This is a pleasing little Hopkins & Allen Arms company Dictator Model revolver in 32 Rim fire calibre. The revolver has more than 95% of the original nickel plating with a few little spots of wear on the cylinder and the mechanics are sound, it cocks and locks perfectly with a crisp action. The Floral Motif grips are unblemished and the cylinder release mechanism works fine allowing the cylinder to be easily released. The 1879 patent date is clearly stamped on the top strap together with the maker and model name. These little revolvers, sometimes erroneously called “suicide specials”, were the mainstay of personal protection in the 1870-1890’s and beyond because they were inexpensive, reliable and at close quarter deadly and easily concealable. The Outlaw Jesse James carried a Hopkin & Allen model 1873. This is a pleasing and typical example of the type.Hopkins & Allen Arms Company was a US firearms manufacturing company based in Norwich, Connecticut that was founded in 1868 by Charles W. Allen, Charles A. Converse, Horace Briggs, Samuel S. Hopkins and Charles W. Hopkins. The Hopkins brothers ran the day-to-day operations of the company.
In 1874 Converse sold his interest in the company to Brothers William and Milan Hulbert, giving the Hulbert's 50% of the company's assets and capital. Hopkins & Allen became the exclusive maker of Merwin Hulbert revolvers as a result of this. Following the bankruptcy of the Hulbert brothers in 1896, Hopkins & Allen went bankrupt in 1898. The company was reorganized as Hopkins & Allen Arms Company but lost its factory and machinery in a fire in 1900, also along with the great robbery in 1905 shortly after, thieves cleared out the whole warehouse.
Hopkins & Allen rebuilt its factory in 1901 and produced 40,000 firearms a year. In 1902, the company acquired Forehand and Wadsworth, for whom it had been making revolvers under contract. The company was awarded a contract to build Mauser rifles for the Belgian Army early in World War I, but the contract fell apart after Germany invaded Belgium. Although the company continued to manufacture firearms, it never financially recovered and went bankrupt in 1916 with Marlin-Rockwell purchasing its machinery, inventory and designs in 1917.
In addition to the Merwin Hubert revolvers, Hopkins & Allen manufactured a variety of spur trigger single-action revolvers in .22, .32, and .38 calibres with trade names such as ACME, American Eagle, Blue Jacket, Captain Jack, Chichester, Defender, Dictator, Imperial Arms Co., Monarch, Mountain Eagle, Ranger, Tower's Police Safety, Universal, and XL, and later hinged-frame double-action models. Hopkins & Allen manufactured revolvers for Forehand & Wadsworth under contract as well as shotguns, rifles, and derringers for various sporting goods stores