Antique SLOTTER & Co. Deringer Percussion Pistol
Handsome Mid-19th Century Pocket Pistol
Here we present an antique Slotter & Company Deringer Percussion Pistol, made circa 1866 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Henry Deringer was a very successful Pennsylvanian gunsmith who started his own company in his early twenties, circa 1809. It was not until the 1850s that his prototypical “Deringer” percussion pistol became extremely popular. Once it did become popular, the basic design was copied in dozens of different shops. Not only was it copied, but Deringer’s good name was stamped on guns made by others, some of them not up to the quality standards of Deringer himself. The inventor was apparently very worried about protecting his good name, so he pursued and sued any of the counterfeiters that he could find and warned the buying public to beware of his spurious imitators.
One particular suit, Deringer vs. Plate, was brought against the San Francisco dealer, A.J. Plate, which went all the way to the California Supreme Court. According to Norm Flayderman, Plate was the foremost distributor of well-made copies of Henry Deringer’s pistols, actually made by Slotter & Co., also of Philadelphia. Slotter & Co. was comprised of former employees of Henry Deringer, who copied his design, including his name and markings on their products. At one point, the company even hired a man—a tailor no less—so that they could use his name, which was John Deringer. As you can imagine, if aesthetics alone weren’t enough to convince most buyers that it was a Deringer, putting that name on there might be ticket. The court sided with Henry Deringer to defend his trademark in a decision that set a precedent and has been frequently cited in legal works.
This pistol is marked “SLOTTER & CO. PHILA” on the lock, and again on the top barrel flat. The barrel is also marked “STEEL”. Unlike many other Deringer pistols, this pistol’s stock has a wedge-shaped section under the barrel, as opposed to the usual rounded shape. Lock, hammer, wedge escutcheons, pommel, and trigger guard are all nicely engraved. This is a classy pocket pistol.
Overall condition is fine. The engravings and markings are clear and legible. The stock is in great shape. The bore is clean with sharp rifling. The action is excellent and strong.
This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 2-3/4 inches in length.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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