Guess the Artifact Answers
Time for the answers to Guess the Artifact!
If you guessed Percussion Target Rifle, you would be correct! Though we will give you credit if you went with a less specific answer like firearm.
This percussion target rifle has a heavy half-stock barrel and was manufactured circa 1870 by a company named "E. R. Hamilton" out of Bloomington, Indiana. We zoomed in on the rifle’s beautiful German silver mounts & inlays. Rifles like this were often found on the frontier, but perhaps not such highly decorated examples.
Firearms engraving like this has been practiced for centuries. The distinct American firearms engraving style began in the 1800s with the implementation of wire inlays on Pennsylvania and Kentucky Long rifles. The museum has many more examples of beautifully engraved firearms like this one—come check them out!
If you guessed a Ranger Commission, you are right!
The closeup of a figure of a woman holding a scythe comes from this 1876 Ranger commission for Jesse Lee Hall. The rest of the document is decorated as well – with a fancy border, an eagle, and the Texas state seal. These commissions were quite impressive – it actually measures about 14 by 18 inches! The document declares that Jesse Lee Hall is a Second Lieutenant in the Special State Troops of Texas, and was signed by the Governor of Texas, the Adjutant General, and the Secretary of State.
This fancy looking artifact is actually a spur that belonged to Ranger Captain Tom Hickman. It is a highly decorate Spanish silver spur with a leather strap, and a Greek key pattern on the strap. The wheel, called a “rowel”, is also highly decorated, which is common with rodeo spurs. Besides being a Texas Ranger, Tom Hickman was active in the rodeo and quite the performer!
Many of his personal items are on display in the Hall of Fame.
See if you can count the number of points on the rowel…
If you guessed powder horn, you would be correct!
This powder horn is decorated with carved scenes of George Washington’s life. It actually contains two scenes, “Washington descending the Ohio” and “Washington arresting a poacher”. Powder horns were used to carry gunpowder, and were made, as the name suggests, from an animal horn. Horns are hollow and naturally waterproof, which make them an excellent way to store gunpowder. Often decorated like this one, powder horns became obsolete with the invention of cartridges – loose gunpowder was no longer needed!
Did you guess Bible? If so, you are correct!
This leather-bound family Bible belonged to the Sutton family, of the famous Sutton-Taylor feud. It has a beautifully decorated cover with gold lettering, and an inscription inside which reads “Presented to Laura E. Sutton by her husband William Sutton, DeWitt Co., Irish Creek November 19th AD 1870”. In the 19th century, it was common for a family to have one large communal Bible – important family events might also be recorded in it, such as births and weddings. The Bible is on display in “The Sutton Collection: Feuds and Family” exhibit, in the Armstrong Research Center at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
If you guessed horse harness or something similar, you would be correct!
This ornate horse collar is made of leather and silver. The intricate design of silver pieces in the collar includes engraved longhorns and stars, hearts, and diamond shapes. Tom Hickman, who was a Texas Ranger in the 1920s and 1930s, and was known to be quite a showman and active in the rodeo. This collar belonged to him and was likely worn by his horse in the arena.
This item is currently on display in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
If you guessed a recorder of some kind, you would be correct!
This small plastic wire recording device came with a wired watch with a microphone that could be plugged in for covert recording. Gifted to the museum by Ranger Phil Ryan, it is one of the various examples of equipment used during criminal investigations. The Minifon recorder came with other intriguing attachments, such as phone tapping equipment and a car charger. The circa 1955 device could record up to 2 hours of audio and evokes the era of Cold War espionage.
This item is currently on display in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
If you guessed a pistol of some kind, you are correct! Though you get bonus points if you guessed that it was a palm pistol!
This Chicago Firearms Protector Palm Pistol was made in the 1890s by the Chicago Firearms Company and the Ames Manufacturing Company. It is a .32 caliber pistol with rotary chambers and has nickel plated pearl “grips”. This pocket pistol is also very small! It was designed to be concealed in the palm of your hand so that only the barrel was visible. In self-defense, the user would simply squeeze their hand to fire the gun.
If you guessed a forensic insect box, you would be correct!
This collection of insects represents the succession of insects that come to a deceased body. Forensic entomologists use this sequence to learn things about how long the deceased has been where it is found. What do you think? Cool or gross?
This item is loaned to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and museum by the Baylor University Forensic Anthropology department.
If you guessed a packsaddle, you got it right!
This packsaddle was created and used in the early 20th century. It is known as the “Old Monk” saddle because that was the name of the mule that it rode on top of. Rangers would place their bedroll on top of the saddle along with cookware and other gear. They would then securely tie down the gear with soft pack ropes. Would you like to try traveling this way? Or are you going to stick with modern suitcases?
This item is on display in the Morris Gallery of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
If you guessed a Shriner Fez, you would be correct!
This Texas Ranger Shriner Fez was owned by Texas Ranger Bill Gunn. Bill Gunn made Texas Ranger in 1966 after serving in the Texas Department of Public Safety for 14 years. He was a part of Company “F” and was stationed in Waco and Waxahachie. Ranger Gunn retired from the Texas Rangers in 1986, after 35 years of service in the Texas Department of Public Safety.
This item is part of the Collections of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
If you guessed a bullet-proof vest, you got it right!
This stylish Dunrite bullet-proof vest dates to the 1920s and was made to look like a wool dress suit vest. It comes with a groin protector, front and back plates, and vest pockets on the front. Made by the Detective Publishing Co. of Chicago, the vests were relatively lightweight and inconspicuous. Vests like this were known to have been used by gangsters of the period, but may also have been used by law enforcement when trying to blend in.
This item is on display in the Hall of Fame Rotunda at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.