Ballard Patent Arms
Location: (until 1873; after 1875, see MARLIN)
On Nov. 5, 1861 C.H. Ballard, of Worcester, Massachusetts, received a patent for a breechloading mechanism that would remain in production for nearly thirty years. Ballard patented a breechblock that tilted down at its front to expose breech by activating lever/triggerguard. During the twelve years that followed, Ballard rifles, carbines and shotguns were produced by five interrelated companies. Four of these were successive: Ball & Williams, R. Ball & Co. (both of Worcester, Massachusetts), Merrimack Arms & Manufacturing Co. and Brown Manufacturing Company (both of Newburyport, Massachusetts). These four companies produced Ballard arms in a successive serial range (1 through approximately 22,000), all marked on top of frame and barrel where it joins the frame. In 1863 another company, Dwight, Chapin & Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, also produced Ballard rifles and carbines in a larger frame size, but in a different serial range (1 through about 1,900), usually marked on left side of frame below agents' mark. Large frame carbines and rifles were produced to fulfill a U.S. War Department contract initially for 10,000 of each, subsequently reduced to 1,000 of each, issued to Merwin & Bray sole agents for Ballard Patent Arms between 1862 and 1866. Most production during this period concentrated on military contracts, either for U.S. War Department or state of Kentucky, although state of New York also purchased 500 for its state militia.
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