Simeon North Pistol
In 1813, Simeon North of Middletown, Connecticut was awarded a contract with the United States Government to make 20,000 pistols over five years. This was the first government contract ever made for weapons with interchangeable parts. Just after production began, the U.S. Army decided to change from a .69 caliber pistol to a .54 caliber. One thousand .69 caliber pistols had already been produced, of which this example is one. With the addition of the belt hook (used in lieu of a holster), North managed to sell these as ship’s pistols to the U.S. Navy. Though many of the hooks were later removed by armories, the one on this example remains intact. This pistol has several interesting markings. Carved into the bottom of the stock, under the barrel, is a large “E” followed by a much smaller, backwards “Z” and a large “2” (or backwards “S”). These markings could be a rack number. There is also “HHP” stamped into barrel behind the cock, which is probably an inspection stamp.