Sharps Large Frame Breech-Loading Pistol

Description
Physical Description:
This .36 caliber rifled breech-loading single shot percussion pistol was made by C. Sharps & Co. It has a dropping block lever activated action, and two piece wooden grips. The mountings are iron.
Under the hammer is stamped “C. SHARPS & COS/GUN WORLD/PHILA PA”. On the opposite side is the stamp “C. SHARPS/PATENT/1840-1852”.
History:
Christian Sharps created his company in 1858 on the Wire Bridge in Fairmount, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, C. Sharps & Co. produced 80, 512 pistols and rifles for the U.S. Government. The company was changed in 1863 to Sharps & Hankins but remained at the same address and was still listed in the 1875 directory as C. Sharps & Co. This company was made famous for their self priming pistols and rifles.
850 of this type of pistol were created between 1854 and 1857. It is based on the Model 1848 Sharps Pistol. The lever activated action is basically the same as on a carbine or a rifle. Only a limited number were made because there was not a market for this type of pistols when they were manufactured.
References:
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, p. 174.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol
pistol, percussion
date made
ca 1855
maker
Sharps, Christian
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 10 1/4 in; 26.035 cm
overall: 1 1/2 in x 10 3/8 in x 5 3/8 in; 3.81 cm x 26.3525 cm x 13.6525 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
1989.0748.05
catalog number
1989.0748.05
accession number
1989.0748
serial number
681
collector/donor number
P100
subject
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Military
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
Additional Media

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