Compton overview photo

Historic Firearms Collection

  • Duration:Temporary
  • Location:Whitten Featured Object Case

(date) 9/12/2011–1/8/2012

This collection of flintlock pistols from an anonymous donor demonstrates their technological and artistic significance. The invention of the flintlock in the seventeenth century created an easier and more automated gun than ever before. A pistol’s size, purpose, and country of origin determine its decorations. Markings on the bottom of the barrel would denote the maker’s name and guild. English firearms are usually decorated on the butt cup; the metallic side plate, designated for a personal or patriotic symbol; and a decorated thumb plate on top of the handle. Sometimes there are carvings or incised metal in the wood for extra effect.