1876 US Centennial Mystery Gun

Discussion in 'General Firearm Forum' started by SHOOTER13, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    A buddy of mine stopped over Christmas Eve and we had a few beers together...we hadn't seen each other for at least six months as his DoD job has him on the road and as the conversation turned to our favorite subject ( ;) )...he pulls a small pouch out of his pocket and says Merry Christmas...


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    Well...research turned up a little about it, as the only words on it is "Centennial 1876" on top of the barrel and a serial number that can be found on the major parts ( underneath the barrel, trigger, even the wood stocks are numbered ). It is a 7 shot revolver chambered for the .22 short rimfire cartridge.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1876_Centennial_Exposition


    Back in 1876, ( which is when the home I presently live in was built ), Philadelphia hosted the very first International Expo in Fairmount Park, to celebrate the Centennial of the United States by inviting the world to come and showcase all the newest inventions of that time...and even though there is lots of documentation on this expo, I'm still trying to find the name of the manufacturer of this firearm and exactly how many were produced. A lot of major manufacturers made similar looking firearms...Colt, Smith & Wesson, Whitneyville, Iver & Johnson...to name a few...but this one has nothing to indicate it's producer...

    POSTCARD OF ORIGINAL FAIRGROUNDS CIRCA 1876...

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    Example of the original packaging of the gun...

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  2. bhale187

    bhale187 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

  3. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Thanks for the link bhale...

    The serial number is 253...on the trigger, under the barrel, on the cylinder release, even the wood grips...

    so it's a first production run...




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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  4. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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  5. bhale187

    bhale187 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    iver has no screw on front of grip, different knob on cylnder release and no access panel. Derringer and Hood had that type access panel. I've found a few others exactly like yours (with hammer thought), but none of them can confirm manufacturer. I've found several 1876 examples of the derringer and hood, but none in 22, all 38 or 41 caliber.

    Got my interest peaked, I got to find it now :eek:
     
  6. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Thanks man...I could use the help !

    The continuing search has led to these sites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopkins_%26_Allen

    http://nramuseum.org/the-museum/the-galleries/the-new-prosperity/case-48-the-booming-arms-industry/hopkins-allen-revolver.aspx

    http://jtjersey.com/Ranger/ranger.htm


    And then finding that most of the specimens mentioned were chambered in .32 and .38 caliber, not .22 short rimfire.

    Mostly all had octagonal barrels too...

    Then there was Whitneyville Armory...Whitney Arms Company...still not the same look or configuration.

    http://www.simpsonltd.com/product_info.php?cPath=156_186&products_id=19524

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=322847902#PIC
     
  7. bhale187

    bhale187 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Attached Files:

  8. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    That sure does look like it...Thanks Ben !!

    I was looking all night long...never came upon the name F.W. Hood
     
  9. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Hood firearms company...

    Well, with the help of my buddy Ben Hale, it looks like the mystery is solved.

    While some major manufacturers like Colt and Smith & Wesson made similar designs with minor differences in appearance and function...and others like Iver Johnson, Whitney Arms, Merwin Hubert, and Hopkins & Allen went with their own similar designs and clones, a lone gentlemen by the name of Freeman W. Hood was the designer of the Centennial pistol I now own.

    His design ( Patent #160,192 ) was approved on February 23rd, 1875, and the blueprints and patent claim below are proof positive that his Hood Firearms Company design was showcased at the Philadelphia Centennial World Expo of 1876. He went on to make minor changes in this design in later months/years...then he was soon lost in the annuals of history.


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  10. hotshott

    hotshott The "Bass-Tard" Son

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    Hood revolver.

    That piece is very nice. I frequent estate sales in central and southern Indiana 2 or 3 times a year. Upon entering a rather large tent which contained about 40 tables of contents from the home, I came across a good size wooden box, old but clean. Inside were 2 of the pistols identical to the one that you have. They were not in nearly as good condition as yours. However, the company in charge of selling homeowner belongings stated that the wooden box was home made and a family member had both the original boxes.( not displayed due to poor condition). They could not tell me who the manufacturer was.. Thanx for your info and history lesson as I now wish that I had bought them. Asking price was 850.00, A bit much at the time for me to spend. Gun condition of both was 60%. However the historic value was priceless.
     
  11. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Wow...that is a little expensive !!

    Thanks for sharing your story tho...
     
  12. hilandr

    hilandr thunder 380 CC owner

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    Wow, what a great friend to give you that incredible piece of history. Are you going to shoot it?
     
  13. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Lifetime Supporter

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    Yes, I am...once I get the hammer fixed.

    Seems to have a stress crack...small, but noticeable. And probably not from firing it...

    Have a friend looking into what can be done, if anything, to fix it.