Within our own cherished realm of underhammer firearms, there are a few names that instantly command attention because of their contributions to the development, and hence, the history of underhammer firearms. Names such as Asa Story, Nicandor Kendle, David Hilliard, and Ethan Allen, as well as many others, come to mind as being the pioneers in the underhammer movement.
Clicking the Back arrow on your browser will return you to the text.
However, few of us underhammer aficionados have even heard of the Ruggles brothers, Fordyce and Adin, of Hardwick, Massachusetts. Fordyce Ruggles is another one of those genius minds that was lost in history and it was he who is the father of the underhammer system in America. Even a cursory comparison of the work of history’s underhammer notables with the original Ruggles design will show that those whom we consider to be the cornerstones were simply copycats of their day.
My very good mate from down under, Terry, recently came upon an article written by underhammer researcher and historian, Nicholas L. Chandler, in which the whole story about the origins of the underhammer system with the Ruggles brothers is disclosed. Following is Terry’s overview of the Chandler article. If, after reading Terry’s article, you would like the whole story, just follow this link: asoac.org/bulletins/96_chandler_ruggles.pdf for the full pdf download of Mr. Chandler's excellent article.
I think we all know the basic history of the Underhammer in America but do we know who made the very first firearm using that simple lock work?