Rare Confederate Spiller and Burr Revolver

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Rare Confederate Spiller and Burr Revolver – The firm of Spiller & Burr was initially established in Richmond, Virginia, at the beginning of the Civil War, to produce percussion revolvers for the Confederate government. The company was a partnership between former Baltimore businessman Edward Spiller and Richmond steam engine manufacturer David Burr. At the onset of the inception of the Spiller and Burr entity, the Confederate government issued a contract to the company, ordering 15,000 pistols. Unable to meet these production demands, Spiller & Burr moved their factory to Atlanta, Georgia, some 80 miles north of Macon, in 1862. By the end of that year, the firm had only managed to produce a small number of revolvers. In January of 1864, the company was taken over by the Confederate government and production moved to the Macon Georgia armory. In late 1864, as Sherman’s troops approached Macon, the gun manufacturing machinery at the Macon Armory was disassembled and transported south; it was never reassembled and firearm production never resumed. During the Macon Armory production period, it has been estimated that approximately 1200 to 1500 pistols were produced. This pistol appears to have been manufactured during the work completed in Macon.

The original, Confederate government contract called for the manufacture of a weapon comparable to the M1860 Colt Army; in actuality, the Spiller & Burr pistol is a near identical copy of the Whitney Navy revolver. The Spiller & Burr pistol’s frame, grip and back straps are all cast from brass, as opposed to the comparable components of the Whitney, which are steel. Both the Whitney, and the Spiller & Burr were .36 caliber, six-shot, single action, percussion revolvers, with two-piece wood grips, octagonal barrels and a toggle link, loading lever.

This example remains in overall very good to fine condition. There appears, on the left side of the frame, a sharply stamped “CS”. All of the serial numbers, on this pistol – 900 – match – this number appears on the barrel, loading lever, butt strap, on the interior of the trigger guard, on the frame (beneath the trigger guard) and penciled on the interior of both grips. The top of the octagonal barrel is blank and does not have the company name; no inspector’s marks are visible. The steel of the cylinder evidences intentional “twisting” utilized to reinforce the lesser quality metal used to make the gun. There are some traces of original finish to the steel; the brass exhibits a fine, aged patina; the grips retain their original, factory finish. The hammer functions properly, although the cylinder does not index well. Overall, this is an excellent example of a rare, Confederate pistol.