ACW ring bit

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mnhorse
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Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:38 am

This past Saturday I attended the annual Antique Arms Show of the Heritage Arms Society.
I found something I've been searching for for about 30 years.

A perfect condition, complete model 1859 Cavalry bit, a "number 1" or ring bit.
Very few markings on it except for " J.N. O (the last letter is partial, but appears to be O)
Could this be a maker mark? Or maybe an inspection mark?

I have several incomplete number ones, one marked "Allegheny Arsenal 1865'" and another marked (poorly) "_ W&C" and "G.B"
I just hope it isn't another "BURGESS"
Regards,
Richard
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Joseph Sullivan
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Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:57 pm

Don't know about the marks. However, I am responding anyway because that was the first model of 1859 I ever owned. My mother's cousin gave it to me one day when he found out I had an interest. Mint condition. I'm looking at it right now.

You know, it is a fun and interesting artifact, but as a horseman, it gives me chills to think of such a bit in use, in the US Cavalry mode of riding. The Spanish and Mexican bits on which it is very roughly modeled were ridden in an entirely different style, and I mean ENTIRELY different so that with a competent horseman there would be no direct contact with the mouth. As a very young man, a lad in English and Irish terms, I had the opportunity to ride an Arab stallion who had been trained to the spade and romal setup. It is a very interesting experience which I did not replicate until I recently had a couple of years of training by a man who was versed in Buckaroo style riding and in the Branaman circles.

In practice, the No. 1 bits were abandoned by the cavalry because of splintered jaw bones.
Joe
mnhorse
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Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:30 pm

I don't know about "splintered jaw-bones", first I've heard of that. However, I understand it was very unpopular with the troops. Probably the reason we find them either pristine or modified a great deal.
Regards,
Richard
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Pat Holscher
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Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:44 am

mnhorse wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:30 pm
I don't know about "splintered jaw-bones", first I've heard of that. However, I understand it was very unpopular with the troops. Probably the reason we find them either pristine or modified a great deal.
Regards,
Richard
I don't know why I think this, but I have a dim recollection it was none to popular with the Army itself as it was regarded as a rough bit.

Am I imaging that or is that correct?
Pat

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Joseph Sullivan
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Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:55 pm

Yes, unpopular.

Think about riding those in combat with no opportunity to maintain a balanced seat and calm hands. they were supposed to be for very hard mouths, but I can't imagine there would be any mouth at all for very long.

As to the splinters -- very real issue -- also happens with some other bits with stout curb chains and heavy hands. The fine edges of the jaw are slender and none too strong laterally. Jaws are for holding teeth in place during that vertical/circular motion horses use. In nature, there would NEVER be any stress to the underside of a jawbone.
Joe
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