Peanut Derringer Henry Deringer
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Did you know that Deringer was the man — Henry Deringer, Philadelphia gun maker — and derringer is the gun? A .41 caliber ball from this little beauty would have gotten someone’s attention. Logan Metesh on a classic pocket pistol . . .

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  1. Deringer was also the description of the guns in the short barrel/large bore design, right up until the knockoffs started being produced as “Derringers” to avoid lawsuits. Funny how the brand-name became obscure, and the knockoff generic is what we recall.

    • Henry Deringer was a horrible business man. He never patented or trademarked his work. The street his philly shop was on is still there, with a new name – New Hope St. Henry is buried in marked and easy to find grave in Laurel Hill Cemetery. The Greater Philly area is rich with gun making history.

  2. I love these historical posts. Metesh is the man.

    An interesting thing about Deringer is that he was more of an artisan than a businessman. He did very good business, but wasn’t interested in increasing output beyond the number of pistols he could personally work on, so there was an enormous unmet demand for Deringer pistols.

    Of course plenty of other people were ready to fill it, even sometimes “borrowing” his name — which led to several lawsuits. Deringer spent a fair amount of time in court.

    He did briefly license his name to a couple of gun makers, who spelled his name both ways in their proof marks; the knockoff makers spelled it both ways, too, but for some reason the “rr” version is the one that caught on with the public.

    • Because Remington used the ‘rr’ version on their stack barrel pistol. It was a very reliable and reasonably priced pistol that was in great demand. I believe it was produced into the 1930’s.

  3. Very cool. Love me some history in the morning.
    Especially when commenters also contribute!

    • I had submitted an entire article on the deringer genre of pistols some time back… guess it was too long or just not up to standards…

  4. “A .41 caliber ball from this little beauty would have gotten someone’s attention.”

    Interesting line–considering that one of these was used to get Mr. Lincoln’s attention that night at Ford’s Theatre. Although the Lincoln Deringer is allegedly a .44, it’s more likely a .41 (or thereabouts–bore measurements on these guns are rather ‘iffy’) as Deringer was not known to make any .44 pocket pistols.

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