On June 11, 1863, the Connecticut Arms and Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Hartford, Connecticut. Like so many other companies from this era, they were undoubtedly spurred by the massive surge in sales of cartridge load handguns. With the Civil War raging, there was no shortage of demand for firearms of all sorts.
And, in the true manner of Yankee ingenuity, the founders of the Connecticut Arms Company thought they had a great new novel idea.
What makes the Hammond “Bulldog” pistol unique is its hinged breech blow that swings left. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the hand ejector revolvers that would dominate the marketplace in the early 1900’s, but in this case the gun only held a single shot. Like a modern shotgun, there was an extractor that was meant to “pop” the spent .41 rimfire cartridge casing out of the breech, but we can only speculate how well it actually worked.
The Hammond “Bulldog” is, if nothing else, a remarkable piece of manufacturing prowess, with its many complex contours that undoubtedly required a lot of hand filing and fitting.
What’s even more curious is that the gun was reasonably successful for a few years. Norm Flayderman estimated that there were 8,000 of them made during the latter half of the 1860’s, and that’s as good of a guess as any. We know that this gun was in production in 1864, and the company curiously branched out into sheep sheering equipment in 1866. Was the market already starting to sour on the little single shot pistol? By the late 1860’s Rollin White’s patent had expired, and it’s little surprise that demand for this pistol dried up. In 1870 a newspaper reported that the company’s stock was “worthless,” and in 1872 the company’s assets were sold to the American Sterling Company, who were in the business of making faux-silver table ware and the like.
It was an ignoble end to a company that produced such a historical curiosity. The Hammond Bulldog will never be remembered as one of the seminally important pistols of the 1860’s, but it remains a favorite among collectors. No collection of Rollin White patent evasions and circumventions would be complete without one.