Original U.S. Allen & Thurber 1837 Patent .31cal Percussion Pepperbox Revolver - Matching Serial 73
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 .31 caliber measuring 7 3/8" overall with 3 1/2" barrels. Removal of the grips shows that serial number 73 is stamped on the inside of both grip scales, the grip frame, and the mainspring. This number is also stamped on the inside of the trigger guard, as well as on the cylinder between the cap nipples. This is a "ALL MATCHING" example, with no parts swapped out over the years, and it's a great example as well!
The frame has lovely decorative engraving throughout, on the flash guard as well as the side plates, and even the grip frame. The tube hammer is stamped:
This example is further marked on the flats between the barrels with:
ALLEN & THURBER WORCESTER
PATENTED 1837 CAST-STEEL
The company was known by various names over the years. From 1847 to 1854 it was known as Allen & Thurber (Worcester), so this pistol is from that period, before the patent renewal was granted. That probably puts production around 1847-48.
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 very good used condition, with a lovely patina of age, fully operational but NOT sold for firing. The cylinder / barrel assembly is really in great shape, with the original blued finish faded only slightly to a grayish patina. The action still shows clear details on the engraving, something we almost never see, and the original bright finish is faded to a grayish stained color. There is a bit of powder burn around the cap nipples and on the tube hammer, as to be expected.
The walnut grips have a lovely color, and still retain most of the original "piano varnish" finish on both sides, with no major dents, chips, or other damage. This really is a fantastic example, probably the best we've seen out of all the "Allen Pepperbox" revolvers we've had.
A great example of an interesting stepping stone in 19th Century American firearms, ready to add to your collection!
Year of Manufacture: circa 1847-48
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 3 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 7 3/8 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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