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The revolver was retailed by C G Edwards of 2 George Street Plymouth as evidenced by the engraved address on the top of the frame although the case contains an Adams label. The firm traded from this address until 1925 moving to 1 Frankfort Lane when it closed in about 1934.
From 1885 to 1903 the firm traded as C G Edwards and Son. That such an advanced revolver was retailed in Plymouth is not a surprise as Plymouth is home to Devonport Naval base that has been supplied from Plymouth since the 17th Century.
A Beaumont Adams revolver was supplied with 1500 balls and charges to HMS Excellent the Navy gunnery school in 1855 for testing and shortly afterwards the Government ordered 300 revolvers from Adams. At this time officers were often expected to supply their own sidearm and the Beaumont Adams was the choice of the British Army. On 20th February 1856 Lieutenant Frederick E B Beaumont of the Royal Engineers was granted a British patent for improvements to the Adams revolver which allowed them to be cocked and fired either by manually cocking the hammer as in single actions revolvers such as the Colt or just by pulling the trigger. Beaumont was granted a US patent in June 1856.
This revolver revolutionised the revolver as it allowed a greater rate of fire and incorporated many other innovations including Kerr’s patent rammer, an improved frame with integral barrel, a safety catch to lock the cylinder, a rebounding hammer safety and of course at .442 calibre was larger than the .36” calibre Colt revolver. The speed of the Adams trigger cocking action for close quarters fighting together with the larger calibre spelt the death knell for Colt who had set up a factory in London to compete with British manufacturers. The emergence of this vastly superior weapon together with the fact that Colt had been discovered clandestinely supplying weapons to the Russian enemy forced the closure of the Colt London factory soon afterwards.
This example features a good action and bore, much original finish and the side safety extant which sometimes is missing. There is much original finish remaining and a full compliment of accessories including a powder flask, mould, tools and key for the military style case which features a vacant brass round escutcheon on the lid. The frame is engraved Adams Patent No 40649 and this number is matched on the 5 shot cylinder. This is not the patent number but the serial number of the revolver.
Overall a very decent example of a cased Crimean War era Beaumont Adams 54 bore revolver.