Schneider & Glassick - The "Accidental " Replica Revolver

Copyright by Dr. Jim L. Davis

The replica Schneider & Glassick has presented some very interesting insights into both the manufacturers and the distributors of replica revolvers.  I have never seen an ad for a “Schneider & Glassick” replica revolver except for the High Standard commemorative issues of Confederate revolvers.  I have seen consistent ads for 1851 Navy brass frame revolvers.  Blue Book only lists Uberti as a manufacturer starting in their 8th Edition, 1987-88.  There you will find an “Augusta Confederate” revolver described as:

  “.36cal. percussion, 7 ½ in. octagonal barrel, color casehardened hammer and trigger, all brass frame, engraved cylinder.”

However, there is no such thing as an Augusta Confederate made revolver with a brass frame, much less one with an engraved cylinder.

I started using the nomenclature of “Schneider & Glassick” over fifteen years ago because the Colt style 1851 Navy with a brass frame and a plain, un-engraved cylinder is basically what a Schneider & Glassick revolver was.  So, if none of the manufacturers and importers ever sold replica Schneider & Glassick revolvers as such, how did they come into existence?  To decipher this it is necessary to look at what was actually happening back in the beginning of the replica revolver industry.

Fig. 1  Schneider & Grassick with Plain, Un-engraved Cylinder  

Fig. 2  Model 1851 Navy Brass with engraved Cylinder  

One of the ways that the manufacturers were able to reproduce the different replica revolvers was to acquire an original to copy in detail.  Most importers who were anxious to enter this market did not know that much about the originals themselves so would simply “borrow” an original revolver, send it to the manufacturer, and that is the revolver that was copied.  This was done for nearly every model replica that has been manufactured.  The manufacturers would cut corners in the manufacturing process in order to simplify procedures or deliberately to be able to distinguish the replica from an original.  These manufacturers subcontracted other shops for various parts and sometimes for completed revolvers.  They were no different than automobile manufacturers who subcontract to various other manufacturers for the various parts on their automobiles.  As a result we find many replicas being marketed as something that it isn’t.

We have to remember that the whole replica industry was targeted for the shooters, not collectors.  As this market became more and more competitive, manufacturers would produce whatever any importer wanted.  In the early 1960’s the Colt 1851 Navy type revolver was the most popular and more parts were available from most small shops in the Brescia Provence area of Italy.  The same frame could be used for more than one different model of a revolver.  Navy Arms used the same frame for the 1851 Navy, 1851 Navy Sheriff,  Leech & Rigdon, and Leech & Rigdon Sheriff.  Their Griswold & Gunnison “Reb” (Fig. 3) had the same frame but in brass, a Dragoon style barrel, and an un-engraved cylinder.  If an octagon barrel is used rather than a Dragoon style barrel a Griswold & Gunnison replica becomes Schneider & Glassick (Fig. 4) replica.

Fig. 3  Griswold & Gunnison with Plain Cylinder & Dragoon Type Barrel  

Fig. 4  Schneider & Glassick with Plain Cylinder & Octagon Barrel  

Even though these revolvers were extremely cheap by today’s standards, shooters were looking for even cheaper “deals”.  EIG Cutlery was the first importer of a historically accurate Schneider & Glassick replica.  It was sold as an “1851 Navy with a brass frame”.  Saul Eig was the founder of this company, thus EIG as an importer name.  EIG Cutlery imported goods from several different countries and is best known for the knives they had produced.  The EIG revolvers bear a manufacturer’s logo that I have not been able to identify.  They also imported a nice, fully engraved model as well.  

Fig. 5  Early EIG Marking  

Fig. 6  EIG Logo  

Fig. 7  EIG Logo with GLB Manufacturer Logo  

The earliest date of manufacture is around 1963.  RPRCA has two Schneider & Glassick replicas with this date code.  One is fully engraved and the other is plain.  EIG became involved in a law suit and they closed up shop, selling all replica revolver inventories to FIE, also of Florida .  Thus this “GB” manufacturer’s logo may also be found on some of their revolvers.  RPRCA has one such FIE specimen.  This occurred in the early 1970’s.  These are rare.

So, if the importers did not specifically order Schneider & Glassick replicas why do these revolvers exist.  Very simply, the plain cylinder saved a step in manufacturing and saved a buck in cost.  The Schneider & Glassick replicas accidentally came into existence.  The un-engraved, plain cylinders used on the Griswold & Gunnison replicas were also combined with an octagon barrel and we have a Schneider & Glassick replica.

All other brass frame 1851 Navy type revolvers with the engraved Colt’s Ormsby Naval Engagement Scene are just that, 1851 Navy models with a brass frame.  Other inaccurate variations of the Schneider & Glassick replicas are those in .44cal. both with plain and engraved rebated cylinders.  Again, this was to meet the desires of the main market, the shooters.  For my purposes I use the nomenclatures of Model 1851 Navy Brass for .36cal. and Model 1851 Army Brass for .44cal.  The Model 1851 Army Brass has a rebated Cylinder.

Lists of Manufacturers/Distributors who have imported and marked their revolvers thus far observed are listed in  Table 1.

Table 1  

Importer  

Manufacturer  

Year  

Fig. 8     Eig GLB  Unknown 1963
Fig. 9     Hawes Armi San Paolo 1969
Fig. 10   Hawes Sheriff Armi San Paolo 1969
Fig. 11   FIE  Inventory from EIG “GB”  Unknown 1970
Fig. 12   Liberty Arms   Pietta 1970
Fig. 13   Centennial Arms Sheriff Investarms 1971
Fig. 14   Centennial Arms Unknown 1971
Fig. 15   Hy Score Euroarms Brescia  ASP 1972
Fig. 16   Jana Euroarms Brescia  ASP 1972
Fig. 17   Investarms Investarms 1973
Fig. 18   High Standard High Standard using Imported parts from Italy   1974-76
Fig. 19   Euroarms of America   Armi San Paolo 1976
Fig. 20   Richland Arms Pietta 1977
Fig. 22   Palmetto Palmetto 2000
Fig. 23   Pietta Pietta Current

Markings on Schneider & Glassick Revolvers  

Fig. 8  EIG Barrel Marking

Fig. 9  Hawes Sheriff Model Barrel Marking

Fig. 10  Hawes Barrel Marking

Fig. 11  FIE Barrel Marking

Fig. 12  Liberty Arms Barrel Marking

Fig. 1 Centennial Arms Sheriff Frame Marking

Fig. 14  Centennial Arms Barrel Marking

Fig. 15  Hy Score

Fig. 16  Jana

Fig. 1 Investarms

Fig. 18  High Standard

Fig. 19  Euroarms

Fig. 20  Richland Arms

Fig. 21  Palmetto

Fig. 2Pietta

Probably another reason that the Schneider & Glassick was not targeted for replica production is its extreme rarity.  According to firearms historians and researchers there are only three original revolvers that have been uncovered and one of these has a steel frame rather than brass.  Another source claimed six revolvers being discovered but with some reservations as to their originality.  Other researchers do not even count the Schneider & Glassick as a legitimate Confederate manufactured revolver used in the Civil War.  I leave this to the historians since my interest is in the replica production of this revolver.  However, the rarity of this revolver is the reason it was not produced as a Schneider & Glassick specifically.  There was no “original” revolver available to copy.   

It is the collectors that find an interest in these “accidental” replica revolvers.  These were produced as a “cheap”, brass frame 1851 Navy for the shooters.  A few manufacturers did not engrave the cylinder simply to cut cost.  Most collectors and shooters are familiar with the plain cylinder being correct on the Griswold & Gunnison since this was the first Confederate revolver reproduced by Gregorelli & Uberti for Navy Arms.  Since engraved cylinders were being produced for the 1851 Navy many of these cylinders were put on the Griswold & Gunnison simply to fill an order making it historically inaccurate.  This was also done using an octagon barrel making an inaccurate Schneider & Glassick replica.

There is one other manufacturer who produced a Schneider & Glassick revolver.  Rigarmi produced four revolvers that bear the barrel markings:

- ADDRESS BILL EDWARDS  AFTON VA  US AMERICA -

From a letter I received from William Edwards dated August 24, 2002, he states,

"In the 1970s I obtained from Rino Galesi and from Luciano Amadi, Navys and Remingtons.  These were roll marked ADDRESS BILL EDWARDS  AFTON VA  U S AMERICA in emulation of Colt's markings as I consider that I was the spiritual in not the generic descendant of  Sam Colt"

There were four replica revolvers supplied to Bill in an attempt to persuade him to use Rigarmi as a future supplier of revolvers.  Revolvers so far uncovered was a Remington New Model Army, an 1960 Army, a Model 1851 Navy Brass with engraved cylinder, and a Schneider & Glassick.  Of course at that time the plain cylinder was an example of a cost cutting step in production.  All four of these revolvers are currently in the RPRCA collection.  All were obtained on auctions on Gun Broker and Auction Arms.  The three obtained on Auction Arms were posted by Sarco, Inc.  Bill had presented these three revolvers to Charlie Steen, President of Sarco, Inc. four decades ago.

Barrel Marking.jpg (25553 bytes)

Fig. 23  Barrel Markings William Edwards Schneider & Glassick

Right Side.jpg (21415 bytes) Left Side.jpg (23842 bytes)

Fig. 24  Right Side William Edwards Schneider & Glassick

Fig 25  Left Side William Edwards Schneider & Glassick

RtSd Frame.jpg (76145 bytes)

LtSd Barrel.jpg (47691 bytes)

Fig. 26  Date Code on Left Side of Frame

Fig. 27  Rigarmi Logo Left Side of Barrel Flat

 

Fake Schneider & Glassick Revolvers

The Schneider & Glassick replica is a target for counterfeiters for several reasons.  First, original revolvers are so rare that there are few that can be studied and compared in order to spot a fake revolver.  Counterfeiting original revolvers was one of the greatest fears of collectors with the advent of the replica industry.  Colt collectors were the strongest in opposing the production of replica revolvers.  This paranoia was so great on the part of a group of these collectors that the National Rifle Association was bullied into refusing any advertising for these revolvers.  The counterfeiting of Colt revolvers did not materialize because of the abundance of research material and original guns that were available for study and make comparisons.  There were very talented machinist and gunsmiths in the late 1940’s and 1950’s that were producing Paterson and large frame Colt fakes on a one at a time basis, usual on special order by collectors who wanted to fill a vacant spot in their collection.  A few of these were so good that they even fooled the Colt experts. 

This is not the case with the Italian made Colt replicas.  Deliberate changes have been made by manufacturers on their replicas to specifically make them identifiable from an original.  One example of this is the absence of cylinder pins on the first Gregorelli & Uberti Colt 1851 Navy replicas.  Other changes such as screw threads, grip shape, etc. was incorporated into the replica revolvers in order to make them readily identifiable from the originals.

The Confederate revolvers, however, are a different story.  First is the limited number of these revolvers that were produced.  Second is the manufacturing methods used in the construction of these revolvers which make them almost individually “one of a kind” firearms.  They were hand fitted and assembled so parts from one may not work on another.  This makes it easy for a counterfeiter because there are no solid comparisons that can be made between an original and an altered replica.  Third, many of the original revolvers did not even have a manufacturer’s name stamped on the revolver.  If there was it may not always be in the same location, fonts may differ, and serial numbers may not exist.

This makes the Schneider & Glassick an excellent choice for the counterfeiter.  With supposedly only two of the brass frame versions in existence there is little to compare with.  A knowledgeable replica collector may be a better judge in helping identify a fake because they are more familiar with the different manufacturers of the replicas, the markings on the gun, proof marks, serial numbers, etc.  In examining a possible fake these marks would have to be removed.  This is going to leave dips in the metal, reduction in size of certain parts, barrel twist, etc.

I recently won two revolvers on a Kull Old Town Station Auction that were advertised as Fakes but that had previously passed for, and were sold on another auction several years earlier as originals.  They were discovered to be counterfeit and were being re-auctioned as such.  One that I won was a Schneider & Glassick, serial #2.  The font for the “Schneider & Glassick  Memphis Tenn” markings on the barrel was correct, the aging appeared accurate, and overall appearance was good.  The give away was the location of the deep scratches and dips on the frame and top of barrel.  These were in locations where other markings of the replica would have been.  They were removed and deep scratches were in these locations to disguise where metal had been removed.  On the barrel there was small difference in size where the Schneider & Glassick markings were stamped and the rest of the barrel.  There were other indications as well.

 

Fig. 2Fake Schneider & Glassick Right Side    

Fig. 29  Fake Schneider & Glassick Left Side  

The most interesting part of this story is that only one week before this auction, Jason Schubert, Curator of the J. M. Davis Gun Museum in Claremore , Oklahoma called me concerning three revolvers that someone had brought into the museum for evaluation and possible display.  One of these revolvers was a Schneider & Glassick.  The possibility of uncovering another unknown Schneider & Glassick created a sense of excitement that only another collector can understand.  First impulse was that it was an original.  The Font used for the name stamp on top of the barrel was accurate and the general wear looked good.  It was even missing the wood grips, which added to a sense of originality.  Serial number was #4. 

After several minutes of fondling, examining, and brain storming some suspensions developed.  The other two revolvers brought in with the Schneider & Glassick was a Single Action revolver and a Whitney.  There was a letter with the Single Action claiming some historical connection.  This was quickly determined to be a fake that could have been produced by anyone.  The Whitney was also easily identified as a fake because of the sights.  With these two revolvers obviously identified as fakes more attention was then directed toward the Schneider & Glassick.  We were able to identify where the proof marks had been removed on the right side of the frame.  There was a dip on top of the barrel where a previous marking was removed before stamping the Schneider & Glassick marking.  The “house of cards” quickly collapsed and it was determined to be a fake. 

The markings on the barrel were still a puzzle.  They were very accurate.  I am fortunate in that Virginia Edwards entrusted me with all existing research notes left by her late husband, William B. Edwards.  I found in these notes a paragraph concerning a fake Schneider & Glassick that he had examined many years ago.  It was discovered that a correct Die for the “SCHENIDER & GLASSICK  MEMPHIS TENN” markings had been produced and used on the fake.  That Die is still out there, location unknown.

Fig. 30  Fake Schneider & Glassick Die Marking (Compare these markings to the High Standard Replica)  

One week after this the fake Schneider & Glassick that I acquired appeared on the Kull auction.  There were five fake revolvers being auctioned.  They included the Schneider & Glassick, a Griswold & Gunnison, a Rigdon & Ansley with 12 Cylinder Stops, a Columbus Firearms Co., a Vance & Feeney, and a .44cal. Dance Brother’s revolver.  I won the Schneider & Glassick and the Rigdon & Ansley.  Interestingly, the Dance revolver brought $1,000 as a fake.

Fig. 31   Fake Schneider & Glassick Frame Markings Removed   Fig. 32  Fake Schneider & Glassick Barrel Marking Alteration &  New Serial Number  

When I received the Schneider & Glassick it turned out to be a clone of the one that I had examined at the J. M. Davis Gun Museum two weeks prior.  Jason and I made a close examination side by side comparison.  Everything was almost identical.  The serial numbers were #2 on mine and #4 on the museum example.  The two original brass Schneider & Glassick revolvers bear the serial #6 & #23.  The third original Schneider & Glassick with the steel frame is #12M.  It appears that both of these Fake Schneider & Glassick revolvers may have been done by the same person.  If a little more care had been taken by the counterfeiter they could have passed as originals and would require more drastic tests of materials and parts to authenticate them.

Without original specimens of the original revolvers and lack of historical documentation it becomes very difficult to authenticate originality.  In the case of these Schneider & Glassick revolvers a well informed replica historian becomes a possible source for making an evaluation.  The Confederate made revolvers have become a prime target for counterfeiting because of this, and because the collector interest is increasing rapidly causing prices to appreciate dramatically.

 

Bibliography

Edwards, William B.  Civil War Guns.  Harrisburg , PA :  The Stackpole Company.  1962

Edwards, William B.  “Unpublished research Notes for Civil War Guns and other publications”  Afton , VA

Albaugh, William A. III and Simmons, Edward N.   Confederate Arms.  Harrisburg , PA : The Stackpole Company.  1957

Albaugh, William A. III ,  Benet, Hugh and Simmons, Edward N.  Confederate Handguns.  Philadelphia , PA :  Riling and Lentz.  1963

Gary, William A.  Confederate Revolvers.  Prescott , AZ :  K8 Communications.  1987   

Flayderman, Norm.   Flayderman’ Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values.    Northfield , ILL :  DBI Books.  1998

Fjestad,  S. P.,   Blue Book of Gun Values  8th Edition.  Minneapolis , MN : Investment Rarities.  1987   

Replica Percussion Revolver Collector’s Association.  “Confederate Models” http://rprca.tripod.com/ModelsConfederate.html