Antique Civil War B. KITTREDGE / CINCINNATI O. Marked FRANK WESSON Carbine
Used by the Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri & Kansas State Militias
Here we present an antique Rare “B. KITTREDGE & CO./CINCINNATI O.” Marked Frank Wesson First Model Two-Trigger Military Carbine, made circa 1861 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Frank Wesson was the younger brother of Daniel B. Wesson, of Smith & Wesson, as well as Edwin Wesson, who was also a highly-esteemed gunsmith in the mid-to-late-1800s. The fame of his family’s name was not lost on Frank as he was, in fact, a prolific firearms designer and maker in his own right. He was granted patents in 1859 and began producing rifles of this two-trigger configuration. The Civil War was a fantastic opportunity for many different inventors and over 20 different carbines were used during the conflict on the Union side. Frank Wesson made a version of his rifle in a .44 caliber rimfire carbine format that was specifically geared for Cavalry troops. While it is unclear whether or not Federal troops used these carbines, it is known that Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and Ohio purchased these for their state militias. As William B. Edwards puts it in his book, “they were more popular with the guerrillas and irregular troops in the border fighting.” It is truly amazing the diversity of carbines that were used during the American Civil War.
This carbine is particularly slim, light and handy. It has the early style frame with the slotted link on the right side near the breech. The two-trigger design is perhaps the most eye-catching part of this carbine. The front trigger is pulled to open the breech after the hammer has been placed in half-cock. The slotted tab on the right side of the barrel is a stop that limits the travel of the barrel when pivoting. The trigger guard is a separate iron piece that can act somewhat like a pistol grip. The top of the barrel is marked “F. WESSON’S PATENT/OCT 25 1859 & NOV. 11 1862” as well as “B. KITTREDGE & CO./CINCINNATI O.” The Kittredge Company was a large firearms dealer based in Cincinnati, Ohio, through which many state militias acquired firearms for their men. Only about 2,000 of these are thought to be so marked.
The overall condition is good. Strong action. Semi-bright bore remains in good shape with nice rifling. Solid stock. The rear sling swivel is absent. The barrel/receiver hinge has a square nut on the right side.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 24 inches.
Caliber: .44 Rimfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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