Philadelphia "Palmer" Committee of Safety Musket
The "minuteman" of the American Revolution is perhaps the most iconic image of our war for Independence. These militias were comprised of civilian soldiers; ready to defend their communities at a minute's notice. These groups were usually managed by local "Committees of Safety" - organizations which formed and mantained local militias. These Committees of Safety often contracted with local arms maker to supply their militias with military pattern firearms. These weapons are known as "Committee of Safety Muskets" and their quality ranges from very fine to downright crude. Original Committee of Safety muskets varied a great deal in overall style, but in general they were copies of the British Brown Bess musket. They were always of military pattern with a bayonet lug and a large caliber bore. Usually they were from a mixture of both imported and domestically produced components and almost always found without maker's marks. They are considered to be the quintessential American Musket by collectors and the very first muskets ever produced for the United States military.
This particular Committee of Safety musket was built by on commission by David Stavlo to be an exact copy of an original Philadelphia contract Committee of Safety Musket made by Palmer. The original musket currently resides in a private trust in Pennsylvania. The original weapon was very similar to a Brown Bess, but featured some "dressed-up" ornamentation like delicate scroll engraving on the lock and a convex Long Land Pattern side plate. David started with a Pedersoli Brown Bess as a base. He removed all the markings from the barrel, lockplate, cock, and top jaw to prepare them for engraving. He also re-shaped the cock, frizzen, and frizzen spring finial to more closely replicate the components of the original Palmer musket. The lock and barrel were then hand engraved; replicating the original pieces as closely as possible.
David then turned his attention to the stock. This particular brown bess was stocked in American black walnut which is a perfect historically accurate wood for an American musket. He started the work by doing some basic stock defarbing- planing down the stock to the graceful dimensions of originals. He continued by cutting a "beaver tail" molding around the tang of the barrel-a popular feature on original 18th Century military arms. The lock moldings were also completely re-shaped and the Brown Bess "tear drop" finials were eliminated. The belly of the stock was also re-profiled to allow the butt to come to a subtle, swooping point. The stock was lightly antiqued before receiving a light stain and several applications of hand rubbed finish.
David then made a new, completely custom side plate and installed it into the factory cut side plate mortise already cut into the stock.
Finally the metal components were given a light patina to make them rust proof in the field.
This musket would be perfect for any Revolutionary War or War of 1812 reenactor who wants something other than a cookie-cutter Brown Bess for his impression.