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"John Brown" pike

Object Name: Pike
Date: 1857-1859
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Medium: Steel, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 6 ft. 9 in. × 4 1/4 in. (205.7 × 10.8 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, Collinsville
Description: Wood and iron pike; cylindrical wood shaft with leaf blade, oval crossbar, and cylindrical socket fastened to top.
Credit Line: New-York Historical Society
Object Number: INV.5736
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Marks: Stamped on metal haft: "101"

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This is one of the pikes commissioned by militant abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859) from the Collins Co. of Canton, Connecticut in 1857 in preparation for his raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry in 1859. Brown intended to incite a slave insurrection and planned to use the pikes to arm slaves on Virginia plantations. None of the weapons were ever used by slaves, but they became potent symbols of Brown's raid. Each of the 1,000 pikes made for Brown by Collins Co. were individually numbered: this example is stamped "101."


Holzer, Harold and The New-York Historical Society. "The Civil War in 50 Objects." New York: Viking, 2013.