Michael Helms

Eagle Arms Co. Front Loading Revolver

Like Rollin White and Lucius Pond and Christian Sharps and just about every other gunmaker in the 1860’s, Merwin & Bray of New York were looking for a way to effectively complete with Smith & Wesson, whose exclusive license to Rollin White’s patent gave them a monopoly on the cartridge-load revolver that everyone was vying for. The front loading revolver was another example of a gun designed to artfully dodge Rollin White’s patent in a manner that wouldn’t result in a costly lawsuit. In this case, the gun actually did work—but the front-loading cartridges proved to be too much of a hassle to make this gun any sort of real threat to Smith & Wesson.

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