Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The M-1855 Joslyn Carbine -

The M-1855 Joslyn Carbine, known today by collectors as the Monkey Tail carbine, was the first of a series of Civil War era firearms to be designed and patented Benjamin Franklin Joslyn of Worcester, Massachusetts.

In 1855 Joslyn had filed for and received his first firearms related patent. The patent, issued August 23, 1855, was for a percussion breechloading carbine.
The gun had a 22 ½” round barrel, secured to the stock with a single brass barrel band and screws in the breechblock. The carbine was .54 caliber and utilized a nitrated paper cartridge.
Operation was by pushing the large oval ring at the rear of the action forward, this unlocked the breech lever and allowed it to be swung upward exposing the breech for loading.

A cartridge would be inserted into the chamber and the fixed plunger at the forward end of the breech lever forced the charge home into the chamber when the lever was closed.
A long pin at the rear of the breech lever actuated a trigger safety mechanism that locked the trigger and prevented it from releasing the hammer, even if it was cocked, while the breech was open. This system prevented accidental discharges while the breech was open, and only allowed the trigger to work while the breech was securely closed.

Once that Joslyn had a design and a patent, he only needed two more things: a way to manufacture his new carbine and customers for it, preferably the US military. Joslyn subsequently approached Asa H. Waters Firearms Company of Millbury, Massachusetts to manufacture his carbine and then hired William C. Freeman of New York City to help market and distribute the design.

Freeman was apparently well connected with the US Ordnance Department and managed to arrange for Joslyn’s design to be included in the 1857 and 1858 Army Board Trials for breechloading arms. While the Joslyn did not win the trials, it came in second to the Burnside design, it did well enough for Joslyn to receive an order for 1,200 carbines. The Navy was apparently impressed as well, and they further ordered 500 of the guns as long barreled rifles, with a saber bayonet lug under the barrel. While it appears that all of the carbines ordered by the Army were delivered, it is generally believed that only about 200 of the rifles were ever manufactured. Some arms historians theorize that the balance of the Navy order was filled with remaining carbines on hand.

The carbines seem to have seen the most field use with Ohio volunteer cavalry regiments, with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry all receiving “monkey tail” carbines.


This blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to look through the "Blog Archive".

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

- Savage Revolvers -

Civil War Sargent with a Savage M-1861 revolver.

Savage-North 1859, 2nd Model "Figure 8 Revolver". 36 caliber 6-shot percussion with a 7 1/8" barrel. Patented by Henry S. North and Edward Savage of Middletown, Connecticut. The US Ordnance Department placed an order for 100 of the unique “Figure-8” revolvers for actual field trials. The order was placed June 17, 1856 and the 100 revolvers were delivered on June 20, 1857. All but 1 of these revolvers was in the field for trial use by US cavalry units within a year. The guns utilized a unique self-cocking action that rotated the cylinder and cocked the hammer by pulling back the lower ring trigger of a “Figure-8”. The upper trigger then fired the pistol in a conventional fashion. These test revolvers were chambered in .36 caliber, the same as the Colt M-1851 “Navy” revolvers then in service with the US military. "Approximately 450 of these “Figure-8” revolvers were made between 1856 and 1859".

 Brass Frame 3rd Model
A rare 4th Model. According to Flayderman only about 50 of these were ever produced.


In 1860 North and Savage formed the Savage Revolving Fire Arms Company. This company is unrelated to the later Savage Arms Company.
A redesigned Model 1861 "Navy" was introduced and they received contract with the government for 5,500 arms at a cost of $20.00 each. However, in the first two years of the Civil War, the government purchased 11,284 of these revolvers at an average cost of $19.00. Over 10,000 went to the Army.
"The Savage 1861 Navy was officially used by the following United States army regiments: 1st Wisconsin U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, 2nd Wisconsin U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, 5th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and the 7th New York Cavalry
Confederate States Army regiments: 34th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, 11th Texas Cavalry, 7th Virginia Cavalry and the 7th Missouri Cavalry
The United States Navy also used the revolver in small numbers.

Following the war the revolvers were offered to the soldiers, only 17 units were reported being bought".

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Colt Special Model 1861 Rifle-Musket -

The Colt "Special" Model 1861 Rifle-Musket, manufactured in 1864.

The rifle design was basically the M-1861 Springfield which was manufactured on British Enfield machinery. 
Colt acquired some of the British machine tools from the bankrupt Robbins & Lawrence Company who had been using the machinery to  manufacture the Enfield M-1853, prior to their failure.

Colt was given a contract to supply 112,500 of these special Rifled Muskets. Production began in 1862  and between that time and 1865 75,000 were delivered under Ordnance Department contracts during the Civil War. 
By the end of the War, 131,000 Special Model Muskets were delivered to the US Government.
All parts are armory bright except for the blue rear sight and casehardened trigger. The Colt Special Model 1861 Rifle-Musket had a distinctive hammer, nickel bolster that lacked a clean-out screw, screw fastened barrel bands and a straight shank tulip head ramrod. 
Many of these features were incorporated by Springfield Armory in the Model 1863 Type I and Type II rifle-muskets. 
The lock plate is dated "1864" behind the hammer and marked "U.S./COLT'S PT F.A. MFG CO/HARTFORD CT" ahead of the hammer. 
The face of the nipple bolster is stamped with the spread eagle/shield motif.
Blade front sight on a square base which doubles as a bayonet lug and three leaf rear sight. 
Mounted with an oil finished black walnut full straight grip stock with two sharp boxed cartouches on the left flat and a small "T" behind the tang. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

- Lucius Pond Revolvers -

Lucius W. Pond of Worcester, Massachusett, began making the Belt Revolver in around 1861, at a time when America was fighting itself in the American Civil War. For a year or so, Pond was able to produce a number of .32 and .44 rimfire Belt revolvers, in partial accordance with a patent issued to Abram Gibson on the 10th July 1860. In 1862, however, Smith & Wesson made a challenge to the Belt revolver's production.
Smith & Wesson's challenge centered on a patent issued for their 'Rollin White' patent, issued in 1855.The court ruled in favor of Smith & Wesson, however Pond (alongside Bacon, Moore and Warner whom were also found infringing that patent).
Pond was able to continue producing the Belt Revolver, under the clause of the contract which stated that the Belt Revolvers that were 'in the course of production' could be completed. This allowed Pond to continue production of the Belt Revolver with a final run of 4,486 Belt Revolvers. Those revolvers were marked as the court demanded, "Manuf'd for Smith & Wesson Pat'd April 5, 1855" (as well as a payment of royalties to Smith & Wesson).


This blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to look through the "Blog Archive".

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jenks Naval Carbine

Jenks Naval Carbine was originally manufactured in 1845 by N.P. Ames of Springfield, Massachusetts with a total production of approximately 4,250. The vast majority of these were made for the U.S. Navy and they were the only "mule ear" type arm that was officially accepted by U.S. armed forces.




In 1846, the final contract was purchased from Ames and Jenks along with most of the carbine making equipment by E. Remington of Herkimer N.Y. who completed the contract obligations. Remington then filled the contract of September 22, 1845 calling for 1,000 “improved” Jenks with Maynard Tape Priming system.

These additional carbines were delivered in 1847 and 1848. Both the Ames and Remington versions of the carbine had 24.5” barrels, walnut stocks and brass furniture. All were originally manufactured as .54 smoothbore guns, with a round loading aperture in the breech.

With the coming of the Civil War, nearly all of the carbines were recalled and subsequently altered to accept paper cartridges.
The round loading aperture, which was designed for loose powder and a round ball, was enlarged to an oval opening which allowed the loading of the paper cartridges.


At that time the majority of the carbines were also rifled during the alteration process.

Today, it is very difficult to find a smoothbore Jenks carbine and nearly impossible to find an original configuration smoothbore Jenks with the round loading hole.
The Remington made, Maynard primed “Round Hole” Jenks carbines are so scarce that their prices usually start at double the price of a comparable oval hole, tape primed Jenks. In fact, only a handful of the original configuration smoothbore, “round hole”, tape primer Jenks carbines are known to exist.


My blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to search the "Blog Archive".

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

-Smith & Wesson Schofield-

2nd Model

 1st Model Schofield Single Action Revolver with Kelton Safety. 

"45 S&W Schofield 2nd model Smith & Wesson. They manufactured approximately 5,934 of these revolvers for the U.S. military circa 1876-77."
Wells Fargo Marked Smith & Wesson First Model Schofield Revolver

"Major George W. Schofield took a liking to the No.3 and made a number of improvements over several years with the aim to perfect it as a cavalry gun. Most notably and important, however, was his change to the locking action. The latch was moved from the barrel to the frame and beefed up to provide a more secure and visibly imposing lock. This design was resubmitted to the U.S. Small Arms Board and was found much more favorable. Tested on horseback, at a gallop, the Schofield could be reloaded in 26 seconds where the Colt SAA took 60. The new hinge gave confidence in the durability of the pistol and lessons from the Russian and American complaints had been incorporated to proved a better grip and handling revolver."
US Pistol Smith and Wesson No3 Schofield left
"In 1874 the U.S. Army put in an order for 3,000 S&W No.3 Schofield revolvers. They requested these, unlike the trial model in .44, be chambered in .45 Long Colt. S&W actually avoided this request out of concerns with lengthening the action, cylinder, and adjusting to use the type of rim on this ammunition. There was a big fear that it would extract poorly and that government contracts may not be worth enough for all the changes in tooling. So a new cartridge, .45 Schofield, was developed. This was essentially a shortened .45LC and can be used in revolvers of the same chambering (especially the Single Action Army)."

US Pistol Smith and Wesson No3 Schofield tilt

My blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to search the "Blog Archive".

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Ball Carbine



The Ball Carbine was patented by Albert Ball of Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1864, and manufactured by E. G. Lamson & Company, Windsor, Vermont. 

Filling a Federal Ordnance contract, approximately 1,000 were delivered in May, 1865, after the close of the Civil War.
This seven-shot .50 caliber carbine, which was chambered for the .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridge, operated on the same principle as the later Winchester repeating rifle.

To load, cartridges are fed through an opening in the right side of the receiver frame and into a tubular magazine located under the barrel. The magazine was tensioned by a long spring, which had to be compressed and retained to allow loading. This was accomplished by pulling a long rod that resembled a cleaning rod, out from the forend of the carbine.

When the rod was fully extended, the spring was compressed and was captured by a small catch at the end of the forend. Once the magazine was fully loaded, the catch was released and the spring tensioned the magazine to push the cartridges towards the action and into the lifter.
Closing the trigger guard lever feeds a cartridge from the magazine into the chamber. As the action could only be opened when the carbine was cocked, it was now ready to fire.
The carbine has a sling bar and ring on the left side of the receiver, magazine rod on the right side of the forearm and two leaf folding rear sight graduated to 600 yards. The left side of the receiver is roll stamped "E.G. LAMSON & CO./WINDSOR. VT./U.S./BALLS PATENT./JUNE, 23, 1863./MARCH, 15, 1864."


My blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to search the "Blog Archive".

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

- Rogers & Spencer Revolver -

This is an outstanding example of one of the approximately 5,800 percussion revolvers manufactured circa 1863-65 by Rogers & Spencer of Willowdale, New York, (which is near Utica). The U.S. Ordnance contract was for 5,000 revolvers, 1,500 to be delivered by the end of April 1865 and the balance by September of 1865. There is no record of issuance of any of the revolvers, due to the Civil War ending. All 5,000 of them were kept in storage in New York until 1901. At that time the entire lot of them were sold at auction. The highest bidder was the company of, Francis Bannerman and Son, who purchased the lot for around $ .50 each. Bannerman then sold the pistols throughout the first quarter of the 20th Century.  
Many original Rogers & Spencer revolvers are seen today in excellent, near mint condition.

Bannerman and Son, "The ultimate Army-Navy store" is a story of it's own. The Roger & Spencer purchase was just a "drop in the bucket". Read more about this amazing surplus store HERE.

My blog is filled with interesting weapons from the 19th Century so be sure to search the "Blog Archive".