Fold Up Your Tiny Gun, Slip It In Your Pocket
Benjamin Loomis's folding pocket-pistol was supposed to be safer
Benjamin Loomis was a Civil War veteran and a successful inventor. One of his most interesting patents, from February 1866, is for a folding revolver.
From the patent description, it’s obvious that safety was Loomis’s main priority.
“The object of my invention is to secure greater compactness and safety in revolving cylinder-pistols than has been obtained heretofore,” Loomis wrote.
“This is done by making the under side of the stock to swing open and shut at pleasure, by having the trigger fold in with the movable stock, by having the hammer entirely encased in the stock, so that no part projects to be caught in transportation, and by so arranging the slotted chamber-piece that the hammer never rests on a loaded cartridge except at the instant of discharge.”
When the user folds the grip forward, the trigger also folds forward to rest flush with the frame. The revolver features a coiled, circular mainspring with an enclosed hammer. The patent drawings indicate an unusual cut in the cylinder, into which the hammer rests in order to lock the cylinder while the pistol is folded.
The gun doesn’t look terribly ergonomic and appears to chamber a very small-caliber round. To reload, you have to remove the cylinder.
I’ve been unable to find any mention of Loomis selling his design. He went on to hold a number of successful patents, including one for water filters. He retired in 1896.