This is a really neat looking little S&W No. 1, 2nd Issue revolver in .22 Caliber, 7 shot cylinder, and 3 3/16" octagonal barrel. This is about as early of an example as you'll find with only the 1855 and 1859 patent dates on the cylinder. Background: S&W started producing the No.1around 1857. It was the company's first revolver. In its initial form, it had a rounded frame, small round side plate, two-piece hammer, and 6 different sub-variations of improvements of various components like the barrel latch and cylinders. Without getting into a historical debate with other foreign designs, the S&W No. 1 was essentially the first American cartridge weapon. By 1860, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson had come up with some new improvements for the No. 1 Revolver in the form of an improved larger sideplate, more practical one piece hammer, and a more slab-sided frame. Collectors like to call these the newly improved guns the 2nd Issue. The 2nd Issue took over from the 1st Issues at around serial number 11,671. The 2nd Issue was a huge success for S&W, especially with soldiers during the Civil War. It was produced from 1860 to 1868 and was followed by a more modern stream-lined version known as the 3rd Issue (1868-1881) which was also hugely popular but had its own serial range (1-131,000).
Since the 2nd Issue picked up around 11672, this revolver is one of the very earliest we've seen at 12,03X. If S&W had reset their odometer back to zero for these improvements, this little gun would have been serialized around SN# 360 out of 117,000. As stated in the previous paragraph, it lacks the 1860 patent date on the cylinder with only the 1855 and 59 dates present. Also of note, there aren't too many of these around that actually pre-date the Civil War.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Fine condition with 97% original silver on the frame and 75% strong bright original blue on the barrel and cylinder....with the balance a mixture of patina and some closet rust, which will clean up if desired. Cylinders usually lost their blue rather quickly due to flaking...this one was used sparingly and you may also notice how the tint is almost a vivid fire or nitre blue...something you find on early S&W's. Grips are perfect with 99% original piano varnish. Action works nicely. Barrel to frame lockup is tight like new. Aside from a few pits, even the bore is still bright with strong rifling. A very nice example of one of the earliest 2nd variants of the Model 1.