This early production Smith & Wesson No. 1 lever action repeating pistol was manufactured in Norwich, Connecticut c. 1854. This Type I pistol has a .31 caliber, four inch, part round/part octagon barrel with flat muzzle, wide muzzle collar and rounded T-bar spring. The barrel has a flattened brass front sight, integral six-shot magazine and small, steel, clam-shell follower. The receiver has the early and rare lever with finger spur, flat back ejection port and simple, fixed rear sight with two-piece, bag-shaped walnut or rosewood grips. The receiver was originally blued, the barrel/magazine browned and the hammer, lever and trigger color casehardened. The grips have a high polish piano finish. The receiver, backstrap and back of the hammer are decorated with the standard Smith & Wesson open scroll and leaf engraving. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "SMITH & WESSON/NORWICH. CT." in two lines. "PATENT/FEB. 14. 1854" is roll-stamped on the left angle flat, and "CAST-STEEL" is stamped on the right angle flat. The serial number "A56" is stamped on the left side of the butt beneath the grip. "56" is stamped on the toggle flat and the inside of both grips. The serial number "A56" indicates this was the 156th No. 1 pistol manufactured by Smith & Wesson. Total production of No.1 pistols by Smith & Wesson was approximately 700 pistols from 1854-55. Early Smith & Wesson No. 1 Type I pistols with finger spur levers are rare. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection
Good. This Smith & Wesson No. 1 pistol is all original and retains 20% of the brown and casehardened finish in protected areas. The brown finish on the barrel has aged to a smooth gray-brown patina. The barrel edges are sharp, and the Smith & Wesson markings are crisp. The delicate blue on the receiver has worn to mottled silver gray. Metal surfaces are smooth with scattered spots of age discoloration. The well-executed factory scroll engraving is crisp and deep. The hammer retains about 40% of the mottled case colors. Traces of the color casehardened finish are present on protected areas of the lever. The bag-shaped rosewood or walnut grips are in good overall condition and retain 40% of the original piano finish with scattered handling marks. This is a good example of a rare, early production Smith & Wesson No. 1 Type I lever action repeating pistol with finger spur.
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