My favorite guns October 14, 2007Posted by Jeff in Zook.
I sometimes think my brother Marcus suspects I’m not listening when he tells me about his gun collection, but he might be surprised …
… at what I remember his telling me about this beauty, for example — a Massachusetts Arms Maynard tape primed belt pistol, circa 1855:
Smith, Wesson, Stevens, Ames, and Savage, all these noteworthy names associated with nineteenth century firearms were involved with the Massachusetts Arms Company when it formed in 1850. However, the production of the first Mass Arms revolvers was stopped by a copyright infringement lawsuit levied by Samuel Colt. Undaunted, Mass Arms licensed the Maynard tape priming system and began producing these unique 31 caliber pistols. Enjoined by the courts from using automatic cylinder rotation, these pistols require manual rotation of the chambers, but automatically fed primer-containing tape in a manner not unlike toy cap guns. The small button above the trigger is the release and lock for the cylinder. Less than 1000 of these pistols were produced, of which 200 are known to have been purchased by the abolitionist John Brown.
— Marcus Zook
Or this, a Smith and Wesson Number 1:
The Smith and Wesson Number 1 was the first metal cartridge revolver made in the U.S.A. This diminutive pistol, first made around 1857, fired short 22 caliber rim-fire cartridges, basically the same as those available today, except loaded with black powder rather than higher pressure smokeless powder.
— Marcus Zook
I was armed to the teeth with a pitiful little Smith and Wesson seven-shooter, which carried a ball like a homeopathic pill, and it took the whole seven to make a dose for an adult. But I thought it was grand. It appeared to me to be a dangerous weapon. It had only one fault — you could not hit anything with it. One of our conductors practiced on a cow a while with it, and as long as she stood still and behaved herself she was safe; but as soon as he went to moving about, and he got to shooting at other things, she came to grief.
— Mark Twain
Russell Griswold Colt, the grand-nephew of the original Samuel Colt who held tight to his patents, married the actress Ethel Barrymore in 1909, ten years before she became an unlikely union activist in the Actors Equity strike, the subject of my original screenplay, Equity.
And while we’re on the subject, absolutely no guns were harmed in the writing of my original screenplay, Babes In Armor.
Much more at Marcus’s website. Happy birthday, Marcus!