RARE Antique JAMES REID Model 2 SPUR TRIGGER .32 Caliber 7-Shot RF REVOLVER
1860s Catskill, New York WILD WEST Hideout Revolver
Here we present an antique James Reid Manufactory Model 2 Spur Trigger Revolver, manufactured circa the early to mid-1860s in Catskill, New York. The maker, James Reid, was born in Belfast, Ireland, was trained as a gunsmith in Glasgow, Scotland, and then migrated to the United States where he first set up shop in New York City. In the early to mid-1860s, he moved his family and then his shop to Catskill to get out of the city and into the country for health reasons.
Reid was best known for his “My Friend” knuckleduster revolvers, but before he devised the idea for those, he was working in New York City making traditional style revolvers. This particular one is a Number 2 pattern example, a .32 caliber, 7-shot rimfire revolver. These were manufactured in violation of the Rollin White patent, but not made in sufficient quantity to attract the attention of Rollin White’s lawyers. Just to be safe, though, Reid only marked the guns with the name of his wholesale distributors, or kept them entirely unmarked, such as this example. The Reid revolvers have a clever and effective loading gate system but suffer from a disassembly system which requires unscrewing the barrel in order to remove the cylinder.
Only an estimated 1,200 of these revolvers were manufactured by Reid in the mid-1860s. These revolvers are described on page 50 of “James Reid and His Catskill Knuckledusters” by Taylor G. Bower. Page 35 notes that Reid likely believed that Rollin White’s bored through cylinder patent was invalid due to earlier international patents and the fact that multiple companies produced revolvers using the system. It is assumed Reid was able to get away with violating the White/Smith & Wesson patent rights because he was a small-time manufacturer. In the meantime, many other manufacturers were defeated in the courts. The fact that most of these early revolvers do not have Reid’s name on them likely also helped.
As a comparison, this is similar in size to the S&W Model NO. 2 in the same .32 Rimfire. However, this solid frame design (sans the barrel hinge of the S&W) is much stouter. The loading gate on the right side is a nice touch. Rather than 6, this revolver holds 7. The grip is also a bit fuller than the S&W.
The overall condition is very good. Original finish and patina. Excellent action. The bore is in good shape for its age with strong rifling. Both grips are in good shape with light handling.
This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 5 inches.
Caliber: .32 Rimfire
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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