CIVIL WAR Antique C.S. Pettengill CAVALRY Revolver
U.S. Martially Inspected & Issued MILITARY Pistol
Here we present an antique C.S. Pettengill Double Action Army Revolver, made during the American Civil War, circa 1863, by Rogers, Spencer & Co. in Willow Vale, NY. Only about 3,400 were made in total. The design was a double action hammerless percussion mechanism initially developed by C.S. Pettengill in the 1850s. In 1856, he was granted a patent for it. By 1857, Samuel Colt’s patents regarding the firing mechanism were expiring and Pettengill’s initial design was improved by Edward A. Raymond and Charles Robitaille, for which they received a patent in 1858. The final improvements were made and patented in 1862 by Henry S. Rogers, partner in the firm Rogers, Spencer & Co. It was Rogers and his company which produced the Pettengill Revolver.
The double action trigger accomplished three things: 1) it revolved the cylinder, 2) dropped the hammer and 3) cocked the hammer again for the next shot. The concept of the Pettengill revolver was well-received, especially as a cavalry weapon, and an order was made of 5,000 by the U.S. Ordnance Department. However, the pistol was trialed in June 1862 and it failed. The bugs were worked out, but the government cut their contract down to only 2,000 pieces. The contract was fulfilled at the end of 1862.
Per Flayderman, “The 3rd Michigan Cavalry were issued 500 of them. Other mounted outfits issued lesser amounts were the 3rd and 5th Missouri Militia; 1st Arkansas; 3rd Illinois; 3rd Kentucky.” Unfortunately, this was the end of production for the Pettengill. Rogers, Spencer & Co. would go on to purchase the patent for a single action revolver from Austin T. Freeman, quite similar to the Remington Army, and sell 5,000 of them to the government in 1865. It is no coincidence that the front half of the Pettengill and the Rogers, Spencer & Co. look so similar. They are actually identical. Never issued, what some collectors deem the best revolver of the Civil War sat in storage in New York until being purchased by Bannerman & Sons and sold as surplus in 1901.
This is a very large, dragoon-sized pistol with a very smooth double action trigger. It shows government inspection marks on major components in the initials “W.W.”, which are those of William Walter. The grips show a faint cartouche on the left.
The overall condition is very good. The meal surfaces have a gray patina with hints of case colors. The markings are legible. The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. The action is excellent. Here is a rare & handsome example of a US Contract Pettengill!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 7-1/2 inch octagon.
Caliber: .44 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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