Saturday, February 25, 2012


I have an e-acquaintance from one of my 18th century lists who is looking for some information. Can anyone lend a hand?

Looking for help in tracking down the German word Schimmel.
I know schimmel as meaning "Grandpa's" old barn gun.
A barn gun was a very plain flintlock rifle - one which was sturdy enough to stay year in-year out in its designated place in the barn. It was NOT "a piece of junk" - it was a highly accurate and reliable vermin killer. It was not exactly a "frontier" gun because it was not kept in the house, but rather was always in the barn, handy for use on the spot.

We did find the definition below, but it does not seem to expand to cover a rifle.

Does any out there - perhaps Mohawk Valley Platts Deutsch or "Pennsylvania German -
recognize a schimmel as a "barn gun" of the era?

Schimmel : Old High German
- mold, mildew, to become moldy, a white horse, a grey horse

Thanks, all!


  1. My source for a dirtier/lower German maintains the connection to "horse" but conveys the sense of a "solid working horse".

    It may not then be connected to a rifle in a direct way, but to the fact that a reliable gun is a "work horse" in that sense.

  2. Check with Steve at

  3. Southern boy here, useless on this one... Sorry

  4. The "old workhorse" sounds right.

    I know here in VA, the old farms had a "pig gun" in the barn. Usually an old single-shot .22 or something similar.

    Now I'm trying to figure out which of my guns to name after an animal...

  5. Is there some kind of horse symbol or anything on the gun? Could it be a brand name?

    "Schimmel", in modern German anyway, refers to a white horse. It has no "working horse" connotation.

  6. This thread might have some helpful information: