GUTTA PERCHA CASED Antique SMITH & WESSON No. 1 .22 Rimfire REVOLVER
VERY RARE MOLDED FACTORY BOX!
Here we present an antique Smith & Wesson Model No. 1, Second Issue Revolver, manufactured circa 1860 to 1868 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Smith & Wesson manufactured approximately 115,000 of these revolvers between 1860 and 1868. Serial numbers started around 11000 where the 1st Issue left off and continued to 126400. 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.
This small revolver is a 7-shot .22 rimfire. It was specifically designed to be a pocket gun, being very small and light. The No. 1 was the precursor to larger firearms that were simply scaled up to be more suitable for use as martial weapons.
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.
This case is quite a rarity. Very few have survived, especially in this condition as the choice of material is quite brittle. They were made for Smith & Wesson by Littlefield Parsons & Company. It is made of gutta percha, a hard-rubber-like substance derived from a tree that was in use for pistol grips and similar purposes in the mid-to-late-19th Century. This was molded with the figure of the revolver, the company’s information and the detail around the borders. The inside is lined with a burgundy-colored velvet with a fancy embossed portion on the inside of the lid. The lower portion of the case has space for a revolver and a block with spaces for ammunition. The cases themselves are extremely collectible!
The overall condition is fine. Lovely silver plate finish throughout. Solid ivory grips. The action is strong. The bore is reflective with good rifling. The gutta percha factory case has weathered the storm of the years very well, remaining solid and showing a few chips and tiny, hairline cracks. It comes with a fully loaded ammunition holder with original cartridges, many of which are somewhat corroded. This is a very rare little set!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 3-3/16 inches.
Caliber: .22 Rimfire (Short; black powder)
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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