Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shawk & McLanahan Navy Revolver

This revolver’s history varies from one arms historian/collector to another. It has little, if any, real documentation. Collectors argue the who, what and where about these revolvers and even suggest that some of these revolvers may have seen Civil War duty, although that is not documented. Any revolver made in the late 1850’s era would likely have seen service in the war. 

The following information has been gleamed from bits and pieces of several sources and I’ll pass it along as hearsay.
Regardless of who knows what, the Shawk & McLanahan revolver has to be considered one of the rarest American percussion revolvers made.

The Shawk & McLanahan shop was located in Carondelet, on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri in the late 1850s. It is thought that Abel Shawk and J.K. Mc Lanahan financed the operation and Charles Rigdon provided the engineering and the majority of the machinery. (Rigdon of later Leech & Ridgon Co.)
The first few revolvers were basically handmade by a German immigrant gunsmith named William Tegethoff and so marked with his name. (Tegethoff is said to have been previously employed by Samuel Hawken) The later revolvers bare the Shawk & McLanahan name. 

Estimates of how many of these revolvers were produced run from 9 to 100.
The company suddenly went out of business about the time the Civil War erupted, the sudden dissolution appears to have been owed to the divided North/South loyalties of the three pardners.

As you can see, by the following pictures, there were two known variations of this brass frame revolver. Both of which bare slight resemblance to the Whitney and Spiller & Burr revolvers. They had 7-1/2” to 8” barrels and were .36 caliber.

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