Here is a single shot pistol that we don't see very often. This is an early breech-loading cartridge Derringer made by L.B. Taylor and Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts. These were produced for just a short duration, circa 1868-1870. Flayderman's Guide estimates production to be around 1,800 units. This one is in the 1,400 serial range with matching numbers on the frame, barrel. There is also evidence that the number was penciled on the inside of the grips. It's in .32 caliber with a 3.5" octagon barrel. Top of barrel is clearly marked "L.B. TAYLOR & CO. CHICOPEE MASS."
Typical of many pistols and revolvers we see from the 1850's and 60's, it has a cast brass frame and steel barrel. The barrel slides forward out of the frame via a machined rail attached underneath. It's released by depressing a lever on the bottom of the frame. As you'll note in the photos, the pocketknife style housing for this lever is what gives these Taylor pistols their unique appearance. Conceptually, they operate on the same principle as the Williamson Derringers produced by National Firearms (circa 1866-70) as both pistols have frames to accomodate a sliding barrel. It would be just a few decades later that this design would be reversed with the barrel sliding backwards in the first semi-automatic Colt and Browning pistols. Another unique aspect of this pistol is that incorporates a split chamber. As you'll see in the photos, the rear face of the breech and barrel are slightly stepped. The offset section of the frame is rimmed to hold the cartridge and serves as a stationary extractor.
Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Good Plus with almost no finish remaining but still showing good clean lines and sharp markings and hammer knurlings. There is a hint of original blue on the top of the barrel around the front sight. When new, the frame was originally plated with a light coat of silver which probably quickly wore away. However, there are traces of silver underneath the frame inside grip straps. Grips are in Good Plus Very Good Minus condition retaining much of its original finish which has a nice age darkened patina. No chips, cracks, or repairs. Good mechanics and bore.