POTD: Rare Pre-Civil War Savage & North “Figure 8” Percussion Revolver
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have what is commonly referred to as the Savage Figure 8. It is often given that moniker due to its operating lever action/toggle system relying on a loop for a finger that is closed off by a trigger guard which in turn makes the shape of a figure 8. The Savage & North Figure 8 Percussion Revolver was an early pre-Civil War black powder percussion cap revolver. It uses a lever action toggle linked mechanism that is actuated by the middle finger of the operator. Each firm levering of the system cocks the hammer and rotates the cylinder. It was a six-shot 36 caliber navy revolver.
“This is an example of a rare early Savage & North, Second Variation of the First Model, “Figure 8” percussion revolver that was one of 250 manufactured like it between 1856-59. This early Savage & North revolver has a brass frame, chamfered gas-seal chamber mouths, and early type ramming lever that identify it as a Second Variation First Model Figure 8 revolver. The revolver has the distinctive Figure 8 shaped trigger guard and cocking lever. Using the operators middle finger, the cocking lever is pulled between each shot to advance the six-shot cylinder, automatically cocking the hammer. A truly historic engineering marvel for the time, with surviving examples few and far between. It is fitted with a brass cone front sight, a dovetail mounted rear sight is located on the top strap. The top barrel flat is marked “E SAVAGE. MIDDLETOWN.CONN. CAST-STEEL” faintly. The top strap is marked “H.S.NORTH PATENTED.JUNE171856”. Serial number “95” is on the bottom of the barrel, loading lever, inside the replacement sideplate (renumbered to match), left of the hammer, trigger guard screw, and back of the cylinder.”
Lot 1193: Savage & North “Figure 8” First Model Second Variation Revolver. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/84/1193.