Engraved SEAVER Marked DERINGER Percussion Pistol
Period & Quality Copy of Henry Deringer’s Famous Pistol
Here we present an antique E.R. Seaver Deringer Percussion Pistol, made circa 1850. This pistol was made in about 1860 by Ebenezer Seaver. Seaver was a gunsmith and blacksmith born December 27, 1782 in Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire. Records show that he and his family were “warned out” of Newbury, Vermont on October 17, 1809, before finally settling in Vergennes, Vermont. “Warning out of town” was an action New England towns sometimes took to pressure someone out of town to resettle elsewhere. The possible reasons for this could have been numerous, but were most likely moral, religious or political in nature. Seaver was known to have been in business with Bruff, Brother & Seaver as well as Tufts & Colley in New York, both located at 7 & 9 Barclay Street. He passed away October 7, 1862.
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.
The name “Deringer” often invokes certain historical event, characters or moments in film. Deringer’s name has become both a noun and a catch-all term. President Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed with one of Henry Deringer’s pocket sized percussion pistols, the night John Wilkes Booth revenged the South at the Ford Theater. They conjure images of the California Gold Rush, as well as riverboat gamblers. These pistols were very practical for the time, being small and concealable and of large bore size.
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.”
The overall condition is good. The action is strong. The bore is dark. “W.M.B.” is hand engraved on the bottom of the grip’s medallion. “SEAVER can be read atop the barrel.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 2-1/2 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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