Autry Museum of the American West

Naval Engagement cylinder scene proof plate

Naval Engagement cylinder scene proof plate

Naval Engagement cylinder scene proof plate

Circa 1914;
Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
Engraver: Waterman Lilly Ormsby

The roll-engraved cylinder scenes found on early Colt revolvers were the creation of Waterman Lilly Ormsby, a professional siderographer. Siderography is the art of engraving on steel plates, a profession commonly associated with the production of bank notes. The scene depicted on this proof plate shows a battle that took place in the Gulf of Mexico on May 16, 1843, between ships of the navies of the Republic of Texas and Mexico. Interestingly, the Texas Navy was armed with Colt revolvers during the fight, but they were never close enough to their Mexican adversaries to actually use them. The scene was used on the Model 1851 Navy, the Model 1860 Army, and the Model 1861 Navy Revolvers, as well as later on what collectors came to call the Model 1871–72 Open Top .44.

  • A hand-engraved Naval Battle cylinder scene on a Presentation Model 1861 Navy Revolver

    Autry National Center


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