The Remington Cane Rifle became popular in the 19th century. Remington entered this field in 1858. They hired a gunsmith named John F. Thomas from Ilion to work on patents. They developed it as a self defense gun. This gun was disguised as a walking cane.
This gun was one of the first civilian firearms made by E. Remington and Armory. The firm was the only major gun maker to ever offer a cane gun. The Civil War interrupted the production of the cane gun. Production may have resumed in the middle of 1865. Before the war advertising refers the guns as “Remington’s New Patent Gun Canes, which were loaded with a .31 caliber lead ball”. Another ad listed that with longer internal barrel which was intended for shot pellets.
Thomas developed the patent for this gun. On February 9, 1858 Thomas was issued the U.S. patent # 19,328 for the cane gun. He assigned half of his invention to Samuel Remington in July 1859. Production of the gun was started during that year.
It initially was available as a .31 caliber rifle. In 1860 Remington developed a newer version that could take .22 and .32 rimfire cartridges. The serial numbers ranged from 1 to over 278 for the original gun. For the later models the serial numbers began at 1 and went over 1748. They produced the gun for 27 years. In 1886 Remington ceased production with fewer than 2000 cane guns manufactured.
It was popular among men living in town. As a self defense gun the cane rifle was used against stray dogs and human attackers. It could be used as both a cane and a gun. The cane body was covered with a hard rubber gutta-percha or vulcanized rubber. The gutta-percha was a very fragile molded material that cracked easily. A cap protected the muzzle when the cane was used for walking. The handle came in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.
Among the shapes were a curved ball, claw shape, dog’s head, and a curved option with a flat grip area. The cane length varied from thirty-three inches to thirty-six inches. The barrel within the longer cane shaft measured only about 9 inches. The bullet traveled loosely through the brass tube to the muzzle. The muzzle was plugged when used for walking. Black, brown and coral are among the colors of the canes used. Ivory handles were offered in the 1870s.
Now in the 21st century the Remington Cane Rifle is such a rare find that CW Slagle Antiques Inc has it on sale for five thousand, nine hundred dollars. With few available these guns are highly prized among gun collectors.
Interesting guns like the Remington Cane Rifle can be found in the book The Illustrated Directory of Guns by David Miller. For those who would like to look at the gun online CW Slagle Antique’s website is (www.cwslagleantiques.com). Also the Remington Society’s website has a photo of one of the guns. Their website is( www.remingtonsociety.com).