Forehand & Wadsworth

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Forehand & Wadsworth
Firearms Manufacturer
Industry Firearms
Founded 1871
Headquarters Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Key people
Sullivan Forehand, Henry C. Wadsworth
Products Revolvers

Forehand & Wadsworth (also known as Forehand Arms) was a US firearms manufacturing company based in Worcester, Massachusetts that was formed in 1871 by Sullivan Forehand and Henry C. Wadsworth after the death of their father-in-law, Ethan Allen of Ethan Allen & Company.[1]


In 1871 Sullivan Forehand and Henry C. Wadsworth founded Forehand & Wadsworth from the remnants of Ethan Allen & Company after the death of their father-in-law, Ethan Allen.[1] Wadsworth sold his share of the company to Forehand in 1890 in order to retire and the company was rebranded as Forehand Arms.[2]

The company was involved with a patent infringement lawsuit on behalf of one of their employees, John C. Howe, against the United States government. Howe had patented an ammunition cartridge in 1864 and the US government infringed upon this design in 1868 with the "Cup Anvil Cartridge" until the expiration of Howe's patent in 1881.[3] Howe asked Forehand to bring a lawsuit against the government and eight years later the company won the suit on behalf of Howe with a judgement of $66,000. The lawsuit was not paid until after Howe's death and a few weeks before the death of Forehand in 1898.[1]

Forehand's sons ran the business for several years following the death of their father, but sold it in 1902 to Hopkins & Allen, whom had been making Forehand Arms' revolvers under contract.[4]


Forehand & Wadsworth manufactured a variety of blackpowder and cartridge revolvers including several versions of the British Bull Dog revolver.[5][6]

In popular culture

A Forehand & Wadsworth British Bulldog was used in the 1993 movie, Tombstone, by Joanna Pacula while portraying Big Nosed Kate.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Sullivan Forehand". Collections of the Worcester Society of Antiquity. The Society. 1899. pp. 322–328. 
  2. Hogg, Ian V.; Walter, John (2004). Pistols of the World. David & Charles. p. 128. ISBN 0-87349-460-1. 
  3. Congress, United States. (1895). "Legal Representatives of John C. Howe". Congressional edition 1895. U.S. G.P.O. pp. 3–16. 
  4. Brophy, William S. (1989). Marlin Firearms: a history of the guns and the company that made them. Stackpole Books. p. 51. ISBN 9780811708777. 
  5. Shideler, Dan (14 July 2010). Gun Digest 2011. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 82–83. ISBN 1-4402-1561-8. 
  6. Flayderman, Norm (2007). "Forehand and Wadsworth Revolvers". Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. p. 479. ISBN 978-1-4402-2422-5. 
  7. Shideler, Dan (2011). Gun Digest Book of Revolvers. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 68. ISBN 1-4402-3157-5. 

External links