Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 26th January 2021, 09:49 PM   #1
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,796
Default British officer's blunderbuss pistol

Here we have a British brass flintlock blunderbuss pistol from approximately 1770-80's. It is designed in the classic Waters patent style, with the lock situated in the middle and the spring-loaded bayonet (released by pulling the trigger guard backwards). This type extremely popular with the naval officers. The barrel is octagonal for part of its length, with minor decoration (splay of weapons, sunburst pattern to trigger guard). One might remember this type in one of the great scenes from "Pirates of the Caribbean". The bottom of the barrel has the V and P proof marks under a crown. The big question is, who is the "S. Wallace" on the side marking? A Birmingham retailer? Previous owner? The barrel's smith? The incredible workmanship of this piece, with all of its individual handmade screws and fixtures, is incredible. The horn-tipped ramrod has a brass tip that unscrews to reveal a lead projectile removing tool.
Attached Images
    
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2021, 10:45 PM   #2
cel7
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 38
Default

Probably Stephan wallis, a Birmingham gunmaker from 1807 to 1833.
cel7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2021, 11:04 PM   #3
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,796
Default

A fellow from another forum long ago mentioned him. The person helping me had come to the conclusion that, although this gun dates pre-1800 based on style, design, proofs, etc, this Birmingham merchant might have re-etched and sold it after market. Or perhaps it really was made circa 1807-10. Who knows?Thanks for the reply!
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2021, 08:01 AM   #4
corrado26
Member
 
corrado26's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Black Forest, Germany
Posts: 920
Default

Here is a second Wallis blunderbus-bajonet pistol which is very similar to the above one. Prabably made by the same gunmaker Stephen WALLIS between 1807 and 1833 working at Birmingham. As he signed "WALLIS & SONS" between 1827 and 1833, your pistol must have been made before 1827.
Attached Images
    
corrado26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2021, 05:02 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,201
Default

It seems most entries I find for Stephen Wallis have the lock engraved with his initial and name in script lettering, while this example is in block letters. What might be the significance there. It is also noted his shops were at Vauxhall Road in Birmingham.

Good note on the '&sons' after 1827 and until ending in 1833.

In one set of flintlock box lock pistols I see the overall sectioned style of the lock plate c.1820 has this design with the upper and lower sections having a flared end and the central (with name) simply a rectangular shape. This seems almost characteristic of the Wallis locks, at least in examples I found.

Regarding the 'Waters patent' pistols, gunmaker John Waters was granted patent #1824 on 9 Mar 1781, for this means of attaching bayonets to pistols.
The style of the pistol is the same seen here with Mark's example.
So it seems the 'style' was around since at least then , with the blunderbuss barrel and general appearance.

The earliest 'record' of Stephen Wallis 'officially' was in 1807, but this does not mean that was the earliest date he produced a pistol. He was likely apprenticed prior to that, so it would be interesting to discover more on his personal history.

With the Waters patent in 1781, and Stephen Wallis beginning 'recorded' work' in 1807, I would suggest that perhaps this is an early example with its unusual block letter name style.
The pistol style itself appears to have been in use well into the 19th century and favored by naval officers. This seems understandable with the blunderbuss barrel which seems favorable for close quarters matters as well as the bayonet for use after shot expended,

Other such 'bladed' pistols were also proposed for similar naval use, such as the curious 'Elgin cutlass pistol', though not sure if these were ever largely produced or used.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2021, 05:13 PM   #6
M ELEY
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,796
Default

Thank you cel7, Corrado and Jim for your valuable input on this piece. I guess I was thinking pre-1800 simply for the fact of the Waters patent and my (often) mistaken belief that percussion cap/pin-fire and other mechanisms taking over into the 19th excluded continuation of the flintlock system. Fascinating to learn about this maker, his later work with his son and his location in the Birmingham district. In any case, I love this item even though I'm more of an edged weapon fan. As it undoubtedly pre-dates at least the later 1820's, it still falls in nicely with the end of Age of Fighting Sail, so it will remain in my collection. Thanks again to all!
Cap'n Mark
M ELEY is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.