line-throwing pistol

Schermuly maritime line-throwing pistol, steel barrel, hammer, lock and trigger. Brass breech, wooden butt, black plastic handle. Barrel painted red. Cartridge bore 25mm, fired by centre-pin. Marked No 1848, initials S.P.R.A. on trigger. Overall length 495mm.

curator's notes
It looks like a dangerous firearm intended for taking life, but it is for saving lives, or at least property, by getting a line aboard a distressed vessel so it could be taken under tow. The pistol's hammer detonated a cartridge which ignited the propellant of the rocket in the barrel, which flew through the air, pulling the line behind it. Unfortunately the museum does not have an example of a rocket which this pistol would have fired. The line, and its box, in the photograph belongs with another Schermuly pistol in the collection.

BRXHM reference: 4855