When the name Marlin is discussed in the field of firearms, the initial though it typically of their lever action rifles with brilliantly cased hardened receivers that competed with Winchester during the peak of western expansion during the 1880s. The second thought is typically of their Marlin-Ballard single shot rifles that developed a reputation for accuracy and ruggedness during the latter half of the 19th century. However, it was small handguns, that were the genesis of the company, and were its primary product line during its first decade in business. John Marlin was born on May 6, 1836 in Boston Neck (near Windsor Locks, Hartford, CT). He went to work for the Hartford based Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company sometime during the 1850s and 1863 he left the firm to start his own firearms manufacturing business. The first products offered by Marlin were small, single shot, derringers offered in a variety of rimfire cartridge chambering. The guns were brass framed pocket weapons with barrels that pivoted sideways for loading and unloading, similar to the Colt 3rd Model (Thuer) derringer that would be offered several years after Marlin’s guns had been on the market. They also produced a percussion alarm gun in rather limited quantities during their first 2-3 years in business. In 1869, with the expiration of the Rollin White patent on the bored through cylinder, Marlin introduced the “O.K.” Pocket Revolver in .22 rimfire short, followed quickly by the Marlin “Little Joker”. Both were solid-frame, seven-shot, single-action, spur-trigger pocket revolvers with bird’s head grips. Both models were produced in relatively small quantities (about 2,000 and 1,100 respectively) and were gone from the product line by the mid-1870s. In 1872 Marlin introduced his first really successful handgun, the XXX Standard 1872. The XXX (which was a reference to the .30 caliber chambering) was a tip-up revolver (similar in design to the Smith & Wesson #1 and #2 revolvers) and was chambered for .30 rimfire. The revolver was a five-shot single action gun with a spur-trigger bird’s head grips. The standard barrel length was 3”, although custom lengths (both shorter and longer) were available by special order. As originally produced the revolver had a ribbed octagon barrel, and an unfluted cylinder. Like most handguns of the era the standard finish was nickel plating with wood grips. However, half-plate finish (silver frame & blue barrel) were offered for extra cost, as well as fancy grips like pearl or ivory. Only about 500 of these earliest XXX revolvers were produced, before the Marlin company changed over to a ribbed round barrel, but retained the unfluted cylinder. Again, about 500 units were produced and another change took place, replacing the plain cylinder with a short fluted one. These guns sold extremely well, with about 10,000 being produced between 1873 and 1876. The final change came not long after, with the cylinder and frame lengthened about 3/16” and the length of the flutes extended as well. About 15,000 of these guns were also produced, through 1876 when the XXX was dropped from the product line, to be replaced by the newly designed Models 1875, 1878 and eventually 1887 revolvers. However, the end of XXX (and its sister revolver the .22 caliber XX) coincided with a new direction for the Marlin company, where it would have its greatest success. In 1873 the assets of the Brown Manufacturing Company were sold at auction due to foreclosure. Brown had held the patent rights to the Ballard patent breech loading rifle and these rights, along with the machinery to produce the rifles (along with many parts finished and unfinished) were acquired by New York arm dealer and investor Charles Daly. Daly approached John Marlin about taking over the machinery, parts and production of the Ballard rifle, with the arrangement that Daly’s company Schoverling & Daly would hold the exclusive distribution rights for the guns. Daly also invested in the Marlin company and eventually became president of the firm. In 1881 the firm was reorganized as the Marlin Firearms Company and that same year they introduced their first lever action rifle, the Model 1881. Over the next twenty years a variety of successful lever action competitors to the various Winchester designs would be launched, and while the company never reached the sales and production output of Winchester, they certainly earned a reputation for manufacturing quality firearms. As the last decade of the 19th century approached, interest in single shot rifles waned, and the Ballard line of single shot rifles was dropped around 1890-1891. In 1893 John Marlin bought back Daly’s investment, and retained sole ownership of the company. In 1899 handgun manufacturing was discontinued to focus on the production of lever action rifles and pump action shotguns. In 1901 John Marlin died, but his two sons continued the company and expanded it by acquiring the Ideal Cartridge Reloading Company. In 1915 the company was sold to a New York based investment syndicate and became Marlin-Rockwell. During the First World War the company concentrated its manufacturing efforts on machine guns. At the end of the war the company did not return the manufacture of sporting arms and sort of withered and died, relying on its service department and reloading tool division to carry it. The company was reorganized in 1921 as the Marlin Firearms Corporation but failed and was sold at auction in 1923. This time the company was purchased by Frank Kenna and production of sporting arms soon resumed. The firm divested themselves of the Ideal Reloading division in 1925, selling it off to Lyman and invested the funds in upgraded production lines for firearms. Today the company remains in business as one of America’s longest running firearms manufacturers and is still owned by the Kenna family. 5,000 XXX Standard revolvers were manufactured by Marlin between 1872 and 1887. John Mahlon Marlin was born on May 6, 1836 near Windsor Locks, Connecticut. At the age of 18, he became an apprentice machinist with the American Machine Works. He later served as a machinist with Colt Patent Firearms of Hartford. In 1863, he started his own pistol manufacturing business in New Haven, concentrating on production of a small single-shot .22 caliber derringer. Marlin expanded his efforts to include revolvers in 1870, after the expiration of Rollin White's cylinder patents. The Marlin story later became intertwined with the Ballard breechloading rifle. These single-shot arms were invented by Charles H. Ballard of Worcester, Massachusetts, who received his original patent in 1861. Approximately 24,000 sporting and military rifles, carbines, and shotguns were manufactured between 1862 and 1873; Civil War sales account for half of this total. Five different New England companies produced various Ballard designs, with the New York firm of Merwin & Bray acting as sales agents throughout Ballard's brief history. Economic depression came to the United States in 1873, and diminishing sales forced Ballard into bankruptcy. All patent rights, equipment, parts inventories, and properties were purchased by New York arms dealers Schoverling and Daly, who handled sales and distribution of Ballard rifles after reaching an agreement with John Marlin to continue production. This partnership would prove to be highly successful for all parties involved. In 1881, the Marlin Firearms Company was incorporated, and production of Ballard rifles continuing under the Marlin banner until they were eventually discontinued circa 1891 due to the rising popularity of repeating rifles. Marlin-Ballard rifles were and are well-known for their accuracy and workmanship, and fancy-grade long-range rifles are eagerly sought after by modern collectors. Marlin continued to expand his product line, introducing his Model 1881 lever-action tubular magazine repeating rifle in that year. Many key features had been patented by Andrew Burgess and others, but John Marlin incorporated these into a single functional firearm. This rifle was available in a variety of calibers ranging from .32-40 to 45-70 Government, a feature that would not be duplicated by competing Winchesters for several more years. Marlin also produced several other lever action designs, concluding with the Model 1897, which remained in production until 1922.
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The service revolver model 1873 Chamelot-Delvigne was the first double-action revolver used by the French Army It was produced by Manufacture D'armes de Saint Etienne from 1873 to 1887 in about 337,000 copies. Although replaced by the Modele 1892 revolver, it was nevertheless widely used during the First World War and issued to reserve units in 1940. The Resistance made widespread use of it during the Occupation.
The model 1874, of which 35,000 were made, was an officer's version. It differs from the model 1873 by having a lighter structure and a darker finish. Many copies for civilian sale were made in France and Belgium.
Both the 1873 and the 1874 use an 11mm cartridge which proved to have insufficient velocity. The weapons themselves were very reliable and resistant to damage. A Navy version was also produced. A more powerful cartridge was produced for this version, but production ceased and they turned to the regular ammunition when the stocks were depleted.
The Franco Prussian War in 1870 clearly demonstrated the need for up-to-date equipment in war time. A great military tradition and esprit de corps can be defeated by superior training, and in the case of that war, artillery. After the war, both Germany and France continued to improve their military technology. However, neither side was convinced of the importance of pistols for field officers. The sword continued to be the symbol of authority for an officer on the battlefield all the way into WW1. European general staffs at that time were extremely conservative and pistols were sometimes grudgingly adopted as personal defense weapons with no practical offensive use. Even as pistols became more of a symbol of the officer, most preferred to privately purchase a smaller and more comfortable handgun instead of using a large standard issue revolver.
The Chamelot-Delvigne 11mm Modele 1873 was adopted by the French army as a service revolver for non-commissioned officers. The Modele 1874 Revolver d'Officier was the version issued to officers. The differences between the two models included the following: the 1873 was finished in the white, whereas the 1874 had a fluted cylinder and a blued finish. The 1873 and 1874 were the first centerfire cartridge revolvers adopted by the French army. They had solid-frame, side-ejection, double-action mechanisms. The pistols were manufactured by the St. Etienne arsenal, which still continues to manufacture fine sporting arms.
The design of the Chamelot-Delvigne revolvers became so popular that versions were adopted by the Belgian in 1871, Italian, and 1872 in Switzerland with the Model 1872 Revolver.
The caliber of these French pistols was 11x17.8mmR. The French round was actually 0.47 mm larger than its German counterpart. The German round could be loaded and used in the French pistol, but French rounds would not chamber in the German pistol. The cartridge had a pointed lead bullet weighing 11 grams. The case length was 17.8 mm, which was rather on the short side. Reloading this cartridge could take some patience due to the shortness of the case. Military specifications called for black powder loads, replaced by a mild smokeless powder in the early twentieth century. Standard muzzle velocity was around 550 feet per second.
The cylinder had a side-loading gate which pulled straight to the rear. The sight picture was a ball and v type and is easy to align. It could be difficult to stay on target when shooting double-action due to the stiffness of the action. There was certainly no danger of accidentally pulling the trigger double-action. Cleaning and disassembly were easy as the cylinder pin doubled as a screwdriver and all-purpose tool. Internal parts were finely machined and finished. The trigger, hammer, and several of the internal springs were straw-finished, a type of case-hardening hot oil finish.
The French pistols began their service with the French army in the late 19th century and saw service all over the globe in French colonies. Many saw service in World War I when European armies finally realized how important pistols were in the trenches. The Chamelot-Delvigne finally ended its venerable service as a police sidearm in World War II.
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The Colt House Revolver (also called, in its alternate 4-round capacity model, the Cloverleaf) was one of the first metallic cartridge rear loading revolvers to be produced by Colt, back in 1871. The same year, Colt's also patented the Colt open top, another metallic cartridge rear-loader, but in fact the Open Top production didn't start until 1872, although a pocket version of the Open Top, a completely different design, went on sales as of 1871, the Colt open top pocket Model revolver.
The Colt House Revolver was manufactured from 1871 to 1876 in two different models: the Colt House Model itself and the Colt Cloverleaf Model, the latter being the most produced of both. The House Model is also known among collectors as the Jim Fisk model or the Jim Fisk pistol, since it attained the infamy of being the gun used in the murder of James Fisk in January 1872.
Both models, House and Cloverleaf, were built around a solid hidden spur-trigger frame, a weapon architecture also used by another Colt gun, the Colt sidehammer (1855). The Sidehammer had a flat-ended grip, while the House and Cloverleaf models had all of them a recognizable "bird's-head" grip. These features (spur trigger, "birds-head" grips, etc.) were common on many small pistols and revolvers during that era, such as the classic 2-shot "derringer" pistol. Finally, both models, House and Cloverleaf, were chambered with .41 caliber rimfire cartridges, available in both long and short sizes.
This is a 3 inch barrelled example, with the brass frame, one of 4000 made in the first year of production, 1871. The revolver locks up tightly and operates as intended. The gun retains a fair amount of original blue finish and has most of its original varnish on good, solid, grips. This is a rather scarce Colt to find.
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Hopkins & Allen Manufacturing Co. of Norwich, Connecticut, was a major manufacturer of rifles, shotguns, and inexpensive cartridge handguns between 1868 and 1915. Hopkins & Allen purchased the assets of the Bacon Manufacturing Company when that firm ceased operations in 1868, a victim of declining government arms purchases after the end of the Civil War. Bacon employees Colonel Charles A. Converse and Samuel S. Hopkins, charged with carrying out the sale of their company, found that the post-war recession made the sale of the firm as difficult as it had been to find buyers for Bacon firearms. Instead, they recruited Horace A. Briggs, Bacon Manufacturing's owner, as well as Samuel Hopkins' brother Charles, and Charles H. Allen as business partners.
After an investment of $1000 each, the new company, Hopkins & Allen Manufacturing Co., began operations as a producer of firearms, machinery, tools, and hardware. Officers included the initial investors-stockholders, with Briggs serving as president, Charles Hopkins as secretary, Converse as treasurer, and Samuel Hopkins and Charles Allen, directors. Shortly after the establishment of the company, Henry H. Hopkins, elder brother of Charles and Samuel, became superintendent of Hopkins & Allen, a position which he held for nearly a decade. As were those of Bacon Manufacturing, Hopkins & Allen's production facilities were located in Norwich. With a workforce of 30, H & A began to turn out five-shot .31 caliber percussion revolvers that were essentially identical to those previously manufactured by Bacon.
The firm was initially prohibited from manufacturing cartridge revolvers using Rollin White's patent for bored-through cylinders, on which Smith & Wesson held exclusive rights. After the expiration of this patent, Hopkins & Allen began converting their percussion revolvers to accept cartridge ammunition. In addition, a line of spur-trigger cartridge revolvers in .22 rimfire and .32 rimfire calibers was introduced. Many of Hopkins & Allen revolvers were sold to distributors under trade names including Blue Jacket, Mountain Eagle, Ranger, and others.
The 1870s brought a period of expansion for H & A. It also marked the beginning of an association between Hopkins & Allen and Merwin-Hulbert & Co. Merwin-Hulbert became H & A's sales representative in 1871, and ties between the two companies were strengthened in 1874, when Charles A. Converse elected to leave the business, selling his shares to Merwin-Hulbert. By mid-decade, H & A had begun to manufacture Merwin-Hulbert Automatic Revolvers under the supervision of Joseph Merwin. In addition to overseeing production, Merwin continued his experimentation with new designs in a section of the Hopkins & Allen plant.
By the late 1870s, Hopkins & Allen's sales had grown to the point that the company relocated to larger facilities in Norwich. H & A's product line also expanded to include the XL Army, XL Navy, and XL police models. These larger six-shot revolvers were available in .44-40 centerfire, .44 rimfire, and .38 rimfire calibers and featured barrel lengths of 4 ? to 7 ? inches. After purchasing Bay State Arms Company in 1878, Hopkins & Allen began production of falling block rifles and tip-up shotguns. The acquisition of Bay State brought with it William H. Davenport's patent for the production of high quality rifle barrels. William Davenport, Bay State's founder, remained with Hopkins & Allen until 1890, when he formed the W. H. Davenport Firearms Company.
By 1907, Davenport's fortunes were in decline, and Hopkins & Allen purchased this firm as well. In 1896, Merwin, Hulbert & Co. failed, sending shockwaves through H & A. The Norwich arms maker suffered a $90,000 loss, a small percentage of which was later recovered in bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, Hopkins & Allen was left without an outlet for sales and customer relations.
The company struggled to remain in business until 1898, when new management elected new officers and reorganized the firm as the Hopkins & Allen Arms Company of Norwich, Connecticut. The Hopkins brothers and Charles Allen continued, but their ownership stake had been reduced to 15 percent. In addition to their line of pistols, rifles, and shotguns, H & A had also manufactured tools and bicycles, but the firm's new management dropped these products and focused solely on firearms production. Less successful firearms, including some medium-frame rifles and all Merwin-Hulbert pistols were dropped as well. By the turn of the century, Hopkins & Allen was again profitable, and the company's products included single-shot shotguns and rifles, as well as a variety of revolvers. The company's return to profitability was not uneventful.
In the early hours of February 4, 1900, a fire of undetermined origin swept through the Hopkins & Allen factory, destroying the factory and most of its contents, including machinery, blueprints, records, parts, and completed firearms that had been awaiting shipment. H & A management began to salvage what they could while plans to rebuild the ravaged factory were prepared. By stroke of luck or fate, the Forehand Firearms Company of Worcester, Massachusetts was offered for sale by heirs of Sullivan Forehand, and Hopkins & Allen agreed to purchase the firm.
In addition to its firearms line, Forehand's manufacturing facilities included machinery and tools that were in excellent condition. H & A's production was consolidated with that of Forehand & Wadsworth at the latter's factory until the Hopkins & Allen plant could be rebuilt. As sections of the new H & A factory were completed, Forehand's machinery was transported from Worcester to Norwich during the night and set up in time for the next day's production to resume. In this way, the company was able to remain in business until H & A's new facilities were completed in 1902.
From its meager beginnings, Hopkins & Allen had grown from a small shop with 30 employees to a major producer of firearms and employer of 600 workers in a new multi-story factory. In a state known for firearms production, H & A. ranked third behind Colt and Winchester. Hopkins & Allen continued to manufacture a variety of revolvers and small arms until 1915, when commercial production ended and the company began to manufacture Mauser Model 1898 rifles for the government of Belgium. Rising costs forced the company into bankruptcy in 1917, and the U.S. Army Ordnance Department and Marlin Firearms took over H & A's factory for the production of Browning Automatic Rifles. Marlin purchased the assets of Hopkins & Allen in 1921. Reference, NRA Museum.
This is an early example of the 32 rimfire that Hopkins and Allen produced. It is in very fine original condition, mechanically it functions flawlessly with strong main spring and solid lock up and timing. The nickel finish is in 95% plus condition and the perfect pearl grips are outstanding, as well there is visible vibrant case colouring still remaining on the hammer.
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Towards the end of the Seven Years War, it became clear of the necessity for a pattern of pistol specifically for the Light Dragoon Regiments of the British Army. Introduced in the 1760s, the Light Dragoon pistol graced of holsters of the brave troopers of the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons along with American mounted units loyal to the crown. The latter included the King's American Dragoons, Tarleton's famous British Legion, along with the Hussars and Light Dragoons of the Queen's Rangers. Both the British Legion and the Queen's Rangers skirmishes with the France's Lauzun Legion of Hussars during the Yorktown Campaign.
Raised in 1760 by a veteran of the siege of Quebec, the 17th Light Dragoons saw extensive service during the American Revolution including at Bunker Hill, White Plains, Fort Washington, operations in Georgia and the Carolinas including Cowpens. After the American Revolution, this pistol continued to be used by Light Dragoons into the Napoleonic Wars. It was slowly fazed out as the introduction of the New Land Pattern took hold.
Hussars of the Queen's Rangers. The Hussars trained to gallop through the woods and between the files of the light infantry. The Hussars and Dragoons saw extensive service throughout the war. Cavalry of the Queen's Rangers were armed only with pistols and swords.
Light Cavalry in the British Army began to be more highly developed and organized during this very period of the middle 1700s. By the 18th century, cavalry represented one of the three basic troop types of any European army, along with the infantry and artillery. Mounted troops came in a variety of different types, depending on the role that they played on the battlefield. Light cavalry rode small quick horses and carried light weapons ideal for scouting and skirmishing. Heavy cavalry, including cuirassiers and lancers, on the other hand, were often armoured and were mounted on strong powerful horses which they used to smash and break enemy formations in close combat.
Potential conflicts this pistol may have seen include the Seven Years War (1754-63), French & Indian Wars (the North American extension of the Seven Years War), the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802), the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815).
This is a nice example of a light Dragoon, mechanically it functions flawlessly, the stock has some cracks but is solid. The lock is marked "Richards" under the Crown, the brass furniture has turned a beautiful patina. The ramrod is a replacement.
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This is a Colt Number 2 Derringer chambered in .41 rim fire caliber dating to circa 1875-1890. This is likely an early production pistol given the low serial number. The National Arms Company was one of only a few companies to offer derringers from 1865 and on in metallic cartridges, offering this firearm in .41 rimfire and a .32 Teat-fire cartridge. In 1870, the National Arms Company was acquired by Colt Manufacturing Company in an effort for Colt to break into the metallic cartridge gun market. Colt then produced the Colt Derringer in .41 rimfire in the same pattern as the National Arms example, but with a steel frame instead of the National Arms brass frame. The firearm was likely finished in nickel plate or blued, with standard factory scroll engraving and solid walnut grip scales. The pistol utilizes a spur trigger and low-profile hammer. The derringer has good remnants of factory scroll engraving, a notched rear hammer sight and breech loading swivel out or swing out barrel. This is the first Colt to ever use a brass cartridge.
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The Colt Model 1855 Sidehammer, also known as the Colt Root Revolver after engineer Elisha K Root(1808–1865), was a cap and ball single-action pocket revolver used during the American Civil War and made by the Colt's Patent Firearms Company limited. in two calibers: .28 and .31. In the revolver configuration of the patented revolving mechanism, only one model of revolver was produced. The two only available calibers for the revolver were .28 and .31. The production of the revolver started in 1855 and lasted until 1870. In spite of the complexity and ambition of its patented design, the Sidehammer revolver never reached the status of a popular gun.
Production began in 1855 with the Model 1 followed by the Model 1A and then the Model 2 beginning with serial number "1" and ending in 1860 at about "25,000". These models had a roller-die engraved scene referred to as the "Cabin and Indian" scene. Production continued with the Model 3 which has a fluted cylinder. The standard barrel length was 3 1/2 inch (4 1/2 inch for the Model 5A, 6A, 7A). Calibers were .28 (Model 1 - 3) later .31 (Models 3A, 4, 5, 6, 7). Octagon barrels (Model 1 - 4). Round barrels (Model 5 - 7).
The cylinder scene engraved on the first 25,000 pistols was created by banknote engraver Waterman Ormsby. The image was his fourth and last to be featured on Colt revolvers. The overall scene is 1 1/16 inch wide by 3 1/4 inch long. At one end of the scene is the text, "COLT'S PATENT No. 14705". The image contains a pioneer defending himself against an attack by six Indians in Seminole-style attire using a pair of revolver pistols while (assumedly) his wife and child are escaping. Along the top of the scene (the edge of the cylinder which is closest to the pistol barrel) is a "finely detailed wavy line and dot border". The Model 3, 4 and 5 had a fluted cylinder (with indentations between the loading chambers), preventing the application of a continuously engraved scene. Some cylinders were decoratively hand-engraved.
The Model 6 and 7 had a round cylinder, with the rolled on "Stagecoach Holdup" scene by W. L. Ormsby.
This is very nice example of an early Colt, it functions mechanically as intended.
The original finish is completely gone from the piece, the grips are in excellent condition. Should make a nice addition to Colt collector.
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Here we present an antique Belgian Mariette Ring Trigger/Under Hammer Percussion Pepperbox. These are quite scarce. This firearm was made circa the 1850s in Liege, Belgium, known for centuries now as one of the foremost firearms capitals of the world. It was expressly made for self-defense, giving the shooter 6 shots of .31 caliber ball without having to cock a hammer.
This piece is double action, with a cluster of 6 barrels that revolves with each pull of the trigger. This is a percussion piece, and each of the 6 barrels can be independently unscrewed for loading. In fact, each of the barrels is numbered and corresponds to the same number on the firearm, so that the user could not lose track of which barrel goes to its particular portion of the breech. The loading of the gun from the breech, rather than from the muzzle, was beneficial to loading a larger ball—yielding a better gas seal—as opposed to trying to load from the muzzle. The barrels and breeches are numbered 1-6 in sequence. The breach of the barrel cluster is Liege proofed.
The overall condition is very good. The barrels retain their Damascened twist pattern. Iron parts gray with age throughout. The markings are clear. The grips appear to be in fair shape. The bores are smooth and dark. The action remains strong.
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