Model 1817 Pistol

Description
Physical Description:
This .69 caliber smoothbore, flintlock U.S. Model 1817 pistol was made by the Springfield Armory. It has all iron mountings, an integral forged iron flashpan, double barrel bands fastening at the fore stock, a brass blade front sight, an iron backstrap from tang to butt cap and a swelled wooden ramrod with a metal ferrule on the opposite end. The stock extends further than the band.
The lockplate is stamped “US” under an eagle by the flash pan. It is stamped “SPRING/FIELD/1818” at the rear of the lock plate. The top of the barrel is stamped “1818” with a raised “P” and eagle head and a “V”. There is a “CC” stamped upside on the inside of the lockplate.
History:
In 1814, the Springfield Armory began production on the Model 1803 Half Stock Rifles that were being produced at Harpers Ferry. By 1816, due to problems with machinery, the production was aborted.
Colonel Robert Lee, Superintendent of the Springfield Armory and Colonel Decius Wadsworth, of the Ordnance Office, began an initiative in 1817 to use the Model 1803 parts that had not been used for the Model 1817 Pistol. The only reason these pistols were manufactured was to rid the Armory of spare parts.
The only difference between the Model 1807 and Model 1817 Springfield pistols is a reinforced hammer. This hammer is held into place with a spring and screw visible from the outside of the lockplate. It also has a smooth point at the rear.
Two pistols of this type have holes in its backstraps that could potentially have been used for an extended shoulder stock although none have ever been found.
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. 185.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 281.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol
date made
1818
maker
Springfield Armory
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
Measurements
overall: 17 1/2 in; 44.45 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Springfield
ID Number
1987.0014.16
accession number
1987.0014
catalog number
1987.0014.16
collector/donor number
P118L
subject
Military
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

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