HAWLEY
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HAWLEY
Previous maker of the "Kalamazoo" air pistol, located in Kalamazoo, MI about 1870. Probably should be called the "Hawley" after Edwin H. Hawley, its inventor and maker, but it has been affectionally known by the delightfully sounding name of "Kalamazoo". That refers to the location of manufacture, but actually neither name, nor any other markings, appear on the pistol itself! In addition to being delightful both in name and design, this gun has special historical significance: Evidently this is America's first commercial pneumatic pistol. (Lukens and Kunz made pneumatic rifles in the Philadelphia area circa 1800-1815 but evidently did not make pistols). Based on patent #90,749, issued June 1, 1869 to Hawley but built to design advertised in 1870, covered by improved patent #118,886, issued to Edwin Hawley and George Snow on Sept. 12, 1871. A butt-reservoir pneumatic with straight pump affixed under barrel. Hammer suggestive of flintlock hammer with sear mechanism fully visible on bottom curve.
Improved patent including making front sight by merely turning up section of front barrel band. Sight arrangement strikingly strange: valve release pin protrudes from top center of receiver, thus rear sight groove has been displaced to right. To sight gun one must tip it about 45 degrees to left (this may be half-way precursor to flat-on-its-side "gangsta" firing stance of 20th century!).
Cast iron receiver contains air reservoir in the butt and firing mechanism in forward part. Three large casting holes sealed by pewter/lead or brass plugs. Brass plug just ahead of trigger allows access to install and repair exhaust valve.

From Blue Book Publications:


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