The design was patented by Rupertus on April 19, 1859.
It is though that Rupertus made three model prototypes. "Army" size, "Navy," and "Pocket", with no more than a dozen were manufactured in all three sizes, and only half that number are known to collectors. (The Army model is pictured.)
At one point, Krider and and a man named John Siner showed interest in backing development of Rupertus' design. However they soon realized it would cost a large sum to build and to manufacture the revolvers themselves and foresaw the end of the percussion system due to metallic cartridges.
Colt also expressed interest in aspects of the design, but Rupertus was not interested in licensing or selling his patent.
The Rupertus revolver design is unusual in that it utilizes only one nipple for ignition instead of one for each chamber. The nipple is mounted on an arm in a recess in the breech. This is a "safety tube" in the patent. The arm retracts when the hammer is cocked to allow the cylinder to rotate as it is pushed by the pawl at the bottom of the hammer. When the hammer is near full cock the arm snaps forward locking the cylinder and creating a gas seal. The hammer is pill primed by a mechanism within the back strap.
The loading lever rotates to the right rather than down and loads from the side rather than through the front. The barrel and frame are manufactured as one piece creating a very stable firearm.
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