This Peabody carbine is a breechloading, single shot, .50 caliber rimfire carbine made by the Providence Tool Company of Providence, Rhode Island. It is one of an estimated quantity of 112,000 carbines and rifles produced by the company. This carbine utilized the triggerguard as a breech lever, lowing the breechblock for top loading of the round.
The carbine has a back action style lock and a large side hammer and was developed during the Civil War years but the great majority of these carbines never saw action in the War and were later sold under contract to foreign countries. This example is in practically unfired, complete condition and features a 20” round barrel secured to the black walnut stock via a single barrel band. The stock is free of any blemishes and appears never to have been cleaned. A small cartouche from a Providence Company inspector shows on the left wrist area of the stock.
The receiver exhibits an excellent case color finish overall and and the left side of has the maker’s stamp “PEABODY’S PAT / JULY 22, 1862 / MANUF’D BY / PROVIDENCE TOOL CO / PROV R. I.” in small clear markings. The original barrel bluing is a generous 98%+ overall. The folding rear sight and brass blade front sight rear on the barrel are both original and in excellent condition. The bore is rifled and is vividly bright with only tiny traces of scattered light pitting. No screws not buggered and retain the bright blue original finish. In EXCELLENT condition, this Peabody carbine is a fine weapon to add to any arms collection.
Henry O. Peabody of Boston, Massachusetts patented a new breech-loading, downward- tilting, lever-operated action for a long gun awarded on July 22nd, 1862 during a time when the American Civil War (1861-1865) raged on. The action was produced in both rifle and compact carbine forms and in differing calibers – .45 Peabody rimfire, .45-70 Government, .50 rimfire, 50-70, .433 Spanish and 10.4mm Swiss rimfire. Overall design of the firearm was conventional with a long-running, single-piece wooden body, a single barrel band joining barrel and frame and an integral grip and shoulder stock arrangement. The action was of the percussion principle requiring use of percussion caps to actuate a powder charge and send the bullet out of the muzzle. Barrels were rifled for accuracy and range and the weapons were very accurate and reliable. While the Peabody was not perfected in time for the American Civil War, a few were entered in the trials of 1864 and received favorable reports.
The carbine form based on the Peabody action was entering development during the latter stages of the Civil War while a rifle form was, in fact, trialed by the US Army during the conflict. It was not adopted due to minor technical issues and, ultimately, the end of the war in 1865. Manufacture of what would later be called the Model 1866 Carbine was handled through the Peabody and Providence Tool Company of Providence, Rhode Island USA. The primary caliber was .50 rimfire and the barrels measured a handy 20-inches long. Loading was through the breech as opposed to down the muzzle.
A few American states eventually purchased the weapons (Connecticut, Massachusetts and South Carolina) during the post war years primary during the 1870s). Overall, about 112,000 Peabody Carbines were ultimately sold in the United States, Central America and throughout Europe.