The oldest known revolver, is over 400 years old and still in excellent condition. Markings on the piece indicate that it was fabricated by “weapons blacksmith” Hans Stopler, in 1597. The revolver is fully engraved, inlaid with gold and has a personalized silver butt plate bearing its owner’s name (“Georg Reichwein 1636”), a German officer hired by Norway.
It is a flintlock, with a single barrel and a hand rotated cylinder with eight chambers. Cocking the hammer does not turn the cylinder. Each cylinder has a sliding pan cover which travels in tight tracks and is individually sprung to prevent the covers from opening unintentionally. The cylinder is indexed to ensure proper barrel alignment and locks into a spring-loaded detent. The frizzen has been mounted to the barrel lug, in front of the cylinder. Cock the hammer, turn the cylinder, slide the pan cover off, set the frizzen and fire. Eight shots from a very portable gun in the 1500’s!