Gunsmiths Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson are most famous for their revolvers, but the pair's first partnership together manufactured not revolvers but lever action repeating pistols they patented on February 14, 1854. Only around 1,700 pistols were manufactured c. 1854-1855 before the company changed to become the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. Of those, only 500 were these larger No. 2 pistols. These pistols are the early ancestors of the famous Winchester lever actions and marked an important step in the evolution of repeating arms. This very early example is serial number 8. It has a part-round, part-octagon barrel with a flat muzzle and flat T-bar spring, ten-shot magazine, round follower with knurling, a "pinched" brass blade front sight, uncommon "CAST-STEEL/PATENT/NORWICH, CT./1854" marking on top of the breech section, and band of engraving at the breech end. The frame has elaborate scroll engraving with bird head accents on the right side plate, double lined borders, an adjustable steel notch rear sight secured by a screw behind the ejection port, the distinctive early hump behind the hammer, single spring screw on the bottom of the frame, and early lever with spur at the rear. The matching serial number "8" is marked inside the grips, on the butt under the left grip, and inside the side plates.
Very good plus. This pistol displays traces of original finish on the barrel and magazine and otherwise has an attractive aged gray and brown patina as well as some patches of mild pitting. The engraving remains crisp, and the markings are legible. The grips are also fine and have some attractive natural grain, a small chip on the upper right, slight chips at the heel, and minor scratches and edge wear. The elevator needs some work, but the hammer and trigger function fine. This is a very attractive early Smith & Wesson No. 2 Type 1 Lever Action Pistol. These early pistols paved the way for the famous lever action rifles of the American West!
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