For many decades the global community of miniature gun artists has been a small one. Few masters' names only are recognized by most miniature arms collectors. In the next chapter 3.1 titled Jack Tar and the Gentlemen we will present four such masters, two from Great Britain, the other two from the U.S.A., together with a few of their pieces of art in the Hunzinger Collection.
In 1973 the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission issued a ¼ scale sterling silver Colt 1851 Navy in a cased set to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the founding of the Texas Rangers. It is our pleasure to introduce this little gem to you in chapter 3.2.1)
Coming of age in Germany during the second half of the 19th century inspired the Prussian customs service during the 1850s to confiscate a few thousands of Colt 1851 Navies meant for Russia. Some of them eventually became the first repeating pistol of the Navy of the Kingdom of Prussia. After the Franco-Prussian War the now German arms industry carried out major development programs for the military who wanted new revolvers and eventually semi auto pistols. From today's perspective this led to famous but also not so famous constructions. No matter their famousness they are all collector pieces today and some of them are even available as miniatures in the Hunzinger Collection, see chapter 3.3.
Before we do that, however, let's dwell a bit on the (mis) spelling of the word deringer. WHY are some in the know are spelling deringers with a single "r" but others write derringers with two "r"s, instead between the de and inger?
According to Wikipedia original Philadelphia Deringers (one "r") were single-shot muzzle loading caplock pocket pistols introduced in 1852, by Henry Deringer (one "r"). Some 15,000 Deringer pistols were manufactured in total. All were single barrel pistols, typically in .41 caliber, with rifled bores, and walnut stocks. Barrel length varied from 1.5" to 6".
The term "derringer" (two "r"s) has become a generalized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer. Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide, and the name was often misspelled.
This misspelling eventually became an alternative generic term for any pocket pistol, which Deringer's competitors invented and used in their advertising. With the advent of metallic cartridges, pistols produced in the modern form are still commonly called "derringers".2)
After this long winding explanation or excuse rather I hope you don't mind that I continue to write deringer with one "r" only.
1. Johnson, B.A., Director Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, email exchange February 2020
2. Wikipedia: DERRINGER, https//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derringer
January 13, 2022/WDN
© Wolf D. Niederastroth, Hofheim/Germany 2022