FINE ATTIC CONDITION JOHN MEALS SIGNED, CARVED & ENGRAVED FLINTLOCK KENTUCKY RIFLE.
inv # 01-18499
NSN. 60” overall, 44.5” octagonal rifled barrel signed in script “John Meals” between 2 engraved stars. Fixed notch rear sight and inset brass blade front sight. This rifle is pictured and described in “Kentucky Rifle Patchboxes & Barrel Marks” by Roy Chandler 1971. (page 267, figure 511) John Meals (1789-1852) is listed in 1820 census as manufacturer in Menallen, Adams County, Pennsylvania with 6 workers including himself. He is listed just before his death in the 1850 census as a gunsmith also in Adams County. Kindig states “I believe he worked about 1825 and later even though he used a number of details from an earlier period. His work definitely represents the Golden Age of Kentucky rifle making. John Meals was a good workman, especially for the period. He made charming patch boxes, all of them different. He apparently was a gunsmith who did not repeat his designs.” No two rifles by John Meals are alike; he was extremely creative with his designs.
Rifle features curly maple stock with distinct incised C-scroll terminated in 8-petal flower with crosshatching in its center. Kindig points out “There is one little detail repeated in his engraving and also in his carving: a little leaf like design containing crosshatching or parallel lines in the crotches of the vine like details that generally end in C-scrolls.” Rifle is brass mounted with 4-piece pierced patch box with crosshatched engraved design, sideplate engraved en suite, large brass oval engraved with 4-pointed star on cheekpiece, engraved brass oval thumb plate, 8 inset engraved brass escutcheons rear of each keyway on fore stock, large brass pinned plate is found between trigger guard and ramrod thimble with no wood exposed in this area. Toe plate has central oval hiding patch box door release button. This may not be the finest Meals rifle made, but it may be the most unmolested and in beautiful attic condition.