Retailed by N. Curry & Bro, San Francisco
This nice Webley No.2 British Bulldog was retailed by N. Curry & Bro of San Francisco. It features a 5 shot cylinder chambered in .450CF along with a 2 3/8" barrel. The left side of the frame is marked "Webley's No.2 .450CF" along with the Webley & Son flying bullet trademark and the serial number 23768.
Webley's popular British Bull Dog revolvers were introduced in the early 1870's and continued to be sold through until WWI. There are numerous variations in frame shape, grip length, cylinder style (smooth or fluted), extractor rod style, and markings. Most were marked on the top strap with "THE BRITISH BULL DOG" however Webley did supply unmarked and partially revolvers to retailers and these are sometime found today. This example, although conforming exactly to the British Bull Dog pattern has only the retailers name on the top strap.
With a few rare exceptions almost all Webley's British Bull Dog revolvers were chambered originally in either .442CF or .450CF. Although Webley later produced numerous styles of small pocket revolvers in .320CF and .380CF none of these every carried "THE BRITISH BULL DOG" inscription.
The top strap of this revolver is marked with the retailers name "N. Curry & Bro, San Francisco". Very few Webley's of any type are found with American retailer addresses. Most of those that survive are marked with either N Curry & Bro or more commonly Liddle & Kaeding, also of San Francisco.
Research into Webley's British Bull Dog revolvers indicates that serial numbers were used in blocks rather than in a continuous sequence. The earliest examples from around 1872 - 1876 are in the 20,000 to 25,000 block. Then the serial range jumps to the 50,000 to 55,000 range from 1877 to 1880. From about 1881 the serial numbers became much smaller and it appears two ranges were used concurrently, one with serials from 600's through to 1600's, the other from 4000 to the 4600's. This continued through to mid 1884 when Bulldogs in the 60,000's appeared which continued through to the low 100,000's by 1914.
The research on Bull Dog serial numbering was conducted by Homer Ficken and is explained in much further detail in the book "Webley Solid Frame Revolvers: Nos 1, 1½ , 2, Bull Dogs and Pugs" .
Webley's British Bull Dog revolver became extremely popular both in Great Britain and internationally. As a result numerous copies and imitations were made by other British, European and American companies. Some of these are well made and highly collectable in their own right, whilst others were cheaply made and lack the quality of the Webley product.