This is an extremely rare early Union Firearms Company prototype pistol chambered in the very scarce 38 caliber. This specific pistol is discussed on pages 288-291 and actually pictured on page 291, of the book: "U.S. Military Automatic Pistol 1894-1920" by Meadows. The Union Firearms Company was located in Toledo, Ohio and was established in approximately 1894/95. Their primary focus was on producing lost cost, single and double barrel shotguns as well as early pump action shotguns for Sears and Roebuck. They were eventually incorporated in 1902 and continued to produced various models under several different names before being bought out/absorbed by the Ithaca Gun Company in 1917. During their early developmental years they also produced several early semi-automatic pistols with this being one of the early Prototype 38 caliber designs. It is estimated that approximately 50-100 total were ever produced with this being a very early model. This pistol was based on the Reifgraber Patent, developed and held by Joseph Joachim Reifgraber, a late 19th/early 20th century publisher who also invented a number of items, including advanced teletype machines. Reifgraber's weapon patents mainly revolved around a short recoil, direct blow back action, in which the barrel was mounted inside an outer barrel tube that allowed the barrel to move rearward during firing to start the cycling of the breechblock. It has a massive rear slide area with reinforced sides to capture the breechblock during cycling. It also has an early "grip safety" design. This rare early example is only marked on the right side with "CAL. 38" and "PAT. OCT. 30. 1906". It has a standard fixed blade front sight with a sighting groove for the rear sight. It is fitted with a pair of checkered hard rubber grips.
Very fine overall with 75% of the blue finish still remaining overall showing original honest wear from cycling and actual testing/firing. The grips are in fair condition showing much wear on the sides. A very rare early semi-automatic pistol design.
There are currently no customer product questions on this lot