Henry Marcus Quackenbush was born in Herkimer, New York on April 27, 1847.  As a child he differed from his scholarly brother and sister in that he much preferred to tinker with mechanical components than to read or study.  He began an apprenticeship with the gun maker Remington Arms at age 14 where he acquired the skills of an expert metalworker and gunmaker.  By 1867, he had begun inventing and marketing devices on his own, including his first successful creation, the extension ladder.  He sold the patent for this invention for $500.

In 1871, Quackenbush set out to found his own company, establishing the H. M. Quackenbush Co. metal-works and gun shop.  He designed an air pistol that set him on the path of success when demand for it rose beyond his expectations.  In 1876, Quackenbush designed the very popular .22 caliber Safety Rifle, and through the 1880's began mass production of "gallery guns" that promulgated the Quackenbush name throughout shooting galleries across the USA.  Henry Quackenbush died in 1933.

At one point, the firm occupied brick premises of three stories plus basement, and employed over a hundred workers.  Small arms manufacturing continued at the Quackenbush factory until early WWII when production was discontinued so the entire plant could be converted to the manufacture of steel cores for .50 calibre machine gun bullets.  After WWII armament production was discontinued and the business changed over completely to the manufacture of nutpicks, nutcrackers and seafood forks that the company had been manufacturing as a sideline since 1878 and still manufactures to this day.

Quackenbush .22 Rifle

The Quackenbush rifle most often encountered today is a clever but cheaply made "Boys' rifle" sold in large numbers in the 1893-1920 period, along with several models of air guns.  They came with either a fixed wire stock or one that slid forward for use as a "bicycle rifle", nearly identical with the stock later used on the USAF M4 survival rifle.  They appeared on page 310 of the 1902 Edition of 'The Sears, Roebuck Catalogue'.  Quackenbush rifles are fairly desirable collector items in the United States and sell for several hundred US dollars depending on the exact model and the condition.

Quackenbush Markings