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A general term sometimes used like a brand name. See also Haviland & Gunn, Gaggenau Ironworks, and Dianawerk (Mayer & Grammelspacher). The term "Gem" has been used to refer to an enormous number of spring piston air rifles. Although a great variety of airguns fall into this category, they have a general similarity in appearance characterized by having the compression chamber in the slanted wrist of the gun rather than ahead of the trigger, and a one-piece wooden buttstock behind the compression chamber. Apparently all are derived from a USA patent issued to George Gunn on April 18, 1871 as modified by a USA patent issued to Asa Pettengill on May 28, 1878. The original Gunn patent is the basis for the drop-barrel cocking mechanism so popular among spring piston airguns throughout the world for over a century. George Peck Gunn combined the wrist-cylinder with the drop-barrel mechanism in his USA patent of March 9, 1886.
Patents properly licensed to Henry Quackenbush in the United States were further licensed to Gaggenau Ironworks in Europe, where production of European Gems began in the 1880s. Other early makers, eager for monopoly control of their own markets and simply ignoring prior foreign patents, often copied the basic Gunn and Pettengill patterns or added minor features. Most guns so produced are airguns, but some are combination firearm/airgun designs derived from the Haviland & Gunn designs which became the Quackenbush Model 5.
Gem-type guns were made by many manufacturers from circa 1885 until the 1930s and were at least distributed from many countries and companies, esp. Gaggenau Ironworks, Langenham, and Mayer & Grammelspacher (Dianawerk) in Germany, Jean Marck, a Belgian gunmaker (using an encircled "M" as a mark), Arbebz, Sugg, Lane Bros, Baker & Marsh in England, and Coirier of France. They range from crude to excellent in quality and often are "notoriously difficult to classify." Ref: GR March 1974.
Most Gems are small to medium size with octagonal, smoothbore barrels ranging from .177/4.5mm to .25/6.35mm caliber. Current values typically run from about $60 to $120 with few exceeding $350.
Gem Air Rifle - typical shape and design with angled body tube which serves as mainspring/piston housing and pistol grip. This Jewel Model by Lane of England is special for its "Lane-style" barrel latch and because it is a .177 cal. smoothbore shotgun, designed to fire LaneĀ“s Patent Shot Cartridges, filled with No. 7 or No. 9 lead birdshot.

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