POTD: Colt Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Self-Cocking Device
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Throughout history, there are multiple examples of Self-Cocking modifications of manual firearms like a bolt-action turned semi-auto or single-action revolver in this Colt’s case. The coolest part of this specific example is that this is fricken’ black powder, people! Absolutely astonishing and intriguing. I will let Rock Island Auction Company take it away – check them out!
“Offered here is a real treasure in American arms development: an automatic percussion revolver designed by Ralph Mershon and Jehu Hollingsworth and based on a Colt Model 1860 Army. Their design was assigned U.S. patent number 39,825 which was dated September 8, 1863 and referenced as an “improvement in self-cocking revolving fire arms.” Mershon and Hollingsworth had invented an automatic revolver that predated the well-known and first commercial automatic revolver the British Webley-Fosbery by a good three decades. Designed in the middle of the Civil War, an era that saw tremendous advances in weaponology, the Mershon & Hollingsworth self-cocking device was a precursor to semi-automatic handguns…
The self-cocking mechanism operated by a wind up clock type spring that engaged a notched ratchet tied internally to the hammer via a “hammer dog”. Once engaged the “hammer dog” acted like a sear. The spring, located on the right side of the frame, was easily wound by a folding handle mounted on the opposite side. A locking latch behind the hammer ensured that the hammer would not cock while the user wound the spring. “Automatic firing” worked when the trigger was pulled, allowing for the hammer to fall and strike a percussion cap. Releasing the trigger sent the hammer back to full cock while at the same time the cylinder unlocked, rotated and locked again. “
Lot 3143: Colt Revolver with Mershon & Hollingsworth Self-Cocking Device [Photograph found in Auction Catalog #82, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/82/3143/colt-revolver-with-mershon-hollingsworth-selfcocking-device