Smith & Wesson’s Model 1 was the first commercially successful cartridge load revolver to be manufactured in the United States. Earlier cartridge load revolvers tended to use pinfire ammunition, which was more difficult to load and less reliable. The Model 1 was a runaway success for Smith & Wesson, and it catapulted the company onto the world’s stage of preeminent gun makers.
Model 1 production record keeping is a perennial source of frustration for Model 1 collectors. Most of the guns were sold through Smith & Wesson’s sole sales agent, Joseph W. Storrs. Storrs’ sales records have never been located (if they ever existed), making the distribution of most Model 1’s virtually impossible to trace.
Still, the guns themselves offer a wealth of information about this important facet of early American manufacturing, and these pages will present data about surviving Model 1’s.