Engraved Period COPY of a COLT Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver by CAP SYSTEM, AMERICA
An Antique Engraved Period COPY Civil War COLT Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver circa, 1850's, SN#104637. 6 1/8", .35 cal. octagon steel barrel stamped with (2) inspection/proof marks, a small "CROWN" over "R" and a small "*" over "H" on the right side of the barrel just in front of the barrel wedge, blue and case hardened (no original finish remains) with remnants of "----SYSTEM -----------" on the top flat with erosion and salt & pepper pitting (some areas worse than others) especially around the cylinder's percussion nipples. Frame marked; "PATENT SYSTEM" on the right side. 5-Shot round cylinder with approx. 30% of the scene remaining. Two piece grip scales exhibit loses from what appears to be rodents gnawing at the upper edges otherwise intact. Screw heads are marred. All steel components exhibit pitting throughout. The action needs mechanical attention where the cylinder will not index fully at times. A decent example of one of the many gunmakers attempting to infringe on Samuel Colt's invention and popularity.
NOTE: The revolver has been professionally cleaned for display. Many varieties of Colt copies were used by both sides during the American Civil War and through the settling and expansion of the American West to the end of the 19th century.
SOME HISTORY: Samuel Colt had a difficult time when he patented the PATTERSON revolver in the late 1830's and did not really achieve success until he received a purchase order of 1000 newly designed massive .44 caliber "Walker" revolvers to arm Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker for the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). The "Walker" Colts were delivered in 1847 which Captain Walker carried a pair into battle and was killed in action by a sniper's bullet while leading a cavalry charge at the Battle of Huamantla on October 9th, 1847.
Samuel Colts business started to flourish attracting world recognition upon the creation of the .31 caliber model 1849 "Pocket" revolver but then skyrocketed when the .36 caliber model 1851 "Navy" revolver took the scene. Colt had the proper patents both domestic and foreign to protect his designs but that did not stop competitors from copying his patterns. Colt was able to establish several license agreement's which includes having a representative at the Belgium proof house to monitor and charge the competitors a fee to have their copies inspected and approved. If approved, the top of the barrel was stamped "COLT BREVETE" indicating that the copy was of good quality and could be sold. However, many foreign gun makers would avoid the proof house and inspection and made their own fake proof marks and Colt Brevete stamps.