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H9709 Gun, revolver, percussion, 1851 Colt Navy late 4th model, metal, London, England, 1861. Click to enlarge.

Gun, revolver, percussion, 1851 Colt Navy late 4th model, metal, London, England, 1861

Made
  • 1861
Colt Navy percussion handguns came to Australia via both the military, as officers' handguns, and government contractors and immigrants seeking a life in the new colonies. With the Australian goldrush which began in the 1850s, Australia saw rapid immigration, and with it, many new firearms. Colt Navies were a significant innovation in handgun design because they were well crafted, reliable, portable, used a percussion firing mechanism, and a revolving cartridge which enabled six shells to be at the ready.

Gold was found by European settlers at Ophir, near Orange, New South Wales, in 1851. It had a huge social impact on the workers of New South Wales, and thousands of eager prospectors deserted regular jobs to seek their fortunes in the goldfield.

Such was the influx of men into the areas where gold had been found that the police and governing authorities were not always able to ensure order. Personal and property protection were important to those who were mining and running businesses, and weapons, particularly handguns, became much desired tools in the goldfields. Australian gunsmiths, mainly importers rather than makers of European and North American guns, made exceptional trade, as did emigrees from the Northern Hemisphere who brought guns to sell and trade.

Colt Navies were, in the mid 1860s, issued to the New South Wales Police Force, and their older firearms issued to the New South Wales prison warders.

Damian McDonald
Curator, 2012

Summary

Object No.

H9709

Object Statement

Gun, revolver, percussion, 1851 Colt Navy late 4th model, metal, London, England, 1861

Physical Description

Revolver, percussion, Colt, Navy U.S.A. c. 1849 (AF). Revolver, percussion, Colt, (London, 1851 Navy, Late 4th model), London, England, 1861 (OF).

Dimensions

Depth

335 mm

Production

Made

  • 1861

Notes

Manufactured in London, 1851.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Warren Anderson, 1982

Acquisition Date

26 July 1982

Cite this Object

Harvard

Gun, revolver, percussion, 1851 Colt Navy late 4th model, metal, London, England, 1861 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 September 2020, <https://ma.as/257961>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/257961 |title=Gun, revolver, percussion, 1851 Colt Navy late 4th model, metal, London, England, 1861 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.