c1840 Reilly of London Compressed Air Cane Rifle Gun


A rare c1840 Compressed Air Rifle concealed in the shape of a Malacca staff walking cane, by Reilly of London.
The Rifle has a steel body and has a slightly tapered shape to mimic a wooden staff and is decorated with a painted brown exterior with rings and blemishes that resemble wood. On the top is a rounded horn pommel that acts as the but when firing the gun. The gun comes apart by unscrewing, at both the middle and at the bottom chape. Unscrewing the middle section reveals the mouth of the air reservoir with its valve and a threaded collar to screw on the air pump. The flange is engraved REILLY LONDON, which helps date the gun to around 1840 (Later models tend to be engraved E.M. REILLY LONDON). The bottom chape unscrews to reveal a brass Tipped hickory ramrod and a brass rifled barrel with an inner diameter 8 mm (5/16 inch) (33 cal). There is a larger smooth bore surrounding it which measures 10.5 mm (7/32 inch) (45 cal) in diameter. On the outside of the body are the 2 aiming sights. Condition overall is very good. However the gun is missing its trigger, which would have been a butterfly bolt that you would screw into a hole to fire, and the air pump. It remains a very fine British air cane from a very respected maker, that would make a fine addition to any collection.
Reilly was a 19th century London gun-maker that made guns from 1828 to 1912 when the firm went bankrupt. Originally started by Joseph Charles Reilly, the air guns appear to be the invention of his son Edward Michael. All Reilly records were lost in the first decade of the 20th century. In August 1840 the firm’s advertising style changed from J.C. Reilly to just ‘Reilly’ which may mark the advent of the 23-year-old E.M. as a full partner in the company. Reilly, during this period, also became known for its air cane guns, with young E.M. billed as the expert and was so mentioned in advertisements (Reilly Junr.). The company address was 502 New Oxford Street, London.
Size: 96 cm (37 ¾ inches)
Weight: 1833g