Colt Model 1855 Root Pocket Revolver in .28 caliber. This is the condensed version of a Colt Model 1855 Revolving Rifle. Serial number is in the 7,300 range and was built in 1856. Early type with octagon 3-1/2" barrel, round cylinder with roll engraved scene.
This model was designed by Samuel Colt and named for long-time Colt employee and friend, Elisha Root. Root was one of Samuel Colt's best mechanics and their friendship spanned back to before Colt had even entered the gun trade. There is a story I read somewhere about Colt putting on a demonstration (circa 1830's) for some type of explosion in a lake. Colt was quite a showman in his younger days and managed to attract a large crowd of well-dressed New Englanders for the event. Apparently, things did not go to plan resulting in the crowd getting soaked with lake water due to the manner of the explosion. Upon the drenching, the curious crowd quickly turned to an angry mob in need of taking out their frustration upon someone. That someone was Sam Colt. As my father used to tell me..."there are friends and then there are the 'get you out of jail at 3am friends!'" Elisha Root was certainly in the latter category for it was Root, (working for Colt as a mechanic), who rescued the young inventor from what would have been a thorough drubbing! Well, at least that is the gist of the story if my memory serves me correctly. The point is, Root was more than just an employee to Colt and he named the Model 1855 after him. When Colt passed away at 47, in 1862, it was Elisha Root who took over the Colt factory for his widow. Prior to his death in 1865, Root was also involved in the early rebuilding of the factory which was destroyed by fire in 1864.
Condition grades to NRA Antique Fine+ with 85% original blue on the frame and 30% remaining on the barrel. Cylinder has mostly turned to a gray brown patina with strong scene...approx. 90%. Hammer shows good traces of original case colors as does the loading lever. The original grips are high quality European walnut which Colt had imported to America. They retain 80% original varnish. There is a small chip on the leading edge of the base of the grip...where someone was using the butt of the gun as a hammer. See photo. The chip is barely noticeable when looking at the profiles of the revolver for display. If desired though, we will mend this chip free of charge upon request. The mechanics are in good shape. Cylinder indexes properly, locks, and cocks. Not bad for 158 years old. Bore is dirty but in Good Condition as well...and may grade up with a little brushing. Nice untouched example of an early Colt Pocket Root!