Home All SHS 12: E. Whitney Revolver 

SHS 12: E. Whitney Revolver 

E. Whitney 1861 Revolver

In this episode of the Second Hand Showcase, we are featuring a very neat and historically significant black powder revolver.

And while this 36 caliber Navy Model of handgun might not be significant in its own right; the name Eli Whitney certainly is! 

The inventor of the Cotton Gin. A mechanical contraption that was used, in lieu of human labor, to sort seeds from bales of cotton.  

From a technological, historical, economic, and moral perspective; this name actively touches all the bases. 

So…since we are discussing Eli Whitney, why is the revolver labeled as, “E. Whitney”?  The answer is simple, the dealer can’t seem to determine if this handgun was made by the father or a son. So in the interest of accuracy, he HAS to label it as such. 

Perhaps a future owner will come up with more info to narrow down that detail? 

So…what do we actually know? The following: 

Navy Model (I don’t personally know what trait makes it that)

36 caliber.

Black powder.

Single action only.

7 1/2” Barrel.

Manufactured early 1860’s. 

So that means…theoretically…this weapon COULD have been used during the US Civil War. Either by the Union or the Confederacy.

So think about it. A guy named Whitney invented a machine that economically rejuvenated the slave, plantation model. Also made a revolver that could have very well been used by someone fighting against that same system.

The very definition of the southern, “lost cause” is recognizing the same technological advances that helped the plantation system were going to ultimately destroy it. Either through increased farming mechanization, the industrial revolution, or the economic and military power that the northern states were becoming. 


The ironies and / or coincidences boggle the mind just holding this thing in hand! 

Personal technical note: after filming, looking at the pictures and thinking about it, I am not completely confident the “6 o’clock scallop” is solely there to protect the frame from a chain-fire?

It might very well be done that way to give clearance for the user to admin the 6 o’clock cylinder with the ram-rod. 

I.e. room for a person’s finger to insert powder, shot and wax before pressing closed. In that case, the scallop might just be a more convenient way to present the ball and powder without it dropping through? 

So for the black powder collectors out there. School me. The notch is originally for access. But is that scallop in place for easier loading? Or does it ALSO serve to protect the frame by diverting a lead ball out at an angle during a chain fire? 

If you wish to contact this FFL about this pistol, click here:









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