Autry National Center

Prototype Colt Revolver

left side with bayonet

left side with bayonet

1835; no serial number
Designer: Samuel Colt
Manufacturer: John Pearson

Samuel Colt constructed his first rudimentary model of a revolver in 1831. Over the next five years, he worked with several gunsmiths, most notably John Pearson of Baltimore, to manufacture prototypes. Pearson was a clockmaker prior to becoming a gunsmith, and his mechanical skills were instrumental in the early development of Colt’s revolver. The Colt-Pearson prototypes clearly show that Colt continued to perfect his invention prior to seeking patent protection in 1835 and 1836. This prototype is similar to the revolvers depicted in Colt’s first patent drawings. The bayonet swiveling at the muzzle end of the barrel enabled users to defend themselves even if the revolver was out of ammunition.

  • right side with bayonet

    right side with bayonet
  • left side

    left side
  • right side

    right side

  • Samuel Colt’s first American patent with prototype revolver

    Samuel Colt’s first American patent with prototype revolver


Jeffrey Richardson
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Web Development

Gary Cannone

Electronic Cataloging and Imaging

Marilyn Kim, Vlasta Radan, Carmel France, Rebecca Menendez, David Benitez, Susan Eisenstein


Marlene Head

Special Thanks

Greg Martin, R. L. Wilson

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