Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mershon and Hollingsworth Self-Cocking Revolver

This is a patent model of the Mershon and Hollingsworth revolver. The patentees were Ralph S. Mershon and Jehu Hollingsworth of Zanesville, Ohio and patent number 39,825 for a self-cocking mechanism was granted Sept. 8, 1863.
The patent model was essentially a modified Colt Army Model 1860 revolver. The designers argued that standard single-action revolvers like the Colt 1860 and even double-action revolvers like the Beaumont Adams revolver, when in field combat conditions, required too much effort to cock and fire.

This was submitted to the US Army without success. It was turned down stating what little benefit the design had to offer in lighter, faster trigger pull, it has lost in added cost of manufacture and complicated functionality.

It used a wind-up spring to power a ratchet inside the hammer. A fold-out handle on the left side of the revolver’s frame (shown above) facilitated winding the spring. With the spring wound the device worked as follows: When the trigger was pulled, the hammer fell, struck a percussion cap and set off the round. As this happened a lug at the rear of the trigger slipped into the device and kept it motionless. When the trigger was allowed to reset, the lug slid out of the device, allowing its spring to rotate an internal wheel which moved the hammer back to full-cock and at the same time, unlocked, rotated and re-locked the cylinder.

This is from their patent application.

“To pull the trigger [on the Self-Cocking Revolver] requires no greater effort than in any arm cocked by hand, nor does the trigger require any longer sweep.  Hence it admits of an accurate aim, not subject to be defeated or disturbed by a violent muscular exertion in pulling the trigger.  In this very important particular consists its great superiority over all other self-cocking arms, all of them requiring so much muscular effort in pulling the trigger as to wholly defeat or disturb the aim and object of an arm, except at very close quarters.”

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