CASED & Engraved WURFFLEIN Made DERINGER Pistol
German American Immigrant Gunmaker from Philadelphia
Here we present an antique Andrew Wurfflein Deringer Pistol in its original burl case, made circa the 1850s. 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, it became a household name and even a noun in the English language. The basic design was copied in dozens of different shops.
The Deringer or “Derringer” as it was sometimes spelled was an immensely useful and powerful tool for self-defense in the 1850s and the following decades. It was small and lightweight, but also a “man-stopper” in .42 caliber. Here is what Charles Edwin Chapel had to say about the Deringer pistol:
“For a man in a tight spot, with an armed enemy only a few feet away, a pair of single-shot Deringer pistols was more effective than the multishot pepperbox. You either got your man at the first or second shot—if, indeed, you were given the chance to fire twice—or you got a fast funeral. That heavy-calibered little gun was a man-stopper at short range, an effective surprise weapon, an “equalizer” with which many a gold-camp David permanently tamed the muscle-bulging, belligerent Goliaths of the frontier. Included in a man’s personal arsenal, the pistol was carried either as a principal weapon or as a reserve to be used when revolver, pepperbox or Bowie knife failed.”
This pistol was made in the 1850s by Andrew Wurfflein. He arrived in New York from Germany in 1832 and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1840, he was granted U.S. citizenship. In 1844, his brother John, also a gunsmith by trade, immigrated. They worked together for some time, and were two of the six that founded the Shuetzen Verein, a prominent German shooting club in Philadelphia. Their work included rifles and pistols, including close copies of their Philadelphia neighbor Henry Deringer’s hit pocket pistol.
This smart little pistol comes in its original burl case, lined with a rust red velvet. Inside the case are the following: an Eley’s percussion cap tin, a very nice powder flask and lead ball dispenser, a bullet mold, and about 15 cast lead balls for display purposes. The powder flask is very neat and very rare, having the ability to dispense powder at one end, then dispense lead balls from a compartment in the other end. Another compartment was used for keeping caps. The accoutrements are all in fine condition and complete this rare cased Deringer pistol by Wurfflein.
The overall condition is very good. The lock and trigger guard are nicely engraved. The lock and barrel are marked “A. WURFFLEIN/PHILA”. Barrel is also marked “STEEL”. German silver hardware decorates the stock. The walnut stock is fine.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 1-7/8 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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