Elgin Patent Cutlass Pistol

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Physical Description:
This .36 caliber Elgin patent percussion cutlass pistol with leather sheath was made by Morrill, Mossman, and Blair of Amherst, Massachusetts. This pistol is famous for its square black pointed trigger. The German Sheath is black and in good condition with silver at the throat and tip.
The pistol is stamped “CAST STEEL” on the barrel.
Morrill, Mossman and Blair went into the business of manufacturing arms on April 1, 1836. They became well known for manufacturing knife pistols which were at high demand during the 1830’s because of the famed James Bowie.
James Bowie became a folk hero because of his reckless nature, contribution to the Texas Revolution and his death at the Alamo, but it was the Sandbar Fight in 1827 that made Bowie famous. After being shot and stabbed, Bowie killed Norris Wright, the Sheriff of Rapides Parish with a large knife that came to be known as the Bowie Knife.
The knife became legend and George Elgin patented the Bowie Knife on July 5, 1837. With this patent Morrill, Mossman and Blair created this type of pistol. This particular pistol is the larger version of the cutlass pistols produced by this company. Their success however was short lived when the company was dissolved in 1838.
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. 136.
Texas State Historical Society. “Bowie, James,” The Texas State Historical Association. < www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbo45>.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1837
Morrill, Mosman & Blair
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Amherst
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 13 7/8 in; 35.2425 cm
overall, pistol-cutlass: 7/8 in x 14 1/4 in x 4 in; 2.2225 cm x 36.195 cm x 10.16 cm
overall, scabbard: 7/8 in x 8 7/8 in x 2 1/4 in; 2.2225 cm x 22.5425 cm x 5.715 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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