Object Title

Snaphaunce revolver - Annely pattern

Snaphaunce revolver - Annely pattern


about 1700

Object Number



Made c1710. Acquired from a private collector in 1979.

Physical Description

A very early example of a 'true' revolver (in this case a revolver pistol), with fixed barrel positioned in front of a rotating cylinder, fitted with a truncated form of side-lock. This features a short peg that fits into a hole in the back of the specially designed iron frame. Said frame comprises a supporting face for the brass cylinder, a long iron 'arbor' pin upon which the cylinder rotates and to which the barrel is affixed, and a pair of tangs retaining the stock screw. The upper tang, which is lightly engraved with decoration, also retains the flat spring with terminal peg to assist with indexing the cylinder and holding it in the correct position for each shot (by means of a series of corresponding holes in the cylinder). Some form of this spring is common to these early revolvers. The piece is stocked in walnut, the butt of bag form with a large brass cap decorated with incised floral design. The barrel is of traditional cannon form save for its breech end, which is enlarged to allow attachment to the central arbor, and features the cutout seen on later Colt style revolvers (to facilitate loading of the cylinder). The barrel also features light foliate engraving.The pistol is 'snaphaunce' only in the sense that the pan is separate from the steel. However, this arrangement exists purely to facilitate the operation of the revolving cylinder breech, which contains eight chambers with corresponding external pans (true 'French' lock forms do exist, with a separate L-shaped pan surmounting each chamber, but these are by necessity more complicated and heavier). Here, the pans possess sliding covers each incorporating a small knob and controlled by a flat spring to retain it in the open or closed position (rather than halfway). These are retained by a series of screws, and prevented from rotating out of position by a stop pin driven through the spring and into the cylinder itself. Some of these are obvious modern replacements. Otherwise, the cock and steel are of early C18th 'French' style, with the exception that the cock is 'cranked' in order to position it centrally above the pan and behind the steel. The steel lacks a pan cover and is hinged onto an iron armature positioning it directly above the uppermost pan. the steel spring is another flat piece of steel screwed to the underside of said armature, and retains the steel in either firing (upright) or fired (tilted forward) positions.


Filing, Drilling, Casting, Forging, Engraving


OverallLength17.8 in
OverallLength325 mm
OverallWeight1.29 kg
OverallWeight2.84 lb
BarrelLength5.39 in
BarrelLength137 mm


Serial Number None visible


.398 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's mark