Cane gun with removable stock
John Day / J.P. Hubbard
London
1827-1835

Unquestionably in the world of antique weaponry, it’s the oddballs that always appear as interesting pieces. Alas, however, what should be something straight out of a spy novel – a chameleon-esque firearm made specifically for espionage or cold-blooded murder – is disappointingly not the expected story behind this gun or others like it from the same historical period. As they say, looks can be deceiving.

In Britain, cane guns were not exactly a sinister - or even new - idea. In fact, the manufacture and use of cane guns had been in place there since the early 1820s, marketed primarily to of all people, farmers and crop workers. Based on original patterns by English gunsmith John Day and designed with a recessed underhammer and folding trigger, early English cane guns might have looked sneaky, but gunsmiths typically advertised them as little more than boring farm tools referring to them occasionally as “poacher’s guns” for shooting varmints. In fact, a cane gun’s lightweight, one-handed design was ideal for planters checking over their crops who preferred portability. Moreover, the long, slender barrel could easily probe vegetable growths for burrowing animals and, when needed, fire packed shot or a .32 caliber slug. 

Fortunately, the cane gun’s menacing allure was not lost on American makers. As men’s fashion by the 1840s had already adopted new and trendy walking sticks as the preferred gentlemanly accessory, domestic firearms manufacturers capitalized on the burgeoning and trendy “gadget cane” market. Remington & Sons, for example, had by the late 1850s certainly taken a page or two from older British designs and expanded its concealed weapon initiatives by integrating both percussion cap and metallic cartridge mechanics into high-end walking sticks, and advertising their own versions as  “simple, safe and efficient” devices suitable for self-defense. 

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

A #TextileTuesday bonus! Curator video discussing knitted bags c.1812

Mosaic patchwork quilt by Marina Jones Gregg, 1852, Charleston, SC. Made of silk fabrics, cotton batting and silk fringe. The quilt is 103 ½ inches long by 97 ½ inches wide. The hexagon templates are 1 3/8 inch.
This masterpiece is a pattern called Stars and Diamonds. The backing is composed of gold and yellow silks, which were pieced together. The mosaic patchwork is quilted inside each hexagon, 1/8 inch from the seam lines. The navy blue silk border is quilted in cable design; the quilting averages fourteen stitches to the inch. The Charleston Museum also has the brass template Marina used to make the paper templates. Marina Gregg received an award, a silver pitcher, for her efforts on this quilt.  
Marina was born in 1811 to Col. Mathias and Clara Perry Jones. She married William Gregg in 1829. William was a silversmith and jeweler and it is most likely that he made the brass templates for this quilt. The couple lived at 148 Rutledge Avenue in Charleston, then later in Graniteville,  SC, where William became a textile manufacturer. Marina died in 1899 and is buried in Magnolia  Cemetery.  
To learn more about mosaic patchwork quilts and even Marina Gregg, see our publication Mosaic Quilts: Paper Template Piecing in the Lowcountry. The Marina Gregg quilt graces the cover.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Mosaic patchwork quilt by Marina Jones Gregg, 1852, Charleston, SC. Made of silk fabrics, cotton batting and silk fringe. The quilt is 103 ½ inches long by 97 ½ inches wide. The hexagon templates are 1 3/8 inch.

This masterpiece is a pattern called Stars and Diamonds. The backing is composed of gold and yellow silks, which were pieced together. The mosaic patchwork is quilted inside each hexagon, 1/8 inch from the seam lines. The navy blue silk border is quilted in cable design; the quilting averages fourteen stitches to the inch. The Charleston Museum also has the brass template Marina used to make the paper templates. Marina Gregg received an award, a silver pitcher, for her efforts on this quilt. 

Marina was born in 1811 to Col. Mathias and Clara Perry Jones. She married William Gregg in 1829. William was a silversmith and jeweler and it is most likely that he made the brass templates for this quilt. The couple lived at 148 Rutledge Avenue in Charleston, then later in Graniteville, SC, where William became a textile manufacturer. Marina died in 1899 and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery. 

To learn more about mosaic patchwork quilts and even Marina Gregg, see our publication Mosaic Quilts: Paper Template Piecing in the Lowcountry. The Marina Gregg quilt graces the cover.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

The Charleston Museum is kicking off TEXTILE TUESDAYS today.  Each Tuesday we will post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display.  We hope you will enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY!Sack-back gown, Charleston, SCThis beautiful gown was worn by a member of the Middleton family in the 1750s or 1760s. It is a sack-back gown of ribbed silk brocade trimmed with elaborate fly-fringe. The matching petticoat is revealed by the open front design of the garment.  Note the stylish side bustles or panniers. These were at their widest in the 1740s. A triangular stomacher covers the lady’s stays (corset); she might have worn a matching one (like this reproduction), or chosen one of contrasting fabric. Donated to The Charleston Museum by Miss Alicia H. Middleton in 1937.  [1937.159.2]

The Charleston Museum is kicking off TEXTILE TUESDAYS today.  Each Tuesday we will post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display.  We hope you will enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY!

Sack-back gown, Charleston, SC
This beautiful gown was worn by a member of the Middleton family in the 1750s or 1760s. It is a sack-back gown of ribbed silk brocade trimmed with elaborate fly-fringe. The matching petticoat is revealed by the open front design of the garment.  Note the stylish side bustles or panniers. These were at their widest in the 1740s. A triangular stomacher covers the lady’s stays (corset); she might have worn a matching one (like this reproduction), or chosen one of contrasting fabric.

Donated to The Charleston Museum by Miss Alicia H. Middleton in 1937.  [1937.159.2]