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Allen & Wheelock

Name Street Town State From To
Allen & Wheelock   Worcester Massachusetts 1857 1864


Patent Date Remarks
     


Contract for
U.S. ordnance, 1861 536 .44 caliber, 6 shot "Army" revolvers and
830 .36 caliber 6 shot "Navy" revolvers


Product
Although the firm of Allen & Wheelock was only in business for eight years - from 1857 to 1864 - it produced a surprisingly large variety of firearms. Their products included single shot, double barrel, 4, 5, and 6 shot pepperbox pistols; single barrel, double barrel and revolving cylinder rifles, both muzzle loading and breech loading; and over 20 revolver models with more than a hundred variations. Included in this proliferation were the five percussion revolver models with which we are concerned. This entire arms production was based upon the various patents of Ethan Allen.

Allen held 22 firearms patents, of which five were applicable to percussion revolvers. The first, No. 3,998 of April 16, 1845, was .not granted for a percussion revolver but for a pepperbox. Its double action mechanism, in which the hammer was raised and dropped and the barrels revolved by a single pull of the trigger, was an improvement on his 1837 patent, which applied only to single shot pistols. The revolving mechanism was very simple a screw in the side of the trigger pivoted an arm, which acted on the ratchet on the rear of the cylinder. Many percussion revolver makers used variations of this.

Various other revolver patents by Allen covered changes to the mechanism and the addition of the combination trigger guard/loading lever (No. 16,367 of January 13, 1857 and No. 18,836 of December 15, 1857). He also added a square projection on the front of the cylinder to deflect firing gases away from the cylinder pin to prevent fouling (No. 21,400 of September 7, 1858).

Ethan Allen had been making single shot pistols and pepperboxes for almost twenty years before the partnership with Thomas Prentice Wheelock was formed. With the beginning of the new company, Allen & Wheelock, a diversified line of band guns was introduced. The fortuitous combination of events--diversification and the expiration of Colt's patent--allowed the manufacture of revolvers. The first types were double action only, with flat bar hammers and were intended for close range as no sights were provided.

Two sizes of the Double Action Bar Hammer Pocket Model were made, a large frame and a small frame. First to be made were the large frame, which were 5 shot .34 caliber with octagonal barrels from 3 to 6 inches long. The first 400 or so came with a cylinder pin which was threaded and slotted for a screwdriver at the front end and which was screwed into the frame under the barrel. This frame was about 11/16 inch long in front of the cylinder. At around serial number 450, the cylinder pin was changed to a regular sliding pin held by a screw entering through the Ali bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard. After about 50 were made, the Ali frame in front of the cylinder was shortened about 1,4 inch. The serial numbering started again at 1. Almost 1,000 of this type were made. Those with the long frame were marked ALLEN & WHEELOCK on top of the frame and PATENTED APRIL 16, 1845 on the left side of the hammer. The short frame varieties retained the hammer marking, but ALLEN & WHEELOCK WORCESTER, MASS. / ALLEN'S PATENT APRIL 16, 1845 was placed on the left side of the barrel instead of the frame marking. The cylinder decoration of both varieties was a deeply engraved forest scene with deer and dogs. Cylinder engraving on the Allen & Wheelock revolvers was extremely deep and has held up over the years better than on any other American percussion revolver.

The small frame size of the Double Action Bar Hammer Pocket Model was also 5 shot, but it was .31 caliber and with octagonal barrels ranging in length from 2 to 3 'h inches. They had the second type of cylinder pin and catch arrangement and the same markings on the side of the barrel as the short frame mentioned above. The hammers were unmarked. The cylinder scene was changed to include two deer and three ducks around a lake. About 1,000 of the small frame bar hammer revolvers were made.

Next in production for Allen & Wheelock was the Side Hammer Model with a combination trigger guard/loading lever. Four distinct frame sizes, corresponding to caliber, were made, and there were also two variations for each frame size, with the variations being in the sideplates, loading lever catch and in the marking. The first variation had a lateral friction catch for the trigger guard and the sideplate on the left extending down the side of the spur trigger housing. They were marked ALLEN & WHEELOCK on top of the barrel and ALLEN'S PATENT JAN. 13, 1857 on the left quarter-flat of the barrel. The second variation had a spring loaded catch for the loading lever mounted on the rear of the spur trigger housing. These were marked ALLEN & WHEELOCK WORCESTER, MASS.I ALLEN'S PATENTS JAN. 13, 1857, SEPT. 7, 1858. on the left side of the barrel. It has been estimated that less than 100 of each of the .28, .34 and .36 calibers and 250 of the .31 calibers of the early type were made. Approximately 1,000 each of the .28 and .31 calibers and 750 each of the .34 and .36 calibers of the later type were made. There were numerous small variations on all of the se, but features common to all were: octagonal barrels ranging from 2 to 8 Y2 inches in length; cylinder pins screwing into the frame from the rear; and deeply engraved cylinder scene with a forest setting and varying numbers of deer. All of the .36 caliber were six shot and all smaller Side Hammer Models were five shot. The cylinder attachment and rotating method was different from most percussion revolvers. The recoil plate behind the cylinder was permaČnently attached to the frame and was rotated when the hammer was cocked. A radial slot halfway across the back of the cylinder fit over a raised bar on the rotating plate and locked the two together for rotating the cylinder.

The third model was the Allen & Wheelock Center Hammer revolver. It was a definite improvement over its side hammer predecessor. In addition to a better hammer location, the cylinder pin was moved to the front of the frame. Two sizes of the Center Hammer Model were made, a .44 caliber army and a .36 caliber Davy. Both were six shots and the barrel lengths varied from 4 to 7 1/2 inches on the Davy size with 6 inch barrel lengths most common. All of the .44 army size have 7 1/2 inch barrels and this model is quite standard. The markings were the same as the later Side Hammer Model. About 700 of the army size and slightly more than 500 of the navy size were made. The U.S. Ordnance Dept. purchased 536 of the .44 caliber Center Hammer Model during the Civil War. The first 198 were purchased from William Read & Sons of Boston on December 31, 1861, and the remainder came directly from the company.

Known as the Providence Police Model, the fourth percussion revolver model made by Allen & Wheelock is the only one that does not carry the maker's name. Because of this lack of marking, some authorities have held that the firm did not make this revolver. However, several features patented by Ethan Allen, including the cylinder pin and the gas deflector around the pin (Patent No. 21,400) lead us to feel this model is an Allen & Wheelock product. We cannot offer any proof for the story that the model received its name from a number of these revolvers, which were used by the Providence (Rhode Island?) Police.

This spur trigger revolver is six shot, single action and .36 caliber. Barrel lengths were customarily 3 or 4 inches, although a few had barrels as long as 6 inches. One divergent feature was the placing of the cylinder stop notches at the front of the cylinder instead of at the rear. Serial numbers indicate over 700 were made. It is a compact and well-made pocket or belt revolver, but was phased out when Allen & Wheelock went to making cartridge revolvers.

A final, experimental type of revolving rifle with the same frame size as the .44 caliber Center Hammer Model revolver was made in very limited numbers and probably less than 20 were built. Allen & Wheelock placed a total of about 8,000 guns in all in the percussion revolver market during the eight years the firm was in existence.

Handguns Pepperbox



Pepperbox

.25 caliber percussion, 5 shot pepperbox, 4" barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 4 shot pepperbox, 2 7/8" fluted barrel (about 1857)

2 7/8" fluted barrels

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot pepperbox, 2,5" fluted barrel (about 1845)

.31 caliber percussion, 6 shot pepperbox, 3,1/4" fluted barrel (about 1845)

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot pepperbox, 6" barrel (about 1845)

5" left side
5" right side
5" front side

Side hammer, Pocket model

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 2 1/4" octagonal barrel

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 2 7/8" octagonal barrel

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 3" octagonal barrel

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 4" octagonal barrel

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" octagonal barrel

6" standard model, left side
6", right side

Side hammer, Belt model

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 4" octagonal barrel

4" standard model, left side
4", right side

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 5" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 5 3/4" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 5 13/16" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 7 7/16" octagonal barrel

.34 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 4" octagonal barrel

.34 caliber percussion, 5 shot revolver, side hammer, 4 5/8" octagonal barrel

Some very close pictures of a fine engraved specimen of the standard Pocket or Belt model

standard model, left side
standard model, left side
standard model, barrel
standard model, side plate

Side hammer, Navy model

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 7 7/8" octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 8" octagonal barrel

8" standard model, left side
8", right side

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 8 5/16" octagonal barrel

The trigger guards of the earlier models differs to the later standard model. These guns were made from 1858 to 1861. The Pocket and Belt Models production was so about 1000 each and of the Navy so about 750. From the earlier models there were only so about 100 each made. No detailed production figures available as no records are found.

Center hammer

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 5" octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 6" octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 7 1/2" octagonal barrel

.44 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 7 1/2" octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolver, spur trigger, 5" octagonal barrel

.28 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 3 1/2" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 2 3/8" octagonal barrel

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 2 1/2" octagonal barrel

no 371 small frame, left side
no 371, right side

2.1/2", left side
same, right side

.31 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 3 1/8" octagonal barrel

.34 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 2 7/8" octagonal barrel

.34 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver (Large Frame Pocket Revolver), bar hammer, 3" octagonal barrel, serial number 16 and with ALLEN & WHEELOCK address at the top of the barrel (most have it at the left side of the barrel) and PATENTED April 16, 1845 on hammer

number 16, left side
number 16, right side
number 16, without grips
number 16, again without grips
number 16, right side cylinder removed
number 16, serial number on cylinder plug
number 16, cylinder only

.34 caliber percussion, 5 shot double action pocket revolver, bar hammer, 3 5/8" octagonal barrel
marked on barrel (either left or top):
ALLEN & WHEELOCK or ALLEN & WHEELOCK WORCESTER, MASS Allen's Patent April 16, 1845
marked on hammer:
PATENTED April 16, 1845 (also found without hammer address)

Handguns Percussion single and double shot

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, double action, bar hammer, 3" half octagonal barrel

3" bar hammer pistol, left side
3" bar hammer pistol, right side

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, bar hammer, 4" half octagonal barrel

4" bar hammer pistol, right side with tool to remove barrel


.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, center hammer, 4" half octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, center hammer, 5" half octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, center hammer, 8" half octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, center hammer, 9 3/4" half octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, single shot pistol, center hammer, 10" half octagonal barrel

.36 caliber percussion, double shot pistol, double action, 3" round barrel, made from 1840 to 1860

Handguns Cartridge

Lipfire guns

.25 l.f. (lip fire) caliber, 7 shot revolver, side hammer, solid frame

.32 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 4" barrel, solid frame, made from 1859 to 1863

.32 lf, left side
.32 lf, right side

.32 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 5" barrel, solid frame

.32 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" octagonal barrel, solid frame

Left side
Right side

.32 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 7 1/2 " half octagonal half round barrel, manufactured in 1868, production was about 250 until stopped by Smith and Wesson due to patent infringement. 34 Revolvers were bought by the Montreal Militia district.

Canadian left side
Canadian right side

.36 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, solid frame

.36 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 5" octagonal barrel, solid frame

36 lf, left side
36 lf, right side

.38 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 5" barrel, solid frame

.38 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" barrel, solid frame

.38 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 8" barrel, solid frame

.44 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, center hammer, 7 1/2" part round part octagonal barrel, solid frame, production was small probably under 300 revolvers were manufactured

.44 lip fire, left side
.44 lip fire, right side

r.f. guns

.22 short r.f. caliber, 7 shot revolver, side hammer, 2 14/16" barrel, solid frame

Left side
Right side

.31 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 3 7/8" barrel, solid frame

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 2 3/8" barrel, solid frame

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 2 3/4" barrel, solid frame

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 3" barrel, solid frame

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 3 7/8" barrel, solid frame

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 4" barrel, solid frame

Allen & Wheelock "2nd Model Side-Hammer", 4" octagonal barrel

.32 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 5" barrel, solid frame

.38 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 5" barrel, solid frame

.38 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 6" barrel, solid frame

.44 short r.f. caliber, 6 shot revolver, side hammer, 7 1/2" barrel, solid frame

Single shot pistols

.22 short r.f. caliber, single shot Derringer, spur trigger

.22 r.f. cal. left side
.22 r.f. cal. right side

.22 short r.f. caliber, single shot large frame pistol, spur trigger

.32 short r.f. caliber, single shot Derringer, 4" barrel, spur trigger

.32 short r.f. caliber, single shot Derringer, 4 1/2" round barrel, spur trigger

.32 r.f. 4 1/2" barrel, left side
.32 r.f. 4 1/2" barrel, right side

.32 short r.f. caliber, single shot Derringer, 5" barrel, spur trigger

Left side
Right side

.32 short r.f. caliber, single shot large frame pistol, spur trigger

.41 short r.f. caliber, single shot Derringer, spur trigger

Longarms Percussion

.36 caliber percussion, Allen Patent carbine, drop breech loader

.36 caliber percussion, Allen Patent sporting rifle, drop breech loader

.38 caliber percussion, Plains Rifle, side hammer

.42 caliber percussion, single shot breech loading, side hammer rifle

.44 caliber percussion, single shot rifle, octagonal barrel

.44 caliber percussion, 6 shot revolving carbine

Longarms Cartridge

.22 r.f. caliber, single shot, falling block sporting rifle

.38 r.f. caliber, single shot, falling block sporting rifle

.22 r.f. caliber, single shot drop breech rifle, single shot, 23" to 28" half round half octagonal barrel, breech opened by lowereing the trigger guard, marked
ALLEN & WHEELOCK / ALLEN'S PAT. SEPT. 18. 1860 or
E.ALLEN & CO./WORCESTER MASS/ALLEN'S PATENT. SEPT. 18. 1860, made from 1860 to 1871, production is estimated at 1500 to 2000

.32 r.f. caliber, single shot drop breech rifle, single shot, 23" to 28" half round half octagonal barrel, breech opened by lowereing the trigger guard, marked
ALLEN & WHEELOCK / ALLEN'S PAT. SEPT. 18. 1860 or
E.ALLEN & CO./WORCESTER MASS/ALLEN'S PATENT. SEPT. 18. 1860, made from 1860 to 1871, production is estimated at 1500 to 2000

.41 r.f. caliber, single shot drop breech rifle, single shot, 23" to 28" half round half octagonal barrel, breech opened by lowereing the trigger guard, marked
ALLEN & WHEELOCK / ALLEN'S PAT. SEPT. 18. 1860 or
E.ALLEN & CO./WORCESTER MASS/ALLEN'S PATENT. SEPT. 18. 1860, made from 1860 to 1871, production is estimated at 1500 to 2000

.41 drop dreech, right side

.44 r.f. caliber, single shot drop breech rifle, single shot, 23" to 28" half round half octagonal barrel, breech opened by lowereing the trigger guard, marked
ALLEN & WHEELOCK / ALLEN'S PAT. SEPT. 18. 1860 or
E.ALLEN & CO./WORCESTER MASS/ALLEN'S PATENT. SEPT. 18. 1860, made from 1860 to 1871, production is estimated at 1500 to 2000

.44 l.f. caliber, 6 shot revolving rifle

.62 Allen r.f. caliber, single shot, falling block sporting rifle

.64 Allen r.f. caliber, single shot, falling block sporting rifle

Longarms Shotgun (Percussion and Cartridge)

12 gauge caliber percussion, double barrel shotgun

12 gauge caliber, double barrel shotgun, double triggers