Maryland Institute

Start from the bottom of the page and read up.  Lot of good updates worth reading.  Anyone with a Merrill or know anyone who's a big Civil War era firearms collector, please click the Contact link and send me a note.  Any feedback would be much appreciated. 

I found all these online, but did not capture sources to credit on my site.  Please reply if you have any of these carbines:  588, 1971. 3801,  5906, 7960, 8525, 12859, 14023, 14470, 16969. 

Any Merrill owners, if your carbine is in the 8000-12000 serial range, maybe yours has an anchor (for Navy ordered/issued?) stamped on the lever backside, below where the breech lever link connects to the lever.  Check out the serials at my Special Features  page.


Weeks of:

2021.09.13

I received consent from George at Susat Civil War Antiquest to share photos of his two carbines, 2557 and 9930.  Should be receiving some additional part assembly number photos sometime soon.  He picked up 2557 as part of Ray Geddes' Merrill collection at Redding Auction Service in PA.  Also received the green light from folks at Echoes of Glory International Military Auction House to share 4319 and 5702.  Lastly, I might have found another MLT from a very unlikely and old source.  Please read more at this MLT page.  The search is on to find out if it still exists and if so which individual or museum owns it.


2021.08.30

Nothing new to report in the way of Merrill finds, but I did receive a reply from an Executive Assistant at the University of Michigan Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures.  She provided a great list of tutors/translators, and for those who had emails I included them in my request to provide "volunteer" translation support for all the St. Petersburg Archives microfilmed documents.  Crossing my fingers that some of them will help, as well as provide contacts who might also be willing to join in on this rewarding, history-writing effort.


2021.08.16 

This week I received several photos of three Merrill-related firearms at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA, courtesy of Arms Curator Chris Goodrow.  Many thanks Chris for sharing photos of the 1841 Mississippi conversion, the 1842 Rifled Musket conversion, and rifle 8844.  The 1842 conversion is the only one of my eleven on this site that was manufactured at the Columbia SC Palmetto Armory.  If anyone could share knowledge of when the VP Eagle stamp was placed on the barrel left side near the breech (by gunsmiths at the Washington Arsenal), I could maybe speculate that this one was converted by Merrill for the Confederacy, maybe not.


2021.07.26 

It was a bit of a drought, until the last week.  Oh boy, I received an email from Walt, who inquired about the engraving on his carbine.  After a number of emails, I received some photos showing excellent engraving.  Check out Walt's NSN, engraved carbine with possibly a Lone Star Texas connection.  Next added was a 69x7? carbine from the Reaves collection at the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, with possible during or post-war connection.  Also in this great week's additions is carbine 16632 from Ken.  

Then came the flyer from RIAC that made this the greatest week of site additions.  George Moller passed away March 4th, and RIAC has over 300 of his museum quality firearms (incl. some non-firearm historical pieces), with 11 being Merrill-related.  Here are the beautiful pieces:  1841 Mississippi conversion 1842 Rifled Musket conversion1845 Jenks-Merrill conversion1847 Musketoon conversion (more photos to come), MLT carbineMLT 1829 Harpers Ferry prototype conversionCarbine NSN (engraved lockplate & lever), Carbine 271Carbine 6913, Carbine 8344 (more photos to come), Rifle 8100.  Check out rockislandauction.com for some most beautiful museum quality and ultra-rare pieces. 

I just had to ask for three more sets of Moller's rifles (non-Merrill) - the 1841 Mississippi "Morse" conversion (1852), the 1816 Rifled Musket "Morse" conversion (1839), and lastly the 1841 Mississippi "Lindner" conversion (1850).

I'm working on leads at the US Cavalry Museum, Fort Lee Museum, the National Infantry Museum, Ken's friend Bob and his engraved carbine, Lock, Stock & Barrel and consent reuest for their 12949.  

Lastly, I still need volunteers for Russian Cyrillic document translations.  


2021.07.05 

Here's a link to a really nice condition 9938 coming up at auction by Alderfer Auction.  New photos added as well for 7758 from The Hess Auction Group, plus new photos for 12205, courtesy of Rob Williams at Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center.  The carbine is on loan from the Gettysburg Military Park.  I created a video of Ray Geddes' prototype MLT, in the Merrill of the Month folder, and moved my 14112 and 12921 videos to the MOTM Archive.  Today the 10th I finally put together a video of all the identifiable model transition photos.  So many serial-ID'd Merrills on my site have too few photos, and horrible resolution, to make it very difficult to provide all the pinpoint serial transition Merrills.   


2021.06.28

It's been really quiet on the new Merrill finds, but did receive today the 29th some really nice 911 rifle photos from Morphy Auctions, showing extra part assembly number on parts, the globe(?) sight base and the under-barrel bayonet lug.  Lee Gray pointed out that bayonet lug location to me - definitely a one of a kind looks like from the manufactory. 

Then, a few weeks back I received all the wonderful photos from Boris Leostrin in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he lives and owns a tourism company (www.tourstpetersburg.com).  He graciously accepted the request to go to the St. Petersburg Archives and photograph about 180 documents microfilmed back 3-4 decades, related to Merrill's time there 1856-58 to convert Russian muzzleloaders(?) to his MLT patented breechloading system.  Maybe in these photos is reference to a trip with a Mr. Lamyer December 1856 from Riga to St. Petersburg - engraved on the patchbox face of a MLT prototype at the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nat'l Military Park.  I have a few leads on potential translation volunteers, but the more volunteers the better.  Know anyone?  


2021.05.31

Added a second video of my 12921 in the Merrill of the Month folder, this time showing all the parts and as-assembled.  Also, on or shortly after June 8th my contact in St. Petersburg, Russia should be providing photos of microfilm'd documents in two folders at the St. Petersburg Archives.  Crossing my fingers and toes that I'll be able to share some great historical information of Merrill's time at the Sestroretsk Armory 1856-57? converting Russian muzzleloaders to his breechloading lever system.  There's a great MLT prototype carbine at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP (Fuller collection) with an engraving on the patchbox.   Document photos will require translations, but hope my wife's iPhone app will do the trick.   


2021.05.24 

Added a video in the Merrill of the Month folder, showing my disassembled 12921 lockplate  parts, then each one as assembled.  Here is my 12921 folder with about every angle I could think to include.  Also, here are my 14112 Disassembled folder with plenty more hi-res photos.


2021.05.17

Hope some owners out there will help me with some measurements.  I have my 12921 and 14112 totally disassembled.  Enjoyed finally taking both lockplates apart, but found my 14112 tumbler has a third part assembly number. 

I focused on polishing up both stocks, and this time went with Minwax Antique Oil Finish.  Both turned out beautifully indeed.  Then, with both of them standing up on my workbench, I realized my 14112 looked wider at the grip from ovehead.  Indeed, with my caliper I measured the side-to-side width on 14112 at 1 23/32", whereas the 12921 was 1 31/64".  

If anyone has a 3rd model carbine near my serial and can disassemble, please take the width measurement at the grip.   

Three more Merrill carbines are coming up at the June Rock Island Auction - 10624, 10705 and 12548.  The first one, 10624 has a rare cartouche for Benjamin Hannis (BH). 


2021.05.10 

I've added photos of rifle 9606 that Frank Harrington had printed from a 2002 listing on Collectors Firearms.  If anyone has this rifle, please contact me.  Sure would like to add some quality photos.  Related to my Argentina Connection, I made another great contact in Hugo Campos, Curator at the Buenos Aires Museo Histórico de la Ciudad "Cornelio de Saavedra", and carbine 16637.  Great info and site links related to the War of the Triple Alliance.  Carbine 15782 is another new addition from Poulin Antiques.  


2021.04.26

I was photographing my 12821,  then disassembled it for my next video.  Cleaned up a number of parts, and realized my "8" was indeed a "9".  My now 12921 is not on the SRS's list of identified Merrills, but was still issued to one of the companies of the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry.  Fired off an email right away to Vonnie, researcher affiliated with Horse Soldier. 

I also noticed that my 12921 had a screw to hold the top of the mainspring in place, whereas my 14112 had a pressed-in piece.  I went back thru my carbine photos and narrowed down the change between 13293 and 13308.  If my shell 13299 had been complete, maybe that would have been the last one with the curved head screw.  

Found two more old sale carbines from Horse Soldier, and have two maybe three others to add this week.  


2021.04.12

I received consent from Grant at Lewis & Grant Auctions to share photos of their beautiful condition 1841 Mississippi conversion (1850).  There's also a very nice video in the Read More details.  Grant was ever so kind to let me know they have two more Merrills coming up at auction May 5-6, carbine 3351 and a Jenks-Merrill (my site #16).  Joel Bohy with Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers has a mint condition 9628 rifle for sale May 1st on liveauctioneers.com.  Larry Munther sent me an email this morning identifying serials for his Merrills:  319, 1208 (was Moore collection), 8351, 8585r, 11693, 12086, 13289, 15437.  Those not page-linked are still pending photos.  


2021.04.05 

New addition this week is carbine 5476 courtesy of the New York State Military Museum, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.  Only provenance is that it was procured several decades ago.  Received some photos from a septuagenarian collector, showing his Merrill half stock sporting rifle.  Hoping he will send more photos soon, as well as after some restoration efforts completed.  Another great find came from Mariano Morcos in Argentina and his carbine 18910, including a nice story.   Ernie Warren consented to my sharing photos of the rifle that he had sold some time ago (serial 911), 


2021.03.29

Along with the four new Merrill-related firearms that Rock Island Auction Company has coming up in their May auction, I found this morning an M1842 Musket conversion from Dave Taylor.  Pretty rough stock around the lever/receiver tang and grip, but it's another rare find indeed.  Thursday arrived and so did plenty of extra photos from Rock Island Auction Company for their upcoming May auction - 448, 8970r, Jenks-Merrill, 1841 Mississippi (1850).  Also, I found another 2-bullet mold courtesy of JJ Military Antiques.


2021.03.22

I received a big box, about three folders, full of Frank Harrington's research materials last week, courtesy of his close friend Dick Berglund. I've taken care of digitizing all the hard copy documents and photos. For the next month or so, I'll keep all his materials in the Harrington folder and several galleries. Great archives documents he captured on MLT and Remington and Ordnance officers.  Early April, I'll move the contents into my current layout. Can't thank Dick enough for sharing. 

On the 22nd, I received Merrill carbine 14985 photos from Anna at the Oshkosh Public Museum, with some really nice history to read.  Lastly, I re-arranged some MLT content, as Andrew Lustyik's first  MLT belonged in a new Conversions folder (with matching Springfield Armory Museum MLT), and the second went to the Sporting Rifles folder.  Received carbine 11125 photos from collector Judge David Fox.   Also, I have just a single photo from Amoskeag Auction Company and their 6676 on proxibid.  Was searching for "Randy" in my inbox, and an email from Randy Jones with American Arms and Antiques came up (from two years ago), indicating he'd have his sold section  up soon.  Went to his site today the 25th, and sure enough, I've  added 16052 - hope the soldier survived.  Maybe the carbine saved his life and he bought and kept it after the war for good luck. 

Randy from the Howard County Museum in IN responded to my general inquiry last week that they had a Merrill carbine 15479, and shared photos today the 25th.  Been a very good week...   Any history museums near you that have displays on the Civil War, please check for Merrills.     


Here down are specific dates of site additions:

2021.03.18

I ran a bing search on "Merrill rifle" earlier this week, and what hadn't shown up with just "Merrill" search was Bruce Hohler's very nice condition serial 6466 rifle for sale on his franklinrelics.com site.  In his write-up, he noted that he upgraded.  I contacted him about it, and he indeed made a nice upgrade.   Probably the best rifle on my site, 8162 only shows Bruce's new photos showing part assembly numbers.  I have a consent request in to montywhitley.com to share his photos on my site.  First time I've been to that site in PA - very nice and varied collection of firearms.  Here's a beautiful Jenks-Merrill carbine sold by Horse Soldier, #14 on my site.


2021.03.10

Larry Munther replied to my email on Monday and confirmed he's another Merrill collector.  He won the auction for Ray Geddes' prototype MLT in the Redding Auction Service last year and has sold it.  He also owns this beautiful MLT, and will be sharing photos of his Merrill firearms.  


2021.03.05

I've added photos of 10236 from the Royal Armouries in Leeds, UK, after well over a year trying to negotiate on a photo shoot.  Staff member there had sent me photos of a beautiful Greene carbine, which I wanted as well, but primary was the Merrill.  The curator finally consented to having staff take the Merrill photos and send my way, without having to pay the 50 pounds.  Well worth the wait.

On the 5th, I received a USB from Hubert Lum.  The anticipation was so well worth it.  Can't believe he was able to capture every possible photo of his MLTs that I could have hoped to receive.  I finished uploading all his photos last night the 6th (SN 59, SN 111, Prototype), as well as excellent photos of the two MLTs in  the Fuller collection at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP (SN 18, Prototype - very special engraving).  I have also uploaded several new photos from Hubert (provided years ago by Frank Harrington) showing Ray Geddes' MLT and several disassembled parts.  Check out the way this lockplate/hammer advances the primer tape.  Lastly is a great set of historical US Archives photocopies that Frank had sent Hubert back in 2010 related to MLT-related communications between Merrill and military/ordnance officials.   


2021.02.20

John Benson has provided photos of his beautiful, and maybe one-of-a-kind double-set trigger assembly Merrill carbine 753.   New photo of the stock forward of the trigger plate shows a "Q" I do believe!  Also, I found 13880 sold by Morphy's/James Julia back in 2016.  Not sure how I missed it.  Shiloh Relics has a really nice 8989 for sale.  Lastly, I think I've helped identify a second Confederate repaired/stamped Merrill carbine, see the last photo at the 7330 page.


2021.02.14

First on my list of updates is a beautiful, untouched Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas shotgun that is of great interest to me.  Also added to my carbines list are 2980 from Brent's Antiques, 7330 from Ron and 14349 from Switzer's Auction & Appraisal north of the border.  Also, Lindsey, Archivist at the UMBC Library provided six excellent tif files from their Special Collections, with two photos on each, from the 1880 Baltimore sesquicentennial.


2021.01.25

Another collector came thru with some pretty beautiful Merrills - MLT 183, additional photos of his Merrill carbine prototype (former Bill Moore collection), 241, cased 8322, engraved 8967 and 15132.  Also this past week, I added 12121 courtesy of Eric Slaughter, 3477 from Charlie Harris, and 783 from the Gael.  I also received from Charlie a patchbox that I believe fits a Merrill, but has no part assembly number (PAN).  I checked all the carbine and rifle patchbox photos, and all had PANs.  Polished up better than I had hoped, and maybe in the spring I'll be able to donate it to the State Historical Museum of Iowa, and their 5391 carbine that's in need of a patchbox.


2021.01.19

I'm hoping to have several more Merrills to add in the coming month.  Thought I'd just add a note here that I totally missed the difference in patchboxes until I picked up what may be a Merrill patchbox, only it doesn't have a part assembly number on the back.  Cleaned up beautifully with maybe a dozen polishing cycles with Flitz.  Patchboxes up to 949 have the exposed hinge, with 962 forward having a flat face and hidden hinge.  As for the saddle bar screws, looks like up to 2557 the heads are flat/raised, and 2598 (poor image; 2834 better image) looks oval head shaped.  I added content to the renamed/now Downtown Baltimore page.


2021.01.06

I've added a new contributor's research page to my site, The Russia ConnectionI'm hoping to add more evidence in the coming months.  Also have three new Merrills from Rock Island Auction Company - 9255 , 12678 and 14794.  On the 8th, I also received a number of photos from Melissa Miller at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, National Park Service:  carbines 552 and 560, rifle 9173, MLT 143, and a Starr derringer.


2021.01.01

I consolidated my list of serial-ID'd Merrills with Frank Harrington's list, as I added a bunch of new finds this year.  Turned out only a few were also on his list.  I also included some unique rifles from Phillip Faller's articles.  Please check out the updated Serials page, by scrolling down until you see the new section/paragraph.  


2020.12.21

I received consent to share the Fold3 images I found related to Merrill - evidence well worth checking out.  I'm looking on the site now for any additional information related to the soldiers who had provenance to the firearms.  I've also uploaded some new newspapers.com articles.


2020.12.19

I found Another Merrill Sales Brochure that was on the Library of Congress' website (loc.gov), and just tonight read thru it and converted to jpgs.  You'll see the cover page and mention of E. Robinson.  Not sure why the document included Merrills. 

The Merrill illustrations are the best I've seen (first instance of globe sight), with most subsequent pages being the same as  those in my sales brochure page of photos.  I saw the other day in a search result a sporting rifle just like the illustration, estimated $2,000-$2,500, that sold this past year for a ridiculously low $600.  


2020.12.14

Received consent to share photos From Eric at TGL Teknik in Sweden.  They bought 14085 from an auction house here in the states, and is a really nice find.  Also for everyone to check out is 18879and I have more questions to ask my contact at Chicago Regimentals.  Redding Auction Service has 2557 and 13018 coming up at auction January 16-17, part of the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia that closed in 2008.  Lastly, found 2326 on iCollector 12/14 as part of  the Historic Texana Auction,  courtesy of Burley Auction Gallery.


2020.12.07

I received photos of carbine 5391 from Curator Leo Landis at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.  Neat story on how I made the connection, so please hit the Read More link when you access the page.  Also added carbines 6876 and 7037 from Milestone Auctions.


2020.12.02

Picked up a great piece of paper with what I believe to James H. Merrill's signature - an 1859 order and payment for two kegs of gunpowder and three different types of percussion caps.  


2020.11.21

I received a rare email from a visitor to this site.  He has what we learned is an 1842 Musket with the Merrill conversion.  Hadn't realized I had the key to knowing the difference between the 1842 Mississippi rifle vs. the 1842 Musket, until I started looking back at all the photos I had in my database.  Opened a photo from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum, and plain as day were the two, one above the other.  Check out my updated Conversions pages.


2020.11.19

Please check out my new page - My Favorites, a collection of links to pages on this site that I hope everyone will access and enjoy.  With so much content that I've added to this site over the past year and a half, I'm sure many pages unfortunately has just been buried in old, old updates on this page, or are too far down the selection lists.  


2020.11.12

Been some time since my last update.  Found three more carbines that I've added to this site - 5706, 7624 and 14100.


2020.09.30

Thought I'd post this great write-up on 3726 by Jesper from Sweden.  A great read and plenty of photos covering his efforts to restore and significantly improve on Merrill's original designs.  Pardon the long path, but for some reason embedding the link only takes me to the main forum page..  

https://1858remington.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=59c0b408f55b440c530e3b0e73d33d5e&topic=12485.0


2020.09.24 

Over the past week+ I found two Merrill carbines at International Military Antiques (ima-usa.com).  Found them on separate "past week" google searches, but they were both sold.  Received consent on sharing the photos, so please check them out here - 12688 and 14637.


2020.08.24

Please check out my newest acquisition, a Birmingham UK manufactured shotgun, possibly sold to Merrill where he added his own name and sold at his retail store.  Had J.H. Merrill on the lockplate and just had to try to buy it.  Was on eBay for lot more than I could afford, but after eBay changed their policy and yanked her listing, I talked her into selling it to me.  Received it and went right to work disassembling and cleaning and photographing it.  Please contact me with any information, especially any shotguns out there that are very close in design.  Sure would like to someday have a new stock to go with the old parts.  


2020.08.09

Rock Island Auction Company has a beautiful Mississippi conversion, and I have all the great photos here for the 1841/1848.


2020.07.26

I found two nice Merrills (8192, 15010) on Alderfer Auction's website.  Also, Bob Carlson provided excellent photos of his 8945 rifle, owned since 2005.  At one time this was part of The Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum, then was sold by Rock Island Auction Company.


2020.07.18

A month of new find Merrills are part of this update.  Two great new rifles, 654 and 3073, plus a cartridge bag and bayonet 1733 from Colbi Rosenthal, five carbines coming up at auction from Rock Island Auction Company (2241, 4435, 6864, 7012 and 13228).  Jim as beaglecon on gunbroker added 12172.  Another great carbine from Horse Soldier is 15431.   Holts Auctioneers has their 10602 for sale in the UK, and Tony Cribb has 3726 and 7581 as well for sale in the UK.


2020.07.05

Over the past month I've been communicating with Fede from Argentina.  I've been searching several months trying to learn what happened to Merrill's unsold 3,800 carbines -  as mentioned in Terry White's book American Manufactures of Combustible Ammunition.  Terry referenced Tsar Alexander II as a potential buyer, so I emailed 4-5 Russian military museums - zero responses (included full text translations too). 

Earlier this year I found a carbine for sale with a Buenos Aires stamp on the right stock.  Not more than two weeks later another popped up for sale in the UK (John Carlin at JC Militaria).  One connection led to another, that led me to Fede.  My new web page The Argentina Connectionwill shed light on many of those unsold carbines, so please check back periodically.  Finding Terry's book was a very important motivating factor in my building this website. 


2020.06.29

Another great find on eBay yesterday is  sadly a very badly damaged, parts missing J.H. Merrill stamped double-barrel shotgun, courtesy of Kristina Lambert and her eBay store mariasantiqueandvintage).  If anyone can help shed light on this first J.H. Merrill stamped(?) shotgun I've ever seen, please contact me.  I've never seen a shotgun with two off-centered  brass bars that must have had four wood screws each,  and no release lever on the top.


2020.06.13

Yesterday, I successfully wrapped up the week-long effort to weld the two ends of my breech lever link ends, as both were broken/missing and were that way when Joe Stepongzi bought the Merrill hanging on an antique store owner's wall.  So happy she's back to operational condition again.  Check out my interim Merrill of the Month video, then check out the before photos of my 12821.  Should have a few great contributor video additions in the coming months.


2020.06.09

I joined a group last month, forum.cartridgecollectors.org, as I received a message from someone that an Argentinian (Fede) was a member there, and might have some information related to Merrills.  He provided consent to share photos of an Argentine-labeled Merrill cartridge box, and also provided some very promising information, that if confirmed as James H. Merrill-related, could be Argentina government where Merrill sold 2/3 of his 3,800 unsold carbines.  Sure hope the Museo de Armas de la Nacion opens up soon.  


2020.06.04

Roy Marcot provided consent to sharing his article Remington - the Early Yearsat American Society of Arms Collectors, including the 170 Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas carbines.  Also, Bill McCarthy provided an awesome link to a book written back in 1880 about the evolution of equipment used in manufacturing firearms to allow for significantly improved parts interchangeability - Book on the Manufacture of Interchangeable Mechanism

Also, last week I received new photos for 1719 from Paul T. Scott, who contacted his brother David W. Scott III who provided updated photos of his 9305.  Forgot to ask who is the elder.  


2020.05.25

I've added another research page Levers (showing serials), modified photos for the lockplates -  Lockplates (showing serials) , and finally added a  Serial Mismatchespage.  So many Rock island Auction Company sales had one or two max photos of lowest resolution. 

I'm working with the latest sellers of carbines 5971 and 6602, as the owners have each other's lockplates, and I'd really like the owners to communicate with each  other on possibly swapping lockplates.  Here's the great test of part assembly numbers matching.  Could the owner of both carbines sometime in the distant past  put the barrels/receivers on the wrong stocks???  


2020.05.20

My new contact Octagenarian Collector provided some additional photos today of his ummarked and likely prototype Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas full stock rifle, plus his half stock sporting rifle (compare to the Smithsonian's patented half stock sporting rifle with MLT plate).  He also provided photos of his 1841/1851 Harpers Ferry Springfield conversion Other than the patent 40,884 rimfire carbine at the Smithsonian, these two MLT's might be the rarest in private or museum ownership.  Every new find is special, but these three are really, really extra special.  Thanks collector.  


2020.05.19

Had a nice discussion last week with Bob at Redding Auction Service in PA.  Found the site that had three Merrill-related firearms, and he just emailed consent to share the photos by one of the owners.   A great number of Ray Geddes' MLT are now available on my site.  Also, 6933 and 18790 are beautiful carbines up for auction.  I'm working with a new connection on three very unique Merrill firearms...


2020.05.09

Added two new finds - 12341 and 2272.  2272 was one of my few finds using archive.org's wayback web archived searches - from 2002, with Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers. Resource there was able to send me a photo of the auction page, including a few other firearms.


2020.05.06

Here are the several  additions in the past few weeks:  new listings from Poulin Auctions (2175, 7655, 14203, 16540); old listings from Wehrly's Auction Service (7758), Horse Soldier (37156602, 7095, 8015), Karlan's Arms & Antiques (8753), and Hartzell's Auction Gallery (12308).   I'm hoping for consent from Redding Auction Service to share two upcoming auctions for Merrill carbines, as well as one MLT owned by Ray Geddes.  I also received consent to share 16 Merrills sold by Amoskeag Auction Company photos.  Just search on the name Amoskeag.  I'm working with John Alexander and Bill McCarthy on what will be an awesome Equipment page - like those used by Merrill at his state-of-the-art manufactory at the corners of North and Belvidere Streets, just south of the Belvidere Bridge. 

Forgot to add that 3715 is the first Merrill I've seen with a BH cartouche.  I had taken photos of every cartouche drawing/rendition from the Daum/Pate book US Military Arms Inspector Marks, and there's only one BK - Benjamin Hannis.  The book is back at the library, but when the stay-at-home orders are lifted, I'll update my Cartouches page with his biography.  Need to check other Merrills around the 3715 serial number for other potential BH cartouches.


2020.04.23

Not sure how I missed the Half stock sporting rifle (#4) sold by Little John's Auction Service a few years ago, but it's in my patented library under Merrill, Thomas & Co.  I also cleaned up the patented and conversion folders.


2020.04.19 

I've found a number of new Merrill-related firearms, especially this past Saturday via the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.  Several firearms were listed in search results over a year ago, but there were no photos.  I received consent from firearms collection curator Dave Miller, so just search on "Smithsonian", click on the Gallery, and you'll see ten (10) new additions to my site.  Greatest find in this journey with Merrills is the prototype carbine that utilized rimfire cartridges, with a reply from David on the 22nd that I've added to the page that is a great addition to this carbine's story.  I also added 1180r 7083 10651 12138 1259315016, uploaded some new photos of Hubert Lum's MLT's and rearranged that library, and added/updated Merrill libraries related to the former Bill Moore Collection.  


2020.04.10

Finished adding Volumes 9 & 10 - see the Miscellaneous library (bottom left page).  Also, received loads of disassembled 7809 parts photos from Gabe Peterman.  Great photos including four new locations for matching part assembly numbers - the tumbler backside (that's facing the backside of the lockplate), the sear, the bridle, and backside hammer right near the tumbler shaft.  My 14112 hammer had its part assembly number stamped further away from the tumbler shaft.  I gotta see if my lockplate screws are free and can expose these part assembly numbers as well.  


2020.03.31

Added some additional photos for the 1842 Harpers Ferry Springfield conversion (1852), and added Volume 8 - Soldier Life; Secret Service.


2020.03.29

I learned how to use the wayback tool at archive.org to search contents and photos of old/archived websites.  Hit many sites, and saw many Merrills but were mostly descriptions without any photos archived.  Did find one (11058) from one of Dennis Fulmer's archived website fulmersantiqueguns.com.  Email me if you need help with the tool.  It's waycool…  Dennis also sent me the only photo he still had - of a likely Confederate-converted rifle to muzzleloader (1180), similar to 2618 I already have. 

Also, received photos of carbine 12821 from Joe Stepongzi that I'll be acquiring when funds are available.  Needs some TLC, but that's exactly what I was hoping with my second full Merrill purchase (also have shell 13299).  

Lastly, I added all the photos for Photographic History of the Civil War - Volume 7 (Prisons and Hospitals).


2020.03.24

Added 5571 and 13173 to my list of existing Merrills, consent of Scott at auctions.gunrunner.com.  I'm also in contact with a Collections Technician at the American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT (gotta visit some day soon I hope) on a number of topics, one of which is photos and/or diagrams of any machinery at the museum that were also used by Merrill and sold in 1867 after his creditors came knocking, forcing foreclosure and sale of the machinery.  


2020.03.20

Over a year ago, I found The Photographic History of the Civil War - in Ten Volumes on babel.hathitrust.org.  Can't stress enough the greatness of that website.  I had used Adobe Reader back then to convert every volume pdf file to jpg's.  However, all the photographs came out in horrible resolution.  So, I went back to the babel site, downloaded all 10 volumes as jp2 format (hi-res images of each page), and just completed saving all the volume 1 jp2's as jpg's, so I could upload them to this site.   Also, for ease of viewing I rotated several to landscape.  Volume 1 images are now in my Miscellaneous folder, lower left on the Home page.  The rest should be available by Sunday night.

In that same folder I've uploaded photos of the 15 or so Confederate currencies I picked up.  Most are very worn, and I have two that I couldn't identify dates of printing, so if anyone has that expertise please send me a note.  I'd also like to know if any are counterfeit.            


2020.03.15

I added carbine 10199 to my site (have link for current auction on gunbroker.com) plus 13293 from Tony Cribb Ltd in the UK, uploaded three patents to the Starr Patents site, and added some really neat newspaper clippings to the New Newspaper Articles page.  Lastly, check out the patent US40,884 that Merrill received for his entrance into the rimfire cartridge firearm.  


2020.03.07

I realized I had some additional photos and details to add to the two patents for Merrill's cannon - an additional design illustration (side view) for US20,608, based on the as-build "cannon by the door" article; and better design illustrations and the previously missing patent office page for US23,306, with the model recently being sold at an online auction.  


2020.03.04

Received an email from Gene West of civilwararsenal.com forum.  Made contact with a recent owner of a beautiful  Harpers Ferry Springfield 1842 (1952).  Please take a look in the Conversions page.  I need to write up all the unique features between the 1841 and 1842 Springfield conversion, as well as those Mississippi model features.


2020.02.21

The University of Maryland, Baltimore College library has in its Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe collection a most wonderful historical document, related to the Civil War.  Please go to the Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe page.  


2020.02.11

Great news - folks at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum provided an awesome, hi-res photo of their Merrill carbine, serial #1601 left side and is confirmed as the first Merrill with the George G. Saunders cartouche.  It's also the very first instance  (and only) where the cartouche had to be stamped before the saddle bar was installed.   


2020.02.10

Weeks back, I received from Dick Berglund the list of Merrills that Frank Harrington  had recorded during his collecting years.  When I was done categorizing all the data by owner/seller, I counted over 240 NOT on my website.  Please check out Frank Harrington's List page and contact me if you are owner of any of them.  Couldn't believe he had so many rifles listed.



2020.02.08

Here's an off-topic post, but one I really loved finding last night. Several months back, I found historical Merrill-related documents at free sites like archive.org and babel.hathitrust.org.  My all-time favorite find is in the Books, Pubs collection - Parts for Small Arms, last selection in the group.  Provides all the part names as provided to the government by the arms manufacturers.


I never really thought about searching for Harper's Weekly until after missing out on several weekly originals for $99.  Babel has all the Harper's Weekly you could ever want.  Click on the links below, then on the left side click "Download Whole Document (PDF)".  They're 750MB+, so be patient.   1859  1860  1861  1862  1863  1864  1865  1866  1867  1868  1869



2020.02.06

Three weeks ago I picked up the book U.S. Military Arms Inspector Marks by authors Tony Daum and Charles Pate at a small town public library about 45 minutes away.  I had all these Merrill photos and went to work identifying as many as were still unidentified to given inspector marks.  I also sent an email to publisher Stuart Mowbray, who on the 30th replied that he had forwarded my email to Charles Pate.  Charles replied a few days later with his consent to use content from their book, along with providing some great additional information not in the book about Thomas K. Laley.   Please check out my new Cartouches page in the Research tab.


I'll be searching for any photos of the inspectors themselves, as I did for those who provided testimonials in James H. Merrill's sales brochure.  Individuals' photos add so much to the history and research I'm trying to convey. 


2020.01.17 

New galleries are now under Research | Scrolling Thru Parts - Carbine, and ...- Rifle, entitled Barrel/Receiver Underside.  Also added 5906 as the third barrel/receiver/lever only find.  Someone out there bought a complete stock 5-6 years ago.  If looking to sell, I'd like to buy it.         


2020.01.15

Received additional photos from Gene West at Civil War Arsenal forum and his 11468 (rare double-dot assembly number), and from Morphy's and 8761.  The  Part Assembly Numbers page and Scrolling thru Parts - Carbine under Research keep growing.  Also received from Dick Berglund the list of Merrill serials that Frank Harrington had documented during his many connections.  I hope to make some connections and request  them to share photos and histories/provenances.  


2020.01.06

I made it thru all the carbine photos and descriptions, and captured all the special markings I could identify.  Later this week, I'll do the same with the rifles.  Check the Special Features page for specifics.


2020.01.02

Having a separate section for Bill Moore's book, courtesy of Gerald Jordan, just wasn't enough.  I went ahead and added all Bill's Merrill photos where I already had folders and photos from contributors (125, 270, 366, 731, 1081, 1125, 3476).  For those that are in folks' private collections or museums I'm not aware of, I created new folders (493, 1023, 1208, 1806, 5246, 5312, 9953, 12968, 13939, 15765, 15910).  Wherever Bill/Gerald identified special features and/or markings, I tried to add those descriptions.  


2019.12.31

John Carlin with JC Militaria in the UK gave his consent to use his 18794 photos.   He'll be sending hi-res photos my way next week, including photos showing part assembly number on several parts.  


2019.12.28

Made significant updates to my part assembly number analysis and contributors.  I also added a page with Merrills by company by regiment (see Research pages).   


2019.12.23

Talked to Rafael Eledge and he provided his consent to using photos of his Merrills sold (12718, 14097) and currently for sale 15964.


2019.12.21

I added photos of a letter from Francis O'Neill with the Maryland Historical Society, plus two census records.  If anyone lives in Baltimore or planning to visit the city, please contact me and maybe you could do the investigative/photographic work I was hoping to do this past fall.  Wherever I have "MISMATCH" in the Merrill carbine details, I mean that parts do not match other Merrills in that carbine's serial range.  Found a recent Merrill for sale, at Horse Soldier (4791) with book by Steve Knott and his new book “Captured & Collected” firearms captured, repaired and reissued.  I need to pick up the book.  Author mentions a handful of letters that were stamped on certain parts.                    


2019.12.14

Received additional photos from friend of Hubert Lum, including additional photo details.  Also added the following carbines:  4791, 4987, 12268, 13845, 14678 and 17833.  4791 has provenance as a Confederate repair, 12268 issued to the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry, and 17833 shows provenance as shipment to the Argentine government (Buenos Aires stamp).  Looking to find evidence thru the Argentine Army Museum of any contracts directly with Merrill, as well as any new Merrills to include on my site.  The fun continues.  I also added a number of photos related to the Merrill prototype cannon and model.


2019.11.11

Rick at Rick's Gun Shop in VT has carbine 14013 for sale on gunbroker.  He hadwith plenty of photos in his auction, and has another one to upload in the near future.  What i didn't realize was that I had another carbine with that number.  That lever photo wasn't 100% clear, so I moved it to the Unidentified folder.  I was sure on the 14x13,...  Oh well.  To the buyer of the  11990 carbine with SRS research confirmation, please contact me.  I'd really like to include photos here.  Thanks.


2019.11.06

Dawn at Rock Island Auction Company provided plenty of awesome photos of their 11213 carbine with wooden case, cartridge box with belt.  I also shuffled around a number of firearm-related folders to properly be under MLT or MTCo.  


2019.10.24

Another nice addition to the carbines is 913, on gunbroker by Black Swan Antiques.


2019.10.20

Been too long since my last update.  I had processed those Gerald Jordan negatives, and are now in the folder with the William Moore book images.  I'm going to see if any online colorizing service will convert them.  Other nice additions are five from a kind collector (230, 4599, 6651, 12042, 16793), updated content from James Rivest on his 3049, 5579 and 7753 from Morphy's/James Julia, and 7641 from the NRA Museum in Springfield MO.  No luck from the owners of the Totem Bight Museum in AK. 


2019.08.16

A soon-to-be-named contributor was able to receive consent from Gerald Jordan to use the book Merrill Single-Shot Breech-Loading Percussion Carbines.  Gerald also stated that he had all the original photos that will be coming my way.  I also received consent from Poulin Antiques to share the following Merrill carbine photos: 3170, 6863, 7300, 8298, 11561, 11844, 12169, 14849, 16682,  There's also a sporting rifle I need to contribute to them.   I have some good updates planned next quarter, so please check back periodically.  


2019.07.14

Finally made it back to the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.  Patrick Allie was gracious in taking the three Merrill-related carbines off the wall and into the back room.  Lighting was an issue, as was my digital camera not flashing worth squat.  Please check out 1954 (incorrectly marked 1211 as that was lockplate) and 2204, plus Jenks-Merrill #6. 


2019.07.07

I've finished my efforts to give photos and biographies to all the people Merrill had included in his The Merrill Rifle sales brochure.  Please take some time to read the profiles that I have linked.  Where you see "(???)" please try to help me find their photos.  Some folks have already identified inaccuracies in names Merrill had in his brochure.  Next up is capturing photos and biographies for those who put their inspector's marks on the Merrills, and capture those photos and profiles for prominent people listed in Terry White's book American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  


2019.07.02

From yesterday to today, I was able to receive Thomas Robinson's consent to share his 8175 on my website, along with plenty more photos (and more to come).  Look for it in the carbines galleries.  You won't be disappointed.   It's also for sale at over $8K.  Yesterday, I uploaded photos of  8123 from Jesper in Sweden, who replied to my inquiry about Merrills on the British Militaria Forum (tapatalk.com).


2019.06.29

With connection from Jim Thomas, I was able to contact Terry White, author of American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  Terry consented to my sharing his Merrill-related content here.  His book was the one that really set me on this quest to capture all the historical /biographical information that's out there for this website.  I'm looking to capture information and photos of all Terry's referenced officers and businessmen, just like what I'm almost done on the sales brochure, mentioned in my prior update.    I'm looking for contact information on authors John D. McAulay and Stuart Mowbray, if they're still alive.  Please contact me if anyone does.


2019.06.21

The Merrill Rifle (sales brochure) is available in the Books & Pubs list.  FYI on every photo you see - there's a Size icon to the very right of the bottom toolbar.  With so many hi-res, 2-5MB+ file size, you'll love the zoom capabilities.  I'm looking for anyone to help me track down photographs of offices like Major Gen. John Dix and others who provided their testimonials for James H. Merrill to use in his brochure.  Photos, research sites, anything to help.  I found the Union and Confederate Generals A-Z website, but that's leaving out loads of lower level officers.  


2019.06.18

I added galleries in the  Carbines folder for 3049. 8246 and 9959.  3049 has some neat local WI history, and the owner Jim Rivest will be providing more history and photos.  


2019.06.02

Dawn from RIAC came thru with loads of extra photos from the six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction.  One was listed as "157" but is likely a 157xx model.  I also found about a dozen new newspaper.com articles.   One talks about Merrill persuading the Russian czar to buy his Merrills (a 1970 article - need to read more of that paper), plus one that mentioned James Henry Ferguson as co-inventor of the Merrill rifle, and relationship with Jefferson Davis.  Heard from Dick Berglund that the model cannon and the little wooden model of the same are together.  Sent him an article from the Baltimore Sun that mentioned the cannon as part of a 1858 Maryland Institute Fair.  The 13299 barrel/receiver/lever (no plunger parts or anything else) will arrive tomorrow.  Hope the buyer of 15727 will agree to sell that one to me.



2019.05.19

Found several new Merrills recently - 9605 rifle, and these carbines - 461, 4844, 6596, 9157, 9553, 13299, 14227, 15727, 15793 and lastly 19073 - the highest serial I've found.  13299 and 15727 are missing several parts, but believe they should be included. I'll be receiving 13299 from Michael at Red Hill Arms, and kicking myself for not bidding on 15727, which had the plunger arm and plunger.  Rock Island Auction Company has six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction, and I've requested several photos each.  They've always come thru for me in the past.  Hoping to receive those photos next week.  I also have a handful of Starr derringers to upload.


2019.04.24

Ed came thru big again last night and today.  He was able to contact Hubert Lum and received consent to share the Merrill, Latrobe & Thoma Carbines article photos.  Hubert also sent him photos of his trio of MLT's.  They do look beautiful.


2019.04.22

Darby at The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (Canyon, Texas) came through today and provided photos for 8361.  Please check out the photos and write-up, along with reference to Sam Richardson.  This was one of those blind emails I sent out late October '18, asking if the museum had any Merrills  - paid off nicely indeed. 


2019.04.21

I tweaked the content in my Part Assembly Numbers page.  If anyone has an idea on what the numbers represent, I'm all ears.  I thought just maybe they represented order numbers, but then when I saw which Merrills had matching serials, like 2081 13288 14016 14097 14246 (assy nbr 68) and 608 14420 14473 (97), I then thought maybe they were numbers specific to who assembled the firearms at Merrill's factories (Sun Iron Building 4th/5th floors, then new manufactory on Belvidere Street) as a quality check.  I see no two Merrills with the same "two-numbered" assembly numbers (like my 14112 with 8 over 43).  

Maybe there's something to the  single or double-digit numbers vs. one number over another  (single digit over double digit).  Could be that government contract vs. private sale were the drivers behind the numbering scheme.  I thought maybe the two-numbered Merrills were private sale, but then there's 12298, with provenance from SRS research as having been issued to Perry Langston of the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry. 

Does anyone have knowledge of other gun manufacturers of the Civil War era who dealt with the government AND general public sales?  Please help me figure out this puzzle. 


2019.04.18

Check out the updated Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas galleries in the Firearms tab.  Ed Hull, amateur historian and writer, provided a number of original photos from his co-authored (with Frank Harrington) article "Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas Carbines", that appeared in the Guns Magazine.  Dick Salzer, editor at Guns Magazine,  provided George Moller's contact information, and George gave his consent to Ed to provide his MLT photos to me.  As two of the MLT's came from the Claude Fuller Collection in the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, I created a gallery of the 14-page pdf as photos (tedious, but smugmug won't allow pdf uploads).  Claude provided a lot of nice historical information.  The links to the six (5) Merrill-related firearms are in the Claude Fuller Collection gallery description.  Pretty certain there was a typo in his Merrill rifle write-up- should have been 6511, not 9511. 


Found and added carbine 16175 .  This makes the fourth Merrill with the "US" stamped on the left of the stock above the saddle bar (in write-up, can't tell from photo).  My 14112 is the earliest, then 14398.   There's also one in the "Unidentified"  gallery, under the Firearms, etc. tab.  I'm looking for anyone's assistance to ID those and if new serials add them to the list of Merrills still in existence.  If they're duplicates, bummer but still better than not knowing.  Some have really good photos, but just none showing the serial and nothing in the auction details.  


2019.04.13

I had what I needed months ago to figure out where Merrill's new manufactory was located.  I just didn't realize until last night.   I had the July 1864 Baltimore Sun article that was my greatest find to date.  It went into great details about the purchase of land below the Belvidere bridge along the Jones Falls river, as well as details of the main building and operations.  I also had the Baltimore City and County Mills A-C {named}.  Check out the page Merrill Patent Firearm Manufacturing Company (manufactory) in the Research section.  Later in the day I received consent from ancestry.com on all that content.  Check it out by selecting Historical | Ancestry.   More to come...


2019.04.06

Created the rifles version of Scrolling thru Parts, under the Research tab - note the cartouches photos.  Had a handful of Dave Taylor all-in-one photos that I separated weeks back for the carbines, and did the same for the rifles last night.  I also received additional photos from RIAC for 7300 and new rifle 4792.  Paul Scott with The Fredericksburg CW Round Table (cwrtf.org) was the first and only (so far) to reply, and he included my website in the April newsletter.   I need to check on ways to capture traffic on the site, as I'm not receiving any comments directly.


2019.03.31

I found another great old book,  Civil War Guns by William B. Edwards (1962) at https://archive.org/stream/Civil_War_Guns/#mode/2up.  I excerpted five pages related to Merrills and have a new gallery.  Adds some context to the businesses in place of the former factory at the old Pump House.  Also, no excerpts yet from the ten-volume Photographic History of the Civil War, so here's the first book's link:  https://archive.org/details/photographichist01mill_0.  Just select the pdf drop-down button in the lower right section as you mouse over the pdf option to save locally.  I did find a great online site/tool that allowed me to save each pdf page as jpg - in case I find anything Merrill-related an need to upload as jpg (smugmug only allows photo uploads) - https://pdftoimage.com.  


2019.03.23

Had forgotten that I had an email with 13 photos of another Merrill patented sporting rifle from Peter at Phoenix Antique Arms (oldguns.co.uk).  Yesterday I added several photos to my Scrolling thru Parts galleries of Merrills from Harry Ridgeway at relicman.com and Jerry Bernal at Collectors Firearms.  I also received some help on the cartouches.  Check the Scrolling thru Parts parent folder description for inspector initials.  Added excerpts from another good Hathitrust book folder - Hints to Riflemen, by H. W. S. Cleveland.,1864.  Includes full page content for firearm-related manufactured products by Colt, Merrill, Spencer, Wesson, plus pages on Merrill (commentaries, testimonials, etc.).


2019.03.21

Bob Hoskins on n-ssa.net contacted me and provided photos plus some history on his 352 carbine.  I'm working thru all my photos to capture all the cartouches and who the inspectors were.  One of my best finds so far has been a hathitrust book, with some pretty awesome information - https://jameshmerrilltribute.smugmug.com/Books-Publications/Hathitrust-Books/Parts-for-Small-Guns/. 


2019.03.20

I talked to Harry Ridgeway of relicman.com tonight.  He consented to my using his 11 Merrills' photos here  - cha-ching!  Check them out - 5778, 5866, 5971, 6091, 6231, 6522r (r throughout means rifle), 10132, 10340, 10450, 10456, 12155, 14016.  I'll have to add several parts pics to the Scrolling thru Parts galleries.


2019.03.17

Realized my Special Features page wasn't really special features, so i Changed it to Scrolling Thru Parts.  Then, I went to town categorizing all the quality photos by each part.  Open up each one and put it on slide show mode.  I then created a page listing out the special features by Merrill carbines and rifles that I'd captured over the past several months.


2019.03.16

I populated the Special Features page, under the Research folder, as a way of representing the changed parts over time.


2019.03.15

I have three outstanding museums that would add plenty to my list of existing Merrills.  In my own back yard of Milwaukee is one of the greatest firearms collections in the country, the Rudolph J. Nunnemacher collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum. However, it's closed for 3-5 years to update the catalogs and check conditions.  I do have the three listed on this site, as I bought the book from 1929(?) that had a few pages of illustrations and details and historical information.


As far as trips I can take this year, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in DC is tops on the list, right there with the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts.  Each has over a dozen Merrill-related firearms, and sadly the NMAH has zero images, and very little details/history.  David Miller has consented to my coming and photographing them, and same goes for Alex MacKenzie at the SAM.


I'm also working with folks at the Maryland Historical Society and at the Baltimore Sun newspaper company for any additional archival information that I can include here.  Any photos or illustrations of James H. Merrill, his businesses (esp. the new state-of-the-art weapons factory he built in 1864 on the grounds of the old pump house - 6 1/2 acre property) would be great additions.


If anyone lives in the Baltimore area and can help with this research, please contact and let me know.  I can do only so much online with out taking a short duration trip with limited results.  Need someone local who can follow up on the archived content that's found. 


Also, if anyone has any historical materials to add to this story of James H. Merrill, please contact me at willoughbyforme@gmail.com.  Thanks, Eric.





Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In