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Firearms, Traps & Tools Of The Mountain Men

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This encyclopedic guide to the equipment of the trappers and fur traders who opened the Old West is a unique reference work that can be classified either as history or as archaeology. It describes and discusses hundreds of iron artifactsrifles, shotguns, hatchets, axes, knives, traps, and miscellaneous toolsused by the mountain men from the early 1800s to the mid 1840s.Thirty years research went into the writing of this book. In addition to examining the diaries and letters of the trappers themselves, and the business records of fur-trading companies, the author also tracked down the records and catalogs of the gunsmiths, ironmongers, and other manufacturers who supplied the early traders. He observed most of the surviving artifacts, identified their makers, and traced the evolution of the styles and designs of the weapons and tools, usually from European origins.Illustrated with over 400 drawings, the book begins with a useful background history of the western fur trade. Among the sections that will appeal to special groups of readers are chapters on firearms and blacksmithing and an appendix on the Historic Objects as Sources of History.


First published August 1, 1977

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About the author

Carl P. Russell

11 books1 follower
Carl Parcher Russell was a historian, ecologist, and administrator. He joined the National Park Service (NPS) in 1923 as a Naturalist in Yosemite National Park. In 1931 he received a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Michigan. He served as an officer for the NPS for 34 years, from 1923 until his retirement in 1957. He was the Chief Naturalist of Yosemite from 1923 to 1929. He specialized in frontier history, studying its material culture in minute detail, and documented pioneer life for the NPS and others.

Dr. Russell served in several regional positions in the NPS, including NPS Chief Naturalist of Yosemite (1923–1929), regional director, and Yosemite National Park Superintendent. Dr. Russell retired from the park service in 1957.

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Profile Image for Greg Strandberg.
Author 91 books93 followers
October 23, 2015
Wow, what a great book! You get tons of illustrations of the weapons, tools, traps, boats, and even forts that Russell talks about. I for one could not believe the number of axes.

I liked the section on frontier blacksmiths and there are good illustrations of this too. The depictions of beaver traps, float sticks, and how it all happened is great.

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of the fur trade, this book is for you. Also has a wonderful introduction that profiles the whole trade in about 40 pages or so.
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