Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Spanish Merwin, Hulbert & Co. Revolver .44

  • Manufacture: Anitúa y Charola, in Eibar Espana
  • Action: Double Action
  • Capacity: 6 round cylinder
  • Barrel Length: 5"
  • Cartridge Caliber: .44 Russian (11mm)
  • Spanish Military Service: 1887 - 1903
In 1887 the Spanish Merwin Hulbert Revolver became another pistol out of several recommended as a service sidearm for Spanish army soldiers and police officers. The Merwin, Hulbert & Co. was an American based firearms manufacture and at one time was the 4th largest gun supplier in America. But their name is now long forgotten due to bankruptcy during the early 1890s. The company went out of business, and their firearms went along with it. Many of these firearm companys of the era lived and died by military contracts. Merwin, Hulbert & Co. designs were considered far advanced for it's time, but through bad dealings, it became short-lived and unsuccessful. Their major contract coming from Russia. Nearly all the major companies were greatly successful during the 1870-1880s. But by the late 1800s many countries began to establish their own factories. There they would purchase the patents and licensing from firearms companies based in the United States to reproduce their firearms. This drastically killed the sales for most US firearm companies. Many would tank because of these outside manufactures. Even Smith & Wesson would come close to being run to the ground. Anitúa y Charola, in Eibar Spain became one of those outside companies to produce well made copied US revolvers. Their version of the Merwin, Hulbert revolver were then allowed to be used by military and police officers of Spain. As with the Spanish S&W, the Spanish Merwin Hulbert Revolver would find their way in to Spanish colonies. Like all other firearms of the Spanish military, many would eventually end up in the hands of a Filipino fighting in the revolution.

The entire history of the Merwin, Hulbert & Co. is very vague. Due to the bankruptcy their entire records were lost. Their subsidiary company, Hopkins & Allen, also burnt down in the 1900, taking along with it much of the records with Merwin, Hulbert & Co. As well as the manufacturing of the Merwin Hulbert revolver in Spain, records and documents are also scarce. Finding a photograph of the Spanish Merwin Hulbert revolver used by their military was also a tedious task(which is why the photo above is not a great shot of one). Many do not even know that this particular revolver even existed in Spain.

1 comment:

  1. aljonesrdo@bresnan.netDecember 18, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Merwin Hulbert's large .44 caliber New Army revolvers were adopted by the Spanish Army in the 1870's based on the models I've seen and apparently licensed to several Eibar, Spain revolver manufacturers (although Spain only recognized foreign patents for several years instead of the 10-20 year patent protection elsewhere. Merwin Hulberts are a premium line of revolvers, single shot rifles, sporting goods/athletic equipment, and even bicycles made by the Hopkins & Allen factory in Norwich, Connecticutt. H&A began in the 1850's making copies of Colt & Smith & Wesson revolvers but by the 1860's when it became H&A it drew on internal and external designers for very advanced revolvers that became the Merwin line about 1874. Joseph Merwin and the Hulbert brothers were gun marketers and financiers selling worldwide and pioneering catalogers. From their production numbers they were the 3rd largest revolver maker (probably in the world) in the 1870's-1880's and the 2nd largest ammunition manufacturer (American Metallic Cartridge Co.) and a top 3 firearms wholesaler/exporter/importing firm. Hopkins & Allen survived the death of Joseph Merwin and the spin-off of the Hulbert Brothers in 1893-6 during that financial panic in the U.S. as well as the factory fire to continue until 1916 when the sudden cancellation of a huge order by the Belgian Army for Mauser rifles killed the company. It's former employees formed Mossberg which uses that business model to this day.