View Full Version : Joseph Golcher gunmaker?

September 22, 2005, 08:40 PM
Can anyone give me any history on Joseph Golcher gunmaker?
See photo attachment

September 22, 2005, 09:21 PM
It's my understanding that Joseph Golcher was not a gunmaker but a lockmaker. He was active in the Philadelphia area in the early to mid 1800's.
The gunmaker may or may not have put his name on the barrel.
Could you post a picture of the whole rifle ? (Not just the lock area) I would be interested to see it.


Harley Nolden
September 23, 2005, 02:48 AM
Information sent by separate email


September 23, 2005, 06:24 PM
Thanks guys for your response.

Duh, forgot to add barrel info.
Marked on the barrel are the names:
Great Western Gunworks
Pittsburgh, PA

Here's another pic.

September 23, 2005, 06:27 PM
Thanks Harley for the info. William was an enterprising young man. "Put in charge of 30 workers at the age of 18."

I wish my 18 year old would get off his ass.


September 23, 2005, 06:34 PM
So Johnston was the gunmaker and used Joseph Golcher locks.


How can I date this gun?


DT Guy
September 23, 2005, 07:52 PM
Flowers and a card?

:D :D :D :D :D



September 23, 2005, 09:22 PM
Best I can find is a reference to JH Johnson and Great Western Gunworks is that he was born 1811 and died 1889.(This was listed in an ad trying to sell a rifle with these markings. I don't know where the seller came up with the info.) I find it a little curious that there is both a makers name and a business name on the barrel. Sounds more like a modern repro, but who knows. Try using Google for Great Western Gunworks and follow the threads, you will find the ad I mentioned.


September 24, 2005, 01:02 AM
Thanks Deadin

Yep I saw ad. Check this link.
That book is expensive.

Here are some more catalog books:

Looks like Johnston was a dealer/distributor and Great Western is the manufacture. Catalog starts in 1879. Great Western made reproductions of famous guns made by colt and others.
Your first impression seems correct about my gun being a reproduction.
I guess i will need to buy the catalog to find when mine was made and find a dealer for an approx. value.


September 24, 2005, 01:11 AM
FOUND IT! Thank you Google!!

Took 2 hours of weeding though. Here's the Link:


Looks like mine was made between 1879-1883.

Original price was $15.00 bucks

I must have a upgraded special order model with the adjustable sights, better wood and hardware. NICE


September 24, 2005, 01:24 AM

This is a good read. 10th paragraph mentions Great Western Gunworks.


September 24, 2005, 07:51 AM
That's a good piece of investigative work there! Most here aren't that diligent. Glad you found what you were looking for.

Harley Nolden
September 24, 2005, 08:14 AM
Is it Johnson or Johnston?

I have a J.H. Johnston, 1863-1915

Pittsburgh PA who ran Great Western Gun Works until 1890. The Company was in retail business from 1865-1923


September 24, 2005, 08:40 AM
Bingo! :) I do believe you have nailed your rifle down. This is the kind of authentication I like to see. Not just somebody's ad on an auction sight.
Do you have its history? Family gun or anything about where it came from? This is what I love about the old ones is the hours of research you can spend trying to learn about them.
About a year ago I picked up an Ohio Half-stock percussion rifle by Wm. Kail of Tuscarawas county Ohio and have been researching since. My wife is into geneolgy, so it has been kind of a joint project. (Actually it is the first gun in 43 years of marriage that I have carried into the house that she likes. Guess it's a keeper.)

Your rifle looks (from the pictures) to be in excellent condition. What is its caliber and do you plan to fire it?


September 24, 2005, 01:30 PM
Barrel is marked Johnston without th J.H.
Passed down to me by my father. He must have aquired it in the late 50's or early 60's, but it hung on the wall in our dining room for 33 years.

It is in near mint unfired condition as far as I can tell. Must be a 30 cal. the bore measures 1 mm.