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Old 04-25-2017, 05:01 PM
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Default S&W Gutta Percha Box types

Confused with the Gutta percha boxes manufactured for the Model 1 series S&Ws.

There are, IIRC, a few different types and / or designs plus there was a Cribbage counter box (if that's the correct name for it). Cowans sold one from the Robert Neal Estate auction in 2012. (Picture attached).

While organizing, I came upon a beautiful, undamaged Gutta Percha box exactly like the one from Robert Neal's estate.

Is this a "Cribbage" counting box or what is the correct description of it ?

I have seen Model 1s, in the past, in this same design gutta percha box as well as the "S&W revolvers picture box" as well.

About 15-20 years ago, a few members had researched for year prior, then went on a excursion to the original factory that made these GP boxes for S&W. The actually found remnants, pieces and I think a few molds. Can someone with tenure and direct recognition / association with the excursion please refresh my memory and help the young guns learn a little S&W history of this specialty of the Gutta Percha gun boxes.

I believe there was an article in one of the journals about this. if someone has this can you please scan it in for us all to read. Thank you.

Respectfully, Sal
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:38 PM
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Sal, the normally encountered Gutta Percha cases were made by Littlefield Parsons as were various "other" cases. S&W factory and collector correct cases were the 'Pistol' case and the 'Stand of Flags' case. There are numerous examples of S&W's being cased in other types of cases but the Pistol and Stand of Flag cases are the recognized "factory' cases for the Model 1's.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:50 AM
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Vern Eklund wrote the article in the Journal about the Littlefield-Parsons Gutta Pacha boxes and found the molds & dies, etc. Gutta percha was used to make many different types of "cases" or containers for many items besides revolvers. I've had , or seen, them with decks of cards, Cribbage boards, comb & brush sets, needles & thread spools, etc. I've also seen those converted from non-gun uses to gun uses, so if you are offered a S&W in a gutta percha case that does not have the Model One image on the lid, or the Stand of Flags image, beware. Some years ago, I had about 8 reproductions made up of the Gutta percha case belonging to Gen. George Armstrong Custer and sold these cases at S&WCA meetings as reproductions. They are exact replicas of Custer's case, as that case was used for the mold. I have seen them pop up occasionally as "original" S&W cases since then, however I had several small changes made, known to a few, in order to distinguish these cases from original S&W cases. Ed.

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Old 04-26-2017, 07:48 AM
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Ed, do you know if it was published in one of the S&WCA Journals ? If so, which Journal ? thank you, Ed. All the best. Sal
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:47 PM
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Sal, Vol. #21 -3; 87-09-01. Vern Eklund article on Gutta Percha cases.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaher94087 View Post
Sal, Vol. #21 -3; 87-09-01. Vern Eklund article on Gutta Percha cases.
Just my luck. I have almost all of the journals prior, and most from 1988 up but missing that one.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:59 PM
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Sal, Vern's article was reprinted in Book 3 of the 4 book set of Journal article reprints, pages 868 -886 and 889. Other articles on the Gutta Percha cases in those 4 volumes are : Book 1, p. 205-206; Book 2 p.338 & p.488 and Book 4, p. 1048,1050-1051, 1093, 1148 & 1186. Ed.
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:12 AM
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IIRC, this material was also used in picture frames often seen with civil war soldiers or folks wearing very different clothing than that found today. The photos are easy to recognize as the men are wearing their caps with the brim facing the front and the women are not exposing any body parts.
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:20 AM
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I have several Gutta Percha photograph cases from that era but, unforunately, none are big enough to fake a pistol case.....
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:30 PM
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Mike Maher sent along some additional photos. Thank you, Mike. Were these gutta percha boxes manufactured to fit all of the original Model 1 types, e.g.1-1-1 through 1-1-6 and the Model 1, 2nd or which models, specifically ?
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:05 PM
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Sal, it is my understanding that the cases were available after the introduction of the 1-1-3 around September-October 1858. Since the cases were offered as an accessory, and could be purchased separately, there are examples of Bayonet latched 1-1-1 & 1-1-2's that have had modifications made to the case to fit the latch. The modifactions were made by individuals; not the factory or Littlefield Parsons. In 50+ years of collecting I have never ran across an original 1st Model, 3rd Issue in a Gutta Percha case so I believe only the 1-1-1's up thru 1st, 2nd's were cased this way.
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opoefc View Post
Vern Eklund wrote the article in the Journal about the Littlefield-Parsons Gutta Pacha boxes and found the molds & dies, etc. Gutta percha was used to make many different types of "cases" or containers for many items besides revolvers. I've had , or seen, them with decks of cards, Cribbage boards, comb & brush sets, needles & thread spools, etc. I've also seen those converted from non-gun uses to gun uses, so if you are offered a S&W in a gutta percha case that does not have the Model One image on the lid, or the Stand of Flags image, beware. Some years ago, I had about 8 reproductions made up of the Gutta percha case belonging to Gen. George Armstrong Custer and sold these cases at S&WCA meetings as reproductions. They are exact replicas of Custer's case, as that case was used for the mold. I have seen them pop up occasionally as "original" S&W cases since then, however I had several small changes made, known to a few, in order to distinguish these cases from original S&W cases. Ed.

Ed, if you don't mind me asking.... why only 8 copies? Too cost prohibitive? Who made the reproductions? What ever happened to the molds and dies?

I have a fairly nice 1-2nd, I know I can't afford an original. Even if it were clearly stamped as a reproduction on the bottom or something..... I'd love to have a box for mine..... what a neat project.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:13 PM
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The experiment was just that, an experiment to see if a repo. copy could be made, and we had just enough material to make the run. It worked very well - better than expected, actually. However, once we had finished the experiment, the need for more copies didn't seem to to be a marketable endeavor, so the molds went on the shelf. Today, I think they would have to retail at $1,000 to make it worthwhile. Ed.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:23 PM
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In years past, I have had a few Gutta cases for the Mod. 1. Sold them years ago in Balto. and Vegas. If I remember correctly, the weak point was the hinge. Norm told me the hinge was brass and the pin was steel.
The pin rusted and bound up on the brass hinge. I saw one break once at a show, the dealer all most fainted. Just be careful if you find one.
They are neat. Best
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