J ADAMS Wedge Frame English Revolver
The wedge frame revolvers started production in 1857 and was replaced with a solid frame design in 1859. Though there is a top strap above the cylinder, the top strap is not connected to the frame behind the cylinder. It fits into a recessed groove. Starting in 1859 the frame was forged as one piece. With the scramble for arms for the Civil War, many different types of English revolvers were imported to America. The Kerr came in large numbers, These revolvers also were imported. The Pratt roll which is an inventory of 15 revolvers in the hands of Co H 18 Va Cavalry in July 1864 shows three wedge frame revolvers, in addition to 7 Kerr Revolvers, two Trantor Revolvers and 4 of unknown origin. Of the three wedge frame 2 were marked Bentley and one was marked Webley. Typically these pistols were marked with the maker or retailer's name on the top strap. Some pistols of this type are known with J Bailey New Orleans engraved on the top strap.
There is a contract known that has evidence of including wedge frame revolvers for delivery into the South. On December 16, 1862 Nelson Clements of Galveston, Texas contracted to deliver 5000 revolvers along with other material. They were to be delivered to Hale & Company at Matamoros Mexico. The cargo was consigned to the ships Gladiator, Caroline Goodyear, Love Bird and Nancy Dawson. The Caroline Goodyear, and Love Bird were seized by elements of the French navy after unloading only part of their cargo. The ships were ordered to not unload and depart. They went to Cuba where the cargo was purchased by Col Helm working for the Confederates. Col Gorgas approved Col Helm's request to purchase the cargo. Col Helm noted that among the cargo were London Revolvers, 6 of which had serial numbers in the 2150-2260 serial number range. These are probably wedge frame revolvers. Refer to pages 246-8 of book The English Connection for further information.
This example is marked J ADAMS LONDON on the top strap and PATENT NO 1141 on the left frame. It is a 5 shot 54 bore revolver which is about 44 caliber. It is complete and all original with a great action. There are English proofs on each chamber of the cylinder. The loading lever is the Kerr style which mounts along the side of the barrel. The barrel and front portion of the frame have a significant portion of original bluing remaining. The rear portion of the frame and cylinder are a light grey patina with a few small areas of fine pitting. The frame has the double hand engraved line around the edges. The wood grips are nice with deep checkering.