Held = Antique
541 Lynnie Pennie
Lane Midlothian, Texas 76065
Nichols & Childs, Conway, Mass.
patent 24 April 1838
Flayderman's # 7A-073: ...one of the rarest American percussion revolvers, contemporary with Colt
Paterson, total quantity limited about 25 pieces
# 4 on cylinder
the barely visible "AD" in grip
extremely rare Nichols & Childs Belt revolver manufactured in the late
1830's. Serial # 4, caliber .34 percussion, 7˝" barrel. The total production was limited to about 25. Marked "NICHOLS & CHILDS /
CONWAY / MASS." on the left side
of frame. This is one of the earliest American revolvers. Rufus Nichols and
Edward Childs patented their revolver 24, April 1838, the 707th patent to be
issued by the new U.S. Patent Office after their devastating fire in 1836. The
patent covered the mechanical seal between the face of the cylinder and the rear
of the barrel. Note that there is a raised cone shaped lip around each of the
six chambers in the cylinder. There is a corresponding conical dish at the rear
of the barrel. When the lever on the left side of the frame is raised, the
spring around the cylinder pin forces the cylinder away from the barrel, towards
the rear. The cylinder can then be rotated to place a loaded chamber in line
with the barrel. The nipples are integral and the cylinder was either a five or
six round with this revolver having a five round. When the lever is pressed
down, a cam in the frame forces the cylinder forward forming a gas seal on the
breech end of the barrel. The metal parts of the revolver are iron except the
tiny trigger guard, back strap and blade front sight, which are German silver.
The rear sight is adjustable for elevation. Fitted with bag shaped smooth walnut
grips, with a silver spread eagle on the right side and a leaf on the left side.
These revolvers are one of the rarest of the American percussion revolvers and
believed to have been made by special order only.
The metal surfaces have a smooth crisp brownish gray patina and the silver has
aged to a mellow satin patina. The grips are excellent with a crude "AD" lightly
scratched into the upper left side and some minor pressure dents and handling
marks. The marking is crisp and clear. Mechanically functions fine.