So, for the last few years I've been associating with some of the Napoleonic history forums and have made known my special interest in the Girandoni. Not much has come from this until today when a researcher tossed up a handful of references. A number of which are very interesting. One in particular
shows a somewhat different looking Girandoni (at least different from the usual 11mm English made ones) and what was most striking was the caliber 1.4cm. So, I fired off a note to the museum and got a fast response. I've put the question to them about the importance of verifying the caliber and in the mean time they sent me the full catalog record. The gun is inscribed: GIRARDONI INUENIT ET FECIT (Girardoni invented it and made it)
It's almost perhaps interesting that with the hammer in the pulled back, cocked, position that this gun is broken - which is exactly what we would expect of an original Girardoni. The main characteristic described in all accounts is that they broke.
Invent et fecit is the classical way of stating "made by the hand of the inventor." And; when we consider the position that Girardoni was in, contracted for life to the service of Joseph II, signing his guns with this latin phrase makes perfect sense, so, unless this gun is a forgery -it looks Austrian not English- the first confirmed Girardoni may have been found.
I'm hoping we can confirm the caliber, which will go a long ways, but, there's another lead that some Girardoni's from the Russo/Austrian-Turk wars circa 1788 are to be found in a couple of Russian museums. If we can track them down and if they match this German museum example: Girardoni inuenit et fecit.