National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Patch Boxes of Kentucky Rifles Patch Boxes of Kentucky Rifles
Rendered by Albert Levone (artist), c. 1937
watercolor and gouache on paperboard
overall: 50.9 x 35.9 cm (20 1/16 x 14 1/8 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 11 of 17

In a molten state brass can be cast into intricate shapes like this hinged patchbox cover. A patchbox is a container inlayed into the buttstock of a flintlock rifle that holds a greased cloth or other small piece of equipment. Flintlock rifles, developed by the Pennsylvania Germans, played an important role in the Revolutionary War. Also called Kentucky rifles, they were made famous by such backwoods heroes as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. This patchbox cover was probably made about 1810. Pennsylvania German gunsmiths displayed their love of fine decoration by including elaborate detail on their rifles. The scroll design of this patchbox cover reflects the ornate style fashionable during the "Golden Age" of Kentucky rifles, while the bird motif is in keeping with Pennsylvania German tradition.

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