Percussion Pistol By H. Ashton, Middletown, Connecticut



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Percussion Pistol By H. Ashton, Middletown, Connecticut

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Percussion Pistol By H. Ashton, Middletown, Connecticut
H. Ashton, Middletown, Connecticut

Content Description: 

United States percussion pistol of the model of 1842, apparently regular in all ways as described both in Gluckman, United States Martial Pistols and Revolvers, and Hicks, Notes on U.S. Ordnance. The lock plate is marked in two lines "U S/H. ASTON", and across the tail of the lock plate in three lines "MIDDtn/CONN. 1849". The left rear quadrant of the barrel has in two lines "S.K / (S.K. being the initials of the inspector); the barrel tang bears no date. On the left (flat) side of the barrel, below the previously mentioned proof marks, is the single letter "H". The gun shows minimal traces of original finish, and the barrel and the bolster are somewhat pitted from powder fouling. The walnut stock appears to be in excellent condition, retaining original or very good finish. There is a small split from the head of the rear lock screw forward; on this same side of the stock are additional inspector proof marks, the initials "JH" and "AT", both in cartouches. Swivel ramrod and its stirrup are in excellent condition save for one very minor bend in the ramrod just below the button end. In spite of these few minor defects, the specimen presents generally a good appearance, and is a good example of the type. This pistol is a good index of the excellence which New England mechanical skill could attain. It is important to realize that the parts of this gun were largely machine made, and that they would probably interchange freely at least with comparable pistols manufactured in any given year. The brass furniture bears single letters, non-matching in any instance: top of forestock retaining ring, "H", back-plate, "K", trigger guard "H", and butt tang "B". As a footnote, it should be recognized that the model 1842 is practically identical with the flintlock pistol of the model of 1836 except for the alteration to the percussion system and very minor changes in a few small parts. This pistol was manufactured by Aston under a contract on February 25, 1845, which provided for the completion of 30,000 pistol at $6.50 each over a period of five years. According to Gluckman (U.S. Martial Pistols, p. 79), the model was also manufactured by Ira. N. Johnson at Middletown, Connecticut, and by the Palmetto Armory at Columbia, South Carolina. According to Gluckman, "they were internationally known as the best-made martial pistols of the time". The workmanship is certainly of a high order, and aside from the advances in modern metallurgy, it is hard to think of any way in which this pistol could be improved in quality by more modern methods of manufacture. Aston himself came from England, where he learned his trade, just before 1820, and had worked many years for Simeon North in Middletown, in whose shops he is said to have made the magnificent pair of flintlock dueling pistols which were presented to Commodore McDonough.

Physical Description: 

Iron/steel; brass; wood: walnut. Length overall - 15"; Barrel length - 8 1/4".
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road,Massachusetts,Sturbridge,01566
Collection of Old Sturbridge Village