Towards the end of the 19th century, America was full of gunmakers. From the big boys like Colt and Winchester to tiny guys like Krider and Tonks. Joseph Jakob was one of these tiny guys, and the 10g shotgun you see here is one of his guns. It’s coming up this Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Poulin Antiques & Auctions. The sales starts @ 10:00 AM.
Jakobs was has a shop at 1156 Passyhunk Avenue in Philadelphia, PA. Other than that, little is known about him, though and very few firearms bearing his name are in circulation today (Maybe around 12).
On the one you see here, the action, barrels, and metalwork were sourced in Prussia from H.A. Lindner, the famous double-barrel maker behind Charles Daly shotguns. These parts were fitted and finished off by Jakob, and the gun was also stocked by him (or by people he employed for the task). This was a common practice and “makers” throughout the US did it with parts they brought in from the UK and Europe.
Lot #1130: JOSEPH JAKOB SxS SHOTGUN: Cal. 10 Ga., 2 7/8″. S# 3011. Bbl. 30″ of damascus steel. Mod & full fixed chokes. Top rib marked “Joseph Jakob-Maker 1156 Passylink Ave. Philada.” Anson & Deeley boxlock action with cocked indicators & fancy fences. Bbls feature Lindner’s crossed-pistols trademarks. Unique, full coverage scroll engraving featuring mountain village scene on floor plate with hunter on bottom of frame. Dbl. triggers. Extractors. Original splinter forearm of checkered walnut with engraved, pull down latch & fancy steel tip. Replacement straight-hand stock of checkered fancy walnut. LOP: 13 7/8″ over horn butt. DAC: 1 9/16″. DAH: 2 1/2″. Stock is cast off. Weight: 8lbs 13.3oz. Minimum wall thickness L. .042 & R. .044.
CONDITION: 40% brown bbl. finish an area of right pitting on right bbl. showing good damascus pattern. Action has sm. amount of original case colors in protected areas blending with silvery patina. Forearm has darkened finish with moderate wear having a chip on left side near tip. Stock has good finish with scattered handling marks. Good bores with areas of dulled appearance. Minimum wall thickness L. .042 & R. .044 ESTIMATE: $1000-1500.
More about Joseph Jakob
I found this info online. It’s from a book on classic American gunmakers. Judging by the “War of Northern Aggression” comments, I’m guessing the author was Southern:
“It appears Joseph Jakob hung out his shingle as the War of Northern Aggression commenced and at least the firm, or some variant & maybe Joseph Jakob himself, till 1905. He made percussion dueling pistols and muzzleloaders to the customers specifications.
In the 1870s he seemed to parallel William R. Schaefer in effort as both had 2 to 3 craftsmen working in their respective shops.. He must have been an obsessive-compulsive as his shop in every detail was as clean as a pin. One could not find the shop of Messieurs Purdey any more immaculate or more organized than that of Joseph Jakob. Also his workmanship was compared to that of Purdey at the time. Upon entry to the shop, one would pass thru a portal, where a half glass door hung, noting white curtains covering the window panes, and passing across a white surfaced floor that was so clean one could take lunch off of it. A few small rugs were neatly placed in the shop. All this cleanliness was due largely to the efforts of his daughter.
Prior to say 1890, one would have found several Joseph Jakob examples in a gun case with a set of glass doors. During the 1890s the guns were replaced by sporting weapon components and sporting related items. The demise of the firm of Joseph Jakob can be attributed to the lack of embracement to mechanization. After the truce of the War of Northern Aggression in 1865, one could not find a machine made sporting weapon in the U.S. of A. and the Brits had cornered the market. But over the next decade the scales were going to tilt in the other direction with respected to partially machine made and machine made sporting weapons. This transition forced Joseph Jakob’s shop from a multi-man effort shop to a single man shop, to pretty much a repair facility peddling shell cutters and the like. By 1890 the firm was listed as Joseph Jakob & Sons and the reorganization may have occurred earlier say between 1885 & 1889.
It was either the name change, or an address change, from 1890 foward till 1905 when the shop appears to have been closed. Something occured in 1899 and it may be that Joseph Jakob retired or expired and the sons continued for about another 5 years. This is purely conjuecture but it was a bumpy road for the firm from the mid 1890s to 1905 and possibly as late as 1909. “