Hall’s Carbine 1849

Certificate of Authenticity

 Hall’s Carbine 1849

John Hancock Hall was born in Portland, Maine, in 1781.  He became interested in gunsmithing early in life.  Like other gunmakers of the era Hall recognized that interchangeable parts would revolutionize manufacturing.  His interest led to his first patent in 1811 for a breech loading rifle. He acquired a U.S. contract for his Model 1819 rifle which became the first breech loading rifle bought by the army.

Hall’s production innovations were revolutionary.  He invented machines to perform work previously performed by hand and his innovative designs for tools, gauges, controls, drilling and iron cutting machines, drop hammers, balanced pulleys, and machinery in general resulted in equipment that improved production, reduced manpower, and significantly advanced the progress of interchangeable parts in all areas of manufacture.  His methods have been praised as having “transformed the United States from an economy of workshop craftsmen to a nation of industrialized mass production.”

To satisfy demand the government let a contract to another noted American gunmaker and inventor, Simeon North of Middleton, Connecticut, for production of Hall’s rifles.  Between the two men and their separate locations thousands of Hall’s rifles were under simultaneous production. Later, Hall turned his attention to the invention of a carbine.  North’s company also received a contract for co-production.

Hall’s carbine was a .52 calibre smoothbore that featured a thumb lever to pivot the entire breech above the barrel for loading with a gas release hole beneath the breech to vent on firing.  The round barrel was 21” long, iron butt plate and trigger guard, fixed sight, one flat barrel band, iron nose cap for second band, saddle bar with ring, iron ramrod, and walnut stock.  Top of the frame is stamped “U.S. / S. NORTH / MIDLTN / CONN / 1849” and inspector’s initials are also stamped in the barrel.  The stock shows the final inspector’s cartouche on the flat above the trigger guard.

This is a fine original, and functional Hall carbine produced by Simeon North dated 1849.  “W. Anderson / Co. A” and a tiny 5th Corps Maltese Cross after the initial “W” was carved into the stock by its owner during the Civil War.  This weapon should not be fired under any circumstances.  It is an old and venerable antique.