Posts Tagged ‘Tansel Horn’

Kevin Hart of Oregon, Featured Artist

August 30, 2014

Kevin Hart writes:
As a young boy, I remember two things that interested me most. One was movies or television that had something to do with flintlock rifles and the frontier. The other was listening to my parent’s records. Two of my favorite movies to this day were ones that I saw when very young.Tansel  b
They are “Across the Wide Missouri” staring Clark Gable and “The Big Sky” with a young Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin & Arthur Hunnicutt as the wise old free trapper. At that time Arthur Hunnicutt was my favorite actor and still is to this day. Of course, spending time in front of the television with my brothers watching “Davy Crockett” and “Daniel Boone” also played a major influence on me later in life as well. Westerns were always a favorite, but the movies that dealt with trappers, Native Americans, flintlocks rifles and black powder were what I always wanted to watch.

Detail on the Hart Ledger Horn

Detail on the Hart Ledger Horn

I grew up smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles which is not very ideal for a young man wanting to explore the outdoors and experience what’s beyond the next mountain range. Following high school, I attended Los Angeles City College for two years, then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and finished college with a Communications Degree. My chosen field at the time was Radio and over that time period worked as an announcer for 3 different stations. It just so happened that I walked into a small gun store and was surprised to see that all they sold were black powder rifles and related accoutrements of the fur trade. This greenhorn couldn’t get enough stories and spent many hours sitting around the pot belly stove in that store listening to the many windies those boys could tell. Well, my passion was reborn. I bought my first black powder rifle then and haven’t looked back since. I eventually moved back to the Los Angeles area and went back to school two separate times and got in on the ground floor of the Telecommunications boom in the 1980s.

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Cup that goes with the Tansel Horn

Cup that goes with the Tansel Horn

I met my wife Debbie during this time period and after a few years living in Santa Monica, CA we were able to purchase a nice mountain home located about an hour north of Valencia, CA. Two great kids came along but unfortunately the two hour drive down from paradise to work each day and back was difficult so after 6 years on the mountain, we moved back down in amongst them again. I had always had the dream of living in Oregon, and was finally able to transfer north in the mid 1990s and in 2003 I retired.

04 Top White

While living in New Mexico I attended local rendezvous and the same was true in California. One of my favorite rendezvous was 1982’s NMLRA/NAPR rendezvous held in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Daily work and family commitments for many years superseded time at rendezvous so we were limited to smaller weekend events. Since the 2000’s I have had the great pleasure of attending with my brother Allen, many PPR (Pacific Primitive Rendezvous) events in Washington, Utah, Idaho, California and of course my home state of Oregon.

05 Eagle stained

In addition to the fur trade, one of my other passions is antique furniture from the Arts & Crafts period. In my late teens, I restored my first of many tiger oak pieces and eventually I began crafting and selling Arts & Craft recreations such as clocks, framed tiles and small furniture pieces. It seemed that I was always in need of some added accouterments for my persona, which led me to start making cases for black powder firearms, powder horns and other items.

Pistol Box and accessories by Keven Hart

Pistol Box and accessories by Keven Hart

The many great books and videos available today really helped me believe I could make the items I needed instead of purchasing them which helped improve my art greatly. My thanks go out to all the many artists who through personal instruction, books and videos shared their knowledge with me and others so that our American Tradition can continue.

You can reach him at

Keven Hart

Keven Hart

Semi-Reproduction of “The Buckskinner” Tansel Horn by Larry Gotkin

February 7, 2013

This is a picture of an original Tansel horn that was auctioned at Cowan’s auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Image courtesy of Cowan's Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio."

Original Tansel Horn “Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.”

Larry Gotkin Horn with Eagle and serpent.

Larry Gotkin Horn with Eagle and serpent.


Larry Gotkin only had pictures of this horn and was able to create a semi-reproduction that was very pleasing to his  client.  The client realized that creating a copy was impossible.

Finding a good horn was difficult.  Powder Horns and More supplied the horn.  The shape is not perfect but Larry felt style of the horn was very good.

The original horn is 16″ length. It is engraved with the Eagle clutching arrows and sheaths of wheat, E. Pluribus Unum in a banner above the eagle, a hunter (i.e. the “Buckskinner”) hunting deer.

It has a nice serpent’s mouth (fish mouth) with the teeth carved protruding on to the spout. This particular horn has been nicknamed the “Buckskinner’s powder horn.”

It is interesting because it has a screw top, wood base with iron loop and another iron loop near the spout.

One large brass tack has been in the base of the horn for a long time, it has a beautiful dark brown halo around it.

View of the Original's throat and tip. "Image courtesy of Cowan's Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio."

View of the Original’s throat and tip. “Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.”

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Larry Gotkin Horn with E. Pluribus Unum in a banner above the eagle,

"Image courtesy of Cowan's Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio."

“Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.”

There is a fringed-shirted hunter carrying a flintlock and a striped hound.

Larry Gotkin's interpretation of the original horn.

Larry Gotkin’s interpretation of the original horn.

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It took a lot of work, and several re-scrapings before Larry got “into” the drawing style.  The original is dated 1790 just below the eagle’s tail, which he included as well, but Larry also signed and  dated his logo.

This is a great example of contemporary workmanship done in the style of an original horn.

PowderHorns and More supplied the cow horn that was a similar size and shape.

PowderHorns and More supplied the cow horn that was a similar size and shape. The beginning of a masterpiece with only four pictures to go by.

Detail of the screw tip on the horn.

Detail of the screw tip on the horn.


First attempt at the Eagle


Another attempt at the Eagle

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The finished Eagle with stain.

Copy of an 1812 horn by Francis Tansel made by Tim Crosby and TC Albert

June 21, 2012

Ft. Meigs Tansel Horn by Tim Crosby and engraved by TC Albert

This horn is featured in Muzzle Blast Magazine May 2012.  It is also on The Contemporary Makers blog. The Ft Meigs horn was made by Tim Crosby and TC Albert, long-time friends of ours.  This copy is based on two original horns made by Francis Tansel. One horn is currently displayed at the Fort Meigs museum and historic site. The other is in a private collection.

Two very similar Ft. Meigs were made by Francis while he actually served at Ft. Meigs as a volunteer in Boswell’s 10th Kentucky Militia regiment. Being listed as sick, Francis Tansel was left behind at Ft. Meigs, Ohio country. General Harrison ordered all but a hundred of his troops north into Canada where they arrived in time to help defeat the British Army at the Battle of the Thames on October 5th 1813. It was probably during these events that Francis Tansel carved his Fort Meigs powder horns.

Ft. Meigs events

TC Albert writes:

“Trench art is generally defined as an object relating to a war or conflict that was decorated by a direct participant during those events.  Francis Tansel joined Boswell’s 10th militia in May 1813 from Scott County Kentucky.  He carved and dated a pair of powder horns while stationed at Fort Meigs during the war of 1812. ”

“The special horn for this set, complete with its turned and applied walnut tip, fish mouth, and toothed engrailing  was crafted by Tim Crosby. Then, using images of the original Tansel Fort Meigs horn as a pattern, the horn was engraved by T.C Albert.

Detail of the craftsmanship of Tim Crosby and TC Albert

Contemporary Longrifle Association’s live auction commemorating the War of 1812

“Francis and his sons, John, Timothy and Stark are widely known for their famous carved powder horns, engraved in what has fittingly become known as “The Tansel” style. That they eventually settled in the Indiana territory as farmers and horn smiths is also common knowledge, but it’s not so well-known that Francis himself was a veteran of The War of 1812. We can only speculate what the bulk of his war-time experiences were, and how they influenced the recurring use of patriotic themes on the horns that he and his sons carved. This Live Auction offering tries to bring a little bit of that experience back to life.

This horn and many other 1812 items will be available August 18th 2012 at the CLA Live Auction in Lexington Kentucky.

Text from the articles  by TC Albert. Contemporary Makers Blog and Muzzle Blasts Magazine.  Photos by TC Albert