Detail View: The AMICA Library: Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver

AMICA Library Year: 
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Creator Name: 
Colt, Samuel
Creator Nationality: 
North American; American
Creator Role: 
Creator Dates/Places: 
1814-1862, inventor and manufacturer
Creator Name-CRT: 
Made by Samuel Colt
Creator Name: 
Young, Gustave
Creator Nationality: 
North American; American
Creator Role: 
Creator Dates/Places: 
1827-1895, engraver
Creator Name-CRT: 
Decorated by Gustave Young
Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver
Title Type: 
Alternate View
Creation Date: 
ca. 1853
Creation Start Date: 
Creation End Date: 
Materials and Techniques: 
Steel, brass, gold, walnut
Classification Term: 
L. 14 in. (35.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of George and Butonne Repaire, 1995

Colt patented the first mass-produced multishot revolving firearms, thereby ensuring himself enduring fame as one of America's most successful inventors and entrepreneurs. His standard revolvers were works of precision and reliability highly valued by soldiers and frontiersmen, and his deluxe arms, made for exhibition or presentation, were appreciated for their elegant engraved decoration. The Museum's pistol is one of only a handful of gold-inlaid examples and is considered one of Colt's finest works.

The ornament is the invention of the German-born engraver Gustave Young, whose crisp and elegant scrollwork set the standard for all future American firearms decoration. The gold inlay includes a bust of George Washington, set flush into the cylinder, and the arms of the United States in low relief on the frame. Complementary imagery is found on the mate to this pistol, in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. The pair was separated in 1854, during the Crimean War between Russia and Turkey, when Colt presented one to Czar Nicholas I and the other (which became the Museum's) to Sultan Abdülmecid I. Although intended to promote sales by demonstrating the technical and artistic qualities of Colt's products, the patriotic motifs of these gifts also proudly proclaimed their American origin.

Related Image Identifier Link: