Manhattan .22 caliber Cartridge Pistols - 1
The Rollin White Patent and metallic cartridge revolvers brought about the demise
of percussion-style pistols. The era of modern cartridges had begun.
HOW IT BEGAN

Introduced in 1857,
The
Smith &
Wesson Model One

became the first
revolver to use
self-contained
metallic cartridges. It
was so revolutionary
that several other
gun makers soon
illegally copied the  
S&W format.
Manhattan Fire
Arms Company's
.22 caliber pistol
appeared in late
1859. All of these
fired .22 caliber
short rimfire
cartridges. Simply
stated, the Rollin
White patent was for
a bored-through
cylinder. Into these
the metallic
cartridges were
placed in chambers.

THE CARTRIDGE

Each cartridge
contained a primer
composition in the
base for ignition
when contacted by
the hammer, the
powder charge, wax
or tallow above the
powder to
weatherproof it, and
then the lead bullet.
EFFECTS OF     
THE LAWSUIT

The Manhattan
Fire Arms
Company was
able to produce
its .22 caliber
pistols from 1859
until production
was ended in the
fall of 1862 as a
result of a  lawsuit
brought by Smith
& Wesson. The
decision was
rendered by
Chief Justice
Roger B. Taney
in October of that
year. Manhattan
and the other
illegal
competitors
would have to
wait until the
Rollin White
patent expired on
April 3, 1869
The First Model of the Manhattan .22 caliber
was manufactured from 1859 to 1861 and was
issued in four subtle variations. (In 1862 a
short-lived Second Model was manufactured
until the fall of 1862, yet would reappear eight
years later.) The photographs below will show
the differences in the First Model .22 caliber
Manhattan revolvers.
The First Model, First Variation was the only
Manhattan .22 to have a
brass frame and an
iron side plate. The side plate is the round
plate above the trigger. Serial numbers were 1
to approximately 1600.

The
First Model, Second Variation had an iron
frame and
brass side plate and were serial
numbered 1600 to 4800 approximately.

The
First Model, Third Variation is identifiable
by a change in the
shape of the hammer spur
which has a greater downward angle. Serial
numbers range from 4800 to more than 7000.

The
First Model, Fourth Variation possesses a
barrel latch redesign that does not overlap the
frame as far as it did in the first three
variations. Manhattan may have changed this
design to avoid copyright infringement on yet
another Smith & Wesson patent. Serial
numbers run from over 7000 to possibly a bit
over 9000.