This prototype air pistol is the design of Edward Lindner, covered under U.S. patent number 37,173 granted December 16th, 1862, with only one other similar but slightly visually different example of one of these Lindner patent air pistols known to exist by this writer at the current time of writing, indicating this example is likely unique. Inventor Edward Lindner is better known to the U.S. martial arms collecting community in relation to his invention of a breech loading percussion system seen in Civil War carbines and long arms. In the patent text for this air pistol, Edward Lindner states, "My invention consists in the formation of a lever constructed conformably in shape with the handle or stock of the gun or pistol, and in so arranging and combining with it a piston and spring as to compress the latter by direct action on the piston-rod..." and further goes on to describe detailed features of the gun notably including an India-rubber ring for an air-tight joint between the breech of the barrel and face of the air cylinder. It has an all brass frame and barrel with iron cocking lever, sights and working components. The octagon barrel has a smooth bore measuring at approximately .26 caliber, with a dovetail mounted blade front sight and dovetail mounted notch rear sight. The barrel uses a tip-up system for loading with a release lever below. "Wind guns" had several advantages over conventional firearms including that they were quieter, smokeless, quicker to reload, and relatively unaffected by rain. They also required less cleaning since they did not require corrosive black powder. Circular brass collection tag marked "R.D. BEEMAN/PRIVATE/COLLECTION/445" hanging from the trigger guard. This exact Lindner prototype air pistol is pictured and described on page 698 of the book "Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition". Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection
Fine overall with attractive golden aged patina on the brass surfaces, some stress cracks surrounding a screw on the left of the cylinder housing, and some scattered freckling visible on the iron components. Appears to function and has a strong spring, although no attempt was made to fully cock the lever out of respect for the item. One absent trigger guard screw. This prototype Edward Lindner patent air pistol serves as an important footprint in small arms history, and would make a fine addition to any advanced antique arms collection!
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