The name of Howard L. Blackmore is well known to anyone really interested in air gun history. Blackmore fully appreciated the place of air guns in the history of arms and armor so often included air guns in his various books. One of which is "Hunting Weapons" (1972) In this particular book there is a drawing of two men shooting air guns circa 1850. The interesting bit was that it's French where the butt reservoir air gun was generally outlawed. Tracked it down. Le Vieux chasseur (The Old Hunter)
Here's the Google translation of the accompanying text:
Shooting an Air Gun
The air gun is prohibited, it may be
because of the price of the thing that defended
many people use it. . A few
owners, who can not inspire any
fear to authority, their parks tuent'dans
birds with this weapon, which offers the advantage
Tage not make more noise than a sudden
whip, but it has its drawbacks and
The chest muscles are suffering from
movement necessary for introducing air
in the butt.
A stick which the valve is resistant
aunt, whose walls would be the point
strong enough, can break and puncture the head or
the shooter's arm. Moreover, this weapon is
with admirable accuracy, no recoil, no fu-
Mee, no violence sensitive hand and
the eye: it blows some port.
The very small amount of lead that is
in the barrel, still very small caliber,
allows little shooting on the fly. Birds are
afraid of no detonation; a butt
regular supplies of twelve to fifteen shots: the
latter are low.
This weapon carries the ball with the arch
precision is the more terrible than can
into a criminal, because it offers him
chances of impunity.
Floss before or lead multi follows,
He falls in lacrosse and wind leaks.
Here's the link to original. Would be great if somebody could offer a better translation.
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=u ... 2;orient=0
Alas, far too long since they tried to bore holes in my head to pour the French language in. Great lithograph! Cool where it gives the whole story in a single picture, that's true art.
One shown going through the labors of preparation. A detailed and accurate picture of a disassembled gun with all the parts, plus a charging piece from the other man's gun resting on a wide bench. Wordlessly showing it's a time of shared pleasures between two friends out for a day of shooting together in the countrside. Also displays the airgun's silent shooting as the other man takes a bird on the wing yet it doesn't even disturb the bird in the tree!
The Brady Bunch of the time rears its blank stare and chin dribblings at the stark terrors of it all but we see the more accurate truth in the picture. The man pumping isn't being blown to smithereens nor was the other. Not to underplay the dangers of some early air reservoirs though, a genuine danger for sure.