Smith and Wesson .44 New Model No. 3 Single-Action Revolver, serial no. 25120

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)

Classification: Firearms-Pistols-Revolvers

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.