STOCKBRIDGE, Virgil D.
Digest of Patents relating to breech-loading and magazine small arms, (except revolvers) granted in the United States from 1836 to 1873, inclusive. Classified and arranged according to the movement of the principal parts for opening and closing the breech
Washington: 1875. Quarto. (11 5/8 x 9 inches). 1p. small format errata tipped onto rear pastedown. 780 patent-drawings photo-lithographed (up to ten to a page) on 84 full-page illustrations by N. Peters of Washington.
Bound to style in half calf over contemporary marbled paper-covered boards, spine with raised bands in six compartments, ruled in gilt on each band, lettered direct in the second and fourth compartments
Provenance: Allen P. Westcott (Chicago, firearms consultant in legal cases, ink stamp)
An important and rare work on American breech loading and small arms, published in a relatively small edition.
No copies of this work are listed as having sold at auction, but it was important and rare enough to warrant a facsimile reprint in 1963. On the dust-jacket of that edition it was noted that the "Digest is the only existing compilation of U.S. Patents of breech-loading and repeating small arms ... As a means for identifying trial or experimental pieces (usually unmarked on the guns themselves) this reference work is without parallel." The Preface describes the work as follows: "This digest has been prepared from the official records of the United States Patent Office, and with a view to present the subject in a brief yet comprehensive manner, for the information of inventors, manufacturers, attorneys and others interested in the art. It has been the purpose of the compiler to group all patents relating to breech-loading and magazine fire-arms granted in the United States ... in such a manner that they may be readily referred to, and the numerous and important improvements made in both sporting and military arms, traced. All inventions ... have been classified and arranged according to well-defined characteristics or systems, depending upon the movement of the principal parts for opening and closing the breech. The index of names is an alphabetical-chronological list of inventors, and is the key, in connection with the number or date, by which information ... may be obtained from the Patent Office."