Sunday, March 5, 2017

Parker, Snow & Co. US Model 1861 Contract Musket




























It took the Union the first couple of years of the Civil War to ramp up its production capacity to meet the war needs. It would be a number of domestic contractors like Parker, Snow of Meriden Connecticut, who stepped in to give the National Armory at Springfield the necessary boost in production to fully equip its armies and end the dependency on imports from Europe.

For example, the Union had imported nearly half a million Enfield rifles from Great Britain since 1861 but by the early fall of 1863, with domestic production in full swing, it had no need to purchase Enfields.

Prior to the war, Charles Parker and Snow had merged their operations to become the Meriden Machine Company. The company had both a machine shop and a foundry where they produced train wheels, steam engines, printing presses, and piano stools.

During the early part of the Civil War, Parker Snow had functioned in the role of supplier for various components, such as trigger guards and locks, for the Model 1861 which it sold to other contractors.

As the war progressed, their foothold on the Model 1861 expanded and so did their confidence. On Sept 28, 1863 Parker Snow took things a step further and acquired its own government contract for 15,000 Model 1861 muskets with 40” .58 caliber three-groove rifling barrels. Having an excellent machine shop, skilled workmen, and prior experience manufacturing components for the Model 1861, there is little doubt these factors helped the company fulfill 100% of its contract with all 15,000 units delivered to the US government by November, 1864.

Post war, the company became better known for its line of double barrel shotguns which we know today as Parker Brothers.




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