J. & W. Henry Maryland Contract Pistol

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Physical Description:
This .57 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol was made by J&W Henry of Philadelphia under a contract to Maryland. This pistol has a reinforced double neck hammer. It has a pin fastened full walnut stock and a wooden ramrod. The mountings are brass but it has an iron belt hook, denoting Navy usage.
The lockplate is stamped “J. HENRY/PHILA”. The barrel has an eagle head and “CT” stamped on the left side.
John Joseph Henry learned his trade from his father William Henry Jr. He opened a factory in 1808 in Philadelphia, Pa. During the War of 1812, it was his job to produce and repair firearms for the Committee of Defense in Philadelphia.
This particular pistol is extremely rare. It was made for the War of 1812; not for Philadelphia, but for Maryland. It is also rare because the “CT” mark is a contract inspection mark that ceased to be used after 1813. There are only two known copies of this pistol.
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. 89.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 192.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1813
J. & W. Henry
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
associated place
United States: Maryland
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 16 3/8 in; 41.5925 cm
overall: 2 1/8 in x 16 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 5.3975 cm x 41.91 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
War of 1812
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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