This 1812 flintlock musket belonged to John T. Graves, a soldier from Greenfield, Massachusetts. The flintlock musket dates back to the 17th century. Pulling the trigger snapped a flint forward to scrape a piece of steel called a "frizzen". This made a shower of sparks. The sparks lit a small amount of gunpowder through a small hole leading to the inside of the gun barrel. The explosion shot out a round lead ball. Flintlocks are the source of many colorful sayings such as "don't go off half-cocked" and "just a flash in the pan." They remained the most common guns during the 18th century.