An Exceptionally Fine Double Rifle by Samuel & C Smith, 44” long overall, 28” Damascus barrels with very deep 9 groove 18 bore rifling, blade foresight, rib with 3 folding sight leaves. Engraved on the rib “Saml’ & C Smith Princes Street Leicester Square London” and stamped on the underside '18' with London Gunmakers proofs and numbered 4677. Scroll engraved barrel tang, breech engraved Smiths Patent around each nipple. Flat border engraved side locks, signed Samuel C Smith with dolphin headed hammers, scroll engraved trigger guard. Highly figured walnut stock, chequered at wrist and fore-end with silver escutcheon oval. Ebony ramrod with brass tip and worm.
The rifle in very good condition, very crisp rifling, made for Imperial caps, now with standard percussion nipples.
Samuel & Charles were sons & grandsons of gun maker William Smith – William Smith was apprenticed to a John Joyner in 1766, and then turned over to a William Shepherd in 1771. He was recorded as a gun lock maker in St James’s in 1792, and again in St Pancras in 1800. In 1805 (some reports say 1801 but this has not been confirmed) he established a business at 34 Tottenham Court Road and traded as a gun maker. In 1806 the firm moved to 2 New Lisle Street. In 1812 he patented an “early quick firing” gun lock (No. 3588). In 1817 he was appointed Gunmaker-in-Ordinary to the Prince Regent and moved to 59 Princes Street, Leicester Square. In 1820 when the Prince Regent became King George IV he was appointed Gunmaker-in-Ordinary and the following year moved to 64 Princes Street. By this time he had been appointed Gunmaker to the Emperor of Russia and the King of Bavaria. In 1825 (some reports say 1823) William was succeeded by his son Samuel (1794-1855) and the name of the firm changed to Samuel Smith (some reports say Samuel Smith & Co). Samuel patented a percussion cap and nipple, the “Imperial,” in 1830 (No. 5978). This cap was larger than normal and the firm provided interchangeable hammer noses to fit the different sizes. In 1831 Samuel submitted a percussion musket to the Board of Ordnance but it was rejected. In 1834 Samuel’s brother, Charles, joined him and the firm became Samuel & Charles Smith (Sam’L & C. Smith). Between 1835 and 1837 they were appointed Gun Makers to His Majesty (William IV) and also to the Duke of Gloucester. The firm continued to make flintlock guns until about 1850. In 1855 Samuel died. Presumably Charles had pre-deceased him, because Samuel’s two sons, also Samuel and Charles, took over the firm. In 1867 Samuel (Jnr) patented a breechloader (No. 1075). In 1870 the firm moved to 18 Oxenden Street, Haymarket, Samuel and Charles occupied these premises until 1875 when the firm closed down and they appear to have emigrated to Australia.