View Full Version : 18th century French Matched Pair?

October 1, 2005, 02:23 AM
Anyone have any French books that can confirm this pistol. I think the stamped "B" (guess) on the wrist could be a ID factor. The stamped "B" with the crown on top on the lockplate is good hint. Flint to cap conversion in 1811?
More info on this nice matched pair would be appreciated.



October 1, 2005, 08:36 AM
Nice pair! I would guess that the 1811 in the cartouche refers to when they were made (or accepted into whatever military organzation.) The conversion to percussion would have been much later. (1830's-40's?)
I can't make out what it says on the lockplate, but I'm assuming it's something in French?


October 1, 2005, 11:25 AM
Thanks deadin, I thought early coversions were before 1830. Not 100% sure.
I agree about the military issue date thou. Maybe police issued?
Reading that lockplate is tough. I'm still working on that. Diffinently French.
From examples I've seen, manuf. dates were in the late 1780-90's.


October 2, 2005, 09:38 AM
JD, I think you are 100% right on the "police issue" idea. Check out this link:


Follow it through "Handguns" - "French regulation" - "Constabulary, Gendarmerie" to the third one on the list.


James K
October 2, 2005, 01:09 PM
Deadin, I think you have it nailed. I was going to say the Gendarmerie pistol, Model 1763, but the Year IX model is an updated version with a rounded lockplate vs. flat. The gun was originally flintlock, of course, as Jdolby says. I can't read the lockplate, but I think they were made at Maubeuge.

FYI, the Year IX of the French revolutionary calendar began on 23 Sept 1800 and ended on 22 Sept 1801 by our calendar.


October 2, 2005, 06:59 PM
Looks similiar. When they convet to percussion the lockplate must get changed out and the makers name added to the lockplate. Otherwise the makers name would not be visable. (covered by the flint mechanism.)
Would the "B" with crown over it translate to a Paris armory (maker)?


October 2, 2005, 07:41 PM
I am giving my best shot here using my son's eyes. LOL :)
Lockplate engraved says Maubengel Manuf. Imp.. The "L" or "EL" at the end could be a flair mark. E could be an i.

Possibilities are:

Funny, One gun has smaller cursive letters and words than the other. Small enough so One could read the makers name with the flint mechanism installed. The larger lettered gun's letters and words are engraved in the old portion of the lockplate were the flint mechanism was. Both styles of writing are the same. Odd.


James K
October 2, 2005, 08:37 PM
As I mentioned, those guns were made at the arsenal in Maubeuge, a city in Northern France about 50 miles south of Brussels, Belgium. The "Imp" would stand for "Imperial", which means the lockplates were made or engraved (re-engraved?) after 1804, when Napoleon became emperor. The change could have been made in 1811, which looks to be the date stamped on the stock and may indicate the date of the conversion.


October 2, 2005, 08:45 PM
The lockplate normally doesn't get changed out when converting to percussion. The pan is cut off the barrel. (You can see the remainder of the brass pan in the photos). A drum or bolster and nipple are added, the hammer is replaced and the frizzen mechanism is removed. The left over holes in the plate are just filled. As for the name being "covered" by the frizzen and to the different size of the marking, I would propose that as these were hand made, anything would be possible.


James K
October 2, 2005, 09:24 PM
My thought ran to the political, not the technical. If the work was being done at a French arsenal under Napoleon's rule, I suspect the people in charge would be quite eager please the boss and make sure that "Imperial" was included in the marking, even if they had to remark the lockplate to get it on there.


October 3, 2005, 01:57 AM
Thanks Guys,
Like Jim said, Dean nailed it. Here's the link: http://www.lehussard.fr/frameGenerale.asp?CodeCat=SYS_ANCIEN

PISTOLET DE GENDARMERIE Mle AN IX. The guns were issued to law enforcement.

My pictures don't show the rounded lockplate. But they are rounded on the hammer side..
All the markings (according to the link) are correct. 1811 on the stock and barrel. The Lockplate engraving is the same. Looks like one of the pair had a lockplate replaced or re-engraved.
Still trying find out what the "B" with the crown on top means that is stamped on the lockplate.

Nice find.

October 3, 2005, 01:39 PM
another link;