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Discussion Starter #1
May have been the first in this country, but I was wondering about Britain, where top-breaks were very popular, & I have no reference books on British guns. Jenks describes three older patents applicable to top-breaks that S&W bought before bringing out the #3, but doesn't indicate whether those patents had previously been used to manufacture other revolvers. Patents are often "shelved" without being put into use, but Jenks doesn't say (that I can find) whether earlier top-breaks had been built before the #3 went into production.
 

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Charles Pryse had a patent that was used by several British manufactures in the 1870's

most notably Webley- Pryse which was the first of their topbreak models

webley based their topbreaks on Charles Pryse's British Patent 4421.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Charles Pryse had a patent that was used by several British manufactures in the 1870's

most notably Webley- Pryse which was the first of their topbreak models
Well, "the 1870s" would probably have been after intro of the #3 in May, 1870. But apparently, other inventors were at least thinking about the top-break concept, or there wouldn't have been those older patents bought up by S&W.

But it looks like Webley-Pryse beat S&W by a year or two in coming out with a DA top-break, according to what I just found on the internet.
 
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