Enouy's percussion revolver


Enouy's revolver. Photo by Samuel E. Smith.

On the 14th of June, 1855, Joseph Enouy of Middlesex obtained British patent #1359:

"1359. Joseph Enouy, of 31, Denbigh-place, Pimlico, St. George's, Hanover Square, Middlesex, for The means of "removal" of every rotary or revolving "barrel or cylinder" containing chambers from all revolver pistols, guns, and fire arms, and the "substitution" in their place by another and other "barrels or cylinders" in succession. - Dated June 14, 1855. Sealed December 11, 1855."

The patent was referring to a bizarre contraption that was later nicknamed the "ferris wheel". It is a rotating wheel of sorts which has eight spokes, each carrying an individual cylinder of six chambers. This amounts to 48 shots in total, making Enouy's revolver one of the highest-capacity revolvers in the world! Certainly, for the mid-1800s, this was an impressive feat.

Of course, the idea is technically sound in theory, but in actuality Enouy's revolver was very impractical indeed. Not only was it incredibly weighty even when unloaded, but the balance of the weapon was completely put off by the positioning of the wheel. It's not even made clear how the weapon is supposed to be held, and I doubt that even the creator thought this through. Enouy also applied the same principle to a rifle, which was considerably more practical but still not a successful venture by any means.

The base revolver was a "transitional" percussion revolver. Revolvers of this type achieved popularity in England during the mid-19th century. I don't know exactly which model Enouy used for his contraption, though I somehow doubt that it was made by himself. It is most likely a Charles Osborne percussion revolver dating from around 1845 - 1855.

Completely unsurpisingly, Enouy's revolver was not a successful design, and failed to catch on. After Enouy's death, the revolver was later obtained by the late Cecil Gordon Vokes, and was added to his large collection of antique firearms. When Vokes died in 1961, his collection was obtained by Hampshire County Council but part of it was auctioned off at Wallis & Wallis in Sussex. Enouy's revolver was among those items and somehow ended up at the Abdeen Palace Museum in Cairo, Egypt. This may be due to the fact that King Farouk was an avid firearms collector. Unfortunately the museum staff seem to have ended up in possession of the revolver without actually knowing what it is - the placard at the museum incorrectly assumes that it is a Egyptian-modified Colt revolver.

Enouy's revolver is described in Firearms Curiosa by Lewis Winant, Firearms by Howard L. Blackmore, Pistols of the World by Claude Blair, and Firearms by Walter Buehr.

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