Here's a fantastic Swedish-made fowler that dates to the mid 18th Century. Sweden entered the 18th Century with its once great empire in a state of decline. The countries' territory had swelled to cover much of the Baltic region during the latter half of the 17th Century, but following a series of military defeats at the hands of an increasingly aggressive Russian Empire during the first decade of the 18th Century found Sweden's influence shrunk to a territory that wasn't much larger than the land it occupies today.
As a result, Sweden's influence on the material culture of the 18th Century is very minimal compared to that of its closest allies; France and the Netherlands. Eighteenth Century Swedish goods, particularly firearms, are extremely rare on the modern collector market; as there were comparatively few guns produced during this time; even when compared to other less-powerful Northern countries like Russia and Denmark.
Another reason for this scarcity was the countries' lengthy period of rule by high nobility; especially during the first half of the 17th Century. The system of serfdom that resulted from nobility rule discouraged, but never outright banned, the ownership of firearms by private citizens; not to mention the cost associated with purchasing a firearm would have been more than the average serf to be able to afford. For this reason civilian-style Swedish firearms are nearly nonexistent on the modern collector's market; and this is only the third Swedish fowler that I've ever seen.
This particular fowler is in very good condition. It shows a lot of Dutch/Germanic features in its design; the flat faced, faceted lock and sliding wooden patch box are distinctive characteristics of German built guns, while the chiseled furniture and relief carving around the trigger guard are very commonly found on Dutch-made pieces and are also found on Hudson Valley Fowlers - American made fowling pieces made by Dutch immigrants in New York.. These cultural influences are not unsurprising considering the lock is marked "Stockholm"- the countries' largest port city which saw a lot of European influence during the Eighteenth Century.
Mechanically, the lock still functions flawlessly with a solid half and full cock, as well as a crisp frizzen spring. The European Walnut stock is very sound with a few minor chips and cracks; as one would expect to find on a piece of this age. There is a period repair in the forestock - a small split below the ram rod channel, that is covered with a piece of bronze sheet.
The barrel is full length as evidence by its neatly mounted front sight. It features a beautiful octagon-to-round motif with chiseled barrel flats and two "wedding bands". There is a gold-inlaid "touch mark" at the breech of the barrel as well as a maker's name, which appear to be "Waldek", engraved on the lock.
The furniture is all original and matches the fowler in terms condition and design. The ram rod appears to be original as well.
Fowlers of this type were common sights in Colonial America, as Sweden's shrinking influence combined with the threat of an imperialistic Tsarist Russia sparked a fairly sizeable emmigration to the New World during the early Eighteenth Century; meaning this fowler may very well have been used in a colonial militia during both the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars.