The Museum's superb military collections document the history of the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. The collections include ordnance, firearms, and swords; uniforms and insignia; national and military flags and banners; and many other objects.
The strength of the collections lies in their enormous depth. Some 3,000 military small arms and 2,400 civilian firearms document the mechanical and technological history of the infantryman's weapons from the beginning of the gunpowder era to the present. Among the 4,000 swords and knives in the collection are many spectacular presentation pieces. The collections also include Civil War era telegraph equipment, home front artifacts from both world wars, early computers such as ENIAC, Whirlwind, and Sage, and materials carried at antiwar demonstrations.
"Military - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Physical Description:
- This .64 caliber smoothbore flintlock U.S. reconverted boarding pistol was made by Thomas French of Canton, Massachusetts under Massachusetts state contract. It has a full walnut stock and a wooden ramrod with a flared brass tip. It is pin mounted with gooseneck hammer, brass mountings, iron flash pan, and an iron belt hook. It also has a distinct teat at rear of lockplate.
- It is stamped “T. FRENCH” under an eagle over “US” on the lockplate. The barrel is stamped “WNY” and the stock is stamped “MARSH/MA/V.”
- In 1808, Thomas French and two other men received a contract to produce 4,000 Model 1808 muskets. It is likely this pistol was most likely made for use during the War of 1812 during the fulfillment of this contract. Because of an inspector in Boston, French’s guns had to be “superior weapons” no matter the cost. The Committee of Claims ultimately issued a voucher to French for the additional cost in the production of these firearms.
- This particular pistol however is unique because of the “WNY” stamp. It stands for the Washington Navy Yard. The stamp “MARSH” is thought to be an abbreviation of an inspector’s name. This same stamp appears on many Washington Navy Yard pistols made during this time period.
- Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition
- Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, 69.
- Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 260.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- French, Thomas
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- collector/donor number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center