Original U.S. Civil War Manhattan Firearms Series III Navy Percussion Revolver - Serial 42185
Original Item: Only One Available. Well THIS is a real peach! This is a very nice condition Civil War revolver, made by the MANHATTAN FIREARMS COMPANY of NEWARK, N.J.. The company was originally founded in 1856, mainly to make Colt-style revolvers once their patent ran out in 1857. This revolver looks just like a Colt Navy but it has a five shot cylinder, instead of the Colt's six.
This great example features the standard 6 1/2" barrel and mostly matching serial number 42185, which is found on the barrel, frame, trigger guard, cylinder axis rod, and the bottom of the grip. The rear of the cylinder is marked 2185, so it is matching, but the barrel wedge is a non matching arsenal replacement marked 45830. The revolver has traces of the original cylinder engraving present, which consists of five different scenes, one for each chamber. The cap nipples are all clear, and there is even the original PATENTED DEC.27.1859 marking!
From internet research, we know that the Series III revolvers have serial numbers from around 14,500 to 45,200, and were manufactured from September 1861 to April 1864. This makes this a definitely Civil War produced gun, probably made in late 1863 or early 1864. Production slowed after the war, as the other firearms manufacturers no longer had military contracts, and focused more on the civilian market. As the Manhattan Fire Arms Co mainly made weapons for the civilian market, this drastically increased competition.
Top of the barrel still has a clear Series III single line manufacturer engraving, indicating the move to Newark:
MANHATTAN FIRE ARMS CO. NEWARK N.J.
The revolver has a lovely patina of age and is in fully functional condition. It indexes well with a good cylinder lockup, though it can be slightly finicky at times. The Walnut grips are solid, with a lovely color, and a good amount of the original varnish present. The finish has been worn to a lovely gray patina from years of use and cleaning. The trigger guard/grip frame is worn a bit, which has removed much of the original nickel plating from the brass, which is typical, even for well cared for revolvers. The bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and the expected oxidation from fouling and use.
This is just a very nice civil war percussion revolver, ready to add to your collection and display!
History of Manhattan Firearms:
The Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. was founded by a group of New Jersey businessmen in 1856. Their goal was to take advantage of Colt’s patent for revolving firearms that was due to expire in 1857. The founders hired Thomas Bacon to became the Superintendent of Manufacturing.
Manufacturing began in Norwich, Connecticut and in 1859 moved to Newark, New Jersey. Thomas Bacon remained in Norwich and started his own firearms company. During their existence, Manhattan Firearms produced approximately 175,000 pistols. Only Colt, Remington, and Winchester produced more guns during this era in which included the Civil War.
While waiting for Colt’s patent to expire, Manhattan first made copies of American firearms that no longer had patent protection. These included pepperboxes and various single-shot designs. Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention to making Colt-style revolvers in both the .31 caliber Pocket and .36 caliber Navy styles. Manhattan patented an extra set of cylinder safety notches on these models. Manhattans can be easily identified by the many notches on their cylinders.
After the Civil War, Manhattan production primarily consisted of a copy of the Smith & Wesson .22 caliber cartridge revolver and a single-shot boot pistol under the name "HERO". Manhattan changed it's name in 1868 to American Standard Tool Company and began to market industrial tools as well as firearms. American Standard Tool closed during the financial panic of 1873.
Manhattan Firearms also manufactured guns under the trade names “Hero”, “London Pistol Company”, and “American Standard Tool”.
Year of Manufacture: c. early 1864
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 6 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 12 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 5 Shot Revolver
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