This exceptionally rare prototype George Schalk rifle-musket along with its bayonet is pictured and identified in George D. Moller's "American Military Shoulder Arms, Vol. III" on pages 570-574. Per Moller, this rifle-musket is only one of two prototypes fabricated by George Schalk, a German immigrant who settled in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in 1854 where is made fine sporting rifles along with high quality violins. Schalk made the two prototypes for Rufus A. Wilder in the summer of 1861. Both prototypes have survived and are numbered 1 and 2. This example is no. 1, and, like no. 2, is incomplete. Note both barrel bands are drilled for retaining screws, but the stock has not been drilled for screws. Wilder invented several of the features demonstrated on the prototypes which he offered to the U.S. government. The design was turned down likely due to the Union's high demand for Springfield pattern rifles at the outbreak of the Civil War. The included sword socket bayonet mounts to the underside of the barrel. The way in which the bayonet mounts to the rifle is highly innovative. As Moller notes, "The bottom location eliminates the twisting effect caused by the weight of a heavy side mounted bayonet, when the arm is being aimed. Because of the bayonet's location, the ramrod channel was moved to the left side of the forestock. An extension of the bayonet catch stud, brazed to the underside of the barrel, also engages a corresponding mortise in the upper band, to prevent its rotation. The front sight is mounted on this band." It also features a modified Model 1817 rifle lock, German style tangent leaf rear sight, and "G SCHALK POTTSVILLE 1861" stamped on top of the barrel. The barrel, trigger guard, buttplate and barrel bands were browned. The lock, hammer, breech plug and side plate were casehardened. The number 1 is stamped on the lock plate, side plate, several screws, barrel tang, barrel, barrel bands and buttplate tang. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Very good with the metal surfaces having a dark mottled patina. There is deep pitting on the buttplate. The stock is fine with a repaired chip at the toe and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically excellent. As one of only two known this prototype Schalk percussion rifle-musket is a must have for the serious U.S. 19th century militaria collector.
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