Whitney Navy Revolver
Whitney Navy Revolver
Country of origin

United States


Whitneyville Armory (Whitney Arms Company)[1]


Fordyce Beal[2]
Eli Whitney Jr.

Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended


Weapon type





Percussion lock

Overall length

13.3in (336.5mm)[1]

Barrel length

7.5in (190.5mm)[2]


2.4lb (1.1kg)[1]

Magazine/Cylinder capacity


Used by

Confederate States of America, United States of America

The Whitney Revolver was an American Civil War era, percussion lock revolver, developed at the Whitneyville Armory by the Whitney Arms Company and Fordyce Beal.[1][2] A total of just under 33,000 Whitney revolvers were produced prior to and during the American Civil War, with some being used on both sides through both government and private purchases.[1]


The Whitney Arms Company had been struggling since Whitney Eli Jr. had taken over the company, operating in the Whitneyville Armory.[2] However, in 1854 the inventor and designer Fordyce Beal (whom would go on to develop the Remington 1858 Revolver) began working on several products for the company.[2]. The most successful of these projects came in the form of the Whitney Navy Revolver, which was released in 1857 after Samuel Colt's US patent over firearms using revolving cylinders ended.[1]

Early Whitneys were stamped as Whitney Navy and Eagle Co. Revolvers, although the exact reason for this is unknown.[2] This was applied to 1st model Whitneys, of which only a few hundred were produced. 2nd model Whitneys were stamped with Whitney's more usual stamp, and caught the attention of the United States Government during the early phases of the American Civil War.[1] The majority of the 33,000 Whitneys were issued to the New Jersey regiments and for the US Navy, while officers from across the Union purchased their own Whitneys.[1] A limited number of Whitneys (of early production) are thought to have been used by the Confederate States.[3]

Design DetailsEdit

The Whitney was a solid frame revolver (with some citing it as the first successful attempt at one), using a percussion lock mechanism to fire.[1] The loading lever is used to unlock the cylinder so that it can be loaded (as the Remington 1858 would later be configured with). The grips are made from walnut and screw into the frame.[1]

The barrel was octagonal in shape and measured between 7.5in and 7.625in in length.[1] The barrel was given six grooves to form rifling and a post atop the muzzle as a front sight.[1] The cylinder had six chambers and was heavily engraved, typically featuring an eagle, lion and a shield.[2] All parts (in metal) were blued, except the loading lever.


The Whitney fired a .36 calibre round held in a paper cartridge. Each cartridge was fired by its own percussion cap, pushed onto the percussion cone at the rear of the cylinder. 


  • The Whitney name would be used again, around 100 years after the Whitney Navy Revolver entered production, this time for the Wolverine, designed by Robert L. Hillberg.,[4]


Image Origin:

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.