POTD: Because Pepper Shaker Sounds Dumb – The Pepperbox
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! So, it is the 1830s and you need a handgun, right? The newest and coolest thing out there is a very expensive 1836 Colt Paterson and you do not have that much to spend. Luckily the Allen & Thurber 1837 Pepperbox revolving muzzle-loading pistol is not only more affordable, but also has plenty of perks over the Colt. The Allen and Thurber Pepperbox was patented in 1837 and was highly popular on the east coast for over a decade after its introduction.
The Pepperbox was comfortable and the size made it pretty concealable in comparison to its other multi-shot handgun competition. It was also double-action instead of just about everything else being single. This was the beginning of a black powder revolving handgun era so that being said, chain firing was a thing. To those of you who do not know: chain firing is the scenario in which burning powder leaps from a fired cylinder into a non-fired cylinder and sets it off and has the potential to not only keep going, but to harm the handgun and even the shooter. The Allen and Thurber Pepperbox was unique in that if a chain fire happened it would just be the equivalent of an inaccurate shotgun… no harm to the shooter… no harm to the gun.
I am glad I brought up accuracy because that is the true downfall of the Pepperbox. The thing is it is not a weapon of precision in comparison to the Colt and any other revolver to follow. The Pepperbox was made all through the mid-1800s, but significantly lost its popularity only a decade after its introduction.
Lot 207: Allen & Thurber Percussion Pepperbox [Photograph found in Arms & Accessories Day Firearms Auction #2043, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/2043/207/allen-thurber-percussion-pepperbox