Colt had the cylinders of his percussion revolvers engraved with famous scenes created by American engraver and inventor Waterman Lily Ormsby (*September 9, 1809 - † November 1, 1883). Ormsby had invented a pantographic engraving machine called grammagraph to produce "roll-die" engraving on metal. This machine automated an existing engraving technique that varied spaces between parallel contour lines to give the impression of depth to a print1).
You will be amazed how well Uberti's miniature gun artists replicated this roll-engraving of these cylinder scenes.
Aldo Uberti's line of percussion revolver miniatures covered a wide range of 19th century makers. The Colt miniatures of the Hunzinger Collection include the 1836 Texas Paterson, 1847 Whitneyville Walkers, 1848 Whitneyville Harford Dragoons but we are looking to add the improved 1st, 2nd and 3rd Models.
1. Wikipedia: WATERMAN ORMBSBY, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterman_Ormsby
2. Bilby, J.: THE CAP AND BALL REVOLVER, 2005, www.civilwarhome.com/capballrevolver.html
3. Wilson, R.L.: THE BOOK OF COLT FIREARMS – THIRD EDITION, 2008
March 3, 2020/WDN
Steel Engraving of Samuel Colt with a Colt 1851 Navy Revolver. Based on a lost daguerreotype by Philipp Graff (1814-1851) taken between 1847 and 1851.
Ormsby's roll-engraving scenes as used on 19th century Colt percussion revolvers, their Uberti replicas and miniatures (from top): Rangers & Indians fighting scene on Walkers and Dragons, 1843 Naval Engagement scene on 1851/1861 Navies and 1860 Armies; Stagecoach Holdup scene of the Pocket Models (not available in the miniature assortment)
Despite his later triumphs, Samuel Colt's (*July 19, 1814 – † Jan. 10, 1862) early efforts in the gun business as an inventor and entrepreneur were not successful. His Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey, established along with other investors in 1836 to manufacture and market his repeating rifles and revolvers failed in 1840. Colt was out of business. Forever, he may have thought.
But meanwhile in Texas his revolving pistols were sowing the seeds of a legend named Colt2).
Read more of this story in the following chapters!
The Uberti team of miniature gun artist did not stop at the Colt percussion revolver models, however. They extended the line of miniatures by a few Confederate States (CS) percussion revolvers. Miniatures surfaced share more or less the distinct Colt Navy design features. The contemporary shortcuts should be noted, however. Back in the days they served to facilitate production operations i.e. round instead of octagon barrels, or to cut down on rare raw materials on short supply like using bronze/brass for the manufacture of frames instead of iron or steel. Like the original CS revolvers their miniatures are fitted with cylinders without engraving. Known today and members of the Hunzinger Collection are plain Jane variants of the 1860 Schneider & Glassick, 1862 Dance & Brothers and 1862 Griswold & Gunnison revolvers.
The gun collectors have noted the creation of "Guns That Never Were" (GTNW) aka fantasy guns among the Uberti replicas as well as miniatures. In our opinion the making of these fantasy guns should be considered as a move to complement or even to support Uberti's strategy of growing the respective full size replica assortment. Because a) the factory also offered and still offers a fair number of such fantasy replicas of both the percussion and the cartridge variety, and b) the replicas always represented the bread and butter business of Uberti.
For further details regarding these GTNWs scroll down to of the chapters 1.6.4 - Currently Recognized Miniatures of Uberti Colt 1861 Navy Variants, 1.6.5 - Currently Recognized Miniatures of Uberti Confederate States (CS) Percussion Revolvers and 1.9.1 - Thoughts About Uberti Miniatures.
Please note that we strive to present pictures comparing miniature models – dubbed "son" in their subtitles - to their replicas – dubbed "father" - respectively. This shall help to bring the size of the miniatures into some perspective to the real thing. Wherever possible we like to provide such comparative pictures using Uberti made replicas as the "fathers". But sometimes they are just not available. In such instances re-issues or replicas of other makers are used, sometimes originals, too.
In the next two chapters we will be sharing some aspects of Sam Colt's three earliest percussion revolvers available in miniature configuration pictured below. These are the M1836 Paterson No. 5 Holster Pistol aka Texas Paterson, the M1847 Whitneyville Walker Army Pistol and the M1848 Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon3).
Miniatures of three early Colt percussion revolvers (from top): #PM6 Paterson No. 5 Holster Model aka Texas Paterson, #440 Whitneyville Walker, #PM126 Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon
1851 Hartford and London Navies are "on board" so to speak as well as the later "streamlined" 1860 Army and the 1861 Navy.
Like the full size replicas Uberti offered different variants and various grades of embellishment of the Colt miniature models.
Contemporary drawing of the Colt Armory constructed in 1855, note the Blue Onion Dome overlooking the East Armory
Engraving of the famous Colt Armory fire of February 4, 1864. The East Armory burned to the ground
God created: Sam Colt made them equal: Picture taken at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in 2017