Unsigned Henry Noll Rifle in “As Found” Condition Ca 1825
Though unsigned, this rifle is attributed to Henry Noll based on the similarities seen on many of his signed rifles. His signature resides in the artistic details of this rifle. Henry,
the son of the great rifle maker John Noll, learned his trade from and worked with his father in Franklin County, PA in the early 1800’s.
This example has seen much use over a long time. Originally a flintlock, it was altered to percussion using a replacement lock. At the same time the barrel was shortened at the breech (about 3 inches) and the fore stock cut at the muzzle to fit the shortened barrel. The original fore end cap and front ramrod pipe were repositioned. The barrel now measures 35 & ¼ inches.
Artistic details are intact on the rifle and in good condition. The brass patchbox, though missing the rivet on the lid, is one of Henry’s better examples with pierced upper and lower plates and a bird head finial. An eagle is engraved on the oval cheek piece inlay and a masterful thumb plate is engraved with initials “Y H”. Other engraved brass inlays appear on the stock. All metal mounts are original and in good condition; even the ramrod appears to be the original.
Moderately curled maple was used for stocking and shows wear. A crack runs along the forearm but there are no major wood losses. Incised carving in Henry’s recognizable pattern appears behind the cheek piece. The stock is light in color with little finish but has not been cleaned or refinished. I suppose Henry did not color the stock originally and it never acquired a heavy build up of finish. It appears to have been stored in dry conditions exposed to sunlight over the past 150 years.
This is a fine example of Henry Noll’s work in untouched condition that, with proper restoration, would be much more pleasing and valuable. Few rifles remain in “attic condition”..
Sold 21 Feb 2009