Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Kinda surprised no response on this.....well, maybe not.
This is of course VERY unusual, and the first thing I think of is the notably unusual Elgin cutlass pistol of 1838.
The Bowie knife had of course become enormously popular after the Alamo (actually before that with Bowie's notoriety) and in 1837 G. Elgin filed a patent for the Bowie knife. Right after that he decided to create the cutlass pistol..which had a .54 cal. boxlock pistol with a Bowie blade attached.
Apparently there were only 150 of these made and a number issued to the US Navy. C.B. Allen of Springfield, Mass. was the primary producer but Morrill, Mossman and Blair were other contractors as well.
These as far as known were never really used but some were taken on a naval expedition.
While this pepperbox may well be Belgian (usually 1840s) this blade seems to have the 'sickle marks' and trimurti dots often seen on Indian blades. These were of course copied from Italian blades of earlier centuries, but widely applied in India on blades in the 19th century, and especially in the north on Afghan arms.
With the Afghan skills in duplicating arms, I would be tempted to suggest this may be a weapon recalling either the Elgin weapon, or toward the Indian penchant for combination weapons.
MOST unusual piece!!!
I do not have my copy of "Firearms Curiosa" by Winant at hand, but if anyone out there has it, perhaps they might have a look to see if there might be some reference.