Antique SMITH & WESSON No. 1 FIRST ISSUE 3rd Type Spur TRIGGER Revolver
CIVIL WAR Era POCKET CARRY for the Armed Citizen
Here we present an antique Smith & Wesson Number 1, First Issue, Third Type Revolver, made circa 1857-60 with a serial number range from 1130 to the low 3000s, making this a scarce little revolver. The No. 1 was Smith & Wesson’s first metallic cartridge firearm. It utilized the idea of the “bored through cylinder”, which was patented by Rollin White and subsequently exclusively licensed by Smith & Wesson. This concept has forever changed revolving firearms design, and is the same idea used in revolvers today. S&W, via Rollin White himself, aggressively sued any patent infringers and were able to hold their monopoly on the American market for cartridge revolvers from about 1857 to 1870, whereupon their patent expired. The results were a very profitable business, a broke Rollin White, and a grudging U.S. Chief of Ordnance Alexander Dyer, who was still angry in 1870 about not being able to use the technology during the Civil War. The U.S. government ended up giving Colt their contracts since they valued the larger .44 caliber in the Colt 1860 Armies over the .32 caliber full sized No. 2 Armies.
The First Issue is a small revolver that only weighs about 10 ounces and holds 7 shots chambered for a .22 Short rimfire cartridge. The barrel and non-fluted cylinder pivot upward upon release of the latch under the frame. For those not wanting or needing a full-sized gun or for those who wanted a backup, this revolver was the ideal firearm for the turbulent 19th century. The sides of the frame are rounded on the 1st issue. Other characteristics which distinguish the more valuable 1st issue from later issues include a perfectly round side plate and a hinged hammer spur. Smith & Wesson manufactured approximately 11,000 of these revolvers between 1857 and 1860. Since this was the first of its kind, it is not difficult to understand the need for the number of variations within this model designation. Many small improvements were made on the way to the next model.
The overall condition is very good. Nice silver finish with a good patina. The action is strong all around. The bore is in good shape for its age with strong rifling. This example sports solid rosewood grips and remains solid at the hinge. The markings are clear and the numbers match. Here is a terrific example for collection and display!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 3-1/4 inches.
Caliber: .22 Short Rimfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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