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ORIGINAL US ARMY 1874 MANUAL FOR THE SPRINGFIELD RIFLE, CARBINE AND ARMY REVOLVERS, CALIBER .45 – EX LIBRIS FROM THE SPRINGFIELD ARMORY LIBRARY – VERY IMPORTANT ORIGINAL ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT MANUAL WITH VERY HISTORICAL PROVENANCE:  This is an original printing of the first Ordnance Department Manual – dated 1874 - provided with the Model 1873 Springfield Carbines, Rifles, and Army Revolvers.  In addition to being the earliest edition of this key manual, it is also identified via the ink stamps and catalog card on the inside of the front cover as having once been held in the library of the National Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

When the US Army closed the armory and the property was transferred to the city of Springfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the National Park Service, none of those entities expressed any interest in preserving the material culture of the armory, and the bulk of that material – patterns, gauges, tools, records and manuals - were discarded without any consideration of their historical significance.  This episode was nothing less than a “perfect storm”, occurring during an era of our nation’s history when the military was regarded with distain, and in a location situated in the epicenter of one of our country’s greatest concentrations of anti-gun sentiment.  Little, if any, thought was given to preserving intact the most significant keystone in the history of America’s firearm production, and the cavalier manner in which these artifacts were treated leaves little doubt about the attitude held by the people involved towards firearms and our military history.  This shortsightedness represented a genuine loss to the community of scholars and collectors, and was nothing short of a crying shame, but it was done nonetheless.   

Fortunately, this manual survived, whether at some point in the past when it was deassessed from the library during a thinning effort in favor of keeping another in better condition, or it escaped the final destruction.  The government applied library stamp on the inside of the front cover includes the designation “Expendable”, with the accountability number space left blank, so however it was disposed of, it was not considered worthy of inventory.   

This is a very solid specimen, and while showing the expected evidence of wear and handling, has survived in complete condition.  The covers are full form with some rounding to the top and bottom leading corners, some flexing to the top corners of the front and rear boards, and some minor loss of the green wrapping as can be seen in the photographs.  The library catalog information is written in white ink on the front cover and in pencil on the second page.  The text and plates are all present and intact.   

This is a rare offering of a unique piece of Springfield Armory memorabilia, and one that will be a crown jewel in any collection of Springfield Trapdoor Rifles and Carbines, as well as the contemporary Colt and Schofield revolvers, and will be a special addition to your display.  (0406)  $450  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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