Pistol / Hand GunsRevolverUsed£ 1,300
This is an excellent example of a Manhattan Mk V percussion revolver in 36 calibre. The Mk V is easy to identify as it has a two-line New Jersey Address on the top rib and was modified from 5 to 6 shots, quite a logical thing to do but this only happened in the last series. What is remarkable is that they were able to use the original cylinder tooling so the diameter of the cylinder and the roll forming impressions are the same as that of the 5 shot cylinder and they are always found with the cylinder stamped with the 1859 patent date.
The Manhattan Arms Company revolvers were ostensibly copying of Colt revolvers but with improvements. The Manhattan revolvers featured a positive lug safety stop that engaged the hammer between cylinders unlike the Colt safety pins that could slip or wear.
Manhattan Firearms produced percussion revolvers until the late 1860’s and it is apparent that they attempted to find a market for their .36 calibre revolvers in England and several of them have appeared with London proof marks as indeed are exhibited on this example.
The revolver has evidently been properly maintained and has a good bore and locks and cocks on half and full cock as it should do. This revolver was previously held on a firearms certificate but was removed from the certificate to allow its sale as an antique.
Manhattan revolvers are rapidly gaining recognition and values are accelerating. A lovely example for any collection that would be difficult to better.
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 become 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 pepper boxes and various single-shot designs. Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention to making Colt-style revolvers in both the .31 calibre Pocket and .36 calibre Navy styles. Manhattan patented an extra set of cylinder safety notches on these models. Manhattan’s can be easily identified by the many notches on their cylinders as demonstrated by this example.
After the Civil War, Manhattan production primarily consisted of a copy of the Smith & Wesson .22 calibre cartridge revolver and a single-shot boot pistol under the name "HERO". Manhattan changed its 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". To learn about Manhattan Firearms read the book by Waldo E Nutter (Who wouldn't buy a book by an author named Waldo Nutter!)
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