Henry Deringer (October 26,1786-February 28,1868) was an American gunsmith. He is best known for inventing the Deringer pistol. The original Philadelphia Derringer pocket pistol was used by John Wilkes Booth in the Abraham Lincoln assassination at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.,on April 14,1865.

John Wilkes Booth (May 10,1838-April 26,1865) was an American actor. He was also a confederate sympathizer, vehement in his denunciation of Lincoln and strongly opposed to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

The Philadelphia Derringer pistol was a single-shot muzzleloading percussion cap pistol introduced in 1852. The percussion cap, introduced circa 1820, was a type of single-use ignition device used on muzzleloader firearms that enabled them to fire reliably in any weather conditions. In total, approximately 15,000 Deringer pistols were manufactured. All were single pistols with back action percussion locks, typically .41 calibre with rifled bores, and walnut stocks. Barell length varied from 1.5'' to 6'', and the hardware was commonly copper-nickel alloy.

John Wilkes Booth's Deringer was unusual in that the rifling twisted counter clockwise rather than the typical clockwise twist used on most Philadelphia Deringers.

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