J. & W. Henry Maryland Contract Pistol


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.

Date Made: ca 1813

Maker: J. & W. Henry

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, PhiladelphiaAssociated Place: United States: Maryland

Used: War of 1812


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


Exhibition Location:

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

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1986.0024.13Catalog Number: 1986.0024.13Accession Number: 1986.0024Collector/Donor Number: P77L

Object Name: pistolpistol, flintlockOther Terms: pistol; Firearms; Flintlock; .60 In; Smooth Bore; Muzzle Load; Sa

Physical Description: metal (part material)wood (part material)Measurements: overall: 16 3/8 in; 41.5925 cmoverall: 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

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-a0ad-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_438569

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