Model 1836 Flintlock Pistol

Physical Description:
This .54 caliber smoothbore, single-shot flintlock Model 1836 pistol was made by Robert Johnson of Middletown, Connecticut. It has a round barrel and a barrel band strap that extends to the sideplate. It has a swivel type steel ramrod with button head, iron mountings, and a brass flash pan. The lockplate, hammer and frizzen, blued trigger and frizzen spring are all case hardened.
“US./R. JOHNSON/MIDDN CONN/1842” is stamped on the lockplate. The barrel is stamped with the inspector’s mark “US/PH/P”. The walnut stock has inspector stamp “PH” on the left side.
This type of pistol was a modification of the Model 1826 pistol and was the last US martial pistol with a flintlock ignition system produced for contract with the US government. It was standard issue for the Mexican War and many were converted to percussion for use during the American Civil War.
Johnson’s factory in Middletown, Connecticut was insured for $30,000. It held 27 employees and six water wheels. On June 27, 1836, Johnson was contracted for 3,000 pistols at nine dollars each. He received a second contract for 15,000 more in 1840. This particular pistol was previously on loan to the White House Library.
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. 102.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 236.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
date made
Johnson, Robert
Physical Description
iron (part material)
steel (part material)
brass (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 13 7/8 in x 6 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in; 35.2425 cm x 15.875 cm x 5.715 cm
overall: 6 1/4 in x 14 in x 2 1/4 in; 15.875 cm x 35.56 cm x 5.715 cm
place made
United States: Connecticut, Middletown
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
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

Visitor Comments

6/6/2015 12:31:29 PM
Michael van Keuren
Were any of the pistols serial numbered? Who did the conversion to percussion.
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