Original U.S. 19th Century Allen & Thurber 1845 Patent Percussion Pepperbox Revolver - Serial 282

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Pepperbox revolvers were so named because of the similarity of the front view of the weapon was so reminiscent of a Pepper Pot of the time being a circle of round holes. This example was made by Ethan Allen of Massachusetts (1808-1871). Allen developed his Gun business by taking his brother-in-law Charles Thurber as his partner, and they moved the plant to Worcester, Mass. Ethan Allen, no relation to the Revolutionary Ethan Allen, applied for various patents, most notably early on for a "TUBE HAMMER" ignition system in 1837, which was renewed in 1845.

This is the type exhibited on our Pepperbox Revolver offered here. The weapon is Six Shot in approximately .32 caliber measuring 7 1/4" overall with 3 1/2" barrels. Removal of the grips shows that serial number 282 is stamped on the inside of both grip scales, the grip frame, and the mainspring. Due to wear we were not able to find any markings on the cylinder. However we feel that this is almost certainly an "all matching" example, and hasn't been messed with. The frame has some very nice decorative engraving on the sideplates of the action, and the tube hammer is stamped:


The company was known by various names over the years. The date marking has worn off, but comparison with other examples makes us confident that it is an 1845 patent model, and the cylinder style is one used from 1847 to 1854 it was known as Allen & Thurber (Worcester). This pistol is most likely from that period, after the patent renewal was granted, which probably puts production around 1848-54.

Ethan Allen later took into his business another brother-in-law, Thomas Wheelock, and later his two Sons-in-law, Sullivan Forehand and Henry Wadsworth, who continued 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.

The Pepperbox is in a fair to good condition, fully operational but NOT sold for firing. There is some issue with indexing on certain chambers due to wear. It still does show quite a bit of the original engraving, however it also has patination and traces of past oxidation.

An interesting stepping stone in 19th Century American firearms, ready to add to your collection!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1848–1854
Caliber:  approx .32"
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 3 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 7 1/4 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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