Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the Morphy Auction Company, up in Pennsylvania, taking a look at a US Navy pattern 1808 pistol that is in their upcoming Extraordinary Firearms auction. This was manufactured by a guy named Simeon North who was born in 1765, and would become really the first main pistol smith supplying the United States military.
His first contract for hand guns was written up in 1799, and then … actually there followed a gap before
he got another contract, but it would come in 1808. And then he would provide
pistols for many years after that. So the 1808 contract here is specifically for the US Navy,
and it is the first contracted pistol purchased by the US Navy. There was a Militia Act passed in 1808 to allocate funds to
help arm the military forces of the new American Republic. And that resulted in a bunch of different purchases, among
them this contract, the first contract anyway, for these pistols. The government specified that they wanted
a .64 calibre pistol, they got a 10.5 inch barrel. This here of course a single-shot flintlock,
that was the standard of the day. They wanted belt hooks on them, which
you’ll see in a moment, for better naval use. They paid $11.75 per pair, and they
ordered 1,000 pairs in June of 1808. Now this would be followed by a second contract
in December of 1810 for a further 500 pairs. The price went up on those, probably
because the quantity was a little bit smaller. That second contract they paid $12 per pair,
for a total production of 3,000 of these. So let’s take a closer look at it. Unlike North’s previous gun, this has a full
length wood stock on it, and a wooden ramrod. You have a pretty typical flintlock mechanism here.
So cock hammer, fill your priming pan with powder, and you then close the frizzen. And then when you fire that’s going to create
sparks and throw this open and fire the pistol. This style of grip is colloquially known as a
bag grip. This one has a nice brass cap on it. This is the sort of thing where, especially in naval use, this
becomes an impact weapon after you fire your one shot. So it’s relevant to have some reinforcing on the
end of the butt there for when it turns into a club. On this side we have our belt hook. You might think that some of the modern pistols that are
being sold with these as accessories are a funky new idea, they are not, this has been around for many centuries. And this allows sailors to carry these things in
a belt while they’re doing important sailor things, other than shooting pistols at people.
So this was specified in the contract. The bore … was specified at .64 calibre, the
guns as they exist tend to be a little bit larger. This one by my bore gauge came out at .65 or maybe .66
calibre, and I’ve seen some people reference them as .67. However, these did not have interchangeable parts. So there wasn’t a whole lot of of time spent making
sure that any given part could swap between any other particular pistol. The first … pistol that
North did that would have interchangeable parts specified in its contract was
his 1813 contract for handguns. And it’s important to note that that is not
the first industrially interchangeable pistol. So at that point that meant, you
know, carefully hand fitting each part so that it met the requirements
to be swappable between guns. It did not mean that he was at that point able to have a
production line of all interchangeable parts coming off… Anyway getting away from myself for a little bit here. The markings on this: S.North,
Simeon North, Berlin, Connecticut. And an American eagle over the … words “U.States”.
So not “US”, not “United States”, just “U.States”. There is no serial number visible on
these. There are no other marks on them. There are also no sights on them, this
is strictly a point-and-shoot sort of affair. Finding this gun in its original configuration, all flintlock,
is pretty cool. A lot of these, as with so many other military flintlocks that ultimately were sold as surplus into
the civilian market, a lot of them were at one point or another converted to percussion cap use to be a little more
modern, a little easier and more reliable to use. So, pretty cool to find this one as it was originally made. If you’re interested in the first and previous
pistol that Simeon North made for the government, that’s the 1799 pattern, I have a video on
that which I will link at the end of this video. And if you’re interested in these guns in general,
I will say first off, definitely check Morphy’s catalogue. They have a bunch of other martial
flintlock pistols that you may find interesting. And I will continue to do a periodic
series on American flintlock martial pistols. I think I’m going to do these chronologically
as I find them, so keep an eye out for those. Thanks for watching.

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