British Pattern 1742 Long Land Musket by Farmer - dated 1747
- Product Code: FLA-2816-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
When it comes to antique military arms, there is probably no name better known than “Brown Bess”. The term is a generic reference to the iconic musket of the British soldier during the 1700s, and is applied to a wide variety of British musket patterns that saw service over the course of a century. While many stories and theories abound about the origin of the name “Brown Bess”, I am not aware of a documentable origin for the term. As authors Erik Goldstein & Stuart Mowbray note in their book, The Brown Bess “ An Identification Guide & Illustrated Study of Britain’s Most Famous Musket, “the nickname is obviously an affectionate one. Bess was a sturdy, dependable wench who felt good in your hands during desperate moments.” While the British military did not refer to the arms at the time with pattern or model dates as we collectors do, they did utilize terms like “Long Land Pattern” and “Short Land Pattern”, terms that are now fairly well known to most antique military arms collectors. The first of the muskets typically referred to as a “Brown Bess’ was what we now refer to as the Pattern 1730, which established the basic pattern that all British military infantry muskets would follow for 100 years. The Pattern 1730 was a produced from about 1727 to 1740 with “significantly less than 96,000” being produced during that time. The musket was about 62” in overall length, with barrel that was usually about 46” long, smoothbore and nominally .76 caliber. The musket barrel was secured to the stock by a single screw through the breech tang, several transverse pins through the stock, and by the mounting screw for the upper sling swivel. The lock was the classic Brown Bess “banana” shaped lock with a rounded profile, an unbridled pan and a swan neck cock. The rammer was wooden with a brass tip, and was retained via three brass pipes and a fourth tail pipe. The balance of the furniture was brass as well, including the buttplate, side plate, triggerguard and nose cap. The musket was improved circa 1740 with the addition of a bridled pan and beefier furniture. These muskets, produced from roughly 1740-1742 have been categorized as Pattern1730/40 muskets, and are in fact a transitional pattern to the Pattern 1742. The most significant change in the 1730/40 muskets was the adoption of the Pattern 1740 “double bridled” lock. This lock incorporated a bridled pan on the outside of the lock plate, in addition to the traditional bridle inside the lock that retained the tumbler. The Pattern 1742 Long Land Musket was produced from 1742 to 1750, and although the subsequent P-1748 and P-1750 were in production by the time it came to pass, the Pattern 1742 was the standard issue musket during the Seven Years’ War, which is better known in America as the French & Indian War. Like its predecessors, the Pattern 1742 was approximately 62” in overall length, with a nominally 46” long barrel of about .76 caliber. The total production of the muskets is estimated to have been around 106,900, which Goldstein & Mowbray base upon known orders for socket bayonets to accompany the guns. According to their research, roughly 1/3 of all Pattern 1742 musket production was shipped to the American colonies for service in the French & Indian War, with at least 15,833 shipped “for and with British troops” and an additional 14,798 sent for the use of colonial volunteers and militia. The guns were referred to in period British ordnance documents as “Land Service Musquets of King’s Pattern with Brass Furniture Double-bridle Locks, (and) Wood Rammers”. The Pattern 1742 was significantly beefier than its predecessors, with a much more robust stock that was better suited to the harsh life of military service and extensive campaigning. It also incorporated a much more robust triggerguard. While the earlier Pattern 1730 and 1730/40 muskets had utilized a brass nose cap, this feature was dispensed with on the Pattern 1742, although many muskets were retroactively upgraded with brass nose caps post-1748, when a steel rammer was adopted to replace the wooden one. After the steel rammer was adopted, many of the early production Pattern 1742 muskets had their upper and tail pipes modified for use with the new rammer and had a nose cap added at the same time. The Pattern 1742 was essentially replaced the transitional Pattern 1748 which remained in production only long enough to bridge the gap to the Pattern 1756 which was the last of the 46” barreled “Long Land Pattern” muskets to be produced. The Pattern 1756 was produced in significant quantities when compared to its predecessors, with between 200,000 and 250,000 being produced. While other patterns of “Brown Bess’ muskets would continue to be produced over the next 50 years, the Pattern 1756 brought an end to the era of the Long Land Pattern.
Offered here is a simply wonderful example of a British Land Service Musket, King’s Pattern, with Brass Furniture, Double-Bridled Lock & Wood Rammer, or more simply a Pattern 1742 Long Land Pattern “Brown Bess”, complete with bayonet. The gun is in FINE overall condition, and for a musket produced over 250 years ago, its state of preservation is simply outstanding. The musket has all of the expected features of a Pattern 1742, including the double bridled, banana shaped lock, wood rammer and wooden forend without nose cap. The fact that it has not been modified for use with a steel rammer, when taken together with the carvings on the stock, suggests that this is one of the 30,622 Pattern 1742 muskets that were sent to the American colonies during the French & Indian War. The lock of the musket is clearly engraved to the rear of the cock: FARMER /1747, and has the usual (CROWN) / GR engraved forward of the cock, under the pan. The lock is also marked under the pan with the sideways (CROWN) / (BROAD ARROW). The breech of the barrel is marked with a British military inspection mark of a (CROWN) / GR / (BROAD ARROW), as well as with a (CROWN) / (CROSSED SCEPTERS) proof mark. An additional proof is present on the barrel tang as well. The left breech is marked with a * / 2 inspection mark, as well as with the barrel makers initials I F. This probably indicates James Farmer, with the “I” being an archaic “J”. Farmer was a Birmingham based gunmaker who produced Pattern 1742 muskets for the Board of Ordnance from 1742 to 1751. He also produced the transitional Pattern 1730/40 muskets as well as the subsequent Pattern 1748 and 1756 muskets. His brother Joseph Farmer had produced Pattern 1730 muskets as well. James Farmer later partnered with Samuel Galton to form the firm of Farmer & Galton, and did a significant amount of Board of Ordnance contract business. As the musket is pinned assembled, I did not dismantle it beyond removing the lock to insure that it was original and that it had not been altered. As would be expected the lock bears a number of mating assembly marks both on the small parts and lock itself. It appears as if all of the lock parts are original to the gun, and if any are not, they are certainly period of use replacements as all have the same age, patina and wear. The interior of the lock plate is also marked with a crowned ordnance inspection stamp. The lock is mechanically functional, and amazingly, even after 250 years it can be called crisp. It, functions perfectly on all positions. The frizzen functions correctly as well. The frizzen spring is probably a period replacement, as it is somewhat cruder than what would be expected on a typical Farmer lock, but it may be completely original as well. The lock and barrel have a deep, dark brown, heavily oxidized patina that is untouched and uncleaned. The metal shows light pitting scattered over its entire length, along with light to moderate surface oxidation, but even so, the metal remains quite smooth to the touch. The barrel measures 46” and does not appear to have been stretched or “improved” in any way, which is a true rarity on early Long Land pattern muskets. The bore of the musket rates about GOOD overall. It is dark and very dirty, with scattered moderate pitting along its entire length. The wood to metal fit of the lock and barrel is quite good, and as both lock and barrel are marked by Farmer is quite certain that they are both original to the musket. The brass furniture has an attractive, dark honey golden patina. It also fits well. The side plate is maker marked on the inside, but the mark is not legible to me. The original brass wrist escutcheon is in place, but is unmarked, as is the buttplate. The three brass rammer pipes and the single tail pipe are all in place and appear to be original to the musket. The pipes show some minor damage due to wear and use. The tail pipe had a small nick missing out of its leading edge, as does the next pipe. Both nicks are old and minor, but are mentioned for exactness. The original bayonet lug is present 2” from the muzzle. An original, period pair of sling swivels is present on the musket as well. They show age and patina commensurate with the balance of the gun. They may be original to the gun, but they may be replacements as well. It is simply impossible to tell, although the chances that the original swivels survived with the musket for over 250 years are quite slim. A full-length, brass tipped wooden ramrod is present in the channel under the barrel. The rammer could be an original one, but the chances are so slight, that I have to believe this is a truly museum quality modern replacement. The stock of the musket is in really outstanding condition. It is full length and solid and appears to be free of any breaks or repairs. However, the chances of a Pattern 1742 musket surviving without at least some stock repairs are very low. I have to believe that there is probably at least some minor restoration somewhere in the forend, but I have not been able to find it yet. It may be visible with the barrel removed, but I am unwilling to drive out the mounting pins on a musket of this age. The stock remains in its original, unmodified configuration without a metal forend cap. The stock retains good lines throughout, with no indications of sanding, and showing only the smoothing and rounding to edges that happens with handling and use over two and half centuries. The incised beaver tail surrounding and at the rear of the breech tang remains well defined, with good edges. The stock has a long, stable crack in the bottom of the stock that runs from the front of the triggerguard, forward into the forend for about 8”. This appears to be an old drying crack and is quite tight and stable. A tiny grain crack is present at the rear of the lock mortise, and another very short and tight grain crack is visible at the rear of the beaver tail, behind the tang. The balance of the stock shows only the usual bumps, dings, wear and nicks that a military musket that is more than 250 years old is bound to have acquired during a service life that probably included not only the French & Indian War, but the American Revolution as well. The obverse buttstock appears to have the remnants of the Ordnance Department storekeepers mark, centered about 2” from the buttplate. Unfortunately, the mark is not legible. The obverse butt stock also bears some very non-British military markings. Near the wrist, just below the comb, is carved No 16, likely a Colonial militia rack number. Additionally, the initials E B are carved slightly further back in the stock, along with an unidentifiable geometric design. What appears to be IV is carved in the bottom of the stock, just in front of the triggerguard. This may be a Roman numeral “4”, or may be the initials “JV” or “IV”. It is difficult to know for sure. A small, worn, crowned inspection stamp is also present in the wood behind the triggerguard. The musket is accompanied by a correct style, period British “shield shank” socket bayonet. The bayonet is typical of those produced between 1740 and 1750. The bayonet fits about 2/3 of the way onto the gun. The mortise of the bayonet socket is slightly deformed, and the bayonet could certainly be made to fit well with only a little effort. The bayonet has the same thick brown patina as the gun and matches it well. The face of the bayonet blade is marked with a deep W makers mark, and has a small inspection mark on the flat portion of the shank near the blade. The bayonet has a 4” socket with a 2” muzzle to stud length and a 16 ““ long blade that is just under 1 ““ wide at the widest point. The blade tapers to very narrow, sharp point, has a flat face without a fuller and has two hollow ground fullers on the bottom sides of the blade. The socket shows some damage and may have been repaired during the period. The socket was engraved with regimental markings, but they are only partially visible and are now illegible. The mortise is slightly bent, which prevents the bayonet from fully seating on the musket. With a little work on the mortise cut, it will not bind on the bayonet lug of the musket and will seat completely.
Overall this is a really wonderful example of a scarce British Pattern 1742 Long Land Pattern Musket. The gun is in really attractive, untouched condition with a lovely brown patina on the metal, and has not been abused by cleaning. The stock is in really outstanding condition for an early production Long Land, and appears to be free of any major repairs or restoration, which is quite rare these days. It is very difficult to find a French & Indian War era “Brown Bess’ that has not had major stock restoration at some point during its lifetime. The buttstock carries a wonderful, period carved, Colonial (or possibly Continental) rack number, as well as period initials. It would be wonderful if the identity of “E B” could somehow be established. The musket is complete with a really attractive, matching condition “shield shank” socket bayonet that was produced circa 1740-1750; the same period that the musket was manufactured in. French & Indian War era Long Land Pattern Muskets simply do not appear on the market very often anymore, and this is a really outstanding example. This gun was almost certainly on the American continent for that conflict and almost certainly saw further service during the Revolutionary War. This musket will be a truly outstanding addition to your collection of British martial arms, especially if your collection centers on the period from the Seven Years’ War through the War for Independence. I am certain that you will be extremely please with this wonderful and scarce Pattern 1742 Long Land Musket, produced in 1747 by James Farmer.
Please note that due to shipping length in excess of 60" and high value, extra shipping charges will apply.SOLD