Committee of Safety Pistol


Physical Description:

This .66 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol was made by William Whetcroft of Annapolis Maryland around 1776. It has a pin fastened walnut stock. This pistol has an S-shaped brass side plate, a brass thimble and trigger guard and no butt cap.

It is stamped “WW” in a sunken rectangle on the barrel and lockplate. The barrel is also stamped “MARYLAND.”


On October 21, 1775, the Maryland Council of Safety contracted William Whetcroft to make 50 muskets per week for the Council. There are no records of a pistol being produced for the Council of Safety, but that does not mean he did not manufacture them for the Council.

This pistol may be the only known pistol made for the Council of Safety. It is difficult to guarantee though. The “WW” stamp is an identifier for Whetcroft. Also the brass mounted lock, and American wood stock are other factors leading the authors of Historic Pistols to believe this pistol is in fact a Maryland Council of Safety contract.


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. 208.

Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 18.

Date Made: ca 1776

Maker: Whetcroft, William

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Maryland, Annapolis

See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military, Military, The Bitter Collection of Firearms


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1987.0014.32Catalog Number: 1987.0014.32Accession Number: 1987.0014Collector/Donor Number: P184L

Object Name: pistolpistol, flintlock

Physical Description: iron (part material)brass (part material)wood (part material)Measurements: average spatial: 6 in x 13 3/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 15.24 cm x 34.925 cm x 6.35 cmbarrel: 1.676 cm x 21.59 cm; 11/16 in x 8 1/2 inoverall: 13 3/4 in x 6 1/4 in x 2 5/16 in; 34.925 cm x 15.875 cm x 5.9055 cm


Record Id: nmah_1082450

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