Antique Pre-CIVIL WAR COLT Model 1855 “ROOT” Side-Hammer POCKET Revolver
1855 Manufactured .28 Caliber PERCUSSION Revolver
Here we present an antique Colt Model 1855 “Root” Side-hammer Pocket Revolver, made in 1855 in Hartford, Connecticut. This Samuel Colt design was named for his factory superintendent Elisha K. Root and is a telling example of Colt’s desire to innovate, which was probably the single biggest factor in his success. Though the Colt 1849 Pocket had been introduced only 6 years prior, the “Colonel” attempted to make an improved pocket revolver. The Root features Colt’s debut of the “creeping” style of loading lever which allowed for better mechanical advantage when loading the gun, Colt’s first solid frame, a hammer mounted on the right side for access to the cylinder axis pin, and a cylinder axis pin which was the point at which the hand turned the cylinder (versus on the cylinder itself).
Many good ideas were tested in this design, and some would prove worthy to be used in the future. The small parts used in the Root Revolver’s mechanism proved quite fragile, however upscaling them into the 1855 series of Revolving Rifles and Shotguns seemed to help. Colt is even known to have experimented with the Root design on a Dragoon pistol, a precursor to the 1860 Army. Overall, about 44,000 Root Revolvers were made from 1855-1870, much fewer than the 1849 Pocket with 340,000 produced.
Though not a primary military arm during the American Civil War, handguns were commonly privately purchased by soldiers for use on the battlefield. Whether legend or fact, it is interesting to note something commonly read about pocket revolvers of the day: that while they could be used for self-defense against the enemy, many soldiers kept them on their person to defend themselves against an unwanted amputation in the primitive field hospitals that were notorious, even in their day.
The overall condition is good. Some traces of original finish with a patina throughout. The action (hammer/trigger) is strong; the cylinder will index if the muzzle is pointed slightly down but does not if held level or pointed up, indicating a weak hand spring. The bore is well-rifled with a patina. The grip is solid.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 3-1/2 inches.
Caliber: .28 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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