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Original U.S. Matched Pair of Allen's Patent Single Shot Pocket Percussion Pistols - Serial 121 and 462 - circa 1845

Regular price $1,295.00

Item Description

Original Items: Only Pair Available. This is a lovely matched pair of single shot pocket percussion  pistols, made circa 1840 for the U.S. Market by Ethan Allen of Massachusetts (1808-1871). Allen developed his Gun business by taking his brother-in-law Charles Thurber as his partner, originally setting up shop in Norwich, CT, which as a major gun making center at the time. They were one of the earliest makers of pistols in the city, and sources usually cite 1842 as when they began production, though some use 1835 as the start date. Ethan Allen, no relation to the Revolutionary Ethan Allen, had applied for various patents, most notably early on for a "TUBE HAMMER" ignition system in 1837, which was renewed in 1845 with significant improvements to the design. In 1847, the company moved the production plant to Worcester, Mass., and as before manufactured many quality pepperbox pistols.

However, they still produced many other firearms throughout their history, such as these smart single shot pocket percussion pistols. Our offered pair both measure approximately 5 inches long with a 2 1/8 inch long barrels, and were intended to fit in the small pockets pants or a jacket. The bores measure about .305", which would most likely have been marketed as .30". The pistols are the classic "boxlock" action design, and the "tube hammer" on teach is marked on the left side with:


The company was known by various names over the years. From 1842 to 1854 it was known as Allen & Thurber, and had operated in both Norwich, CT and Worcester, MA. As there is no location marking, there is no way to tell exactly where it was made, however it has the more "angled" curve to the grip typical of the Norwich era, so we believe it was made circa 1845, before the move to Worcester.

Ethan Allen later took into his business another brother-in-law, Thomas Wheelock, in 1854, when the company would be come Allen, Thurber & Co. and then Allen & Wheelock once Thurber retired in 1856. In 1865, after Wheelock's passing, Allen's two Sons-in-law, Sullivan Forehand and Henry Wadsworth joined the company, which returned to the name E. Allen & Company. These two would then continue the business after Ethan Allen's death in 1871. Most interesting that all these names have become an integral part of the U.S. arms industry.

Each pistol has a single 2 inch smooth "turn-off" barrel in approximately .30" Caliber, both of which still easily unscrew from the frame, definitely a rarity. One pistol is marked with serial number 121 on the bottom of the barrel, on the frame under the grip, on the mainspring, and on the inside of both grips. This makes this a lovely "ALL MATCHING" example, with no parts swapped out over the years! There is also assembly number 774 marked on the inside of the trigger guard.

The second pistol is marked with serial number 462 on the bottom of the barrel, on the frame under the grip, and on the inside of both grips. The main spring definitely looks to have been replaced, and does not have a serial number. Assembly number 49 is stamped on the inside of the trigger guard.

Both feature lovely bag-style walnut grip plates, which are quite attractive, still retaining much of the original varnish. Serial 462 does show some cracking in the grip scales. The triggers are protected by a sizable trigger guard, which would help when concealed to prevent accidental firing. The condition of both is very good considering the age, and they show a very nice lightly oxidized patina patina over the frame and action. Both function correctly, with no issues to note, and the bores are in relatively good shape.

A great pair of Allen's Patent percussion pistols, ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1845
Caliber:  approx .30"
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 2 1/8 inches
Overall Length: 5 inches
Action: Percussion Double Action
Feed System: Single Shot

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

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