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Pistol - H W Mortimer, London, Flintlock Conversion, circa 1790 Object Reg. No: ST 021873

Percussion duelling pistol (converted from flintlock) cal. 24 bore (.575). Muzzle loading, smooth bore, octagonal twist steel barrel 10 1/2 in. (267 mm) long, U notch backsight, brass blade foresight, overall length 16 1/4 in. (413 mm).

Made by Harvey Walklate Mortimer, London, circa 1790.
Left hand side lock & hammer with sliding safety bolt, oval steel trigger guard with spur, pineapple forward extension, adjustable set trigger. Wooden stock extends halfway along barrel & has silver cap, chequered grip, butt carved with scallop design, wooden ramrod carried in grooved rib for half length of barrel.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr William Cole, 1943
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: pistols british
Themes this item is part of: William Cole Arms Collection, Arms Collection, William Edwin James Cole, Gun Collector (1864-1952)
Primary Classification: ARMS & ARMOUR
Secondary Classification: Firearms
Tertiary Classification: handguns
Inscriptions: Engraved on lock "H. W. Mortimer", & on barrel "H. W. Mortimer. London... Gunmaker to His Majesty...". London proof marks.
Model Name/Number: (Duelling)
Maker: H.W. Mortimer & Son (Gunsmiths), London, England, Great Britain, circa 1790
Collector: Mr William Cole, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Arthur Bockhausen Posted on 28 Apr 2010 8:59 PM
Per:Pistol - H W Mortimer, London, Flintlock Conversion,circa 1790,
Reg. No: 021873
Could you tell me if the conversion to percussion cap was typically done at the Mortimer factory or by owners themselves. I have a pistol Marked H W Mortimer & Son, .62 caliber that was converted to percussion and I would like to know if it was likely a factory job. Interestingly, it still has the complete frizzen assembly. TIA for any help. -Art
Discovery Centre Posted on 05 May 2010 12:16 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi there, Arthur. According to our staff, it would be very difficult to say whether Mortimer's themselves undertook the conversion from flintlock ignition to percussion or another gunsmith, though we suspect it might be unlikely. The conversion would certainly have occurred later than the date presently attributed to the pistols of c.1790, as the percussion system did not become broadly adopted until post-1830. A similar pair of percussion dueling pistols by HW Mortimer recently sold through Christies' auction house, and the catalogue description noted that the hammers were signed "Conway". Christies' therefore speculated that the conversion from flintlock to percussion was probably undertaken by Manchester gunmaker, Thomas Conway. Perhaps you could check your example for any markings on the hammers or action itself that might point to another gunsmith other than Mortimer's undertaking the conversion. Hope this helps!

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