Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact
NitroExpress.com: Fake Howdah(s)

View recent messages : 24 hours | 48 hours | 7 days | 14 days | 30 days | 60 days | More Smilies


*** Enjoy NitroExpress.com? Participate and join in. ***

Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Handguns

Pages: 1
TH44
.375 member


Reged: 21/02/09
Posts: 652
Loc: West UK
Fake Howdah(s)
      #344515 - 23/08/20 03:25 AM

I have thought long and hard about posting this but here goes

I recently bought this because it was cheap and I do like DB pistols, I have 10

Obviously a cut down shotgun, probably in the UK as all pinfires are on the "obsolete calibre" list

16 bore with8 1/2" barrels sold as a Howdah pistol which it is not

The only other I have seen was at a dealers stand for $5000 the guy would not have it was a fake







To continue the Howdah discussion I have many "Howdah" pistols of which only one possibly is





Shown with this one and my "baby" Howdah (not) The Wilkinson in .577 Snider is the only one



I bought these as Howdahs

Top is a Horse pistol .550 with 10 1/2" barrels

Middle also a horse pistol 16 bore 9" barrel

Bottom a belt pistol in 14 bore, I liked the odd hammers



Top, bought as a Howdah from Holts another horse/travellers pistol
bottom the only double sold as a Travellers pistol

An ex employee of Purdey's told me they only listed cartridge pistols as Howdahs

Cased pairs of percussion "Howdahs" are purely dealer's/auctioneer's attempts to elevate the price

That is not to say that one in a thousand MAY have seen the inside of a Howdah
Pairs of cartridge Howdahs were made by Alexander Henry and Purdey mainly for Indian Maharajahs

The final nail in the coffin is this pic from Greener's "The Gun and its Development"

Showing what is really the classic Howdah? or not?



The only reference in ay contemporary hunting book I have seen is the use of a DB 12 bore loaded with ball in one barrel and LG (00 buck) in the other
Possibly my Howdah rifle 18" barrel in .577/500?? posted here

I still love DB pistols, especially large bores but "Howdahs"??

I quit accept that the current terminology lists any large DB pistols as "Howdahs"

I have held back my opinions for some time to avoid aggravation but the recent posts tempted me too much

I await your comments!!

TH44


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EDELWEISS
.333 member


Reged: 22/11/05
Posts: 399
Loc: Gettysburg
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: TH44]
      #344516 - 23/08/20 05:17 AM

Thank you for the post.

--------------------
If it's not custom, it's just borrowed


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Marrakai
.416 member


Reged: 09/01/03
Posts: 2881
Loc: Darwin, Top End of Australia
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: EDELWEISS]
      #344519 - 23/08/20 07:35 AM

Quote:

I await your comments!!



Certainly nothing negative TH44: a grand obsession!
And you have some marvelous examples, that's for sure!

Your latest acquisition does however demonstrate the folly of using a back-actioned shotgun as a donor for a howdah pistol project, as discussed in another thread. The lock cannot be curved down into the pistol grip. Your example has the front trigger way too far forward for a quick first shot under pressure, which is when a howdah pistol is actually needed.

If the price was right tho, I would have bought it too!


--------------------
Marrakai
When the bull drops, the bullshit stops!
--------------------------------
www.marrakai-adventure.com.au


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
NitroXAdministrator
.700 member


Reged: 25/12/02
Posts: 31848
Loc: Barossa Valley, South Australi...
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: Marrakai]
      #344526 - 23/08/20 02:33 PM

Why worry about an excellent thread and post like this. Really informative and enjoyable. Some excellent examples displayed.

First pistols vs howdah pistols.

A howdah is a saddle, so a howdah is just in reality another saddle pistol. And probably next to no difference when it began. Cavalry saddle pistols or gentlemen's pistols were no doubt called into service in the early days or later days. So is there any difference? Yes, larger bores. My guess is pistols especially made for the howdah as emergency pistols have bigger bores. And the specially made ones probably were ordered and more used by the wealthier participants in the elephant drives, the maharajahs and wealthier Brits. Or the royal guests. One must remember a howdah pistol may have been more of a luxury item. Not really that necessary. A very romantic addition, but not essential. A bit like carrying a specialised handgun during a rifle hunt, in case the leopard is on your back!

I think it was mentioned Purdey only calls brass breech loading handguns "howdahs". I wonder? In the days of muzzle loaders, I think the howdah pistol would have been more useful. Reloading a muzzle loading long gun would be far harder on a elephant howdah saddle so having an emergency or second shortarm ready at hand would have been more than useful. The opposite for muzzle loaders to what I was saying for breech loaders only the paragraph earlier! So seeing muzzle loaders were superseded by breech loaders and traditions and habits do not change quickly, perhaps a reason for howdah pistols being more common than my musings suggest into the breech loading age.

***

Some comments on my experience and sightings of howdahs. They come in all sorts of forms. They are an elephant saddle. But can be basic or elaborate.

The mahout or driver or controller of the elephant often just sits on its neck. sometimes on a blanket or similar. His legs may be straddling the neck. He may have a hooked spiked hand tool to help direct the elephant.

The saddle or howdah could be another blanket. The blanket might be very elaborate. And possibly have a leather or similar saddle to make riding on the back easier. Or a small open low sided or railed platform on a blanket. One sees in the museums of maharajahs palaces and castles, old examples or photos and paintings elaborate high sided box howdahs. The participants might sit in them or stand or kneel in them.

The howdah saddle I used in Thailand in the mountains was like a bench, very polished wooden bench seat and back with metal rail to the side. No box. The wood was so highly polished one's bum readily slid around as the elephant's back rocked side to side, and one had to hang on tight to the metal side rail. I had a large video camera and large SLR and it was actually hard to hang on with just one hand.

A second howdah in India in a tiger park I think was two bench seats. I can't remember. I remember climbing onto the elephant with a step ladder. The elephant walked a few hundred metres into the jungle to where two tigers were hidden in thick horn bush. The elephant stood beside so we could peer down into the bush at the growling tigers. Ine could see them quite well. But through the lens the intervening thorn branches spoiled the focus. The mahout gave me a lot of extra time compared to the average person due to my big cameras.

I think we had sort of box howdah, perhaps kneeling on the walk up the mountain tot he castle at Jaipur. Ishould have photos somewhere of this one.

Possibly other times, not sure.

The ones often seen in Royal photographs are usually high sided fancily decorated boxes with the gentlemen and ladies looking over the side often with rifle or shotgun in hand, pith helmet on their heads.

***

If one reads about the British and Europeans in India and Asia, it spans a long period. In the early days, the Britis and Europeans were more guests and traders, and often went "native". India was in some ways more cultured and a better lifestyle than in Europe. For wealthier persons. For example one might live in a mud grass roofed hut in Europe and a stone walled tiled roofed palace, airy, breezy comfortable in India. Sometimes even with forms of plumbing. Open sewers in Europe. Seweage systems in India! Amazing considering they still have open sewers in Indian towns sometimes today.

As time went on, the traders became the British East India Company which controlled territory neighbouring independent potentates. And eventually the British Raj of wholly British Empire controlled territories and protectorate potentates.

***

Hunting took many forms.

The British Officers raiding their horses and pig sticking with long lances pigs, jackals or other game "before breakfast".

Maharajahs and wealthy hunters on elephant back furing hunting drives. Royalty usually had hunting reserves and game might be driven towards the royals and their guests sitting in towers from which they shot game. The paintings of this do not look particularly sporting. Sometimes game was captured and released in smaller hunting enclosures. Being royalty the hunting preserves might be sizable. The hunting from forest or jungle tree platforms, ambushing game from a machan. Then we have what we think of as hunting, stalking on foot, epitomised by Corbett in his books. All sorts of other forms. The elephant drives were a special form but quite common. I have a thread on NE by Corbett on how to organise a elephant drive.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
NitroXAdministrator
.700 member


Reged: 25/12/02
Posts: 31848
Loc: Barossa Valley, South Australi...
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: NitroX]
      #344527 - 23/08/20 02:35 PM

TH44, what an excellent collection you have btw!

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EDELWEISS
.333 member


Reged: 22/11/05
Posts: 399
Loc: Gettysburg
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: NitroX]
      #344575 - 25/08/20 02:37 AM

So, my take away from this, (which by the way is perhaps the best single description and discussion of the Howdah pistol topic), is that there were very few purpose built Howdah guns, either ML or cartridge variants and not all hunts/hunters had access to or bothered with them BUT when they did choose to carry one it was likely a pistol already available having been pressed into service originally from another design.

Today we (me?) tend to think of them as double barreled (or perhaps 4 barreled) in large (larger bore) powerful loadings. Ive seen no references to single shot guns being called Howdahs, although there clearly were/are examples of large bore powerful single shot handguns. Perhaps there never were single shot pistols carried as defense guns when hunting or travelling by elephant, although I find that unlikely. More likely I think, the multi barreled guns are a simply more "romantic" and better sold to the uninformed when compared to the few actual examples

Very little of that actually matters to ME (beyond the historical/theoretical), as I will probably never own an REAL original Howdah. That being said I still lust for the idea. I can satisfy my lust with fabricated guns and I suppose even modern versions. Large bore hunting (and dare I say "stopping") guns exist. Today they tend to be Single and Double action revolvers and perhaps even the 50 caliber Desert Eagle. The "Six Guns" and Autos just dont entice me the way the Doubles do. For me a Howdah will always be a Howdah; but maybe I might not pay as much for it just because someone calls it a "Howdah"....

--------------------
If it's not custom, it's just borrowed


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
TH44
.375 member


Reged: 21/02/09
Posts: 652
Loc: West UK
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: EDELWEISS]
      #344585 - 25/08/20 08:32 AM

Edelweiss - I thought long and hard about posting what could appear to be a negative review, although I like the history of big game hunting, especially prior to 1900 ish, and want to learn as much as possible about it, albeit so long ago now

My problem is really with the dealers and auction houses who inflate prices

I love most guns especially Double Rifles and Pistols as you see

If you have a similar outlook go for a large calibre double barrelled pistol, by whatever name it is called, you will love it!

Percussion Horse/Saddle/Howdah, how/why/what they were used for they are all part of the history of firearms, and most impressive to handle

Good luck whatever you choose

TH44

Edited by TH44 (25/08/20 11:41 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Daryl_S
.600 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 21926
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: TH44]
      #344594 - 25/08/20 01:17 PM

Loved the thread, tks. TH44.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
lancaster
.450 member


Reged: 06/05/08
Posts: 6473
Loc: There's a lighthouse in the mi...
Re: Fake Howdah(s) [Re: Daryl_S]
      #344605 - 26/08/20 04:24 AM

thanks for posting the pics and thanks for the lesson what is what

--------------------
Norwegian hunter misses moose, shoots man on toilet
.
bringing civilisation to the barbarians


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1



Extra information
0 registered and 10 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  NitroX 

Print Topic

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled

Rating:
Topic views: 575

Rate this topic

Jump to

Contact Us NitroExpress.com

Powered by UBB.threads™ 6.5.5


Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact


Copyright 2003 to 2011 - all rights reserved