Who actually designed the S & W 'K-Frame' Revolver?


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Oyeboten
November 28, 2010, 04:52 AM
I know that if asked, people say, "Well, Simith and Wesson designed it!"


Just like, if asked "Who invented 'NYLON', people will say, "Why, DUPONT invented Nylon!"


Well, Dupont did not 'invent' anything, and certainly did not invent Nylon.


Wallace Carothers, in a very loose situation of employ by DUPONT, in an Experimental Lab set up and created for him to putter in, invented 'Nylon'.



Similarly, there must have been actual real people, possibly one person or several, who designed the original K-Frame.



It would be nice to know something about them...who they were, what else they did, what their names were, how they ended up.


Anyone know?

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1911Tuner
November 28, 2010, 05:10 AM
It's very likely that it can't be attributed to any one person, as there were probably several people involved. If they contracted an outside designer to work on it the way that Colt did with John Browning on the 1911, you may be able to search the patents and find out...if the outside designer had struck a deal for the patents....but if they did it with company employees, then all patent rights will belong to the the entity known as Smith & Wesson.

Owen
November 28, 2010, 06:45 AM
the patent right will be attributed to S&W, but there is usally a list of designers too. There probably isn't a patent on "K-frame" but on the features that made a S&W a S&W in that era.

Best bet would be to try to find copies of the original drawings of the gun. That said, before, say the 1930's, drawings weren't done the way they are now. There may not be any names at all on them.

Red Cent
November 28, 2010, 10:02 AM
Before the 19, there was the 27 and 28. There was a certain man who rode S&W to come out with a smaller framed 357. He consulted with S&W on its characteristics. Bill Jordan.

Philip Sharpe is credited for the final design.

MartinS
November 28, 2010, 10:10 AM
I think you'll have to go back to the 38 Long Colt Hand Ejector and the 38 Special Model that followed. Turn of the century, 1899 onwards.

1911Tuner
November 28, 2010, 03:52 PM
I think you'll have to go back to the 38 Long Colt Hand Ejector and the 38 Special Model that followed. Turn of the century, 1899 onwards.

Bingo. There are very few guns that were simply invented. Most came about as a result of an often long process of evolution. Even with the ones that just appeared on the scene, the designers usually played off the ideas from other designers...or from their own previous efforts.

We only need to look for indication of this in modern designs. Field-strip a Beretta 92 Series pistol alongside a Walther P-38 and look at the breech locking mechanism. The falling block Sharps rifle became the High Wall...and what is a M-94 Winchester but a falling block repeater? Study Gaston Glock's pistol, and you'll find that John Browning's fingerprints are all over it.

TexasBill
November 28, 2010, 04:51 PM
You have to go back to the .38 Hand Ejector, M&P First Model of 1899. I believe that's the ancestor of the modern K-frame. The gun utilized a number of patents dating from 1884 to 1898 so I don't know that you would wind up with one definitive designer.

Red Cent
November 28, 2010, 04:52 PM
I think you would have to back more. I have seen western movies that had to be in the 1890 period and they were using revolvers that had the looks of a Model 10 with an ejector bar on the side of the barrel.

TexasBill
November 28, 2010, 04:53 PM
Iver Johnson and Colt were both using solid-frame designs at the end of the 19th Century.

Rexster
November 28, 2010, 05:21 PM
TexasBill: "You have to go back to the .38 Hand Ejector, M&P First Model of 1899. I believe that's the ancestor of the modern K-frame. The gun utilized a number of patents dating from 1884 to 1898 so I don't know that you would wind up with one definitive designer."

I agree with TexasBill. I have seen these old M&P revolvers; they ARE K-frames, before the frame designations were designated by the current alphabetical letters. Evolutionary changes have occurred, mostly internal. Don't take my word for it; plenty of book authors have said the same.

Some of these old M&P revolvers have been wearing modern aftermarket or S&W K-frame grips. I live near a dealer that specializes in collectible firearms; the place is like a museum, and I used to really be "into" old sixguns, though I have not actually bought any pre-war S&W handguns.

www.collectorsfirearms.com is the website. Navigate to their Pre-War S&W handguns.

Old Fuff
November 28, 2010, 06:09 PM
At the time (middle-late 1890's) Smith & Wesson's principal gun designer was Joseph H. Wesson, D. B. Wesson's youngest son, who had an engineering background. However his father remained active in company affairs until his passing in 1906. Two other sons, Walter and Frank, were in charge of other production and management duties. For all practical matters these four men ran the company.

Smith and Wesson (and for that matter Colt) identified various models with alphabetical letters, so in 1899 their new Military & Police revolver was assigned the letter "K".

ElToro
November 28, 2010, 06:44 PM
speaking of evolution, check out a comlete list of john brownings guns that winchester bought that never produced. . i think they bought 44 and made only 13 or something. but lots of evolution and small design changes.
most seem to appear to be clunkers.

i dont knwo who teh deisgn chief at S&W was in 1899

Jim Watson
November 28, 2010, 06:54 PM
I think you would have to back more. I have seen western movies that had to be in the 1890 period and they were using revolvers that had the looks of a Model 10 with an ejector bar on the side of the barrel.

The movie wasn't made in 1890 and the movies have never been a reliable source of firearms or other technical information.
Studio prop departments routinely put fake ejector rod housings on double actions for use by actors who had not practiced with a single action. Also speeded up reloading with blanks.

Oyeboten
November 29, 2010, 01:18 AM
At the time (middle-late 1890's) Smith & Wesson's principal gun designer was Joseph H. Wesson, D. B. Wesson's youngest son, who had an engineering background. However his father remained active in company affairs until his passing in 1906. Two other sons, Walter and Frank, were in charge of other production and management duties. For all practical matters these four men ran the company.

Smith and Wesson (and for that matter Colt) identified various models with alphabetical letters, so in 1899 their new Military & Police revolver was assigned the letter "K".



Thanks Old Fuff..!


Makes sense.


I have gathered, with Colt, in the 1800s and early 1900s anyway, as with many Companies of those days, inventions of Colt Employees belonged to the employee, and, Colt would pay them a Royalty for the use of it...even if usually, this was negotiated in Good Sportsmanship to be easy on Colt, or, in some instances, the Patent was assigned to Colt for free or for a remuneration.


But that the practice of employee's inventions ipso facto belonging to a Company as a condition of servitude or contract servitude, instead of belonging to the actual inventor, did not become a fashion untill maybe the 1930s, when everything was beginning to get grim, greedy, 'corporate', and tainted with poor sportsmanship generally, in our wider politics, economy and culture.

Owen
November 29, 2010, 01:11 PM
if someone is being paid to invent something on a salary or contract basis, why would the inventor own the design?

DPris
November 29, 2010, 02:14 PM
In Browning's case, he was never an employee. Any designs & patents he developed were owned by him until the point at which he sold them to Colt, Winchester, etc.
He finally decided he wanted to go for royalties instead of an outright sale, and when Winchester refused, Browning started a long & mutally happy royalty relationahip with FN in Belgium.
Denis

Wil Terry
November 29, 2010, 02:59 PM
The modern S&W action as we know it today with the re-bound slide etc was designed by a COLT engineer who took it to his employer, who turned it down [they were using the Python style action we know to day then already ] and rebuffed him on it. The designer promptly took it over to the Wesson boys who immediately grabbed it as an answer to their prayers and the rest is history.
And so it goes...

Old Fuff
November 29, 2010, 09:33 PM
The modern S&W action as we know it today with the re-bound slide etc was designed by a COLT engineer who took it to his employer, who turned it down [they were using the Python style action we know to day then already ] and rebuffed him on it. The designer promptly took it over to the Wesson boys who immediately grabbed it as an answer to their prayers and the rest is history.

Smith & Wesson introduced the rebound slide in their Military & Police/ 1905 Hand Ejector; 1st Change, starting in 1906. If you happen to come across a Military & Police / 1905 Hand Ejector; 2nd Change you will find the rebound slide stamped with the date, "February 6, 06".

Colt didn't introduce the Python-style lockwork until 1908 in the Army Special (among others). Prior Colt revolvers didn't use a rebound slide either.

We must be reading different history books... :)

Guillermo
November 30, 2010, 12:58 AM
I thought Old Fuff was the designer for the K Frame.

He certainly owns enough of them and knows enough about them.

Radagast
November 30, 2010, 01:11 AM
Nah. He just brought the blue prints down from the mountain.

Red Cent
November 30, 2010, 02:20 PM
JimWatson, I was facetiously referring to movies like "Hombre" when Newman used a double action to finish off the mexican. Or "The Gambler" where Dean Martin and Robert Mitchum used double actions to shoot the windmill vanes.All had ejector tubes on the side of the barrel. :)

Oyeboten
November 30, 2010, 04:15 PM
Hi owen,



You'd mentioned -


if someone is being paid to invent something on a salary or contract basis, why would the inventor own the design?



There were quite a few Colt employees who held their own Patents for firearms related inventions or improvements and so on, in the 19th and early 20 Century.

This was typical of conditions everywhere in the US, where, employees who for becoming familiar with the products their company manufactured, would invent improvements or have novel ideas, and, for patenting them, own the patent personally.


No one I ever heard of was being paid as an employee to be an 'Inventor' untill the 1930s.


Clauses in the terms of employment which automatically assigned any patents of an employee, to the employer, would have been laughed out of existence or spat on by pretty well everyone in those days, even as they ought to be now.

If someone is hired TO invent or improve, then that is different.

If someone is hired to be the Night Janitor, Boiler Tender, General Machinist, Assembly Line perfunctorate, or whatever, and, happened to come up with a valuable invention whether related to the company's products or not, it always belonged to him and not to the company he worked for.

An employee had whatever their Job was, and, if they invented or designed anything at the same time, it belonged to them.

Caruthers and his discovery or invention I suppose, of 'Nylon' was one of the first if not the first instance of it's kind, where, an employer set up a facility or Lab in which to have a person attempt to discover or invent things, where, the patents would be understood to belong to the employer as part of the arrangement.


Product design was always a very mutable and often casual matter negotiated however so when going into it, and could be anything for arrangement or recompense.


But, if someone's salary or wage hour Job was to design things, the results would belong to the employer of course...even as in occasions of merely good natured suggestions or ideas made or given by an employee which improved a product or process of the Company they worked for.

Guillermo
November 30, 2010, 04:28 PM
nah. He just brought the blue prints down from the mountain.


that is funny!!!!

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