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CIVIL WAR ERA
CONFEDERATE REVOLVER

Over the years I have very much enjoyed owning historic arms that most people don't seem to penetrate in terms of what they are and exactly what their place in history is.  This gun is just such an example.  It is unidentified and disassociated from its time period, it's region and it's historic significance.  I taught myself, many decades ago, when looking at a gun to pay close attention to the type of metal that was used in it's fabrication and the technology that went into it's construction.  This gun is made from metal that was in use in the deep south during the American Civil War.  You can clearly see a large, linear forging occlusion on the right side of the barrel.  This metal was not in use prior to the Civil War nor was it in use after the Civil War and it was used almost exclusively in the Deep South.  Prior to the war, occlusion free metal was obtained by southern gun makers from Philadelphia sources or from European sources.  The only fairly decent metal, though still not perfect, was produced by Trediger  Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia but the Confederate Government controlled it's distribution and who got it.  Anyone attempting to manufacture a firearm outside the government's approval was out of luck.  The decent, although not perfect metal, from Richmond was in short supply and there was never more than a fraction of what was needed in the South.  The South did not have good rolling mills and foundries to produce a top grade steel.  The best the gun makers had was a fairly high grade of wrought iron.  That is why you see the twist in a Cook & Brother rifle barrel, Griswold and Spiller & Burr cylinders, etc.  They were trying to make a weak, occlusion riddled iron stronger.  This gun is definitely from that period of production in the deep South.  It is therefore only common sense that it should be labeled a Confederate hand gun. 

With the period and region of it's construction pretty well established, you have to start thinking about who made it.  It has none of the characteristics of the major Confederate contractors.  It does not compare favorably to anyone who used brass in the construction of their guns, i.e. Griswold, Spiller & Burr, etc.  It is a relatively close copy dimensionally, of a Colt handgun.   The contours and dimensions of a Colt 1851 Navy were so refined that the gun literally became a piece of industrial art.  This gun shows characteristics of dimensions and contours which indicates the maker was attempting to truly copy the Colt Navy, something other gun makers in the South paid little attention to.  Whoever made this gun had competent gunsmiths working on it and had someone who was an expert casting the brass frame.  Even so, their technology and tooling is a bit on the primitive side.  You will note that the barrel lug is actually brass welded to the barrel.  That would indicate that they did not have access to good forgings.  This technique of attaching the barrel lug is not unheard of .  Sam Colt used the same technique to make the barrels for his Paterson Ring Lever Rifles, Revolving Shot Guns and the 1839 Paterson Carbine.  He also had  trouble getting correct forgings from which he could machine those barrels from one piece of steel. 

The most obvious candidate for the manufacture of this gun is Schneider & Glassic of Memphis, Tennessee.  They made a very close copy of the Colt Navy utilizing very well cast frames and full octagonal barrels.  There are minor differences between this gun and the three known Snider & Glassics.  The trigger guard on this gun is a small guard and the grips are two piece.  The final design on the Snider & Glassic incorporated the large guard and one piece grips.  The final design on the Snider & Glassic did not have the barrel lug forged welded to the barrel.  Even so, the shape and contours of the loading lever, the contours of the barrel lug and loading cut-out, the construction of the cylinder and it's locking notches and the brass frame compare very favorably to a Schneider & Glassic.  It tells me that this gun was probably their first attempt to manufacture a pistol and that the availability of forgings, and redesign of the trigger guard and grips were quickly achieved.  The technology incorporated in the construction of this gun would be exactly what they had available at the beginning of the Civil War.  The cut out in the barrel lug for the loading lever is hand chiseled.  The cut out in the bottom of the frame for the internal parts is also finished by hand chiseling.  In other words, they did not have elaborate milling machines to accomplish these tasks.  Prior the the Civil War, Snider & Glassic in their separate functions and as partners made deringers and half stock rifles for a very demanding clientele.  They probably did not have elaborate machine tools as most of that work was accomplished by skilled craftsmen using basic machines and technology.  This gun is constructed in exactly such an environment.  It was made by someone who had highly skilled workmen with a serious attention to detail, yet lacked state of the art technology.  I am firmly convinced that this gun is a pilot model, tool room model produced as a first effort on the part of Snider & Glassic of Memphis, Tennessee.  It is not their final design but perhaps is reflective of their first effort.  The early Griswold revolver had a small peanut trigger guard.  The early Spiller & Burr had a different frame casting.  Early Leech & Rigdons had features that were soon discarded in production.  The absence of a barrel address and serial numbers is of no consequence to me.  I have owned totally unmarked examples of the Dance Revolver, the Augusta Machine Works, and if you look around, a lot of Confederate revolvers were produced without a barrel address.  A barrel address with your name on it is an invitation for the United States Government to pay you a visit and was not necessarily a top priority.  You might also note the fine finish on the grips.  It is commonly referred to as a piano finish or a violin finish.  This degree of finish is not found on Confederate Contractor's work but it is typical of the finish Snyder & Glassic used on their deringers and half stock rifles.  I have had the good fortune to examine one of the existing, authentic Snuder & Glassics with my magnifying glass.  When viewed in detail, I am convinced this is an early product of Snyder & Glassic.  It is their attempt to work the bugs out and manufacture revolvers.  It might be described as a prototype, a tool room model or just their earliest attempt to refine the design of what, in spite of a lack of technology and materials, is a good solid gun.  P.O.R.  SOLD!!