This 1812 flintlock musket belonged to John T. Graves, a soldier from Greenfield, Massachusetts. The flintlock musket was developed in the seventeenth century. Pulling the trigger snapped a spring-propelled flint forward to scrape the surface of the steel frizzen. This produced a shower of sparks. The sparks ignited a small amount of gunpowder through a small hole leading to the inside of the gun barrel. The resulting explosion shot out a round lead ball. Flintlocks are the source of many colorful expressions such as "don't go off half-cocked" and "just a flash in the pan." They remained the most common firearms throughout the 18th century.