Model 1807/1808 Pistol


Physical Description:

This .54 caliber smoothbore flintlock U.S. Model 1807 pistol was made by William Calderwood of Philadelphia under U.S. contract. It has brass mountings, a brass blade front sight, a brass forestock reinforcing band, a pin fastened barrel and wooden ramrod.

The lockplate is stamped “CALDERWOOD/PHILA” and “US/1808”. There is an eagle over a “P” on the top left side of the barrel.


William Calderwood was a pistol and rifle maker located on Germantown Road in Philadelphia, Pa from 1807 through 1817. He was contracted on April 21, 1808 to make 60 pairs of horse pistols for Tench Coxe. Coxe was a controversial character during this time period. President Thomas Jefferson named him Purveyor of Public Supplies from 1803-1812. Before that however he was a loyalist to the British government.

These pistols were delivered in three batches from June 30 and December 22, 1808. This pistol is the only 1807 contract pistol dated on the lockplate. The proofmarks of other known Calderwood 1807 pistols are different than the proofmarks on this pistol as well. No known reason has been found for these discrepancies.


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. 33.

Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 226.

Date Made: 1808

Maker: Calderwood, William

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

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: 1988.0518.05Accession Number: 1988.0518Catalog Number: 1988.0518.05Collector/Donor Number: P106L

Object Name: pistolpistol, flintlockOther Terms: pistol; Firearms; Army; Flintlock; .54 In; Smooth Bore; Muzzle Load; Sa

Physical Description: metal (part material)wood (part material)Measurements: overall: 39.7002 cm; 15 5/8 inoverall: 15 5/8 in x 5 7/8 in x 2 1/8 in; 39.6875 cm x 14.9225 cm x 5.3975 cm


Record Id: nmah_438529

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