In stock

Original U.S. Civil War Allen & Wheelock .32cal Rimfire Revolver - Matching Serial 280

Regular price $995.00

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a very nice private purchase .32cal Rimfire "Pocket" Revolver made by Ethan Allen and his brother-in-law Thomas Wheelock in Worcester, Mass. About 1,000 of these attractive little pocket revolvers were produced from 1859 to 1862, when litigation from Smith & Wesson brought production to a halt. They had purchased exclusive rights to the Rollin White patent, which governed bored through cylinders, and defended it actively.

Ethan Allen was involved in a series of different partnerships, which makes the firearms relatively easy to place in time. The side of the octagonal barrel on this example is marked:

ALLEN'S PAT'S SEPT. 7. NOV. 9. 1858

As the "ALLEN & WHEELOCK" trade name was used from 1856 to 1865, this revolver definitely falls right into the civil war period. There is also a faint JULY 3, 1860 marking on the left side of the barrel trunion. The revolver is marked with serial number 280 under the barrel, on the back of the cylinder, and on both wood grip scales. Under the grip the revolver is marked with 289, but we are certain that this is a mistake in marking, as we can see no signs of any parts having been swapped out. That makes this a lovely "All Matching" example.

Overall the revolver has a nice worn patina, typical of a gun that saw long service. The revolver is fitted with an interesting side hammer and a 3 14" barrel, with an overall length of 7 1/4 inches. The walnut grips are in very good shape, still retaining a lot of the original "piano varnish" finish used during this period.

The revolver cycles well, however the spring on the cylinder lock is non-functional, so while the cylinder indexes correctly, it can still be rotated at full cock. The barrel still shows crisp rifling with a mostly bright finish, so it does not look to have been used a lot. There is a bit of oxidation in areas, typical of a revolver from the age of black powder. The barrel arbor pin can still be pulled out and the cylinder removed for reloading and cleaning.

A nice little civil war pistol, named to an officer, ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1860-65
Caliber: .32cal
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 3 1/4 inches
Overall Length: 7 1/4 inches
Action: Single Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these. International customers should always consult their country's antique gun laws prior to ordering.

More on Gunmaker Ethan Allen:
 Allen originally developed his Gun business by taking his brother-in-law Charles Thurber as his partner, originally setting up shop in Norwich, CT, which as a major gun making center at the time. They were one of the earliest makers of pistols in the city, and sources usually cite 1842 as when they began production, though some use 1835 as the start date. Ethan Allen, no relation to the Revolutionary Ethan Allen, had applied for various patents, most notably early on for a "TUBE HAMMER" ignition system in 1837, which was renewed in 1845.

In 1847, the company moved the production plant to Worcester, Mass., and as before manufactured many quality pepperbox pistols. Ethan Allen later took into his business another brother-in-law, Thomas Wheelock, in 1854, when the company would be come Allen, Thurber & Co. and then Allen & Wheelock once Thurber retired in 1856. In 1865, after Wheelock's passing, Allen's two Sons-in-law, Sullivan Forehand and Henry Wadsworth joined the company, which returned to the name E. Allen & Company. These two would then continue the business after Ethan Allen's death in 1871. Most interesting that all these names have become an integral part of the U.S. arms industry.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


Cash For Collectibles