Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Manhattan Revolvers

The Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1856. The company's goal was to take advantage of Colt’s patent for revolving firearms that was due to expire in 1857. 
While waiting for Colt’s patent to expire, Manhattan first made copies of other American firearms that no longer had patent protection. 
The initial Manhattan product line consisted of a variety of single shot percussion pistols  in .31, .34 and .36 calibers with bar hammers. They also produced a line of double action percussion pepperbox pistols. These pistols helped to establish the company and were produced from the beginning of business in 1856 through the late 1850's. 
In 1858, Manhattan introduced their first traditional single action percussion revolver, a .31 pocket model whose design closely copied the Colt M-1849 Pocket model.

Pocket Model
Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention to making Colt-style Navy revolvers in .36 caliber. Manufacturing began in Norwich, Connecticut and in 1859 moved to Newark, New Jersey. One notable feature of the Manhattan is their patented extra set of cylinder safety notches and can be easily identified by the many notches on their cylinders.
Although the .36 caliber “Navy” revolver was a late comer to the Manhattan Firearms Company’s product line, it would become the mainstay and would eventually represent more than 50% of the total output of the company during their 12 year lifespan. 
During their existence, Manhattan Firearms produced approximately 175,000 pistols. Only Colt, Remington, and Winchester produced more guns during this era in which included the Civil War.