Original U.S. 19th Century Allen & Thurber 1845 Patent Percussion Pepperbox Revolver - Serial No. 2

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, 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 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 2 is stamped the grip frame, mainspring, and cylinder. There also is assembly number 3 stamped on the other side of the grip frame, and on the cylinder. There are no serial numbers on the insides of the grip scales, which are working life replacements.

The frame has some very nice decorative engraving on the sideplates of the action, and the tube hammer is stamped:


This example is also marked on the flats between the barrels with:


The company was known by various names over the years. After the move from 1847 to 1854 it was known as Allen & Thurber (Worcester), so this pistol is from that period, after the patent renewal was granted. That probably puts production around 1848.

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 good to very good condition, fully operational but NOT sold for firing. 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
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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