Pocket pistols are all the rage today and, as I have written previously, this can give the impression that they are a new phenomenon. But, of course, they are not. To the contrary, they are much older than I ever knew.

I learned this recently while visiting the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg between the two presentations I made at the College of William and Mary last week. Much like my discovery of a collection of miniature firearms at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, within the DeWitt Wallace’s collection of fine furniture, paintings, and textiles you can find “Lock, Stock & Barrel,” an exhibit of firearms from the Colonial Williamsburg collection.

And scattered among the many long arms in the exhibit are a few rare gems like the John Brush flint lock pistol from ca. 1700 pictured below. Note the caption: “Although Brush made the pistol before he came to Virginia, it is important because it is the only known civilian gun made by a Williamsburg gunsmith.”

This was not the only pocket pistol on display. A little bit of history goes a long way.