.36 Manhattan, 1864

Maker: Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co.

Caliber: .36 Percussion

Date: 1864 (serial number 45158)

Status: Original condition, in collection

The Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. was founded by a group of New Jersey businessmen in 1856. Their goal was to take advantage of Colt’s patent for revolving firearms that was due to expire in 1857. The founders hired Thomas Bacon to became the Superintendent of Manufacturing.

Manufacturing began in Norwich, Connecticut and in 1859 moved to Newark, New Jersey.  Thomas Bacon remained in Norwich and started his own firearms company. During their existence, Manhattan Firearms produced approximately 175,000 pistols. Only Colt, Remington, and Winchester produced more guns during this era which included the Civil War.

While waiting for Colt’s patent to expire, Manhattan first made copies of American firearms that no longer had patent protection. These included pepper boxes and various single-shot designs. Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention to making Colt-style revolvers in both the .31 caliber Pocket and .36 caliber Navy styles. Manhattan patented an extra set of cylinder safety notches on these models. Manhattans can be easily identified by the many notches on their cylinders.

After the Civil War, Manhattan production primarily consisted of a copy of the Smith & Wesson .22 caliber cartridge revolver and a single-shot boot pistol under the name "HERO". Manhattan changed it's name in 1868 to American Standard Tool Company and began to market industrial tools as well as firearms. American Standard Tool closed during the financial panic of 1873. The Manhattan factory was located at the corner of Orange and High streets in Newark, New Jersey.

There are good sites dedicated to the Manhattan firearms.
http://www.manhattanfirearms.com (the text above comes from that site)
http://www.baconfirearms.com/ManNavy1.html

The interest of American gun collectors in the Manhattan firearms grew rapidly after the book "Manhattan Firearms" written by Waldo E. Nutter was published in 1958.

That book can be found in reprint and originals on ebay.com or simply google.

The 36 Navy type revolver is a close copy of the Colt 1851 navy and was made in four series. This revolver is a Series IV but the serial number is 42 items below the 45200 witch is believed to be the start of the series IV so it is a real early IV.

Mechanical very good with sharp edges and a real fine inner barrel but the surface suffered from rough cleaning. The wedge is not the correct one together with the wedge screw badly mistreated.  

Those parts I will replace soon, most probably with self made ones since parts are not to be found. This revolver looks adequate to shoot and I might do soin  the near future. Original this revolver was finished with a deep blue barrel and cylinder, color case hardened frame, loading lever and small parts and an silvered grip frame. Most finish is gone accept for the silver. 

The good thing on a gun that is not perfect is that there is room for improvement. I won't even consider restoring this gun. But small issues catching the eye can be solved. The issues are: the loading lever is bent. The screws are damaged, as can be expected after more than 150 years. The wedge is not an original and lacks a groove for the wedge screw. Someone grinded the wedge screw so it would go with the strange wedge.
And, hard to tel from the pictures, there are bright areas, I think from rough rust cleaning. Even harder to see, the whole cylinder is to bright. 
Fixing those issues would make the whole gun look nicer.
 
The loading lever is easy. In the vice, clamped on the right places and little blows of a wooden hammer till it is straight. How on earth does such part become bent in the other direction one use force to press a bullet in?
Then the rough bright spots. Little sanding with 600 or 1000 and then steel wool makes the surface better. Then I used a mixture of a few drops of cold-blue in water and rub that over the spots till its color matches the gray. Same way I colored the whole cylinder. Makes a world of difference. 
 
The screws: The picture tells the story, I use a diamond file to clean it up, waterproof 600 grid, brass brush (steel on the picture, sorry) and steel wool to make the surface smooth but not polished. After that drop them in a bath of water and a few drops of cold blue. (of course de-grease first) To dark: steel wool and oil. They must not become perfect, just better looking. This way I treated most screws, just not the ones from the hammer, cylinder stop and trigger.   
Left the restored screw
The tools
To light corner re-colored, se top picture