January 20, 2006, 02:33 PM
Good Day. I am attempting to research a shotgun I have in my possession and thought I would give this a try. Any help and/or information is much appreciated.

The gun is a double barrel 12 gauge double trigger. It is stamped TRYON DAMASCUS Philadelphia, PA. The serial number is 44956.

I have also been told that the barrels are not "wrapped" Damascus like one would normally find. However, not having any knowlege of guns I am not sure what that means.

If anyone can shed some light or point me in the right direction I would be grateful.

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Jim K
January 20, 2006, 06:07 PM
George W. Tryon had several contracts for military arms in the pre-Civil War period, including a contract for the Model 1841 rifle. Whether there is any connection with the manufacturer of your shotgun, I don't know.

The so-called Damascus or "twist" barrels were made by twisting thin bars of iron and steel together, then heating them white hot and wrapping them around an iron rod, called a "mandrel", in a spiral ("barber pole") pattern. While the bars were still hot, their edges were welded together by hammering them. The breech end was either made up of thicker bars or of more than one layer.

When the wrapping and welding finally produced a tube, it was filed smooth and reamed out to make a barrel. While adequately strong when new for the old black powder, most folks recommend that guns with Damascus barrels not be fired. In the first place, even modern black powder is stronger than the old type and in many cases, rust and corrosion has gotten into the tiny cracks in the welded barrel. I have seen Damascus barrels that looked more like lace than solid metal.

The spiral pattern can be seen in most Damascus barrels, and can be quite beautiful. In fact, for many years after solid steel barrels came into use, many customers preferred Damascus barrels for their appearance, in spite of their being weaker and more expensive. Some makers even faked Damascus by making a spiral pattern on solid barrels.

I have no idea what you were told about the barrels not being "wrapped", as that is the way Damascus barrels were made; I suspect that the person who said that was either trying to sell the gun or was in error. It is possible that the barrels of that gun are fake Damascus, but unless you have it checked by an expert, I would assume that the marking is right, and indicates actual Damascus.

The fact that the gun has a serial number indicates it may have been of good quality, but I still recommend it be treated as a collector's item and not fired.


January 23, 2006, 05:20 PM
I appreciate your comments. I will continue to research the gun and see where it takes me. Thank you for your time.

July 11, 2012, 11:05 PM
I too own an old Tryon's Damascus. From what I have learned, your gun was made by Baker Gun Company, not Crescent as many others surmise. Based on the serial number which is very close to mine, production around 1915-1920. Do a search for Baker Batavia Leader or Baker Batavia Damascus and you will see that the Tryon' s is in fact a Baker. Hope this helps.

July 12, 2012, 05:44 AM
Perhaps the comment about the barrels not being "wrapped" refers to the very common practice of applying a damascus pattern to cast steel barrels. Damascus was the preferred method of barrel making but not cheap. Cheaply made barrels had a damascus or twist pattern applied to make them easier to sell.

July 12, 2012, 08:51 AM
Any gun with Baker on it makes my head hurt. :) Fwiw, here's a 2008 post on TFL by Harley Nolden that explains why...

"W.H. Baker, located in Marathon New York starting in or around 1870. when they moved to Syracuse New York and remained in business until 1886.

Baker gun company was also a trade name used by H&D Folsom on shotguns they retailed. Probably the guns from W.C. Baker.

Baker Gun company of Batavia New York from 1903 until purchased by Crescent in 1933. Crescent was later purchased by H&D Folsom.

There was also a Baker T shotgun which was a Belgium import by Sears."

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