were made on one of those
Quackenbush dart machines.
surviving Quackenbush dart machine with all the transferring
documentation is in the author's collection. This
was in use by the Benjamin Air Rifle Company until December, 1993. Additional
descriptive details, illustrations,
production data, dates of manufacture, and much more can be found in Quackenbush Guns.
There are three old
Quackenbush catalogs reproduced in their entirety in Quackenbush
describe many other
products invented, made, and sold by H. M. Quackenbush, including a
scroll saw, foot powered lathe, stair rails, etc.
The author hopes
that his efforts
will provide useful knowledge to collectors and people interested in
Quackenbush guns, airguns, tools, and other implements.
more information or to obtain
a copy of the
Guns contact; John Groenewold, P.O.
Box 830, Mundelein,
future issues of
this publication for an in-depth article on the only Quackenbush Airgun
Dart making machine in existence.
You can order a copy
Guns" in our e-store on the "Books" page.