Air Cane Rifle by “Joseph Lang & Sons
Air Cane Rifle by “Joseph Lang & Sons. A fine and Rare Cased Air Cane Rifle complete with all of it’s components set in its original fine mahogany case with makers label to the inside lid. It is most unusual to find a complete set in such excellent condition.
The air cane was a must-have accessory for the British Victorian gentleman. As a single shot muzzle-loader it was not the best tool for self defense, yet these items were popular as mechanically interesting novelties that were able to fire a projectile without smoke or flame.
Air Cane with Pump Attached
A breech-loading cane with pump attached. The upper half of the gun conceals an air reservoir. After unscrewing the upper and lower halves of the gun, the pump could be threaded into the valve end of the reservoir. The same valve serves as both intake and knock-open exhaust valve. The item at the top is the lower half of the air cane. Its left-hand section contains the lock mechanism (the striker pin can be seen in the firing position), the concealed lockplate and leaf mainspring. The large right area contains a rifled barrel. Careful examination of this lower half of the gun reveals a simple bead and notch sight arrangement and a ball-loading port. The muzzle is concealed and protected when the gun is used as a walking stick by a rugged brass cap. Note the mold for casting lead shot projectiles and the typical key for cocking the firing lock mechanism. This air cane was made by John Blanch who lived in London from 1801 to 1900.
Joseph Lang was a very influential figure in country sports and the development of recreational guns. He first set up his own business the “Gun and Pistol Repository” in 1821, eventually buying out the entire stock of his prior employer the gunmaker Alexander Wilson in 1825 to becomes Londons largest gun dealer. During this time Joseph Lang sold the highest quality sporting guns, including those produced by James Purdey.
His association with Purdey steadily strengthened with Joseph Lang marrying Purdey’s daughter Eliza in 1828. Joseph Lang’s first son Joseph was born in 1829, and his second son James was born in 1835. Joseph the younger was then apprenticed to James Purdey and Joseph the younger then joined his fathers business in about 1853.
Lang was very inventive, and took out a patent on the manufacture of patterns for front loaders, which meant a great improvement for the hunters. When he was in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in London saw the rifle of the French maker Lefaucheaux, which was built with so-
His name still lives on as Atkin Grant and Lang which is an amalgamation of three of the best and most prolific shotgun and rifle makers in the world.