"In 1849 gunsmith named Rollin White produced the first bored through revolver cylinder which accepted a metallic cartridge. He patented the design in 1855 and a year later White sold the patent to Smith & Wesson for a royalty of 25 cents for every revolver S&W produced.
The invention of the bored through cylinder was important because it gave S&W a lock on the revolver market for revolvers using metallic self contained cartridges.
In 1857, Smith & Wesson began production of the Model 1, a .22 caliber rimfire pocket revolver featuring a bored through cylinder. Afterwards, Smith & Wesson would produced a whole line of metallic cartridge revolvers, having a near total monopoly on the market due to ownership of the patent.
In order to compete, revolver manufacturers came up with a wide variety of designs to circumvent the patent. The most common were front loading revolvers, where the user would insert a metallic cartridge into the front of each chamber.
|The Teat Fire design|
One unique alternative design was by Frank Slocum, called the Slocum Sleeve Revolver. Manufactured by Brooklyn Arms Co. from 1863 - 1864, the Slocum Sliding Sleeve Revolver was a departure from front loading design.
Each chamber on the cylinder had an individual sleeve that would slide forward opening the chamber, allowing the user to insert a cartridge and/or remove a spent case, from the side. The revolver was chambered for a .32 caliber rimfire cartridge and had a five round cylinder. It was produced in single action only. The Slocum Sliding Sleeve was much more reliable than front loading designs. However, production of the revolver was expensive and time consuming due to its complex mechanism. It was often cheaper to simply buy a Smith & Wesson, or a tradition cap and ball revolver. Thus the Slocum revolver saw little success. Around 10,000 were manufactured.."