Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson (American, established 1852)
Decorator: Tiffany & Co. (American, established 1837)
Date: ca. 1888
Geography: Springfield, Massachusetts; New York, New York
Culture: American, Springfield, Massachusetts and New York
Medium: Steel, silver, nickel
Dimensions: L. 11 in. (28 cm); L. of barrel 5 in. (12.7 cm); Cal. .44 in. (11 mm); Wt. 2 lb. 8 oz. (1123 g)
Credit Line: Gift of Gerald Klaz, M.D., Trustee - The Gerald Klaz Trust, 2007
Accession Number: 2007.477
Between about 1880 and 1905, Tiffany & Co. embellished a series of deluxe handguns for the nation's leading firearms manufacturers, notably Colt, Winchester, and, most important, Smith & Wesson. The guns were either special orders for Tiffany's well-heeled clientele or commissioned by the manufacturer as show pieces for display in exhibitions such as the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. This New Model Revolver was a special order, recorded in the Smith & Wesson archives as having been shipped to Tiffany's on November 11, 1888. Once in New York, the plain nickel-plated frame received a two-piece silver grip etched overall with scenes of a buffalo hunt.
During the late nineteenth century, Tiffany's often used etching to render large areas of ornament, including complex and often charming pictorial compositions like this buffalo hunt. The revolver complements two other Tiffany-decorated Smith & Wesson firearms from the collection of Gerald Klaz that are already part of the Museum's holdings, one exhibiting an embossed and martelé silver grip, the other with a grip in mokume, a Japanese-style laminated metal.