frame pins. Internally, the new model features a separate cylinder latch that allows a more positive stop. The flat hammer spring was changed to an adjustable coil spring. The simplified extractor cam was made more reliable by replacing the fragile flat spring with a coil spring.
The greatest source of trouble on the old model was the lack of a positive cylinder stop which resulted in lead being shaved from the bullet as it passed from the cylinder chamber to the barrel mouth. This difficulty was overcome in the new model.
Around the turn of the century top-L break revolvers were as common as coffee grinders in the average American home. For $2 a person could buy an Iver Johnson solid-frame Model 1900 in cals. .22, .32, or .38 S&W. For a few dollars more he could buy a more efficient top-break model, available in single- and double-action, with hammer or hammerless double-action. Choice of barrel lengths ranged from 2" to 6". For another dollar the top-break could be had with a much larger one-piece 'Western'-style walnut grip. Iver Johnson eventually put out the less-expensive line of 4tU. S." top-break hammer and hammerless revolvers.
For years Iver Johnson advertisements pictured the hammering of a top-b^eak Jiammer to prove its safety. While tfris sort of safety test is not particularly good for the gun, it was a selling point.
The safety hammer mechanism is a very clever design. When the hammer is down, it does not touch the firing pin. It rests against the frame and is cut away around the firing pin area. When the trigger is pulled or the hammer cocked, the lifter is brought up behind the firing pin. When the trigger actuates the sear, the hammer is released and strikes the lifter, which transmits the blow to the firing pin.
There is quite a difference in design between the old and new models. While both feature the safety hammer, most internal parts are not interchangeable. The gun illustrated in the exploded view is the old model. The new model can be easily recognized by the simple round barrel catch and the 2 additional
E. J. Hoffschmidt is an artist-illustrator with years of experience with firearms.
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