Colt Model 1889/1895
U.S. Navy Serial Number 3498
Date: November 8th, 1889


This revolver was Colt’s first swing-out cylinder design. The U.S. Navy purchased 5000 M1889 revolvers in 1889. The butt strap (see image 3) is stamped “USN over Anchor 38 DA over No 3498 over P over WWK over 1889”. The 3498 is the Navy’s serial number and WWK is the inspection mark of Lt. W.W. Kimball U.S.N. who inspected these revolvers in 1889. The original 1889 had no locking latch on the cylinder and had longer flutes. This revolver has been upgraded to Model 1895 specs thus the later year date of '95 on the barrel (see image 5) and locking notches on the cylinder itself. 4,200 of the original 5,000 were upgraded between 1896 and 1899 to the improved Model 1895.

1000 Colt revolvers were shipped November 8th, 1889 to New York Navy Yard, the butt strap serial numbers on this shipment was 3001 to 4000 and the arms chest they were shipped in were numbered 61 to 80.

The Navy ordered many small shipments of the Model 1895 DAs over their production period (1895 to 1908) and they converted as many of the Model 1889 guns as they could locate between 1895 and 1901. Also, ALL (read as everyone made) Model 1889, 1892, 1894, 1895 Colt DA revolvers originally manufactured from 1889 to 1908 have their serial number on the butt of the revolver. The number inside the crane on the frame, may or may NOT match part of the serial number depending on contracts that Colt was using at the time. Colt used the Navy registration number as the serial number on the first 5000 Navy Model 1889s. Colt's ASSEMBLY NUMBER inside the crane (see image 8) on the frame will be a different number and is not the serial number.

The star "c" sub-inspector's (see image 10) marking is the original sub-inspector's marking from the 1889 contract. The triangle "T" (see image 10) and trident (see image 4) mark are from later conversion... probably about 1897 as both were in use at this time. The cylinder is marked 163 under the extractor star and 163 on the extractor rod, this was Colt's method of insuring the ratchet and the cylinder rod stayed together during the bluing process as they were hand fitted and not always interchangeable.

The Model 1889 was the standard U.S. Navy side arm of the Spanish-American war and carried by such greats as Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. He had a M1889 that was recovered form the USS Maine after her sinking and gifted to Teddy by a U.S. Naval Officer. Roosevelt's pistol has since been stolen from a museum. It was engraved "JULY 1ST 1898/SAN JUAN/CARRIED AND USED BY/COL. THEODORE ROOSEVELT" Left side: "FROM THE SUNKEN BATTLESHIP MAINE."

Special thanks to Bob Best for his contributions to this page, hopefully his book on Colt revolvers will be out soon!


Image 1 - Left Profile

Image 2- Right Profile

Image 3 - Butt Strap Markings

Image 4 - Cylinder Inspector mark - Trident

Image 5 - legend and patents

Image 6 - Barrel Serial Number, Proof,
and Inspectors star

Image 7 - Hammer

Image 8 - Assembly numbers
and
Trident

Image 9 - Grips

Image 10 -Thumb latch with Colt serial number
notice inspectors mark (star w/c inside)

From the collection
of T. Moore

Click on images for larger version
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