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Old 07-16-2018, 04:59 PM
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Number 100504 fully plated, 3 patent dates on cylinder, mother of pearl stocks, standard roll mark on bbl. rib, 7 V on cylinder, frame and barrel.

I think 1866 or 1867. Hope to letter it soon.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:25 PM
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1866. N&J.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:12 PM
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1866 is correct, around about May, and chances are it went to L.W.Pond, S&W's distributor at the time, where it probably got it's pearl stocks. Ed. ( Correction: Mike caught my misstatement _ I meant to say J.W.Storrs. instead of Pond. )

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Old 07-17-2018, 04:58 PM
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Ed, for those of us new to antiques or just interested in S&W history, could you give us a breakdown of the S&W distributors and their time frames in history.

I've heard of Storrs and M.W. Robinson but had not heard of Pond.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:35 PM
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I appreciate all the information on these iconic tip-ups. This is my first one, and I'm all ears. (Or eyes in this case)

Thanks,

WR
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:55 PM
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It might be interesting to get the letter and see if it says anything about full plate?? This model's plating was silver and normally blued barrel and silver plated brass frame. The trigger, ejector rod, and hammer were case colored, while yours look plated. Some guns were ordered with silver plated barrel, but as I can find in research examples were manufactured with everything plated. There are letters, shop notes, and opinions from the experts supporting this theory. I have a Model 1 1/2 full plate nickel gun that I bought it from Jim Supica, who believed the gun left the factory in the condition it is in now. This is one of those I have been meaning to letter, but some members will say that these old tip-ups often lack details of how they were configured at the factory. Check to make sure the plating is silver, since the images look bright and shiny?? Refinishing is always possible and nickel became the standard plate with the Model 1, 3rd.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:19 PM
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With great respect for Ed's encyclopedic knowledge of antique guns, I think he meant J. W. Storrs, and not L. W. Pond. Lucius Pond was another gunmaker that violated Rollin White's patent, and was thus unlawfully selling guns that competed with Smith & Wesson. Joseph W. Storrs was S&W's sole sale agent at this time, and was succeeded by his second cousin Marcus Robinson in the early 1870's.

There were "full plate" Model 1's sold; I have one (in the 110xxx serial number range) that was confirmed by a factory letter. And I concur that this gun was probably shipped in late 1866 or early 1867. Sometimes the factory records will show the gun's factory configuration and sometimes it won't; that's just a chance one takes with a gun this old.

The "7V" on the cylinder was an assembly number used to reunite the matched parts as they went through the various manufacturing operations. It has no other significance.

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Old 07-18-2018, 11:59 AM
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While I haven't totally disassembled this little guy, I do notice a few things that some how seem out of place.
The main spring looks plated, also, the hammer.
There is a flake of (nickel?) off the bottom of the frame, forward of the trigger, leaving a black or dark colored spot about 1/8" x 5/16" . I gently rubbed it with a soft cotton cloth with a dab of Flitz. It came out very bright. We all know Silver tarnishes to a dark color..... See where I'm going with this?

Gotta get a letter...

WR
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler Rich View Post
While I haven't totally disassembled this little guy, I do notice a few things that some how seem out of place.
The main spring looks plated, also, the hammer.
There is a flake of (nickel?) off the bottom of the frame, forward of the trigger, leaving a black or dark colored spot about 1/8" x 5/16" . I gently rubbed it with a soft cotton cloth with a dab of Flitz. It came out very bright. We all know Silver tarnishes to a dark color..... See where I'm going with this?

Gotta get a letter...

WR
The mainspring should definitely not be plated. Nor should the trigger or the hammer. If those are all plated, then I'm guessing that someone did a poor man's plating job on this gun.

Disassembly is really the only way to tell. Take care when you're removing the top hinge screw and the tiny screws for the top strap / cylinder stop ... it's very easy to strip the screw heads. I generally don't take my Model 1's apart unless I really need to.

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Old 07-18-2018, 11:18 PM
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I agree that the mainspring should not be plated which could indicate a re-plate at some time in its history. However, I'll disagree on part of the above statement based upon my experience and two full-plate Nickel examples in my possession. Both examples are full-plate nickel and have the hammers, triggers, barrel catches and extractor rods full nickel plated. I can't comment on full-plate Silver as presented as a possibly above but I'd guess the revolver is nickel.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:21 AM
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Wow you guys know a lot of stuff about a lot and I mean a lot of S&Ws ,just had to put in a thanks guys great information?Thanks to Wrangler Rich for showing your revolver .

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Old 07-19-2018, 07:37 AM
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As I have stated many times on this forum before about S&W's, "sometimes we just don't know what we don't know".

S&W was a company in the gun business wishing to sell guns. They would do just about anything that was possible for a customer/sale as long as the customer was willing to pay any additional fees required.

You can have 50 guns in serial number order all in the same configuration except one that had some special treatment applied. Unfortunately the hand written records (that are now 150 years old) don't always give the whole story or are impossible to read.

There are some S&W mysteries that will never be solved.
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:27 AM
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The mainspring should definitely not be plated. Nor should the trigger or the hammer . . .
Reading all the evidence posted on this thread about the existence of full plate guns has certainly convinced me that these full plate guns did exist and in some numbers.

I pulled the stocks off a couple of my Model 1s and found the mainsprings to be highly polished and in-the-white appearance. One was bright and one had some surface discoloration spotted over the spring. I assume that any corrosion would quickly turn them to patina on the many examples out there?? Maybe the spring on the OP's gun is still bright and polished, but we would need detailed images to determine that?
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:59 AM
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I agree that the mainspring should not be plated which could indicate a re-plate at some time in its history. However, I'll disagree on part of the above statement based upon my experience and two full-plate Nickel examples in my possession. Both examples are full-plate nickel and have the hammers, triggers, barrel catches and extractor rods full nickel plated. I can't comment on full-plate Silver as presented as a possibly above but I'd guess the revolver is nickel.
Mike, I have never heard of a Smith & Wesson coming from the factory with a plated trigger and/or hammer. I'll check my full-plate Model 1 tonight, but I'm fairly certain that mine isn't configured that way.

That said, none of us were around when these guns were made, so who knows what did or didn't come out of the factory. As others have noted, the story isn't always as clear as we'd like for it to be. :-)

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Old 07-19-2018, 11:26 AM
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My (often suspect) memory also tells me that nickel plating was not done at the factory but was farmed out to Adams Plating during this time and that may be why the "normal" case color parts are not found.
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:12 PM
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Thanks to all of you gentlemen for your information. You fellas sure know a lot about S&W revolvers.

I think this is either the "Holy Grail" model one with a silver frame, or one that was re-plated with nickel over a silver plated frame from the factory. That dark spot ahead of the trigger polishing bright silver, is what has me courious. I have read that there may have been up to 3 model 1's that had silver frames. I wonder if this is one......
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:57 PM
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Maybe a few pictures.
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:07 PM
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Few more, mahybe.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:33 PM
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As a guess, after seeing a few more photos, I'm leaning towards a full silver plate revolver. The main spring does not look plated; polished to remove the scale from the hardening/tempering process only. It appears that it has been polished and that makes me wonder if it is a survivor in excellent condition or is a nice example that has been re-silvered. There is enough wear to make me suspect that it is a nice original, well cared for 1st, 2nd.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:46 PM
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Let me reiterate, when I first saw it it was as shiny as it is now, with the exception of an area just forward of the trigger. ( it can be seen in the 4th picture of post 18) Which was dark or black like tarnished silver. When I cleaned it up with Flitz, that dark area shined up as silver does. I think it is a full Nickel plate. Now, was the frame silver plated, or is it silver?
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
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As a guess, after seeing a few more photos, I'm leaning towards a full silver plate revolver. The main spring does not look plated; polished to remove the scale from the hardening/tempering process only. It appears that it has been polished and that makes me wonder if it is a survivor in excellent condition or is a nice example that has been re-silvered. There is enough wear to make me suspect that it is a nice original, well cared for 1st, 2nd.
Mike, do you know of any full silver plated Model 1's? I've heard the legend of the solid silver Model 1's, but I've never heard of a gun with full silver plating from the factory.

If such a thing exists, then I've just found another variety of Model 1 to add to the wish list. Yippee.

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Old 07-19-2018, 08:44 PM
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Since WR believes this is a full nickel plate: If the revolver is full nickel plate, then everything was plated except the stocks. The frame was nickel plated; not silvered. As for full silver plated 1st, 2nd's, I do not recall seeing one. I have seen a 1st, 1st, 5th that had enough traces of silver to make me think it was full silver plate but not the 1st, 2nd. I'm sure that S&W would plate anything for a fee but that would be an exception. The legend of the full silver frame may be true but, if so, I would venture that those (two?) went to a very rich Maharaja in India.
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:12 PM
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Mike, I have never heard of a Smith & Wesson coming from the factory with a plated trigger and/or hammer. I'll check my full-plate Model 1 tonight, but I'm fairly certain that mine isn't configured that way.

That said, none of us were around when these guns were made, so who knows what did or didn't come out of the factory. As others have noted, the story isn't always as clear as we'd like for it to be. :-)

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I am of the same belief. Let's consider this a work in progress.

All I can offer you, of those with original finish, are 2 pintos finished Model 1, 2nds, if that will help. Frame is nickel or silver with blue barrel. One is 22418 and the other 109015, both in higher condition.

Then I believe I have a full nickel or silver Model 1, 3rd somewhere, and a Model 1, 1st Issue 5th type #4755 with a silver frame / blue barrel if any of these would help to compare nickel frames to case hardened parts.

I don't recall ever seeing (or at least noting) a Model 1, 2nd with a nickel or silver hammer and trigger, not stating beyond reasonable doubt that they don't exist.

This reminds me of this same discussion on early 1870-72 .44 Americans regarding full nickel or full silver finish, wherein, it was thought that early on, S&W did not do their own nickel which leaves honest conjecture for certain methodology on the early nickel depending on who did the plating for S&W or if the dealer did the plating job.

For example, MW Robinson was very capable of performing factory quality finish work.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:35 PM
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Here is a photo with two nickel full-plate, 1st Model, 2nd Issue revolvers on the right. The top, left is engraved and looks to be a silver full-plate probably done at the time of the engraving. Bottom left is a "standard" configuration example. The nickel full-plate revolvers do not have any case colored parts.
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Old 07-20-2018, 03:00 PM
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Here is a photo with two nickel full-plate, 1st Model, 2nd Issue revolvers on the right. The top, left is engraved and looks to be a silver full-plate probably done at the time of the engraving. Bottom left is a "standard" configuration example. The nickel full-plate revolvers do not have any case colored parts.
Thank you for posting that photo.
Does your silver plated tarnish, and get dark?

I remember having to polish our silverware before any large family gathering.
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:21 PM
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I am certain that gun is silver plate with the black undertones showing. Nickel under that light would have a yellow cast. The gun never saw a buffer as there is absolutely not one indication of a depression or rounded corner. Looking closely at a few of the photos there are additional indications that the gun could well be original. The stampings are deep and clean. The forcing cone of the gun is corroded commensurate with the age and wear of the gun. The assembly stamps are very sharp and the factory finishing of the metal under the stocks appears to have never been touched. The pins are good and the pin holes remain flat and clean.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:55 PM
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WR asked: "Does your silver plated tarnish, and get dark?". Yes and I do not try to polish anything. Here is another photo of the as-is silver. The lighting makes the top one look more shiny than it is. Both have graying tarnish and the bottom unit is almost black in the sunlight. I believe it is best described as: 'Arrested decay'.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:27 PM
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WR asked: "Does your silver plated tarnish, and get dark?". Yes and I do not try to polish anything. Here is another photo of the as-is silver. The lighting makes the top one look more shiny than it is. Both have graying tarnish and the bottom unit is almost black in the sunlight. I believe it is best described as: 'Arrested decay'.
Ok, thanks. That is what makes me think this one is Nickel Plated, because when I first saw this, it was shiny just like now, except for that small spot ahead of the trigger (pic 4 post 18) which was tarnished like silver does. I used som Flitz on the whole thing to get rid of finger prints, etc., when I got to that small spot ahead of the trigger, the dark disappeared and was shiny like silver would be.

Could this indicate that the gun was silver plated prior to having been nickel plated? I see absolutely no brass on the frame without taking it all apart.
The barrel is steel, because a magnet attracts it.

If there is a certain picture that would help clarify anything, let me know, and it will try to get it uploaded.

WR
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:23 PM
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"Could this indicate that the gun was silver plated prior to having been nickel plated?" As has been found in the past; anything is possible with S&W.

However, I would doubt that S&W would go to the expense of applying silver to the frame and then nickel over a more expensive finish. I don't have my Chem. 101 book in front of me, but I don't remember silver as being a good underlayment for nickel plating. And since S&W only had the frames plated normally, I'd be very surprised if nickel over silver was ever used.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:32 PM
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I have a Model 1, 3rd that was COMPLETELY black, so thoroughly that the seller thought it was blue.

I had previously left tarnished silver as I found them but one day ventured to clean very gently with Flitz and a soft jewelers cloth.

The tarnish rolled right off to show the gorgeous silver. The tiny crevices were a pain in the tail. Just took time and patience.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler Rich View Post
. . . That is what makes me think this one is Nickel Plated, because when I first saw this, it was shiny just like now, except for that small spot ahead of the trigger (pic 4 post 18) which was tarnished like silver does . . .
Those images do not look like nickel. The seller could have easily cleaned the gun prior to sale. Silver is very easy to clean without any elbow grease, just dip it in cleaner or apply the cleaner directly to the metal. Once waxed, it will stay shiny for years. Take your revolver into the sunlight and look closely at the color. If there is a hint of yellow, it is nickel. If it looks exactly like silver, that is what you have. Also, while you are looking at it, take some pics without flash and post them. I am hoping your letter might tell you something about the original finish, but don't be surprised if it does not. Lots of records of these early S&Ws were destroyed.

I can only compare my known factor original examples to your images and see the preparation finish of the metal is exactly the way the factory did them. The only possibility of a refinish would have been very early in life before any wear occurred and that is unlikely in my mind.
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